How to get the best performance out of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is out today, which is cause to celebrate. It's a great Deus Ex games that received a score of 88 in our Deus Ex: Mankind Divided review. The PC version also has loads of graphics and UI options to help you get your game running just right. Before you jump into the options menu to start fine-tuning, here are the most important settings you want to look at to improve performance without sacrificing too much image quality.

MSAA can hurt your framerate a lot

Anti-aliasing is always intensive, even at 2x, but especially so in Mankind Divided it seems. If you need to dramatically improve performance, consider decreasing this option first. You can switch it off and use temporal anti-aliasing. You'll lose crispness, but see a leap in performance.

Texture settings go up to ultra, but high looks great and runs much better

Unless you're playing on a big 4K monitor, 'high' resolution textures look excellent in Mankind Divided. I have to put two screenshots side by side and squint squint to notice the difference on a standard 1080p monitor. That's worth bearing in mind, because On my GTX 970 with 4GB of video memory, I have experienced hitches at higher resolutions, seemingly caused by texture loading. If you're getting those sudden stops as you look around Prague, this is the setting to decrease. If you have a ton of video memory, however, consider putting this up.

Lowering level of detail can give you a significant boost

This adjusts the complexity and draw distance of level geometry. You're sacrificing more image quality by lowering this setting than dropping a rung in textures, but if you really need to improve performance, this can be a good place to find some frames. Personally, I would look at this after lowering MSAA and texture settings.

A note on volumetric lighting, shadows, screenspace reflections

Popping these up to their highest level can hurt performance, but like a lot of settings in Mankind Divided, dropping down to 'high' rather than 'very high' or 'ultra' doesn't result in a huge dip in image quality, but can make significant improvements to framerate.

Settings to cut if you have a CPU bottleneck

You can have a great graphics card, but that won't help effects that rely on processor power. If you're worried your CPU might be slowing the game down, consider altering cloth physics, tessellation and level of detail.

Try turning sharpness off

This setting doesn't have any discernible impact on framerate, in my experience, but you may like the way the game world looks better with the sharpness setting turned off. It's a matter of taste. The same goes for chromatic aberration and motion blur.

Don't forget the UI options

Under 'gameplay' settings you're able to make a lot of adjustments to the HUD. You can shrink it down to take up less space, turn elements off and set elements to fade out when not in use. This isn't a performance matter, but is definitely worth toying with if you want to de-clutter the screen and see those smoky cyberpunk streets more easily.

What to expect from your setup

Nixxes, who handled the PC port of Mankind Divided, have detailed the settings you can expect to run if your rig matches the game's minimum or maximum requirements.

"At minimum spec, which is a  HD 7870 2GB or GTX 660 2GB, paired with an Core i3-2100, we aim to give you an average of 30 fps, at 1280*720 resolution, but this is at the low quality preset. 

"At recommended spec, which is a RX 480 4GB or GTX 970 4GB, paired with an i7-3770K, our target is to offer you 60fps average at 1080p, but at the High quality preset."

Nixxes added the bolded emphasis there. 'Very high' and 'ultra' settings are clearly designed for cutting edge cards and the rigs of the future. For more details, check out Nixxes post on the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided forums.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.