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Super Moderator






Alan Wake is a psychological action thriller video game that plunges players into a captivating narrative filled with mystery and suspense. Developed by Remedy Entertainment, the game revolves around the titular character, Alan Wake, a successful writer who finds himself trapped in a nightmarish world where the lines between reality and fiction blur. As he battles malevolent forces, players must uncover the truth behind the eerie events that have taken hold of the small town of Bright Falls. Released at a time when GPU technology was advancing rapidly, Alan Wake was at the forefront of showcasing the potential of high-performance graphics cards. 


 The game's intricate and atmospheric world demanded cutting-edge GPU capabilities to deliver stunning visuals, dynamic lighting, and realistic shadows. With its innovative use of real-time lighting effects, "Alan Wake" pushed the boundaries of what is technically possible, providing players with a visually immersive experience that heightened the suspense and horror of the narrative. 


If you cast your mind back to 2006, Intel demonstrated the power of its new Quad Core CPUs with a demonstration of Alan Wake's powerful physics engine. Sadly, some of these features didn't make it into the final products, a likely sign of Remedy Entertainment's lofty goals.




Harnessing the Power of RTX

A decade on, Remedy hasn't lost its appetite for pushing the boundaries of technology, utilising NVIDIA's RTX graphics cards to produce breathtaking visuals and atmospheric effects. With the advancement of ray-tracing capabilities, Alan Wake 2 takes both immersion and realism to the next level by simulating the way light bounces and interacts with the environment, bringing a level of visual fidelity that is unparalleled and enhances the player experience and storytelling.



Render Resolution / Image Scaling

  • DLSS / FSR 2 on Quality settings offer great performance improvements. It is recommended to utilise upscaling in Alan Wake 2 in anything above 1080p

DLSS Frame Generation:

  • Available for RTX 40 series owners and provides significant performance gains.
  • Minimal input lag and no noticeable visual artefacts.


Motion Blur:

  • Disabling motion blur hurts performance. Consider leaving this enabled. As the game utilises a variety of reality-warping effects, motion blur adds to the experience. 


Film grain:

  • Disabling film grain can also reduce performance. It's best to keep it enabled and also add to the game atmosphere.

Post-processing quality:

  • Lowering post-processing quality from High to Low can improve performance with little noticeable visual impact.

Texture resolution and filtering:

  • Keep these settings on High, as lowering them does not significantly improve performance.

Volumetric lighting and spotlight quality:

  • Reducing these settings to Low provides only a slight performance improvement.
  • Consider keeping them on High for better visual quality.

Global illumination quality and shadow resolution:

  • High settings provide similar performance to Low. Stick with High for better visuals.

Shadow filtering and shadow detail:

  • Stick with the default Medium settings, as they perform the same as Low with a minor difference in visuals.

SSAO and global reflections:

  • Keep SSAO enabled, as it doesn't significantly impact performance.
  • Reducing global reflections can boost performance but affects water visuals, so choose based on your preferences.

Screen space reflections (SSR):

  • Low is a good balance between performance and visuals.

Fog quality and terrain quality:

  • Keep these settings on High, as reducing them doesn't improve performance significantly.

Far object detail (LOD) and scattered object density:

  • Reducing LOD to Medium can provide a slight performance improvement.
  • Stick with Medium for scattered object density for optimization.

Ray tracing preset:

  • Low-quality ray tracing settings offer a clear visual upgrade without a massive performance hit.

DLSS Ray Reconstruction:

  • Despite minor performance drops, enabling Ray Reconstruction improves visual quality and is worth the trade-off.

Direct lighting:

  • You can disable ray-traced direct lighting for a significant performance boost, but this reduces visual quality.

Direct lighting denoising quality:

  • Stick to Low denoising unless using Ray Reconstruction, as High denoising can severely impact performance.

Path traced indirect lighting:

  • Path tracing is computationally much heavier than regular ray tracing.

The path traced indirect lighting denoising quality:

  • Use Ray Reconstruction or no path tracing at all.


  • Low transparency settings are sufficient for good performance and image quality.






Efficiency & Performance Overview

Like the cool depths of the lake concealing the mysteries within the game, our ASUS 4090 TUF OC is now aided by EKWB's EK-Quantum Vector² custom water block. Keeping the temperature below 60c we can explore the game's individual graphical presets and see what's to be gained. Despite its substantial TDP (450W), the ASUS TUF RTX 4090 OC remains impressively power-efficient when we want it to be, enabling a harmonious balance between performance and thermal control.


                                                              Koolance QD3 Disconnects allow for easy access when removing the GPU

















Graphics Quality Presets and Tweaks

  • The game has three built-in presets: Low, Medium, and High. Surprisingly, the High preset doesn't enable the highest settings available.
  • Enabling the custom Highest Settings had a fractional impact on performance over High Preset (be warned about DLSS switching to DLAA when changing settings).
  • For a good balance between quality and performance, High is recommended.
  • If you need better performance, consider the Medium preset for a boost without significant visual compromise.

Ray Tracing Quality Presets:

  • The game offers three Ray Tracing presets: Low, Medium, and High.
  • Moving from Low to Medium enables Path Tracing.
  • Moving from low to High incurred a 17% performance penalty at 4K with Frame Generation enabled.
  • Enabling DLSS Upscaling and Frame Generation reduces the performance gap between Ray Tracing quality options.
  • When enabling DLSS and Frame Generation, the performance penalty when enabling low Ray Tracing at 4K is 14%.

DLSS 3.5 Ray Reconstruction:

  • DLSS 3.5 Ray Reconstruction aims to improve image quality and can also enhance performance.

Path Traced Indirect Lighting:

  • Unlike Cyberpunk 2077, which heavily relies on Path Tracing, Alan Wake 2 uses it more discreetly for Indirect Lighting, resulting in a smaller performance impact.
  • Turning on Path Traced Indirect Lighting from OFF to High has a large performance penalty.


Quality Settings Recommendations:

  • For better performance without compromising visuals, the "Medium" quality preset strikes a good balance.
  • The custom Highest Game Settings offer impressive visuals, but "High" is a perfectly acceptable choice for most players.

Upscaling Recommendations:

  • Upscaling is crucial for better performance, especially at higher game settings or 4K resolutions.
  • DLSS Upscaling provides a great experience, allowing for playable high graphics settings at 4K providing you own an RTX 4000-based GPU.
  • For high-ray tracing at 4K, DLSS 3 Frame Generation is essential. 
  • 1440P Performance without Frame Generation should offer sufficient performance on most 4000 series cards.


Increasing the power target on our ASUS  RTX 4090 TUF OC allows the graphics card to consume more power than its default or base power limit. The below graph shows us that when we max out our power target, the performance advantage is outweighed by the additional current. The best balance is found in the 70-80% PT region here.



Navigating through quality settings, we lean towards the "High" preset, deftly finding a sweet spot between performance and visuals. Additionally, leveraging upscaling techniques like DLSS is recommended, increasing performance with next to no hit on image quality.