Saints Row (PC) – Best Graphics Settings for Performance

Not to paint them as fierce open-world rivals, but jumping into Saints Row after a week with Spider-Man felt like being thrown backward in time.

Deep Silver Volition’s “what if millennials, but crime” reboot is colorful and often quite pretty, but it isn’t nearly as interested in cutting-edge visuals or contemporary PC tech trappings as the Spidey remake is. Ray tracing? Only for the ambient. Upscaling? Not heard of it, officer.

Santo Ileso is a generally nice place to visit, as Alice Bee found in her Saints Row review, and it’s also possible to play on low-end and luxury hardware. There’s a good list of options for graphics. I spent hours in testing to find out how you can make Saints Row’s settings perform better.

As usual, my trusty testing rig contains the following elements: GTX 1060Ti, a Ryzen 5 5600x processor, 32 gigs of RAM, Windows 10 64-bit OS, and an SSD of 1TB with the power of Nvme 2. Let us check out the settings now…

Saints Row PC graphics settings

Saints Row (PC) – Best Graphics Settings for Performance

Of course, before we dive into the details of the best graphics settings for performance, let us take a look at the minimum and recommended system specs to run Saints Row PC…

Saints Row system requirements and PC performance

The developers have only released the bare minimum system specs to run Saints Row at this point. The recommended specs are still marked as “TBD” in the epic store. I do not see them adding it anytime soon. So here are my suggested specs:

Saints Row minimum specs (1080p / 30fps)

  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon RX 480
  • VRAM: 4GB
  • CPU: Intel Core i3-3240 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200
  • RAM: 8GB
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Storage: 50GB available space
  • DirectX: DX11

You can choose between running Saints Row in DX11, Vulcan, or DX12 every time you launch it; unless you’re playing on a very old or very weak GPU, DX12 will probably be your best bet.


Some Tips To Improve Performance in Saints Row PC

Saints Row runs fine. When you most expect it, there are certain missions that will tax your system harder than the average ride. The scene is fun to watch.

Although I have seen a few takedown animations play out of sync, or that one pedestrian who suddenly spawned ten feet off the ground, falling to earth in a panic, I have not seen bugs that affect performance.

Benchmarks and Results

I used a 6GB GTX 1060 model for the bulk of my testing, as it is still the most-used PC gaming graphics card, despite the greying of the GeForce GTX 1060. Using a custom benchmark run, this card averaged 47 frames per second, with a single dip below 30 frames per second.

There are plenty of options for higher resolutions, but the only one that works is the GTX 1060, which only works at 32 frames per second. I tried the RTX 3070, which was still on Ultra quality, and it was able to play at 85 frames per second at 1440p and 45 frames per second in 4k.

There is a ray-traced ambient occlusion option. AO doesn’t mean shadows in general, just the dark bits where two objects meet, and you don’t need a compatible card to enable it. These are a must for unlocked ray tracing settings.

With Saints Row’s limited implementation, a graphics card with ray tracing-focused hardware will be better. I was only able to get a decent 60 frames per second with both ray tracing and the quality preset on Low.

The Low preset manages 84 frames per second. With the Ultra preset, the RTX 3070 and its purpose-built cores could run at 81 frames per second, just 4 frames slower than with ray tracing turned off.


Saints Row (PC) best settings guide

Here are the detailed graphics settings for Saints Row PC, so that you do not mess up any settings when you want to tweak them to the best of your knowledge. This is just a general guide and you can take this as a blueprint to set your changes.

Graphics quality preset

The preset ranged from Low to Ultra. The High preset was slower than Ultra but it was more stable with fewer sharp drops. Low was the best for pure performance, with 84 frames per second, but Medium was better for smoothness and fidelity. Unless you have older hardware, I wouldn’t use Low-level settings as much as possible.

Ray-traced ambient occlusion

This is a decent improvement on the standard setting that it can be worth enabling, and there is little difference between its Low and Ultra settings. If your graphics card is a newer model designed for ray tracing, you may find it draining your PC.

