Is Halo 3 the most optimized PC FPS yet?

(Video above: Digital Foundry)

I managed to finally buy Halo: The Master Chief Collection yesterday and downloaded Halo 3 on my modest laptop. It doesn't have a dedicated GPU (only a Ryzen 5 2500u APU with Vega 8 graphics) but handled it beautifully. I didn't realise at first that it the default settings were 1080p but I was still getting close to 50+ FPS, which isn't bad for a laptop without a dedicated GPU. I turned things down to 720p and achieved 47 - 60 FPS, with occasional dips in the mid thirties when I upped the graphics to enhanced. This was at stock TDP, too. I normally play demanding games on my machine with an upped TDP of around 40W. This has helped me get 50 FPS on games like Doom Eternal and lets me play games like Red Dead Redemption 2 on low settings without too many sacrifices. 

Extremely well optimized FPS games

My laptop (Lenovo Ideapad 330S-15ARR) is by no means the greatest. It's almost two years old but still handles my workflow reasonably well thanks to a quick SSD and a snappy APU. I'd love a backlit keyboard but that's a small complaint on an otherwise excellent machine. 

Surprisingly, it can game really well. I've played everything from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Borderlands 3, Doom Eternal, Fallout 4, Skyrim and Black Mesa to Far Cry 5Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, The Outer Worlds, Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Rage 2 on it. I've been pleasantly surprised by how well it ran Borderlands 3, for example,when I was getting around 35 - 40 FPS on low. 

Of all the games I've played, the remastered Halo games have been an excellent experience in terms of gameplay and performance. I played Halo: Reach when it first came out on PC, thanks to the amazing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. I got a 3 month trial for £1 and enjoyed games like The Outer Worlds, Super Lucky's Tale, Metro: Exodus and Halo: Reach on it. 

Halo: Reach was incredibly well optimized and played flawlessly on my laptop with no stuttering or crashes. Not only that but it was fun to play. The single player campaign had moments of great drama, emotion and loads of action. The ending was a little sad but optimistic, too. Also, when was the last time you that much fun with a gravity hammer?

Halo 3 ran equally well. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I didn't actually know the game was running at 1080p when it started. I was a little too excited to notice. But it was a great performance, achieving around 50 FPS on original graphics. I turned things down to 720p (which doesn't matter too much if you're playing on a laptop) and upped the graphics to enhanced. Got around 45 - 60 FPS, with things dipping to around 35 FPS when the action was intense. Perfectly playable and a lot of fun. 

I will get around to downloading the rest of the collection at some point as I want to experience the rest. I'm looking forward to Halo 3: ODST whenever it hits, too, as I loved playing it on the Xbox 360. Hats off to 343 Industries and all the developers they worked with on it for great ports. 

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