Horizon Zero Dawn PC – Stuttering and Freezing fix

Horizon Zero Dawn PC stuttering and freezing fix – After its PS4 launch back in February 2017, Horizon Zero Dawn is now finally available for Windows. It is good to see so many PlayStation exclusives release on PC. First Detroit Become Human, then Death Stranding and now Horizon Zero Dawn.

The truth is performance issues are really common in big console ports . So just like the previous big console ports, Horizon for PC comes with some performance related issues as well. Players have already began reporting various performance related problems on all over the forums about how the micro stutters in the game are getting out of hand. That is why we decided to come up with this guide.

Horizon Zero Dawn PC – Stuttering and Freezing fix

Horizon Zero Dawn PC requirements


    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: Windows 10 64-bits
    • Processor: Intel Core [email protected] or AMD FX [email protected]
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 (3 GB) or AMD Radeon R9 290 (4GB)
    • DirectX: Version 12
    • Storage: 100 GB available space


    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: Windows 10 64-bits
    • Processor: Intel Core [email protected] or Ryzen 5 [email protected]
    • Memory: 16 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB) or AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB)
    • DirectX: Version 12
    • Storage: 100 GB available space

You need to first make sure that your system can handle Horizon Zero Dawn. The official recommended requirements state that in order to play Horizon Zero Dawn at 1080p 60 FPS on your PC you need to have a graphics card whose performance is similar to a 1060 GB or a RX 580. And a processor similar to a Ryzen 5 1500x. But if you ask me, even a GTX 1060 6GB is not enough. This game was struggling on a system having GTX 1660 and Ryzen 5 3600.

So turn up the graphics settings to maximum only if you have at least a RTX 2060 or a Vega 56.

Best Graphics Settings for Horizon Zero Dawn

We are still fiddling with the graphics settings of Horizon Zero Dawn. We will update this article as soon as we find the find best combination that will make the game run without any stuttering or freezing on our mediocre gaming rig. Here are the specifications of our test rig:

  • CPU : Intel i3 9100F
  • GPU : Zotac GTX 1660
  • RAM : 16GB DDR4 3000mhz
  • OS : Windows 10 64-bit (Version 2004)
  • HDD : 1 TB 7200 rpm
  • Monitor Resolution : 1920×1080
  • Driver : GeForce Game Ready Driver v451.48

Update : Here is a detailed guide to the best graphics settings for Horizon Zero Dawn

Install the latest build of Windows 10

Horizon Zero Dawn only runs on Windows 10, that too on 64 bit. So Windows 7 and 8.1 users are out of luck here. Now, Microsoft is known for pushing a ton of updates for Windows. Some end up being good while some end up causing a lot of performance issues. Fortunately, the latest build of Windows 10 is probably the most stable version of Windows we had in a while. So update your OS to the latest version. Here is the latest version:

Here is how to update:

  • Go to you Windows Settings
  • Click on Update & Security
  • Click on Check for updates
  • Wait until all the updates are installed
  • Restart your PC

Nvidia Control Panel Settings for Horizon Zero Dawn

The first thing you should do is click on ‘Adjust image settings with preview‘ located on the left side under 3D settings and make sure that ‘Use the advanced 3D image settings‘ is selected. Now:

  • Open Nvidia Control Panel
  • Click on Manage 3D settings on the left bar
  • Click on the Program Settings tab
  • Locate Horizon Zero Dawn from the drop down menu under “Select a program to customize”
  • If you don’t see the game on the list then click on the Add button and another list will appear
  • If you still cannot spot the game then you need to add the .exe file manually.
  • Click on Browse
  • Locate the folder where you have installed the game
  • Select the executable file or the .exe file which in this case should be hzd.exe
  • Once you have successfully added the game, you will then see the program settings become available for the game
  • Now tweak the following settings
  • Image Sharpening : Off
  • Threaded Optimization : On
  • OpenGL rendering GPU : Your dedicated GPU (RTX 2060 Super in my case)
  • Shader Cache : On
  • Power Management : Prefer Maximum Performance
  • Low Latency Mode : Off
  • Texture filtering – Quality : Performance

AMD Adrenaline Settings for Horizon Zero Dawn

Click on Global Graphics.

  • Radeon Anti-Lag : Disabled
  • Radeon Boost : Disabled
  • Image Sharpening : Off
  • Anti-Aliasing Mode : Use Application settings
  • Anti-aliasing Method : Multi-sampling
  • Morphological Filtering : Off
  • Anisotropic Filtering : Disabled
  • Texture Filtering Quality: Performance
  • Surface Format Optimization: Enabled
  • Tesselation Mode: AMD Optimized
  • Wait for V-sync: Off
  • OpenGL Triple Buffering: Off
  • Shader Cache: AMD optimized
  • Maximum Tesselation Level: Off
  • GPU Workload: Graphics
  • Radeon Chill: Off
  • Frame Rate Target Control: Disabled

Turn off Captures

The Captures tool on Windows 10 often tend to take up a lot of resources and the Background Recording feature always records in the background while you are playing any game. So turn it off would immediately give you a boost. Here is how to do it:

  • Open Windows Settings
  • Click on Gaming
  • Select Captures
  • Turn off Background Recording

Preferred Graphics Processor (For Nvidia Laptop users)

If your laptop feature a Nvidia graphics card inside then you need to make sure your laptop is using that instead of the low powered integrated one.

  • Just open Nvidia Control Panel
  • Click on Manage 3D settings located on the left side
  • Select the Program Settings tab
  • Under “Select a program to customize” select Horizon Zero Dawn
  • If it is not there then click on Add and then select it
  • Now set “Select the preferred graphics processor for this program” to “High-performance NVIDIA processor”

Disable Steam Input

A lot of people have managed to fix the stuttering by just turning off the Steam Input Per-Game setting. Here is how to do it:

  • Launch Steam
  • Go to your Library
  • Right Click on Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Select Properties
  • Set Steam Input Per-Game setting to Forced Off

These are all the fixes we have for people who are experiencing Stuttering and Freezing in Horizon Zero Dawn.

If Horizon Zero Dawn is crashing for you then check out this guide.

Click here to check out the Official Steam Discussions page of Horizon Zero Dawn.

That’s all folks!

Last Updated on August 9, 2020

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