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In anticipation of the release of reviews of the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics cards, we turned to the popular topic of confrontation between the GeForce GTX 1060 and the Radeon RX 580. We brought together the current mid-range solutions and several budget models of the old generations to test them in the best games of the past summer and some earlier projects received important updates. This is a test in the «Games vs. Video Cards» format (1, 2), where we show the overall performance situation in a number of games and compare popular segment models in nominal modes without overclocking. Also, this testing often includes games that do not appear in other reviews and comparisons. The testing included both the most significant releases of recent months (Vampyr, We Happy Few), and games with important updates related to graphics and optimization (Kingdom Come: Deliverance, No Man’s Sky NEXT, Total War: Rome II), plus a few indies -projects.

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The list of games in this test is as follows:

  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance;
  • Lust for Darkness;
  • No Man’s Sky NEXT;
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered;
  • The Council;
  • Total War: Rome II;
  • Vampire;
  • We Happy Few;
  • Wreckfest.

Full list of test participants:

All video adapters were brought to standard frequencies to match the reference solutions of their series. The Radeon R9 270X replaces the predecessor Radeon HD 7870.

Characteristics of the tested video cards

The official characteristics of video cards are given in the table.

Video adapter GeForce GTX 1060 GeForce GTX 780 Ti GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GeForce GTX 960 GeForce GTX 950 GeForce GTX 760 Radeon RX 580 Radeon RX 480 Radeon R9 270X Radeon R9 270
Core GP106 GK110 GP107 GM206 GM206 GK104 Polaris 20 Polaris 10 Curacao Curacao
Number of transistors, million pieces 4400 7100 3300 2940 2940 3500 5700 5700 2800 2800
Process technology, nm 16 28 14 28 28 28 14 14 28 28
Core area, sq. mm 200 561 132 228 228 294 232 232 212 212
Number of stream processors 1280 2880 768 1024 768 1152 2304 2304 1280 1280
Number of texture blocks 80 240 48 64 48 96 144 144 80 80
Number of render units 48 48 32 32 32 32 32 32 32 32
Core frequency, MHz 1506–1708 875–926 1290–1392 1126–1178 1024–1188 980–1033 1257–1340 1120–1266 1050 925
Memory bus, bit 192 384 128 128 128 2560 256 256 256 256
Memory type GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5
Memory frequency, MHz 8000 7000 7012 7010 6610 6008 8000 8000 5600 5600
Memory size, MB 6144 3072 4096 2048 2048 2048 8192 8192/4096 2048 2048
Supported version of DirectX 12 11.1 12 12 12 12 12 12 11.2 11.2
Interface PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0
Power, W 120 250 75 120 90 170 185 150 180 150

The performance charts for GeForce show the full Boost frequency range, while Radeon shows the maximum Boost value.

test bench

The test bench configuration is as follows:

  • processor: Intel Core i7-6950X (3.0@4.1 GHz);
  • cooler: Noctua NH-D15 (two NF-A15 PWM fans, 140 mm, 1300 rpm);
  • motherboard: MSI X99S MPower (Intel X99);
  • memory: G.Skill F4-3200C14Q-32GTZ (4×8 GB, DDR4-3200, CL14-14-14-35);
  • system disk: Kingston SSDNow KC400 (512 GB, SATA 6Gb/s);
  • secondary drive: WD Red 3TB WD30EFRX (3 TB, SATA 6Gb/s, 5400 rpm);
  • power supply: Seasonic SS-750KM (750 W);
  • monitor: ASUS PB278Q (2560×1440, 27″);
  • operating system: Windows 10 Pro x64;
  • GeForce driver: NVIDIA GeForce 398.82;
  • Radeon driver: AMD Adrenalin Edition 18.7.2 and Adrenalin Edition 18.8.1.

A brief summary of the games and testing methodology are described below. The tests were carried out at a resolution of 1920×1080 at the maximum graphics quality, for older video cards in some games tests were carried out at a resolution of 2560×1440. Applications are listed alphabetically.

Test Methodology

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

An excellent medieval RPG, which came out as a rather raw and resource-intensive game. After the launch, the developers released many updates, added high-resolution textures to the game, and improved optimization. The game uses the CryEngine 3.8.6 engine, which demonstrates vibrant textured surfaces and realistic lighting, which is combined with excellent detail. DirectX 11 supported.

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From some point on, the performance in the game really grew, especially on AMD video cards. Therefore, we decided to conduct a small study to identify the reasons for such a jump in performance. For this, two test scenes are involved, and the tests themselves were carried out at the highest graphics quality (Very High) and maximum settings (Ultra) for older video cards from our list.

You can also take a look at our big testing of video cards in the early version of Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

Lust for Darkness

An indie horror game. An unusual combination of Lovecraftian motifs about ancient evils with elements of eroticism. The essence of the plot is that a certain sect, indulging in vices, opens a portal to the other world of horror. The game is made on the Unity engine and runs under DirectX 11. In some places the picture is juicy and rich in effects, which makes it pretty. But somewhere inexpressive design appears.

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Testing was carried out by replaying the initial scene, where the heroine wanders along a brick corridor with convex relief walls with a pronounced effect of volumetric light from the lanterns.

