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Shadow of the Tomb Raider gets Denuvo removal boost

With Shadow of the Tomb Raider (SOTTR) now somewhat long in the tooth, it appears to function as case that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics are likely to escape bed with Denuvo. As Bit-Tech has reported previously, Denuvo Anti-Tamper tech comes at a cost, even though it may be attractive at game launch time, the tradeoff between game sales income and anti-tamper tech-rent must now be at a pivot point.

The Dark Side of Gaming noticed removing Denuvo from SOTTR the other day and at the weekend made a decision to test the performance difference between your Denuvo-protected version and the recently released version with the anti-tamper tech exorcized. Many users complain about their CPU cycles being assimilated by famous brands Denuvo, though publishers typically deny any significant impact, so it’s good to A/B such releases to get ‘the truth’.

Please be aware that the refreshed non-Denuvo version of the SOTTR has been ‘rolled back’ on Steam, but continues to be obtainable in the beta build portion of the store. DSOG tested both versions of the overall game on the next PC system specs:

  • Intel i9 9900K processor,
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU,
  • 16GB of DDR4 system RAM at 3,600Mhz,
  • Windows 10 64-bit, utilizing the GeForce 496.13 driver.

Tests of SOTTR were run at both 1080p/Highest Settings (without Ray Tracing or DLSS), and 1080p/Lowest Settings and the built-in benchmark in the seek out significance. DLSS wasn’t used as in the patch notes it’s been noted that it’s been improved between game versions with and without Denuvo tech. No other game optimizations are noted for the sans-anti-tamper version.

DSOG pointed out that the largest changes in frame rates between game versions were once the lower settings were used. In this instance frame rate differences of typically 17fps were observed. Moreover, with HT disabled, an improvement of 30fps was observed.

The aforementioned indicates that, yes, Denuvo will absorb your CPU cycles, impacting game performance, and the ones who is able to less afford this type of hit (e.g. older processor with lower core count, no HT) should come off the worst. I’ve seen similar reports of the GeForce driver having an overhead, affecting lower-power PC systems. Nvidia Driver Overhead may be a contributory factor here with HT off, too.


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