Forza Horizon 5 graphics optimization guide - most important graphics settings benchmarked

Written by Chad Norton on Wed, Nov 10, 2021 4:03 PM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

Get ready to race your way across the beautiful world of Mexico in the latest and highly anticipated entry in the Forza Horizon series. With the biggest and most diverse world yet in the series, Forza Horizon 5 certainly looks very good, but how can we improve performance? What are the most demanding graphics options? And which settings can we turn down for more FPS and which ones can we turn up for little to no FPS loss?

In this article we will take a look at which Forza Horizon 5 graphics settings are the best to turn all the way up to Ultra and which ones can get us a little FPS boost for no real visual loss when we turn them off or down. We've compiled a list below of the most demanding graphics options in the game, so you can get a handle on what to expect when you adjust different graphics settings in FH5 to get the perfect balance of visual fidelity and FPS performance in game.

Below you will see every graphics option listed and benchmarked against a minimum graphics setting used as our baseline benchmark for Forza Horizon 5. From there we see which graphics options have the highest performance impact on our hardware for the least visual improvement, and then we will see which options can be turned up to max and deliver the best visual improvement in FH5.

If you want to look at some more graphics benchmarks with various gaming graphics cards running Age of Empires 4 then you can check out our Forza Horizon 5 PC Performance Benchmarks article instead.

Forza Horizon 5 PC system requirements

Forza Horizon 5 PC performance report and graphics card benchmarks

For the performance cost result baseline we used the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card - which is just under the recommended GPU for Forza Horizon 5 - an Intel Core i7-10700K processor, and 16GB of DDR4 memory.

To standardize the benchmark tests we used the provided in-game benchmarking tool, which in our tests we found was pretty representative of actual in-game performance when comparing each graphics option relative to the other.

If you see any significant discrepancy/difference between the benchmark tool FPS and actual FPS returned then please do share your findings in the comments below.

There's quite a few graphics settings available in Forza Horizon 5, so we went through the 17 graphics options listed and tested each one in turn, recording the average frame rates for each and then comparing them to a baseline FPS that was recorded with all the graphics options either turned off or to their lowest settings.

Forza Horizon 5 baseline FPS

To give us a comparable FPS baseline for Forza Horizon 5 Frame Rates achieved when all FH5's graphics settings are on lowest or OFF.

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2

Forza Horizon 5 Graphics Options Performance Breakdown

The further to the right the bar goes, the more demanding the graphics option is.

926e7bf4-f4f0-42df-a162-035c1cb46531.jpg

What are the most demanding graphics options in Forza Horizon 5?

As you can see in the FPS performance graph above, Forza Horizon 5 has quite a few graphics settings available that range from pretty demanding to hardly anything. There's a good mix here for players to customize their experience and get the right balance between FPS performance and image quality.

However, the most demanding graphics option in Forza Horizon 5 is the Environment Texture Quality setting at a 28.14% FPS performance cost, followed by Shadow Quality at 27.39%, and then Environment Geometry Quality at a 25.74% FPS performance cost.

Following that, the next setting is Reflection Quality at 19.88%, then Shader Quality at 16.67%, Night Shadows at 15.10%, World Car Level of Detail at 14.77%, MSAA at 14.69%, SSAO Quality at 14.19%, and Particle Effects Quality at a 12.13% FPS performance cost.

The last few settings have very little to no performance cost, starting with SSR Quality at 7.92%, Motion Blur Quality at 6.85%, Lens Effects at 4.04%, FXAA at 2.56%, Motion Blur at 1.65%, and finally Deformable Terrain Quality at 0.17% and Anisotropic Filtering at 0.08%.

Some settings also automatically set other options to a certain quality when they are set to higher quality versions, so the FPS cost can vary greatly on these, and should also be taken into account whenever you need to lower some of the settings to gain some extra frames.

And that's it in terms of all the graphics settings in Forza Horizon 5 and which ones are the most demanding. Hopefully this will give you a decent indication as to which settings you should aim to turn down first when wanting to gain some extra FPS in FH5.

Forza Horizon 5 All Graphics Settings Benchmark Guide

Best Video Settings in Forza Horizon 5

There are quite a few graphics settings available in Forza Horizon 5 in order for us to customize our FPS and get the right balance of FPS performance and visual quality.

