While the new feature is in the game now – at least for the Battle Royale and Creative modes – it’s still marked as alpha functionality, and an experimental change, so bear in mind it may still need work.
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The theory is, however, that older or lesser-spec PCs will be able to run the game with much-improved performance levels, although these frame rate boosts don’t come out of thin air.
Fortnite’s performance mode trades some visual quality to put less of a strain on the processor and graphics card, and also to drop memory usage, all of which can provide a pretty major performance boost.
In the example scenarios given by Epic, which test the mode on laptops with integrated graphics, when playing Fortnite in 720p, frame rates are more than doubled (considerably more, in fact).
The test case with an Intel Core i5-8265U CPU and Intel UHD Graphics 620 (with 8GB of system RAM in the notebook) shows Fortnite running at 24 fps (frames per second) normally, and then a hugely improved 61 fps after performance mode is turned on (that’s an increase of just over 2.5x).
That’s night and day, really, and means that this lowly notebook is now providing a frame rate above the magic 60 fps, which is widely regarded as the standard for smooth gaming.
While there is a visual trade-off, as mentioned, being able to track and aim at an enemy smoothly is obviously going to be a far more important consideration for gamers who have underpowered hardware that might otherwise be very jittery in that respect.
Epic notes: “Users running on older hardware will see a prompt pushing them to the mode to try it out as the recommended way to experience the game. Performance Mode can be enabled or disabled at any time through the in-game settings menu and restarting the game.”
A further change alongside the launch of performance mode is the ability to opt-out of high-resolution textures, and that will save you 14GB of drive space (taking the Fortnite install size down to 17GB at minimum, with all optional bits removed). If you’re running at lower resolutions like 720p anyway, the difference with ditching these textures and turning on performance mode won’t likely be all that noticeable, anyway.
Remember that it wasn’t so long ago that Fortnite weighed in at a hefty 90GB install, so the game has certainly got a lot more drive space-friendly, and spec-friendly too.
Check out the full Epic post on this change and the instructions for removing high-resolution textures right here.
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