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No Man’s Sky NEXT

The original No Man’s Sky was a big disappointment due to disappointing expectations. But the authors did not abandon the project and began to actively develop it. The result of their work was the release of a large-scale Next update, which seriously changed the gameplay, adding new mechanics and networking capabilities to it. The visual component has also been improved — the display of the landscape and the texture of the soil, the detailing of objects has been increased, clouds, planetary rings and other effects have been added.

The game uses its own engine with procedural planetary generation. It has a number of unique features and supports voxel rendering and raycasting technologies. At the same time, the engine is extremely resource-intensive, so the system requirements are quite high. The game runs in the OpenGL API environment.

For testing, a walk was made along a certain route on a specially selected planet with bright saturated lighting and many small details. There is not a lot of vegetation here, but this is compensated by an abundance of stones and other small structures.

Testing at maximum graphics quality was carried out only for older video cards from our list. For budget models, a medium quality mode has been selected, in which high textures and the effect of light rays (Light Shafts) are preserved.

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Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered

The original Red Faction: Guerrilla is not the brightest project in the Red Faction series, but thanks to the large open world and high destructibility, the game has gained some popularity. Therefore, the publisher revived the project by releasing a Remastered version (Re-Mars-tered) this summer. The updated game received improved textures and lighting, surfaces became more textured, more dust and particles during explosions. Now DirectX 11 has become the main API. Complex anti-aliasing MSAA has been abandoned in favor of one of the post-processing anti-aliasing algorithms, so the system requirements for the game are quite moderate.

Testing was carried out in the Demomen mode on the Transmission map. With the help of a rocket launcher, the surrounding buildings were destroyed in a certain sequence. These actions recreate the maximum possible load in the game, and the lighting on the selected map is very well suited for the maximum load mode. A number of repetitions were performed for more accurate average data.

Graphics quality set to maximum. The tests were carried out at 1920×1080 and 2560×1440 resolutions.

The Council

Adventure game with high variability and original role-playing system. We talked about the first three episodes of The Council in detail in a separate review. The picture in the game is nice. Good detailing is combined with a special visual style, lighting is well placed in places. The game runs in DirectX 11.

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The frame rate was measured in one of the opening scenes of the first episode, when the camera shows the island and the boat nailed to the pier.

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Total War: Rome II

You may not have expected to see this game in the new benchmarks, as it was released back in 2013 and at that time was extremely demanding for existing graphics cards. But this strategy is still popular, and the developers periodically release new DLC. The game recently received The Rise of the Republic expansion. At the same time, the Ancestral Update was released, which made a number of changes to the main game, graphics improvements and some optimizations. Learn more about this update in the official trailer.

In such a situation, it is interesting to see how modern graphics accelerators will perform in one of the most demanding games of the past years.

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For testing, the built-in gaming benchmark is used.

Tests performed with the standard Ultra graphics profile selected. For older video cards, tests were also carried out with Extreme graphics selected (includes AA 4x anti-aliasing) and similar settings with simpler anti-aliasing (Extreme + MLAA).

Vampire

A story about a doctor who has become a vampire and is trying to find a cure for his curse. Atmospheric gloomy narrative in the entourage of the epidemic-ridden London of the beginning of the last century. Role-playing game with a combat system based on several types of weapons and vampire abilities. Vampyr uses the Unreal Engine and runs in DirectX 11. It demonstrates good detail, although the locations themselves are cramped and resemble a branching corridor in a labyrinth of buildings. Lots of puddles with reflections. The grainy effect looks debatable, which slightly reduces the clarity of the picture. At maximum TXAA quality, some highlights are smeared, so we recommend using the medium FXAA and TXAA modes for the best visual image quality.

Testing was carried out by repeating the run around the location in the docks. Rain, puddles with reflections and different light sources create a typical load for the game.

Graphics quality set to maximum. The resolutions used are 1920×1080 and 2560×1440.

We Happy Few

A game in the style of retrofuturism about survival in an unusual city. The big world is combined with a certain touch of madness of what is happening. The game uses the Unity engine and demonstrates very nice graphics, combining good detail with rich effects of lighting, fog, etc.

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Testing was performed after exiting the shelter to the surface, loading from one save was carried out. There was a walk in the park with dense vegetation.

Standard Ultra quality selected.

Wreckfest

A racing game from the creators of the FlatOut series. Much like Bugbear Entertainment’s past titles, it features off-road racing, quirky lawn mower competitions, and player-favorite arena battles. At the same time, the game has a little more realism, which somewhat reduces the level of fun and madness, although the physics of cars and their destructibility retains a number of conventions. The picture looks attractive thanks to the careful study of the tracks and cars. At the same time, it is clear that the engine itself is a bit old, the lighting is very simple.

Testing was done by replaying one lap at the Midwest Motocenter circuit, running a series of replays. Selected 23 opponents to create the maximum load. During the race, we tried to stay in a group of other cars.

The maximum quality profile was selected in DirectX 11. Additionally, tests were carried out when choosing a simpler FXAA algorithm instead of the standard AA 4x anti-aliasing.

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