I don't know if you here at Arquade SE accept technical questions, but I'm willing to try anyway.

I am a huge Dark Souls fan, so naturally, I have all three games on my laptop. Before we go into my problem, let me specify my laptop's "kind". I have a HP EliteBook 8760w. This puppy is sporting intel CORE i7 and Nvidia Quadro 3000M with 8 GB of RAM. I know that this is not a gaming laptop (it is a workstation, hence the Quadro dedicated graphics), so I naturally won't be able to get straight 60 FPS on 2016/2017 games like Dark Souls III for example. But recently, something strange occurred.

I just started playing Dark Souls II three weeks ago. I immediately noticed FANTASTIC performance. My frames never dropped below 30 FPS, and the average was around 45 to 50 FPS. At first I though this was due to my "Best Performance" option enabled, but then I reconfigured the settings to HIGHEST POSSIBLE: all best quality textures, Anti-Aliasing, depth of field etc. The performance stayed exactly the same. But when I play Dark Souls III (on lowest possible settings of course with "Best Performance" mode enabled), my performance is abominable. The average FPS is about 12 to 16, and the cap is 20. My main question is: Why on Earth does this happen? I'm dying to know the answer, as I am looking for ways to boost up my laptop performance to at least 30 FPS. I have three hypotheses:

  1. (Very unlikely) The low FPS is due to the "age gap" between games. While Dark Souls II was originates in 2014, Dark Souls III is a 2016 game. But as I said, I don't think that 2 years could impact performance so heavily.

  2. (Straight up impossible) Dark Souls II uses OpenGL or OpenCL for compilation (this would explain great performance, as Quadro architecture is specifically aimed at OpenGL and OpenCL), while Dar Souls III uses DirectX. I don't think that is possible though, as I had to install DirectX 2010 in order for Dark Souls II to work.

  3. The older version of DirectX is (somehow) more compatible with Quadro architecture than the one that runs with Dark Souls III.

I hope my question won't get immediately purged as off-topic just because it contaigns a technical issue. All remarks, criticisms and answers are welcome! Thank you in advance.

EDIT: One thing you might want to consider: a lot of people are telling me that Dark Souls II performs so well because it was made for previous gen consoles. Well, that was my initial thought as well, but then I compared it to the original Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition. Even this ancient (brilliant) game from 2011 has worse framerate than its 3-years-younger successor (I DO have DSFix installed to be fair) - Dark Souls II. I have a strong feeling that there is something special in Dark Souls II that makes my Quadro tick. Any ideas what this could be?

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    are you sure Dark Souls 3 is using your nvidia gpu, and not the integrated intel gpu? – Elise Aug 9 '17 at 11:02
  • I don't have an integrated intel GPU. As I said, my laptop is using Nvidia Quadro 3000M. This is confirmed by the thermal test: each time I start a game the temperature of my GPU goes up significantly. – Gregor Perčič Aug 9 '17 at 11:05
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    A laptop with an intel cpu, but no integrated gpu? That's rare, but understandable, given the workstation status... – Elise Aug 9 '17 at 11:06
  • Btw, your thought process on the 2 year gap doesn't apply well here, as Dark Souls 2 was built for last-gen consoles (as well as current gen), whereas Dark Souls 3 was built only for current-gen, which means it has a lot more bells and whistles that all require more power to run. – Elise Aug 9 '17 at 11:08
  • @Chippies Yeah, that's why my machine is VERY thick. I'm kind of considering upgrading my GPU to Nvidia Quadro K5010M. Will this affect my FPS significantly. Also intending on adding 8 GB of RAM. Is RAM important for FPS? – Gregor Perčič Aug 9 '17 at 11:13

Since you're on a laptop, it is very possible that you are using the integrated gpu, rather than the much more powerful dedicated nvidia gpu.
You can change it in the nvidia control panel in the "Manage 3D settings" menu like this:
enter image description here
(Make sure you pick Dark Souls 3 in the drop-down list, or if it's not there - add the .exe manually by using the Add button.)

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  • I decided to undelete my answer, as I still think this is the most likely reason and after a quick google search, I found that your laptop uses an Intel Core i7-2820QM cpu, which does indeed have an integrated gpu.. Let me know if these settings are not available on your laptop, which would indicate that your integrated intel gpu is disabled in bios or something. – Elise Aug 9 '17 at 16:34
  • even if thats a problem, I dont think his gpu is good enough – Mart10 Aug 9 '17 at 16:57
  • @Chippies You are wrong. I just tore my machine apart yesterday and was able to find my Quadro 3000M (and was able to safely remove it). – Gregor Perčič Aug 9 '17 at 17:00
  • @GregorPerčič can you provide the specific model of your cpu? The specs page for your laptop lists multiple of them – Mart10 Aug 9 '17 at 17:03
  • @Chippies I can't find a "Nvidia Control Panel", all I've got is GeForce Experience, through which I update my Quadro. Can you tell me how to get to it? – Gregor Perčič Aug 9 '17 at 17:04

The system requirements for Dark Souls 2:

  • OS: Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.
  • Processor: AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2Ghz or Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo E8500 3.17Ghz.
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM.

  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT, ATI Radeon HD 5870. Hard Drive: 8 GB available space.

And for Dark Souls 3:

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64bit, Windows 8.1 64bit Windows 10 64bit
  • Processor: AMD® A8 3870 3,6 Ghz or Intel® Core ™ i3 2100 3.1Ghz
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 465 / ATI Radeon TM HD 6870
  • DirectX: Version 11

Note that these are minimum. The recommended are higher.

Your video card meets the minimum requirements for Dark Souls 2. It doesn't for Dark Souls 3.

It's worth noting that the Nvidia 9600 GT is not near as powerful as the Radeon 5870 (The two "minimum" video cards for Dark Souls 2), so the game is probably better optimized for Nvidia cards.

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  • Thank you for your answer, you definitely get a huge upvote. But you answered only partially. Can you please explain why Dark Souls II has better framerate than Dark Souls I? I'd really like to know. – Gregor Perčič Aug 9 '17 at 16:31
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    His laptop being 8gb ram, it does not meet the requirements for Dark Souls III, requiring 8GB ram as well, since he has likely other applications running on his laptop as well while playing – Mart10 Aug 9 '17 at 16:39
  • @GregorPerčič I think you specificaly want to know why the gap between the minimum hardware requirements is so great with only 2 years of difference between the games right? – Mart10 Aug 9 '17 at 16:42
  • @Mart10 System requirements take that into account. The game probably doesn't use near 8GB, but over 4GB. – Chris Schneider Aug 9 '17 at 17:08
  • @ChrisSchneider Ah, ill have to test, Do these requirements include netplay? – Mart10 Aug 9 '17 at 17:16

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