Watch Dogs Legion PC performance report - Graphics card benchmarks

Written by Chad Norton on Thu, Oct 29, 2020 1:50 AM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

Watch Dogs Legion is out soon, the third entry in the Watch Dogs universe that sees a group of rebel hackers fight back on the streets of London. Watch Dogs: Legion certainly has a lot of nifty graphical features and looks pretty good, but how does it perform? We take a look at the PC performance benchmarks for Watch Dogs Legion...

First of all, in this PC performance benchmark article for Watch Dogs Legion, we benchmark a range of graphics cards going from the higher-end RTX 2080, the lower-end , as well as the mid-range  which is the recommended GPU for 1080p High settings, and finally the GTX 970 which is the required GPU for 1080p Low settings.

Then we go through the FPS test results of each graphics card running at 1080p, 1440p and 4K screen resolutions. From there we can see the performance of the minimum and recommended system requirement graphics cards and consider how well optimized Watch Dogs Legion really is.

Fortunately for us, Watch Dogs 3 comes with a pretty decent benchmarking tool. So for these test results below we fired up the benchmark which takes you on a short tour through Camden market, passing lots of NPCs, puddles with reflections, and various particle effects from combat that breaks out in the middle of the market. Overall, we felt that this was pretty representative of your typical gameplay experience in Watch Dogs Legion.

Additionally, Watch Dogs: Legion gives you the choice of using the DirectX11 or DirectX12 API. All the results below were taken using the DX12 API as it is the default API the game launches in and should deliver the best performance. DX12 is also required to enable ray tracing effects on compatible graphics cards.

WD Legion also includes full support for Nvidia's DLSS technology, though we did not enable the setting when conducting the following benchmark tests.

With that in mind, let's jump into the performance benchmarks for Watch Dogs Legion...

Watch Dogs Legion PC Graphics Settings

Check your PC can run Watch Dogs Legion system requirements

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Ray tracing off

Watch Dogs Legion system requirements 1080p Low Settings

Watch Dogs Legion system requirements 1080p High Settings

Watch Dogs Legion system requirements 1440p High Settings

Watch Dogs Legion system requirements 4K Ultra Settings

Ray tracing on

Watch Dogs Legion system requirements 1080p High Settings

Watch Dogs Legion system requirements 1440p Very High Settings

Watch Dogs Legion system requirements 4K Ultra Settings

(*Previous WD Legion system requirements listed a Radeon VII graphics card under AMD hardware but was removed in an update in favor of the RTX 3080 instead. We've added it back in here in square brackets so you know the AMD equivalent hardware needed for 4K Ultra graphics settings)

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CLICK ANY IMAGE IN THIS PAGE TO EXPAND THE IMAGE

Watch Dogs Legion RTX 2080 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Intel i9-9900K | 16GB

Average FPS for  in Watch Dogs Legion @ 1080p

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 117.2 116.2 100.9 65.5
Min FPS 85.5 85.6 72.4 47.6
Max FPS 151.5 143.6 126.9 81.2
1% Low FPS 74.5 70 64.9 23.2
0.1% Low FPS 31.3 29.6 23.1 21.4

The FPS performance for the RTX 2080 in Watch Dogs Legion is pretty good at 1080p, though very demanding still. At Low to High graphics settings you can get above 100fps average, whereas turning graphics settings up to Ultra will reduce performance to 65fps. This is still really good, but shows how demanding WD Legion really is at higher graphics settings.

Average FPS for  in Watch Dogs Legion @ 1440p

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 97 85.4 73.1 49
Min FPS 55.7 54.4 50.3 38.2
Max FPS 118.7 103.6 86.6 55.2
1% Low FPS 32.7 26.8 25.6 18.5
0.1% Low FPS 21.8 23.5 21.7 13.9

At 1440p, the RTX 2080's FPS performance in Watch Dogs: Legion is still pretty good. You can get upwards of 70fps at High graphics settings, but drops to 49fps on Ultra, which is still playable and perfectly enjoyable.

Average FPS for  in Watch Dogs Legion @ 4K

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 52.3 48.1 42.7 25.8
Min FPS 30.6 28.9 24.8 19.2
Max FPS 61.6 54.8 48.8 30.7
1% Low FPS 19.7 19.7 18.6 14
0.1% Low FPS 15.6 14.4 13 10.2

Finally, the FPS performance at 4K resolution for the RTX 2080 in Watch Dogs Legion is okay. You can certainly still play it and feel comfortable at High graphics settings, but Ultra is not recommended as it drops below 30fps.