Frame rate cap

If you are running a 60Hz monitor, I would suggest you leave it to your default setting. If you are running anything higher, try the uncapped setting for FPS and you should be good to go!

Antialiasing

It is possible for the default TSSAA 8x to remain in place. The difference between disabling AA and changing to FXAA is 4%, but the smoother edges of TSSAA are worth the extra cost.

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Scene detail

Set this to High for the ideal experience. The Medium setting makes Saints Row look worse than it is because it cuts the distance at which environmental objects load in.

Shadow quality

This should be the first setting to be cut. Lowering from Ultra shadows to Medium gave an 18% enhancement to average performance.

Water quality

Dropping water quality didn’t make much difference to my benchmark run, which involved crossing a lake and a not-so-casual stroll past a river. The same 47 frames per second that Ultra did was produced by Medium quality.

Undergrowth

The density of foliage is affected by this setting. It is the only option with an adaptive setting. Although there was no actual performance difference when I tried them, both High and Adaptive made grass more plentiful at close range.

Post-processing

To avoid any blurry or bad imaging inside the game, I recommend you set this to High or Ultra depending on your system specs. Any other setting will make it appear not so great.

Depth of field

In Saints Row, I was able to increase my performance by 2% if I turned the DoF effects off. I think you should do the same too.

Effects quality

For most of the game, turning down effects won’t help performance; it certainly didn’t in my benchmarks. It might be a good idea to cut down on the particle effect onslaughts. It’s possible to make enough positive changes elsewhere that even weak hardware can afford the occasional hit.

Texture cache size

It is called texture quality by another name. My rig ran 1 frame slower on Normal and Low than it did on High, so leave this one up all the way up.

Texture filter quality

The setting had little effect on performance. This should be left on the maximum: 16x.

General reflections

In terms of both the reflections themselves and the performance impact of lowering their quality, the first of Saints Rows reflections settings are the least noticeable. Don’t let this set go to high.

Planar reflections

A cheaper alternative to ray tracing, planar reflections provide accurate detailing on flat surfaces like glass. It will help performance if this is dropped to the Medium setting. This change alone gave me 4% more.

Screen space reflections

Yet another setting to Leave on High, as dropping to Medium gave me an unchanged 47fps.

Vehicle shading

I think the 4% performance gain makes for a good trade, even though you may see a slight difference in paint job glossiness after you switch from High to Low.

Global illumination quality

It might sound like tweaking this is more effective than it actually is. There is only a 2% performance gain to be had from the Low setting, although it doesn’t seem to be much worse than the High setting.

HBAO

Here is the ambient occlusion for a weaker graphics card. It is not peanuts to switch this off completely and make the environment seem flatter and artificial. It didn’t change my PC’s performance by a single frame per second if I switched from High to Low. I would tell you to go with High.

Motion blur

I was able to increase my performance by 4% by turning off blur. In a pinch, it’s not much but worth it.

Camera shake

The game run was 4% worse when this was turned on. I’m not sure what to do. Unless you want it off for accessibility reasons, leave it there.

Since a lot of these settings don’t impact performance, it’s easy to use the Ultra preset as a starting point and then change the few that do. Here, we have Saints Row’s best settings to use:

  • Ray-traced ambient occlusion: Off unless you have a very powerful graphics card
  • Shadow quality: Medium
  • Depth of field: Off
  • Planar reflection: Normal
  • Vehicle shading: Low
  • Global illumination quality: Low
  • Motion blur: Off

The GTX 1060 went from 47 frames per second to 60 frames per second with these settings in place, a 27% improvement and even faster than the High preset.

Medium settings are a decent alternative if you are willing to make harsher reductions or if your hardware is forcing your hand. If you want to avoid the pop-in and blurriness of Ultra’s lower settings, be sure to keep scene detail on High and post-processing on Ultra.

That would be all from this guide on the best graphics settings for Saints Row (PC). Leave your queries in the comments below. Thanks for reading!


Last Updated on August 23, 2022

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