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Halo Infinite PC performance guide: The best settings for a high frame rate

Halo Infinite is officially here, following a surprise announcement during Xbox’s 20th-anniversary celebration, where Microsoft dropped the Halo Infinite multiplayer beta. Now that we’ve had time to test the campaign and multiplayer, we put together a guide on the best settings for Halo Infinite so you can optimize your PC’s performance.

The Halo: Master Chief Collection is on PC, but Halo Infinite is the first new game in the franchise to arrive on PC since the original Halo: Combat Evolved. There are a lot of graphics options to dig into, as well as a few critical options you need to tweak for a high frame rate.

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The best settings for Halo Infinite

Spartan on the battlefield

Halo Infinite includes a sizable list of graphical options, with 19 settings to tweak — ignoring the dynamic resolution and sensory effect options, as well as the tiny UI elements. There isn’t a single setting that represents a big gain in performance, unlike Forza Horizon 5, where we saw a 14% increase in our average frame rate with a single setting change.

Halo Infinite makes you work a little harder. Although none of the settings bring big wins, you can still squeeze some extra performance out of the graphics options. Here are the best settings for Halo Infinite:

  • Anti-aliasing: High
  • Texture filtering: High
  • Ambient occlusion: Medium
  • Texture quality: Medium
  • Geometry detail: Medium
  • Reflections: Low
  • Depth of field: High
  • Shadow quality: Low
  • Lighting quality: High
  • Volumetric fog: Medium
  • Cloud quality: High
  • Dynamic wind: Medium
  • Ground cover quality: High
  • Effects quality: Medium
  • Decal quality: High
  • Animation quality: Auto
  • Terrain quality: Medium
  • Simulation quality: High
  • Flocking: Off
  • Sensory effects: Default

The important settings are the top 10. We saw the biggest increase with reflections. Turning the setting down to Low, we increased our average frame rate by nearly 11%, and in the heated action of Halo Infinite, the drop in visual quality is hard to make out. You can turn reflections off entirely, but that’s a visual change you’ll notice. We didn’t see any performance between Low and Off, either.

Shadow quality also brought a solid 7% increase in our average frame rate, and volumetric fog brought back 4%. Overall, texture resolution, reflections, shadows, and volumetric fog are the most important settings to look at. Depending on your CPU, there are a few other settings to take note of.

Simulation quality and and animation quality both rely on your CPU. For animation quality, we recommended leaving it set at Auto. There isn’t a lower setting, and this mode will adjust the animation quality based on your CPU’s power. For simulation quality, we recommend turning it down to Medium if you have a six- core eight-core CPU or if your CPU is a couple of generations old. If you have one of the best gaming processors, you shouldn’t need to worry about these options.

Although the top 10 settings are the most important, you shouldn’t ignore the rest of the list. The problem is that the settings further down the list are situational, so they only bring a performance improvement in maps where they’re relevant — more on that later.

We turned flocking off, because looking at an accurate flock of birds doesn’t really change the gameplay experience. Similarly, we left dynamic wind at Medium and cloud quality at High, because neither of these settings were relevant in the main map we tested (Streets). In large, outdoor maps such as Deadlock, these settings are more important.

At the bottom of the list, we have the sensory effects. Halo Infinite includes a list of sliders for motion blur, screen white-out, and a few other UI effects. Based on our testing, these settings don’t change anything in terms of performance. Tweak them how you want, but don’t look at to the sensory effects for any extra performance.

Halo Infinite system requirements

Spartans attacking each other in Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite is designed to run on everything from the base Xbox One to high-end gaming PCs, but you wouldn’t know that from the system requirements. You’ll need either a recent AMD Ryzen processor or quad-core Intel chip to run the game, along with one of the best graphics card from the past few AMD and Nvidia generations.

Here are the minimum and recommended system requirements for Halo Infinite:

Minimum Recommended
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 1600 or Intel i5-4440 AMD Ryzen 7 3700X or Intel i7-9700K
GPU AMD RX 570 or Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti Radeon RX 5700 XT or Nvidia RTX 2070
Memory 8GB 16GB
OS Windows 10 RS5 x64 Windows 10 19H2 x64
DirectX DirectX 12 DirectX 12
Storage 50GB 50GB

Halo Infinite is fairly demanding, with only high-end gaming PCs from the last few years meeting the recommended system requirements. Based on our testing, the game isn’t nearly as scalable as a title like Back 4 Blood. On PC, at least, you’ll need some powerful hardware to run it.

There are a few interesting notes from the system requirements, though. First, storage. The requirements list the game as taking up 50GB of space, but the base game only takes up 19GB, and the high resolution texture pack requires an additional 8GB. We suspect the 50GB requirement is for when the campaign launches, which will surely bloat the installation size.

The high resolution texture pack is an interesting point of contention. It’s installed and enabled by default, but you can disable it in both the Steam and Xbox app versions. Player reports suggest that this pack will tank your performance. We’ll dig a bit more into if it does later, but keep in mind that disabling the texture pack is an option.

Halo Infinite PC performance and upscaling, tested

Halo Infinite UI during a multiplayer game.

As with all of our PC performance guides, we took Halo Infinite out for a spin with three graphics cards targeting three resolutions: The RTX 3070 for 4K, the RTX 2060 Super for 1440p, and the RX 580 for 1080p. The last two cards, in particular, closely align with the system requirements, so we expected solid performance out of them.

Unfortunately, that’s not what we saw. Before getting to the results, we should point out that we ran out tests with a Ryzen 9 5950X CPU and 32GB of RAM. The CPU plays a role in Halo Infinite, but we wanted to remove it from the equation as much as possible to focus on GPU performance.

