MIP Streaming in Escape from Tarkov explained & does it increase FPS?

MIP Streaming in Escape from Tarkov explained & does it increase FPS?
Images via Battlestate Games

Written by 

Harry Boulton

Last updated 

15th Jan 2024 12:40

Contents

Ever since its reintroduction, MIP Streaming has been a point of contention in Escape from Tarkov, with many players wondering whether to use it and if it improves your FPS or load times in the game.

Escape from Tarkov isn't the most optimised when it comes to performance, so any option that increases your framerate among the other best settings is very much welcome. Whether MIP Streaming is that solution is still very much up for debate though, but we've done some testing of our own to find out for you.

What is MIP Streaming in Escape from Tarkov?

MIP Streaming is a feature included in the Unity game engine and, according to the Unity website, the feature "forces Unity to only load the MIP levels needed to render the current camera position, instead of loading them all by default".

The effect of this in-game is that full textures will only be loaded when the player gets close enough to them, or is looking at them directly. This results in a huge graphical memory saving, at the cost of a small amount of CPU performance.

One thing you will potentially run into though is a lot of low-detail textures that can either break your immersion, or make it quite distracting to play. In a game like Escape From Tarkov, you want to be focused at all times, so this can be quite troubling depending on how you play.

However, MIP streaming has the potential to boost your framerate by a significant amount, which could greatly offset the potential downside of a few blurry textures. It all just depends on the current power of your PC, and whether the trade-off is worth it for you.

Players have also reported that MIP Streaming in Escape from Tarkov can decrease the loading time before you enter a raid, but this has very mixed results from player to player and seems inconsistent at best.

How to turn on MIP Streaming in Escape from Tarkov

Image showing you how to turn on MIP Streaming in Escape from Tarkov
Click to enlarge

  • Load up Escape From Tarkov and hit the cog icon in the bottom right to open up the settings
  • Click on the 'Graphics' tab at the top
  • Scroll down to the bottom and tick the box next to 'MIP Streaming'
  • Adjust the MIP Streaming settings at the bottom of the list accordingly

That's all you need to do to enable MIP Streaming in Escape From Tarkov. You will need to restart the game for it to take effect though, and this cannot be turned on or off in the middle of a raid.

Does MIP Streaming increase FPS?

MIP Streaming in Escape from Tarkov can increase your FPS on texture-heavy maps like Lighthouse or Streets of Tarkov if your graphics card is struggling to deal with the load, but it is very inconsistent and in some cases can lower your framerate.

To understand a situation where it would be beneficial, you need to first understand what it does. As explained above, it alleviates pressure on the GPU and VRAM by delaying the loading of textures.

Therefore, systems that would benefit from this the most are those that are GPU bottlenecked, or are at or exceeding their VRAM usage limit. You can check whether this correlates with your situation by opening up the task manager while playing, heading to the 'Performance' tab, and checking both your GPU utilisation and graphics memory usage.

We did our own tests, and they came out with some rather interesting results. For reference, the graphics card we tested on was an Nvidia RTX 3060ti FE, so VRAM and GPU performance aren't a huge deal, but it gives you an idea of where MIP Streaming gives a benefit.

The test was done on Lighthouse as it is one of the most performance-intensive maps with the highest amount of VRAM needed, and all readings were taken from the same spot on the map.

Three images on Lighthouse in Escape from Tarkov showing the differences between MIP Streaming performance benchmarks
Click to enlarge

As you can see, strangely, we received a higher FPS - although not by much - when having MIP streaming off compared to on, when detail was set to medium and object visibility and LOD to minimum.

However, when turning detail up to high and the object visibility and LOD settings to their maximum, we did see a significant improvement. Without these settings, Lighthouse would cause very low performance and rather consistent stuttering, but with them on it sat at a rather consistent 87 FPS - and in the rain too. 

While the 3060ti can generally deal with Tarkov well, pushing the card to its limits with the last set of graphical options shows how MIP Streaming can improve your FPS if your card is struggling. In general, it is not going to be a magic bullet that will always improve your FPS. 

What is true though is that it is worth trying out and playing around with - especially if you are using a lower-end card. Even a couple of extra frames have the potential to give you a competitive advantage, so you're going to want to take as much as you can get.

I've tended to keep MIP Streaming off more often than on in recent times, as I've felt like my performance has been more unstable with it on. This could be very different for you though, as it all depends on your own preferences and components.

Find out more tips on our Escape from Tarkov homepage, including a list of the current meta weapons and a full ammo tier list so that you can stay up to date with the best guns and rounds to use right now.

Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.

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