Guerilla's highly acclaimed open world adventure Horizon Zero Dawn is finally coming to PC in a couple days. Originally for the PlayStation 4, this PC port brings a few new additions to the graphics options. So how well does Horizon: Zero Dawn perform on PC then? Are we looking at a good PC port? Or is it not very well optimized for the PC platform? We take a look at the PC performance benchmarks for Horizon Zero Dawn...

First of all, in this PC performance benchmark article for Horizon Zero Dawn, we benchmark a range of graphics cards going from the higher-end RTX 2080, the lower-end R9 380, as well as the mid-range GTX 1060 which is also the recommended GPU for 60fps High graphics settings in Horizon: Zero Dawn. Then we go through the FPS test results of each graphics card ran at 1080p, 1440p and 4K screen resolutions. From there we can see the performance of the recommended system requirement graphics cards and consider how well optimized Horizon really is.

Fortunately for us, Zero Dawn comes equipped with a pretty extensive in-game benchmarking tool. Not only does it give us the average, minimum, and maximum FPS achieved, it also displays the dedicated average, minimum, and maximum FPS for both the GPU and CPU. The benchmark tool itself also runs for about 3 minutes long.

As a side note, Horizon Zero Dawn's PC graphics settings presets come in the form of Favor Performance, Original, Favor Quality, and Ultimate Quality. Original is considered to be the original graphics settings for the PlayStation 4 version.

In addition, launching Horizon Zero Dawn for the first time will initiate a loading screen for optimizing your hardware. This can take anywhere from 8-25 minutes depending on your level of hardware installed, and may contribute to some performance anomalies and discrepancies. After this optimization screen is finished though it won't happen again unless you change out your system's hardware.

With that in mind, let's jump into the performance benchmarks for Horizon: Zero Dawn on PC...

Horizon Zero Dawn PC Graphics Settings

Check your PC can run Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements

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Horizon Zero Dawn minimum system requirements

Horizon Zero Dawn Recommended System Requirements

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Horizon Zero Dawn RTX 2080 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Intel i9-9900K | 16GB

Horizon Zero Dawn RTX 2080 PC Benchmarks 1080p

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 in Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1080p

Horizon Zero Dawn Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
Average FPS 123 103 89 78
Max FPS 240 222 191 177
Min FPS 26 17 23 19

CPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1080p

CPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 128 107 92 80
Max FPS 98 72 60 50
Min FPS 74 44 38 32

GPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1080p

GPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 132 115 99 87
Max FPS 112 86 76 69
Min FPS 101 73 65 62

The FPS performance for the RTX 2080 in Horizon Zero Dawn at 1080p resolution is really good, able to achieve over 60fps even at Maximum graphics settings. So overall the RTX 2080 is perfect for playing Horizon Zero Dawn at 1080p.

Horizon Zero Dawn RTX 2080 PC Benchmarks 1440p

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 in Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1440p

Horizon Zero Dawn Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 97 76 65 56
Max FPS 194 156 145 137
Min FPS 28 18 16 13

CPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1440p

CPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 101 75 64 56
Max FPS 64 42 33 33
Min FPS 41 31 26 24

GPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1440p

GPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 108 82 71 60
Max FPS 95 65 58 48
Min FPS 87 58 51 42

At 1440p, the RTX 2080's FPS performance for Horizon Zero Dawn is still really good. Even though it's not able to achieve over 60fps at the Maximum graphics settings, it was still a comfortable and enjoyable frame rate. If you want to stick to 60fps then you can choose a slightly lower graphics setting, but in the end the RTX 2080 is perfectly suitable for playing Horizon Zero Dawn at 1440p resolution.

Horizon Zero Dawn RTX 2080 PC Benchmarks 4K

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 in Horizon Zero Dawn @ 4K

Horizon Zero Dawn Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
GPU FPS 59 46 42 37
Max FPS 141 114 101 109
Min FPS 13 13 10 7

CPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 4K

CPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 60 47 43 37
Max FPS 37 38 37 31
Min FPS 28 25 25 20

GPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 4K

GPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 64 49 44 38
Max FPS 59 41 39 33
Min FPS 55 38 36 31

The RTX 2080's FPS performance in Horizon Zero Dawn at 4K resolution is not too great. It's still very much playable even at the Maximum graphics settings but is not preferable. Turn the quality down to Favor Quality or Original if you want a more stable and comfortable experience at 4K. The RTX 2080 still performs okay at 4K resolution, but is not recommended at the Maximum graphics settings.

Horizon Zero Dawn RTX 2060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia PNY GeForce RTX 2060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Horizon Zero Dawn RTX 2060 PC Benchmarks 1080p

Average FPS for  in Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1080p

Horizon Zero Dawn Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
Average FPS 119 99 88 77
Max FPS 204 180 154 157
Min FPS 13 23 23 31

CPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1080p

CPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 124 102 90 78
Max FPS 97 77 70 60
Min FPS 83 66 62 54

GPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1080p

GPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 126 106 91 79
Max FPS 111 88 77 66
Min FPS 99 78 68 61

The FPS performance for the RTX 2060 in Horizon Zero Dawn at 1080p is really good, able to reach past the 60fps mark even at Ultimate Quality. It does suffer from some mild stuttering resulting in some relatively low Minimum FPS scores, but nothing that distracted from gameplay too much. Overall, the RTX 2060 is perfect for playing Horizon Zero Dawn at 1080p and Ultimate Quality settings.

Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of difference between the RTX 2060 and RTX 2080's FPS performance. It's possible this has something to do with the initial hardware optimization when you launch the game for the first time, but more research is needed here and if you have any ideas as to why then let us know in the discussion area below!

