RDR2 Vulkan vs DirectX 12 - How to Change API

Vulkan and DirectX 12 are graphics APIs you can choose from in Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC. Vulkan is the default option, but a lot of folks are getting much better performance with DirectX12. Others who are experiencing performance issues are wondering how to change API, to get as many fps as possible. Our Red Dead Redemption 2 Vulkan vs DirectX 12 guide will show you exactly that.

rdr2 vulkan vs directx12 how to change api
RDR2 Vulkan vs DirectX 12 – How to Change API

How to change graphics API in Red Dead Redemption 2

It’s a simple task – just open up the settings and head on over to the graphics settings page. Once you’re there, you’ll need to unlock the advanced settings – scroll down to the advanced graphics part and you’ll see it. When you’ve unlocked the section, the first option you see will be Graphics API. This is where you choose between Vulkan and DX12.

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If you’re wondering which one is better – well, there’s no easy answer there. You should try both and see which gives you the best results. Reports seem to vary wildly – some say they’re getting much better frame rates with Vulkan, others claim DX12 is the one that resolves their freezing issues. Try both out, preferably with a FPS counter in the corner of your screen, so you can monitor stuff while testing.

Also, if you’re having performance issues (and you probably are, since you’re here), you could try turning off two of the three types of anti aliasing the game uses (TAA, FXAA, MSAA). We don’t know which ones are the most resource-heavy, or which affect the visuals the most, but a little experimentation should reveal which ones you can afford to live without (our reader Matt says that FXAA is the “cheapest” one, so try leaving that one on and turning the other two off). If you’re having any other problems with the game, make sure to check out our Red Dead Redemption 2 PC errors & problems guide.

If you end up getting stuck at another point, you might want to check out some of the other guides we have. We've written about mysteries like the missing person Gavin, the Rhodes Gunsmith prisoner, the locked door at Valentine doctor. We also have instructional guides that show how to rob stores without getting bounty or where to sell jewelry and gold bars. If it's collectibles or key items you're after, we've found all the Penny Dreadful comic books, Chick's treasure map location, or that famous pipe for Dutch. Finally, if you don't care to explore the map yourself, you could take a look at our Watson's Cabin and Catfish Jackson's Homestead locations guides. In the latest Red Dead Online Moonshiners Update you'll have a chance to find Navy Revolver and Best Shack Locations.

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  1. M

    Since you mention not knowing which method of AA is less resource intensive, the short answer is FXAA is the “cheapest” method of AA.

    1. K

      Thanks, I’ve updated the guide.

  2. A

    Regarding the statement about the anti-aliasing types…
    FXAA, simply put, is pretty much a blur filter to remove stairstepping/jagged edges
    MSAA is the most resource intensive, as it upscales the frame for a cleaner image and downscales it back to the resolution you’re playing on
    TAA reuses previous frames (most obvious when looking at leaves or brushing your horse and Arthur’s hand goes over the horse’s mane)
    In my experience, TAA with the sharpening slider set to half way is the sweetspot for performance and quality.

  3. J
    Joshua Boskey

    Switched to Directx12 and now my game won’t even load up… great!!

    1. D
      Donald Knight

      You are not alone! Does anyone know where the setting file is located? If I delete it will it revert to Vulcan? Help Please

    2. I

      I’ve faced the same problem. After switching to DirectX API game stoped launching. I’ve managed with this problem by modifing the file C:\Users\%user%\Documents\Rockstar Games\Red Dead Redemption 2\Settings\system.xml. You should change the line “kSettingAPI_DX12” to “kSettingAPI_Vulkan” and it worked for me

    3. G

      Just delet your documents file of the game
      Ist not in the game files but in your documwnrs

  4. A

    I’ve faced a problem with RDR2, for me the default api setting is directX12 and I’m facing a huge prob with switching it and everytime I switch to vulkan it won’t simply work! it reverts to DX12

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