RTX 3070 RTX 2060 Super RX 580
1080p Ultra 119 fps 90 fps 31 fps
1080p Recommended 165 fps 104 fps 38 fps
1440p Ultra 92 fps 65 fps 26 fps
1440p Recommended 126 fps 77 fps 31 fps
4K Ultra 55 fps 36 fps 16 fps
4K Recommended 72 fps 46 fps 20 fps

The RX 580 is a good place to start because we just couldn’t crack the 60 frames per second (fps) mark with it. This card is faster than the RX 570 the developer recommends, but even at the lowest quality preset at 1080p, we averaged a measly 40 fps. Using the dynamic resolution option helped a bit, increasing the frame rate to 45 fps at 1080p.

Otherwise, we saw much better performance. The RTX 2060 Super broke 60 fps at 1440p with all of the sliders turned up, but our optimized settings still brought an 18% increase in our average frame rate. At 4K, the RTX 3070 struggled to hit 60 fps at max settings, but our optimized list still produced a comfortable 72 fps average.

For all of these tests, we kept upscaling turned off. Halo Infinite offers minimum and maximum frame rate options, and we recommend taking advantage of both. With the RTX 3070, we averaged 72 fps at 4K Ultra with the minimum frame rate set at 60 fps. That’s the same as our optimized settings, all without tweaking them.

The upscaling works great, especially to push you 10 to 15 fps above what you can get at native resolution. It’s not perfect, though. Each GPU has its own upscaling ceiling, it seems. Take the RX 580 as an example. It averaged 31 fps at 1080p Ultra. With the minimum frame rate set at 60, we upped the average to 41 fps.

That’s a respectable gain, but we got most of the way there with our optimized settings, and the dynamic resolution looks much worse. To be clear, you should use the minimum frame rate option. That said, it’s best to push you over a frame rate target, not boost your performance beyond what your GPU should be capable of.

Performance differences in Halo Infinite’s maps

Halo players compete in a Halo Infinite multiplayer match.

We ran all of our tests on the same map to keep our results as consistent and comparable as possible. That said, there are some large gaps in performance between certain maps. We used Streets as our map for testing, because it sat in the middle of the other options, and it offered similar performance as the lion’s share of maps on the launch roster.

RTX 3070 (4K optimized)
Streets 72 fps
Bazaar 77 fps
Aquarius 78 fps
Behemoth 67 fps
Deadlock 63 fps
Fragmentation 66 fps
Highpower 62 fps
Launch Site 90 fps
Live Fire 71 fps
Recharge 77 fps

That doesn’t mean it represents all maps, though. You can see that tiny, close-quarters maps like Launch Site and Aquarius saw a much higher average frame rate than large outdoor maps like Highpower and Deadlock. Part of the reason why are the outdoor simulations: Dynamic wind quality, flocking, and clouds.

You can turn these settings down to improve performance on outdoor maps, but there isn’t a world where you’ll get the same average frame rate across maps. The smaller ones perform better, and the larger ones worse. Just keep in the mind the performance differences. You shouldn’t immediately jump into your settings just because you’re seeing a lower frame rate on Highpower, for example.

Halo Infinite campaign performance, tested

Master Chief talks to an AI companion in Halo Infinite.

Halo Infinite takes place in an open world. Given the lower performance we saw on the large, outdoor multiplayer maps, we jumped into the campaign to see if there were any differences in performance. There are, and single-player fans won’t like them.

At 4K where the GPU is stressed the most, our average frame rate dropped by 23% with the RTX 3070. The differences were even larger at lower resolutions. We dropped 32% at 1440p and 34% at 1080p, showing that the intensity of rendering the open world pushes the GPU and the CPU equally.

Although we ran our main tests in the open world, we also ran some tests in the opening missions. These missions are enclosed, and they take up about an hour of the campaign. Here, we saw a much higher average frame rate — a massive 24% improvement over our average multiplayer frame rate at 1440p.

This shows just how taxing the open world is. We hoped to find some frame rate improvements with flocking and dynamic cloud quality — both of which had little impact in multiplayer — but we didn’t find them. As with multiplayer, we saw the biggest increases from reflections and shadow quality.

The good news is that Halo Infinite takes place mostly in the open world, so you won’t have to adjust your settings. We recommend bumping down a notch on all of the settings compared to multiplayer. The minimum frame rate option is great for the campaign, too, though you shouldn’t push it too far.

Halo Infinite high-resolution texture pack

Several Spartans line up in Halo Infinite.

Halo Infinite automatically installs with a high-resolution texture pack. A Reddit thread revealed that this texture pack could tank performance on low-end and older hardware by a lot. One user reported jumping from 23 fps to anywhere from 72 to 100 fps on a GTX 980 Ti and Core i7-5820K, while another said they went from single-digit fps values to a smooth 60 fps.

We disabled the texture pack but didn’t find the same increase in performance. In fact, we didn’t find a performance boost at all. With the RX 580 in our test bench, we measured the same average frame rate at the Low and Ultra presets with the high-resolution texture pack disabled.

Still, there are a lot of user reports that this pack can increase your frame rate, maybe helping slower RAM or older CPUs more than just low-end graphics cards. If you’re struggling to maintain a consistent frame rate, try disabling the texture pack to see if it helps.

We’ll start with Steam. Install Halo Infinite, find it in your Steam library, and follow these steps:

  • Right-click on Halo Infinite and select Properties. 
  • Select the DLC tab.
  • Uncheck the box next to Multiplayer High-Res Textures. 

You can disable the pack through the Xbox app if you’re playing the Game Pass version too. Once again install the game, select it through the Xbox app and follow these steps:

  • Click the three bots next to the Play button.
  • Select Manage Game. 
  • Uncheck the box next to High-Res Textures. 

And that’s it. You can enable and disable the texture pack without any massive installs or game-breaking headaches, so give it a shot to see if your PC can benefit.

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