Overall, the RTX 2080 is perfectly suitable for playing Watch Dogs: Legion at 1080p resolution on the Maximum graphics settings. If you want to get 60fps at 1440p resolution you will want to stay on High settings, but you won't be able to get 60fps at 4K, though it is still playable up to High graphics settings at that resolution.

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Watch Dogs Legion RTX 2060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia PNY GeForce RTX 2060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for  in Watch Dogs Legion @ 1080p

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 91.9 89.2 77.6 51.7
Min FPS 65.8 66.7 61.1 39.2
Max FPS 115 109.2 94.8 65.4
1% Low FPS 61.9 62 57.2 36.6
0.1% Low FPS 51.9 52.4 49.3 32.5

The FPS performance for the RTX 2060 at 1080p resolution in Watch Dogs Legion is decent, where you can get good performance at High graphics settings, whilst Ultra dips below to 50fps, which is still comfortable to play at but may not be ideal.

Average FPS for  in Watch Dogs Legion @ 1440p

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 78 71.3 62.6 36.6
Min FPS 48.6 45.8 44.7 28.8
Max FPS 92.5 82.7 71.3 46.3
1% Low FPS 48.2 45.5 42.3 27
0.1% Low FPS 37.6 37.7 33.7 25

At 1440p, the FPS performance in Watch Dogs Legion for the RTX 2060 is still pretty good up to High graphics settings. At Ultra settings this will dip to 35fps but is still playable at this frame rate.

Average FPS for  in Watch Dogs Legion @ 4K

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 44 39.8 34.8 21.6
Min FPS 23.3 23.5 22.5 16.3
Max FPS 50.6 45 39.1 25.4
1% Low FPS 22.2 21.7 22.4 14.7
0.1% Low FPS 16.1 17.5 16.4 13.2

At 4K resolution the RTX 2060 manages an okay performance in terms of FPS performance in Watch Dogs Legion, You an still play up to High graphics settings here at a comfortable frame rate, but Ultra is not recommended as it drops below 30fps.

In the end, the RTX 2060 is perfectly fine for playing Watch Dogs Legion at 1080p resolution on the Max graphics settings, though if you want to stick to 60fps then you may want to stay on High graphics settings. At 1440p the RTX 2060 performs well enough at High graphics settings, as well as Ultra if you are comfortable with 30fps gameplay. At 4K you can still play up to High graphics settings in Watch Dogs Legion but this will be at around 30fps, whereas Ultra settings here are not recommended for a smooth experience.

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Watch Dogs Legion GTX 1060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia MSI GeForce GTX 1060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for  in Watch Dogs Legion @ 1080p

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 65.3 59.8 52.6 32.7
Min FPS 51.8 47.3 44.1 29.1
Max FPS 75.5 68.4 60.1 36.3
1% Low FPS 47.9 46.4 41.8 27.5
0.1% Low FPS 40.2 38.2 38.2 26.4

The FPS performance for the GTX 1060 at 1080p resolution in Watch Dogs Legion is okay, as you can still get an enjoyable experience up to High graphics settings. You can bump it up to Ultra if you don't mind 30fps, but you will have to stick to Low graphics settings if you want 60fps.

Average FPS for  in Watch Dogs Legion @ 1440p

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 42.6 38.8 34.4 22.4
Min FPS 31.7 30.3 25.9 19.8
Max FPS 48.5 43.5 38.3 24.3
1% Low FPS 32.1 29.6 27 19
0.1% Low FPS 27.5 23.5 21.7 17.4

At 1440p the GTX 1060 still performs okay in terms of FPS performance in Watch Dogs Legion, though you won't be able to hit 60fps at this resolution. It is also recommended to stay at High graphics settings since Ultra dips below 30fps and can feel uncomfortable.

Average FPS for  in Watch Dogs Legion @ 4K

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 22.2 20.3 18.1 11.9
Min FPS 16.4 15.3 14.2 9.7
Max FPS 24.8 22.5 19.8 12.9
1% Low FPS 16.4 15.3 13.7 9.9
0.1% Low FPS 13.5 12.9 11.6 8.7

The GTX 1060's FPS performance at 4K in Watch Dogs Legion is not great and is not even playable at the Lowest graphics settings available since it does not reach 30fps and can feel uncomfortable.