Below we've provided both a score for the performance impact as well as a priority score designed to recommend which graphics settings you should prioritize turning up (the higher the number, the better).

Obviously, these scores are subjective and we really do encourage you to share your own thoughts in the discussion area below on what you think are the best Forza Horizon 5 graphics settings are. But for now, let's jump in...

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Anisotropic Filtering

Anisotropic Filtering High setting performance impact

Anisotropic Filtering graphics option Low compared to High

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Forza Horizon 5 Anisotropic Filtering

[slide your cursor over the images to compare. Click to enlarge]

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Anisotropic Filtering 121.1

Anisotropic Filtering option range: Low/Medium/High

Performance impact: 1/5

Priority: 5/5

What does the Anisotropic Filtering setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Set the level of anisotropic filtering. Improves the clarity of textures.

Higher levels will impact your GPU performance, especially at higher resolutions.

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Shadow Quality

Shadow Quality Extreme setting performance impact

Shadow Quality graphics option Off compared to Extreme

compare_1636559800_low.jpg compare_1636559800_high.jpg
Forza Horizon 5 Shadow Quality

[slide your cursor over the images to compare. Click to enlarge]

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Shadow Quality 88

Shadow Quality option range: Off/Low/High/Ultra/Extreme

Performance impact: 5/5

Priority: 4/5

What does the Shadow Quality setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Increases the update rate and resolution of shadows.

This can have a significant impact on CPU and GPU performance especially when running Ultra Quality shadows.

Note: Adjusting this setting to Extreme Quality will automatically set the Shader Quality setting to High.

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Night Shadows

Night Shadows On setting performance impact

Night Shadows graphics option Off compared to On

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Night Shadows 102.9

Night Shadows option range: Off/On

Performance impact: 4/5

Priority: 3/5

What does the Night Shadows setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Enables shadows for player car headlights and select streetlights at night.

This can have a significant impact on CPU and GPU performance.

Note: Turning this setting on will automatically set the Shadow Quality setting to Low.

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Motion Blur Quality

Motion Blur Quality Ultra setting performance impact

Motion Blur Quality graphics option Low compared to Ultra

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Motion Blur Quality 112.9

Motion Blur Quality option range: Low/Medium/High/Ultra

Performance impact: 3/5

Priority: 3/5

What does the Motion Blur Quality setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Increases the quality of motion blur.

Increasing this setting incurs a minor cost in GPU performance that increases at higher resolutions.

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Environment Texture Quality

Environment Texture Quality Extreme setting performance impact

Environment Texture Quality graphics option Low compared to Extreme

compare_1636559852_low.jpg compare_1636559852_high.jpg
Forza Horizon 5 Environment Texture Quality

[slide your cursor over the images to compare. Click to enlarge]

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Environment Texture Quality 87.1

Environment Texture Quality option range: Low/Medium/High/Ultra/Extreme

Performance impact: 5/5

Priority: 4/5

What does the Environment Texture Quality setting do in Forza Horizon 5? The higher this setting, the higher the quality of textures in the environment. Changing this setting will require a game restart to take effect.

Higher settings require more VRAM and will have a small effect on GPU performance. The framerate can drop significantly when the game requires more than the available VRAM.

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Environment Geometry Quality

Environment Geometry Quality Extreme setting performance impact

Environment Geometry Quality graphics option Very Low compared to Extreme

compare_1636559892_low.jpg compare_1636559892_high.jpg
Forza Horizon 5 Environment Geometry Quality

[slide your cursor over the images to compare. Click to enlarge]

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Environment Geometry Quality 90

Environment Geometry Quality option range: Very Low/Low/Medium/High/Ultra/Extreme

Performance impact: 5/5

Priority: 3/5

What does the Environment Geometry Quality setting do in Forza Horizon 5? The higher this setting, the higher the quality of the world geometry. Changing this setting will require a game restart to take effect.

Increasing this setting will affect your GPU performance.

Note: Adjusting this setting to Ultra Quality will automatically set the Environment Texture Quality setting to Ultra as well.

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MSAA

MSAA 8x setting performance impact

MSAA graphics option Off compared to 8x

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Forza Horizon 5 MSAA

[slide your cursor over the images to compare. Click to enlarge]

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
MSAA 103.4

MSAA option range: Off/2x/4x/8x

Performance impact: 4/5

Priority: 4/5

What does the MSAA setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Multisample ant-aliasing. Increases the internal rendering resolution to improve the edge of textures. Changing this setting will incur a loading screen.

