Horizon Zero Dawn optimization guide – How to increase fps

Horizon Zero Dawn is finally out on PC after years of PlayStation 4 exclusivity. But many gamers who expected to see all the beauty of the incredible world of the game on a new, more powerful platform, were disappointed – the game is poorly optimized, and performance problems occur even on powerful hardware. Fortunately, there are a number of proven ways to at least try to fix things. This guide will be about them.

Update your video card driver

This is basically the first thing to do. Many are afraid that the update may, on the contrary, negatively affect the performance of the video card, but it has long been proven that these fears have no basis.

Shader file

If the game crashes, open the following folder:

C:Program Files (x86)SteamsteamappscommonHorizon Zero DawnLocalCacheDX12

And just delete the file PSOCache.bin.

This is the shader file that is downloaded when the game starts. No need for multitasking. Let it load peacefully and optimize the game. Also, make sure you have at least 80 GB of free space on the drive where the game is installed. Just believe it is necessary.

Windows optimization

Now make sure you have game mode turned off. To complete this difficult task, type “Game Mode” in the search bar and go to the menu Games -> Game Mode.

There you will find a section Clips and disable Recording in the background.

Then find the switch Game menu and turn it to Off.

Now the hardest task. Maybe even harder than going through Dark Souls. Joke. Make sure you have the latest version of Windows and don’t need updates. This can be checked in the section Settings -> Update & Security.

Finally, open the section Options-> System -> Display -> Graphics Settings. Enable hardware acceleration (if available) and restart your PC. The video card manufacturer recommends this – we will not argue with him.


Make sure you disable the overlay feature in all possible apps. Nvidia Geforce Experience, OBS, Game Capture, Discord and so on. All this causes brakes. If not in this game, then in another. How to turn them off can be easily found on Google.

Application Properties

Find the HorizonZeroDawn.exe file in the game installation folder:

Steam -> Library -> Horizon Zero Dawn

Right click, select Properties -> Local Files -> Browse Local Files -> HorizonZeroDawn.exe

Right click on the file again and select Properties. On the tab Compatibility set the parameter Disable full screen optimization.

• Install Run this program as administrator

• Press the button Change high DPI settings and in the window that opens, set Override high resolution scaling mode, and in the drop-down menu Scaling is performed select Appendix.

Nvidia control panel

Now let’s talk about anisotropic filtering. It does not work in the game – you have to force it:

• Open Nvidia Control Panel -> Manage 3D Settings -> Program Settings

• Find or add Horizon. Then find the parameter Anisotropic filtering. If you have a powerful video card, you can set the value to 16x, if 960 and below – no more than 8x.

In section Adjusting Image Settings with Preview translate the engine Custom settings focusing on into position Performance. You can also enable image sharpening if you play at a resolution lower than the native resolution of your monitor. The picture may indeed become clearer, but there are no guarantees.

In-Game Settings

Open a tab Video settings and make sure the resolution matches the native resolution of your monitor, and display mode set full screen. In it, the performance will be higher by 5-6%. Update frequency it is useless to set – you will not get stable 144 frames per second until there is a patch. Some have also reported performance improvements when disabled vertical sync.

Now open settings Graphs. The video card is very important here. The first thing to do is disable speed effect. How do you even live if you haven’t done it yet?

Now to more serious questions. If you have 8 GB of video memory, the quality Textures you can put Maximum. If 6 GB – high4 GB – The average or Low. Values ​​from Medium before Maximum visually almost do not differ, but Low noticeable immediately. The game looks just awful, it’s easier to delete it right away.

The same is true for Model Qualities. If the video memory is 8 GB – Maximum6 GB – high4 GB – The average or Low. Anisotropic filtering does not work in the game.

Shadows can give a noticeable increase in frame rate. Therefore, if you do not have the most powerful video card, it is better to disable them. In general, this parameter is selected in accordance with the performance of the video card, and the differences in performance between two adjacent values ​​​​reach 5%.

If you lower the quality Reflections from high to low, you can get an increase of 10-15 frames per second. For clouds you can set it to medium. Smoothing must be disabled if you have a weak video card. With a GTX 960 or equivalent, you can put TAA, FXAA hits performance too hard.

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