Horizon Zero Dawn RTX 2060 PC Benchmarks 1440p

Average FPS for  in Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1440p

Horizon Zero Dawn Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 90 75 63 55
Max FPS 152 135 124 103
Min FPS 6 10 12 13

CPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1440p

CPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 92 76 64 56
Max FPS 77 62 53 45
Min FPS 69 55 48 40

GPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1440p

GPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 90 76 63 56
Max FPS 81 65 55 48
Min FPS 74 59 51 45

The RTX 2060's FPS performance at 1440p in Horizon Zero Dawn is pretty good, whilst it doesn't reach 60fps at Ultimate Quality settings it was still playable and enjoyable. If you want to play Horizon Zero Dawn at 1440p resolution then you can absolutely do so even at Ultra graphics, but if you want over 60fps you may have to tweak the settings a bit.

Horizon Zero Dawn RTX 2060 PC Benchmarks 4K

Average FPS for  in Horizon Zero Dawn @ 4K

Horizon Zero Dawn Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
GPU FPS 49 43 35 31
Max FPS 75 63 62 47
Min FPS 7 32 21 19

CPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 4K

CPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 50 43 36 32
Max FPS 44 38 32 27
Min FPS 41 36 31 25

GPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 4K

GPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 49 43 35 31
Max FPS 44 39 32 27
Min FPS 41 36 30 26

At 4K, the FPS performance for the RTX 2060 is not too great, reaching just over 30FPS at Ultimate Quality. This is by no means unplayable, but is not exactly preferable for a game like this. Lower graphical settings were perfectly fine for this, but Ultra was not entirely comfortable. Overall, the RTX 2060 still performs pretty well at 4K resolution, but is not recommended at Ultimate Quality settings.

Horizon Zero Dawn GTX 1060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia MSI GeForce GTX 1060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Horizon Zero Dawn GTX 1060 PC Benchmarks 1080p

Average FPS for  in Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1080p

Horizon Zero Dawn Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
Average FPS 80 70 59 50
Max FPS 173 159 153 142
Min FPS 24 38 13 25

CPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1080p

CPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 84 72 60 51
Max FPS 60 53 43 38
Min FPS 54 47 39 31

GPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1080p

GPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 83 72 61 51
Max FPS 72 64 54 41
Min FPS 65 58 49 39

The FPS performance for the GTX 1060 at 1080p in Horizon Zero Dawn is surprisingly not too great. This is the recommended graphics card after all and is not even able to reach 60fps at Ultimate Quality graphics settings. Although 50fps is certainly not unplayable, but considering this was the recommended GPU it is disappointing.

I would say that based on these results a GTX 1070 is more likely the recommended choice of graphics card for Horizon Zero Dawn instead of the GTX 1060.

Horizon Zero Dawn GTX 1060 PC Benchmarks 1440p

Average FPS for  in Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1440p

Horizon Zero Dawn Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
Average FPS 57 48 40 34
Max FPS 141 128 116 115
Min FPS 11 13 11 16

CPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1440p

CPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 58 49 41 35
Max FPS 44 40 33 27
Min FPS 38 33 26 23

GPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 1440p

GPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 58 49 41 34
Max FPS 52 44 37 28
Min FPS 48 41 34 27

At 1440p the FPS performance in Horizon Zero Dawn with the GTX 1060 is not too great, but not awful. It's still certainly playable even at Maximum graphics settings, but not exactly the most comfortable. At least Favor Quality settings or lower is recommended with this graphics card at 1440p resolution.

Horizon Zero Dawn GTX 1060 PC Benchmarks 4K

Average FPS for  in Horizon Zero Dawn @ 4K

Horizon Zero Dawn Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
Average FPS 30 26 22 18
Max FPS 87 74 82 79
Min FPS 16 14 12 8

CPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 4K

CPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 30 26 22 18
Max FPS 28 24 20 14
Min FPS 21 18 14 11

GPU FPS results for Horizon Zero Dawn @ 4K

GPU Favor Performance Original Favor Quality Ultimate Quality
CPU FPS 30 26 22 18
Max FPS 28 24 20 14
Min FPS 27 23 20 14

The GTX 1060's FPS performance at 4K in Horizon Zero Dawn is unsurprisingly not great, the only semblance of a playable frame rate is at the Lowest Quality setting. In the end, the GTX 1060 is not suitable for 4K gaming in Horizon: Zero Dawn.

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Conclusion

Overall, the PC port of Horizon Zero Dawn is relatively good, but whilst it can perform pretty well at times, it's clear that HZD is a pretty demanding PC port. With the recommended GPU GTX 1060 only able to reach 50fps at 1080p on Ultra graphics settings that's quite disappointing. But luckily, Horizon: Zero Dawn is still perfectly playable at this performance.

There is a saving grace here though, as an update is coming Thursday that will address some performance optimization and stability issues. There is no word on what exactly this update is expected to bring, change, or fix, but hopefully we can see some improvements there. Whatever the changes, we will update you on whether or not this patch affects the performance.

Hopefully this same update will fix some issues for the lower-end rigs which don't meet the minimum system requirements, as evidenced by the screenshots above. Either that or the new AMD driver will hopefully sort these problems out.

In it's current state though, if you want to play Horizon Zero Dawn at it's best then you will need at least something a bit more powerful than the 1060, perhaps a GTX 1070 would be a better choice here.

Horizon also seems to be quite heavy on the CPU and RAM, so you will absolutely need the recommended processor and 16GB of system memory to see the full benefits of performance here.