Looking over these results, the GTX 1060 is perfectly for playing Watch Dogs Legion at 1080p on High graphics settings. It's a bit disappointing that it does not reach 60fps here as it is the recommended GPU for 1080p High settings, but it's still comfortable. At 1440p resolution you may not want to go above High graphics settings for a omofrtable performance, and at 4K WD Legion is unplayable at this frame rate even on the Lowest graphics settings with the GTX 1060.

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Watch Dogs Legion GTX 970 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 in Watch Dogs Legion @ 1080p

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 56.4 51.9 45.4 26.2
Min FPS 45.7 41.5 37.7 22.8
Max FPS 65.2 59.2 51.7 29.7
1% Low FPS 42.6 39.2 36.2 21.8
0.1% Low FPS 35.7 33.5 32.3 13.9

The FPS performance for the GTX 970 is okay at 1080p in Watch Dogs Legion, whilst it can reach a comfortable performance at High graphics settings, Ultra is unplayable at this frame rate. You also can't reach 60fps at Low settings, but a bit of tweaking the video options may yield better results.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 in Watch Dogs Legion @ 1440p

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 37.4 34 29.5 16.5
Min FPS 27.1 26.8 22.7 14.2
Max FPS 42.5 38.1 33.3 18.3
1% Low FPS 26.3 26.6 23.3 12.6
0.1% Low FPS 22 21.9 17.8 8.2

At 1440p, the GTX 970 is only playable up to Medium graphics settings, whilst High settings hovers around there the overall experience feels just a bit uncomfortable, whilst Ultra settings are completely unplayable.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 in Watch Dogs Legion @ 4K

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 19.1 17.2 14.4 8.4
Min FPS 13.3 12.8 10.8 7.5
Max FPS 21.3 19.2 15.9 9.3
1% Low FPS 13.3 12.8 10.1 7.2
0.1% Low FPS 10.1 11 7 7.1

At 4K resolution the FPS performance for the GTX 970 is unsurprisingly not great at all. At this resolution the game is completely unplayable even at the Lowest graphics settings.

Overall the GTX 970 - which is the recommended GPU for 1080p Low graphics settings - does an okay job in terms of FPS performance in Watch Dogs legion, reaching a decent frame rate at 1080p on High graphics settings, whilst 1440p will require you to stay at Medium settings or tweak some options on the High preset to get a comfortable FPS. At 4K, the GTX 970 is unsurprisingly unplayable, and does not yield good enough results even on the Lowest graphics settings.

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Watch Dogs Legion R9 380 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on AMD MSI Radeon R9 380 Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for AMD Radeon R9 380 in Watch Dogs Legion @ 1080p

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 41.9 36.1 24.7 12.1
Min FPS 25.2 23.1 17.4 9.4
Max FPS 51.4 43.1 28.5 14
1% Low FPS 24.6 22.4 17.2 9.3
0.1% Low FPS 16.4 19.8 16.3 7.1

The FPE performance for the R9 380 in Watch Dogs Legion is not great at 1080p, however it is still perfectly playable at Low and Medium graphics settings. Any higher than that and the frame rate drops below 30fps which makes for an uncomfortable experience.

Average FPS for AMD Radeon R9 380 in Watch Dogs Legion @ 1440p

Watch Dogs Legion Low Medium High Ultra
Average FPS 28.2 24.8 16.7 8.1
Min FPS 19.3 15.9 12.6 6.8
Max FPS 34.1 29.1 18.7 9.1
1% Low FPS 18.7 16 12.5 6.7
0.1% Low FPS 15.9 15 11.3 6.1

At 1440p, the FPS performance for the R9 380 is not great at all in Watch Dogs Legion, delivering sub 30fps even on Low graphics settings. The R9 380 is not recommended at this resolution when playing WD Legion.

Overall, whilst performance is poor the R9 380 is still perfectly fine for playing Watch Dogs Legion at 1080p, though it's best if you stick to Low or Medium graphics settings to achieve a comfortable performance. Unfortunately the R9 380 can't handle 1440p resolution at all and so is not recommended in Watch Dogs 3.

