Baldur’s Gate 3 is one of the latest PC games to be released and its console release date comes in a month apart, likely due to optimization. Even the PC version can be quite a handful for most gaming setups these days. Luckily, you can adjust your experience with Baldur’s Gate 3 settings.
There are many ways to improve Baldur’s Gate 3 performance if you find your computer stuttering or having a generally low framerate.
You can sacrifice certain Baldur’s Gate 3 settings in order to improve performance with a minimal visual impact. It’s a balancing act that can take as much time as character customization, so we’re going to help you speed up that process and let you enjoy more of the actual game.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Settings Explained
There’s nothing as complicated or as demanding as ray tracing, thankfully, but Baldur’s Gate 3 still comes with some modern graphics tech like DLAA (a more advanced form of anti-aliasing) and DLSS.
We’ll explain what each of them does in the ‘Video’ section of the ‘Settings’ menu. Along the way, we’ll also be suggesting which setting or quality you can leave them in while providing a negligible loss to visual fidelity.
Most of the settings under this segment are automatically adjusted and don’t affect performance that much. But those near the bottom such as Frame Rate Cap, VSync, Refresh Rate, and Maximum Frame Rate can help with stuttering issues or stabilizing your game’s performance.
Resolution is also a big factor here, as usual, as the higher it is, the more demanding the game will be. However, we recommend setting it to native or the same as your monitor’s max resolution.
- Display Adapter – Determines which GPU you’ll be using to run the game. Just pick the most powerful one as Baldur’s Gate 3 is fairly demanding.
- Display Monitor – Determines which monitor you’ll be using, especially if you have multiple.
- Aspect Ratio – Just set to auto; it’s the pixel ratio based on your monitor.
- Resolution – One of the most demanding settings in the game yet it’s also non-negotiable as playing in a resolution lower than your monitor’s native pixel count will make the game pixelated. Just set it to native. Or the same as your monitor’s max.
- Refresh Rate – Here’s our guide for refresh rates, like resolution, set this one to the same number as your monitor’s max refresh rate.
- Display Mode – Comes in Windowed, Fullscreen, or Borderless Windowed; if you tab out a lot (especially for searching for guides), just pick Borderless Windowed, if not, then Fullscreen.
- VSync – Here’s our VSync guide. Generally, you want to keep this on. But if your monitor has G-Sync or FreeSync, then you can turn it off as part of the instructions for enabling those adaptive Sync options.
- Frame Rate Cap – Enable it. There’s no downside.
- Maximum Frame Rate – Set this one to be the same number as your Refresh Rate to save energy and reduce heat.
Overall Quality & General
These are some of the most impactful visual settings in the game and can dictate whether Baldur’s Gate 3 will feel choppy or slow or smooth as butter.
Overall Preset is the overarching setting here and if you’d rather play the game right away instead of tinkering with the settings, just leave it to what the game automatically set it to. But as a rule of thumb, ‘Ultra’ is a bit overkill and is mostly reserved for high-end setups (RTX 3070 or RTX 4070 and more powerful GPUs).
For the typical mid-range setup (RTX 3060/4060 or RX 7600) then ‘High’ is a good balance of performance and visuals. Anything weaker than those setups might have to run a mix of Medium-High or lower.
Here’s a recommendation for customized Baldur’s Gate 3 settings.
- Overall Preset – Custom if you have a few minutes to tinker.
- Model Quality – Set to High. It determines mesh quality and the number of polygons for in-game character models or objects. Higher is more taxing on the CPU and GPU but you’re mostly going to be in dialogs and you want good quality for that.
- Detail Distance – Set to High. It determines the draw distance in the game and how clear or far you see distant objects. You could even get away with Medium if you play mostly zoomed-out in the top-down view.
- Instance Distance – Set to High. It determines how and when small far away objects get culled to improve performance.
- Texture Quality – Set to Ultra. If you find that your game stutters a lot despite having a high framerate (60+ FPS), consider setting this one to High or Medium. It determines texture crispness and you generally want this at maximum. But if your GPU only has 4GB of VRAM or less, then you have no choice but to set it to Medium or lower.
- Texture Filtering – Set to Anisotropic 16x. Determines the sharpness of textures based on low viewing angles. Almost no performance impact, so set it to max.
- Animation Level of Detail – Set to High. It determines the smoothness and number of animations. It’s a rather important detail for immersion.
- Slow HDD Mode – Disable if you’re using an SSD, enable if you’re running the game on an HDD.
- Dynamic Crowds – Enable this one. More crowds can affect immersion, especially in city areas.
Lighting is another demanding area for graphics and it’s one of the most obvious settings in which to make sacrifices
- Shadow Quality – Set to Medium. It determines the quality of Shadows– higher means less pixelated shadows. However, Shadows has always been a demanding visual setting and you’ll often not notice the difference between Medium and High unless you look for it.
- Cloud Quality – Set to Ultra. This setting doesn’t have a big performance impact (if at all) and it’s not like you can look up toward the clouds to see that much of a difference.
- Fog Quality – Set to High. Determines the volume of fogs and mists in-game. It’s hard to sacrifice this one as fog can add to the atmosphere.
This is where it gets tricky for a lot of users as these are more advanced settings for lighting and eliminating pixelation. Some of these are preferential though other settings here are superior compared to their counterparts that do the same.
- Nvidia DLSS – Situational based on your circumstances. If you find yourself needing more performance without wanting to sacrifice any of the settings above, then turn on DLSS to Quality. This will downscale the resolution and make it look noticeably blurrier. However, Baldur’s Gate 3 is not a fast-paced game anyway and you don’t really need more than 50 or 60 FPS.
- AMD FSR 1.0 – AMD’s version of Nvidia DLSS which does the same thing except it’s a touch blurrier.
- FidelityFX Sharpening – AI sharpening which is useful if you use either DLSS or AMD FSR 1.0 since it can counteract the resolution blurring. Automatic must-have if you’re using DLSS or FSR, otherwise, you can turn it off.
- Sharpness – Adjustment slider for FidelityFX Sharpening. It’s up to your preference.
- Anti-Aliasing – Comes in SMAA, TLAA, or DLAA. SMAA is the most balanced here as it reduces jagginess and edge pixelation while retaining visual clarity. TAA offers a more aggressive smoothing but blurs out the resolution. DLAA is better than both but it introduces ghosting during movement and is more demanding on the framerate.
- Ambient Occlusion – Enable it. It’s a simulation of light dispersion behavior and corner shadows; 3D environments can look flat without it.
- Depth of Field – It’s up to your preference. Some can find this annoying since it simulates eye focusing behavior.
- Depth of Field Quality – For adjusting Depth of Field fidelity to make it look more natural. Set to Quater Denoise if you’re using Depth of Field.
- God Rays – Preferential. It simulates light behavior in the skies and when leaking through opaque blockage.
- Bloom – Enable it. There’s little to no performance impact and it can add to the game’s atmosphere.
- Subsurface Scattering – Enable it. It enhances the translucency of skin and other textures which you’ll notice during dialog.
That’s about it. Basically, just turn Shadows down to Medium and Textures to something that your GPU can handle. Everything else if up to your preference and won’t impact performance too much.
Just remember to update your GPU’s drivers before adjusting any of these settings as it’s also a big factor when it comes to optimization.