My Experience Playing The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director’s Cut Using Low End Modern (2016) CPU

Back in 2017, I was starting to play The Witcher (the first game). It is an old game, even it was still an old one back in that year. Actually the game has been sitting in my Steam library for a while. 

Playing a game many years after its release sometimes feels weird. For example, the way we control Geralt (our main character), whether to move, fight or even starting a conversation is archaic. Maybe it was fine in the 2008-ish, but not so much a decade or less later. 

But there’s always a silver lining. When it comes to playing older PC games in a more modern and/or powerful hardware, we probably can max out the setting even though using mainstream or even low-end hardware. 

The specs I used back then are:

  • CPU: AMD Athlon X4 950
  • GPU: GTX 1050 2GB
  • RAM: 1x8GB DDR4-2400
  • SSD: Samsung 850 Evo 240GB (OS)
  • HDD: WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM (game)

AM4 was there and even the Ryzen first gen. But because of me building this computer in 2016, I was using Athlon X4 950. It is built around a completely different (older) architecture compared to Zen architecture which is used for newer AMD CPUs such as Ryzen. The CPU is top of its line as there is none of FX family that utilise AM4 socket, just another APU with the same old architecture at that time. 

Moving to the GPU department, GTX 1050 is quite powerful when we’re talking about dealing with a decade old game. Probably a 2GB video memory is somewhat too much, even for playing at 1920×1080.

When it came to memory and storage, it had a very generous amount of 8GB of RAM. The storage itself is divided to OS on the fast SSD and the game on an old school hard disk drive. Even in 2010 this would be an enthusiast kind of setup. As in that time, SSD prices were still too high for a mainstream market. 

Unfortunately I already sold the X4 950 and the GTX 1050, so I wrote this post by remembering as hard as I could. Hopefully there would be time when I could have those hardwares on hands again.

As expected, there was low utility on the GPU even on the high preset. This high preset is the maximum setting available. 

On the other hand, there was about maximum utility on just one core of the CPU. The one other core just about half of its utilisation. And the last two just sitting idle.

There was a small noticeable difference when modifying high preset to a little bit lower settings. Not to mention lowering more to medium preset. It seemed the performance was worse when in a city with many people and complex lighting from the sun. As there was not a real performance hit even in a dense jungle. 

Coming from those conditions, I’ve come to a conclusion that this game is not optimised for a multicore system. As this game did not put any big load on memory and storage either. Actually, this would not be a problem if the CPU itself has a strong single core performance. But in my case, the X4 950 single core performance is not good enough even for running an old game.

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