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Conclusion

Looking over these test results, we can see that Watch Dogs Legion is pretty demanding, but there is a high degree of adjustability that will make sure that lower performing cards will be able to get a stable performance with some tweaking.

Other than that though, WD Legion looks to be pretty well optimized, even if it is a little demanding. It is a shame to see the GTX 1060, which is the recommended GPU for High graphics settings at 1080p resolution only achieves 50+ fps.

However, WD Legion does not require 60fps gameplay to run smoothly or feel enjoyable, anywhere above 30fps feels fine and still perfectly playable. So cards like the GTX 970 will even get comfortable performance at some sort of combination of graphics settings.

Both DLSS and ray tracing will significantly impact your frame rate though, with the former promising better frames by rendering at a lower resolution and then upscaling using AI, and the latter being a rather new technology that is very demanding even on capable GPUs.

In the end, Watch Dogs Legion's performance is a little on the demanding side, but can still achieve decent and comfortable performance even at sub-60fps, though it may require a bit of tweaking to get performance just right. If you want to play Watch Dogs Legion at it's best though, it's clear that you will need a beefy GPU to Max out all settings, including a GPU from the recently announced RTX 30 series cards.

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10:06 Oct-29-2020

AMD doesn't exist

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06:55 Oct-30-2020

it never has

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09:42 Oct-29-2020

Just for reference: Top is RT off, bottom RT on, everything maxed out, DLSS on quality. Difference: 16-20 frames drop (15-16 in general, up to 20 when driving). Up to everyone to decide if it's worth it.
https://i.imgur.com/5RuXFhh.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/KO3WUcp.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/0RPcB1Q.jpg

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10:14 Oct-29-2020

thanks mate


Edit: I guess I can still wait on a 3080 and play this without rtx

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10:22 Oct-29-2020

Definitely

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12:40 Oct-29-2020

What's your average FPS and res? Thank you.

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13:04 Oct-29-2020

In the open world, with RT on, 1080p: Around 65-68 avg with highs of around 75-80 (can sometimes dip to 55 when driving fast). With RT off: add 15-20 on top of above. This is everything maxed out, including additional details set to 100%. In the tutorial interior, 90-115. I haven't progressed much to see other interior missions.

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16:06 Oct-29-2020

thank you for the quick reply !

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06:46 Oct-29-2020

So I guess I can expect high - very high mix at 1080p for 60fps?

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08:26 Oct-29-2020

i would try Ultra on your setup, probably around 60-ish, maybe even 60+ at 1080p, the 1080ti still aint a bad Card tho :)

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08:34 Oct-29-2020

i def. will try it. Honestly the only reason to go for a 3080 is going full ultra on rdr2 and rtx for cyberpunk - but the rtx aspect is a bit de-hyped for me after the latest rtx games.

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08:44 Oct-29-2020

The RT on ultra in this is nothing to write home about anyway. I didn't have that much time to play this, but with RT on max, the same bus from the settings menu comparison image looked like a phlegm in the actual game. Next time I will try with usual reflections on ultra as they default to normal when turning RT on/off

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10:31 Oct-29-2020

the 3080 is not worth the cash, nor even the RTX Feature, id advise you to keep your 1080ti for a while, take a look at the new AMD cards, they look good and deliver even better performance over the 3080, but Ray tracing is nothing special to be honest, just Frame killer and you got no benefits over it.

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10:49 Oct-29-2020

@ Dzenis961: I will wait and see how it play out with cyberpunk where shadows, reflections and ambient occlusion is being ray traced - but yes, only for reflections it is not worth for me

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11:22 Oct-29-2020

The figures above may also be from the benchmark tool only which is highly unrepresentative. For instance, there I got 88-89 average with 124 tops, but in the actual game, on the street, driving, with RT on, I got the above figures from the 2080.

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15:20 Oct-29-2020

try ultra with mixed VH and H settings

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07:13 Oct-30-2020

ended up with everything on ultra except reflections and shadows to get 55-60 fps using vsync on 2560x1080p

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07:51 Oct-30-2020

Same here tho i have gone down to 40 sometimes

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Can They Run... |

Core i7-11800H 8-Core 1.90GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile 8GB
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i5-6260U 1.8GHz UHD Graphics 620 12GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i3-9100F 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Gigabyte Windforce OC 16GB