Increasing this setting will require more VRAM, and it has a moderate GPU performance cost. Both costs will increase as the resolution increases. The framerate can drop significantly when the game requires more than the available VRAM.

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FXAA

FXAA On setting performance impact

FXAA graphics option Off compared to On

compare_1636559952_low.jpg compare_1636559952_high.jpg
Forza Horizon 5 FXAA

[slide your cursor over the images to compare. Click to enlarge]

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
FXAA 118.1

FXAA option range: Off/On

Performance impact: 2/5

Priority: 2/5

What does the FXAA setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Fast approximate anti-aliasing. Improves the quality of the edges of textures.

Increasing this setting will require more VRAM, and it has a GPU performance cost. Both costs will increase as the resolution increases. The framerate can drop significantly when the game requires more than the available VRAM.

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SSAO Quality

SSAO Quality Ultra setting performance impact

SSAO Quality graphics option Off compared to Ultra

compare_1636559982_low.jpg compare_1636559982_high.jpg
Forza Horizon 5 SSAO Quality

[slide your cursor over the images to compare. Click to enlarge]

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
SSAO Quality 104

SSAO Quality option range: Off/High/Ultra

Performance impact: 4/5

Priority: 3/5

What does the SSAO Quality setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Screen Space ambient occlusion. Approximates indirect lighting by darkening surfaces that are close to each other.

Increasing this setting will impact GPU performance.

Note: Adjusting this setting to High Quality will automatically set the Shader Quality setting to High.

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Reflection Quality

Reflection Quality Extreme setting performance impact

Reflection Quality graphics option Very Low compared to Extreme

compare_1636560011_low.jpg compare_1636560011_high.jpg
Forza Horizon 5 Reflection Quality

[slide your cursor over the images to compare. Click to enlarge]

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Reflection Quality 97.1

Reflection Quality option range: Very Low/Low/Medium/High/Ultra/Extreme

Performance impact: 4/5

Priority: 2/5

What does the Reflection Quality setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Increases the quality of car body and mirror reflections.

Increasing this setting will affect your CPU and GPU performance.

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World Car Level of Detail

World Car Level of Detail Extreme setting performance impact

World Car Level of Detail graphics option Low compared to Extreme

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
World Car Level of Detail 103.3

World Car Level of Detail option range: Low/Medium/High/Ultra/Extreme

Performance impact: 4/5

Priority: 4/5

What does the World Car Level of Detail setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Improves the quality of the drivatar, traffic, and other player cars.

Increasing this setting will have a moderate impact on both CPU and GPU performance. VRAM usage also increases when set to Medium or higher. The framerate can drop significantly when the game requires more than available VRAM.

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Deformable Terrain Quality

Deformable Terrain Quality Extreme setting performance impact

Deformable Terrain Quality graphics option Off compared to Extreme

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Deformable Terrain Quality 121

Deformable Terrain Quality option range: Off/Medium/High/Ultra/Extreme

Performance impact: 1/5

Priority: 2/5

What does the Deformable Terrain Quality setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Adjusts the detail of the deformable terrain. Changing this setting will require a game restart to take effect.

Increasing this setting will impact GPU performance.

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SSR Quality

SSR Quality Ultra setting performance impact

SSR Quality graphics option Off compared to Ultra

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
SSR Quality 111.6

SSR Quality option range: Off/Low/Medium/High/Ultra

Performance impact: 3/5

Priority: 3/5

What does the SSR Quality setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Adjust the quality of the reflections within the road and water.

Increasing this setting will impact GPU performance.

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Lens Effects

Lens Effects Ultra setting performance impact

Lens Effects graphics option Off compared to Ultra

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Lens Effects 116.3

Lens Effects option range: Off/Medium/High/Ultra

Performance impact: 2/5

Priority: 2/5

What does the Lens Effects setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Adjusts the screen space lens effects rendered by the game.

