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Satsun

Games that will run in HDR mode but don't use HDR?

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I have a Samsung CHG70 HDR monitor connected with DisplayPort. I typically do not have HDR enabled in the Windows 10 UI because it looks bad and most games that support proper HDR will simply switch the monitor to HDR mode as needed. If HDR is enabled in the Windows 10 UI, games that don't natively support HDR typically switch the monitor to non-HDR mode, however, I've noticed some non-HDR games not switching out of HDR mode.

Detroit: Become Human (Steam demo) - Has an HDR option in its config file (GraphicOptions.JSON -- "HDR": true,), no option in the in-game settings, doesn't switch to non-HDR mode, doesn't look like it's really doing HDR. It does support HDR on PS4, but I have a cheap TV with very basic HDR (DisplayHDR 400 equivalent) so I can't do a comparison.
Team Sonic Racing - No indication it supports HDR, but it leaves the monitor in HDR mode

Both games are running fullscreen, not borderless window. Could it be that they're not in exclusive fullscreen? Is there any benefit to leaving the monitor in HDR mode for these games?

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1 hour ago, Satsun said:

If HDR is enabled in the Windows 10 UI, games that don't natively support HDR typically switch the monitor to non-HDR mode

This only applies to games running in classic exclusive fullscreen mode, where the fullscreen optimizations of Windows 10 aren't being used nor is the game running in (borderless) window mode.

 

1 hour ago, Satsun said:

most games that support proper HDR will simply switch the monitor to HDR mode as needed.

This is, to be honest, a bit of a hit or miss. HDR support is still in its infancy with various alternative methods available which affects how or whether a game will enter HDR mode automatically or not. For example, Nvidia exposes HDR through their NVAPI that some games utilizes, yet there's also the native built-in support in Windows as well.

I still haven't really fully grasped which method automatically swaps the monitor to HDR mode or not, but... meh... it's too cumbersome at the moment where some games requires you to manually enable HDR in Windows before the in-game HDR option is made available.

 

1 hour ago, Satsun said:

Is there any benefit to leaving the monitor in HDR mode for these games?

None, whatsoever.

Windows 10 has, since v1803, a built-in tonemapper that basically maps the SDR signal of the game over to a HDR appropriate range. You can control the brightness of this under Display Settings > Windows HD Color settings > HDR/SDR brightness balance. You'll find that SDR games running in SDR while HDR is enabled and active will have their brightness adjusted in real-time when/if you play around with that slider with the game running in the background.

 

On another entirely separate note, the modding utility Special K allows for HDR "retrofits" into DirectX 11 titles. It isn't perfect, but for SDR titles that already does their lighting calculations in the higher range (the "old" type of HDR -- aka "HDR rendering") the difference can be worth the hassle of using Special K.

If you want a beta key for Special K, you only need to request one in this thread: Beta Invite Correspondence

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