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Shader Quality

Shader Quality Extreme setting performance impact

Shader Quality graphics option Low compared to Extreme

compare_1636560094_low.jpg compare_1636560094_high.jpg
Forza Horizon 5 Shader Quality

[slide your cursor over the images to compare. Click to enlarge]

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Shader Quality 101

Shader Quality option range: Low/Medium/High/Ultra/Extreme

Performance impact: 4/5

Priority: 3/5

What does the Shader Quality setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Adjusts the visual fidelity of the materials and lighting. Changing this setting will require a game restart to take effect.

Increasing this setting will impact GPU performance.

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Particle Effects Quality

Particle Effects Quality Ultra setting performance impact

Particle Effects Quality graphics option Very Low compared to Ultra

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Particle Effects Quality 106.5

Particle Effects Quality option range: Very Low/Low/Medium/High/Ultra

Performance impact: 4/5

Priority: 3/5

What does the Particle Effects Quality setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Adjusts the detail and complexity of particle and volumetric effects.

Increasing this setting will impact GPU performance.

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Motion Blur

Motion Blur Short setting performance impact

Motion Blur graphics option Off compared to Short

Forza Horizon 5 Avg FPS
Baseline 121.2
Motion Blur 119.2

Motion Blur option range: Off/Short/Long

Performance impact: 1/5

Priority: 1/5

What does the Motion Blur setting do in Forza Horizon 5? Changes the motion blur preferences. Short motion blur is recommended when running at high framerates and Long motion blur is recommended when running at low framerates.

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Conclusion

Forza Horizon 5 graphics settings performance results and conclusion - Looking over all the results above we can see that Forza Horizon 5 has a pretty decent selection of graphics settings with a good range of performance costs for players in order to get the desired balance between FPS performance and graphical fidelity.

If you want to get some extra FPS in Forza Horizon 5 then your first port of call should be the Environment Texture Quality setting, followed by Shadow Quality and the Environment Geometry Quality settings as these are the most demanding graphics options in FH5 at a 28.14%, 27.39%, and 25.74% FPS performance costs respectively.

Then you should focus on turning down Reflection Quality (19.88%) and Shader Quality (16.67%), followed by Night Shadows (15.10%), World Car Level of Detail (14.77%), MSAA (14.69%), SSAO Quality (14.19%), Particle Effects Quality (12.13%), SSR Quality (7.92%), and Motion Blur Quality (6.85%).

The rest of the graphics settings have very minimal performance impact, and so should only be turned down if you're really struggling to get a few extra frames, but largely can be turned up for increasing image quality with little to no FPS impact like Lens Effects (4.04%), FXAA (2.56%), Motion Blur (1.65%), Deformable Terrain Quality (0.17%), and Anisotropic Filtering (0.08%).

Some settings like Shadow Quality will also automatically adjust other quality settings to. For instance, setting the Shadow Quality option anywhere between Off and Ultra is fine, but after setting it to Extreme will automatically adjust the Shader Quality setting to High quality.

Furthermore, many graphics settings will require a complete game restart in order to properly take effect, though the game will prompt you if that is the case. So if you change any graphics settings you may need to restart your game in order to notice any actual effects.

And that's it for the most important graphics options in Forza Horizon 5! As always we're now passing it onto you guys! We would love to hear your thoughts on what graphics settings you turn all the way up in FH5 for little to no performance impact, and which options you turn down to get some extra frames so we can all benefit from better performance and image quality in this great looking and highly anticipated game!

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10:21 Nov-12-2021

The REAL question is, what is going on with Game-Debate? Are they short staffed? Dying? They hardly post any articles anymore, and when they do it's usually about content that is already a few days old. What's happening?

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18:04 Nov-11-2021

I'm surprised they still didn't add support for TAA

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18:04 Nov-11-2021

I'm surprised they still didn't add support for TAA

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06:10 Nov-11-2021

What setting for GTX 1650 super + Ryzen 5 2400g + 16 gb ram?

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22:18 Nov-11-2021

Should perform about the same as a 1060, so THIS ARTICLE would indicate 1080p High for 60+ fps.

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10:20 Nov-20-2021

Thank you for your input.

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Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-11700K 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 6GB Edition 32GB
0% No [1 votes]
Ryzen 5 3550H 4-Core 2.1 GHz GeForce GTX 1650 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 2700X GeForce GTX 1660 EVGA XC Gaming 6GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 7 2700X GeForce GTX 1660 EVGA XC Gaming 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]