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Computer players have been waiting for the most beautiful and technologically advanced version of Red Dead Redemption 2. Large detailed expanses of the Wild West have opened before us, but to enjoy the virtual beauties, you need a powerful graphics card. Which models allow you to play with Ultra settings? Let’s talk about it in this review.

Red Dead Redemption 2

At the heart of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the RAGE engine, which demonstrates large, well-designed locations with beautiful lighting. Compared to console versions, the draw distance and texture detail have increased, shadow resolution is higher and the quality of effects is better. And all this is available in any resolution, including 4K and higher — the choice of settings depends only on the capabilities of the PC.

Red Dead Redemption 2Red Dead Redemption 2

As the game progresses, we visit different climatic zones. Snow-covered mountainous areas with deformable snow and dense forests with rays breaking through the foliage look very nice and beautiful. Landscapes of Kingdom Come: Deliverance look more realistic, but in Red Dead Redemption 2, the detail and draw distance are higher. This is complemented by excellent character animation and meticulous attention to the re-creation of the era, which enhances the effect of immersion.

The game supports two APIs — Vulkan and DirectX 12. According to reviews and feedback from players, Vulkan provides the best performance. Therefore, in this article, we focused only on tests in Vulkan in order to identify the optimal graphics accelerators for maximum graphics settings.

Test participants

The set of participants is not as extensive as in our other tests, but it does include the current NVIDIA Super series solutions and the new AMD Radeon RX 5700 graphics cards.

The most powerful graphics card is the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition. Recall that for older Turing, the Founders Edition option implies a slight boost in Boost.

Red Dead Redemption 2

There is the flagship NVIDIA of the old generation — GeForce GTX 1080 Ti in the reference version.

Red Dead Redemption 2

From AMD’s side, the most powerful solution at the moment is the Radeon VII.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Full list of participants:

  • GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB Founders Edition;
  • GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB;
  • GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8GB;
  • GeForce RTX 2060 Super 8GB;
  • GeForce GTX 1060 6GB;
  • Radeon VII 16GB;
  • Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB;
  • Radeon RX 5700 8GB;
  • Radeon RX 580 8GB.

All video cards were brought to the standard frequencies for their series. Overclocking was not used in this material.

Characteristics of test participants

Video adapter GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GeForce RTX 2070 Super GeForce RTX 2060 Super GeForce GTX 1060 Radeon VII Radeon RX 5700 XT Radeon RX 5700 Radeon RX 580
Core TU102 GP102 TU104 TU106 GP106 Vega 20 Navi 10 Navi 10 Polaris 20
Number of transistors, million pieces 18600 12000 13600 10800 4400 13200 10300 10300 5700
Process technology, nm 12 16 12 12 16 7 7 7 14
Core area, sq. mm 754 471 545 445 200 331 251 251 232
Number of CUDA Stream Processors 4352 3584 2560 2176 1280 3840 2560 2304 2304
Number of texture blocks 272 224 160 136 80 240 160 144 144
Number of render units 88 88 64 64 48 64 64 64 32
Core frequency, MHz: Base-Boost 1350-1635 1480-1582 1605-1770 1470-1650 1506-1708 1400-1750 1605-1905 1465-1725 1257-1340
Memory bus, bit 352 352 256 256 192 4096 256 256 256
Memory type GDDR6 GDDR5X GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR5 HBM2 GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR5
Memory frequency, MHz 14000 11008 14000 14000 8000 2000 14000 14000 8000
Memory size, GB 11 11 8 8 6 16 8 8 8
Supported version of DirectX 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1)
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 4.0 PCI-E 4.0 PCI-E 3.0
Power, W 260 250 215 175 120 300 225 180 185

The table shows the official specifications for GPU frequencies. The graphs show the full frequency range, including peak Boost values ​​that are not specified in the specifications. This notation is used both for NVIDIA solutions and for new AMD models.

test stand

The test bench configuration is as follows:

  • processor: Intel Core i7-6950X (3.0@4.2 GHz);
  • cooler: Noctua NH-D15 (two NF-A15 PWM fans, 140 mm, 1300 rpm);
  • motherboard: MSI X99S MPower;
  • memory: G.Skill F4-3200C14Q-32GTZ (4×8 GB, DDR4-3200, CL14-14-14-35);
  • system drive: Kingston SSDNow KC400 (256 GB, SATA 6Gb/s);
  • secondary drive: WD Red WD30EFRX (3 TB, SATA 6Gb/s, 5400 rpm);
  • power supply: Raidmax Cobra RX-800AE;
  • monitor: ASUS PB278Q (2560×1440, 27″);
  • operating system: Windows 10 Pro x64;
  • Radeon driver: AMD Adrenalin Edition 19.11.1;
  • GeForce driver: NVIDIA GeForce 441.12.

The built-in benchmark is used, which was run four times on each video card.

To fix the minimum fps, MSI Afterburning monitoring was used as a more adequate means of control. The average frame rate was taken from the results of the built-in counter based on the results of the benchmark.

Test results

The graphs show the minimum and average frame rates. Let’s start with a resolution of 1920×1080 at default Ultra settings.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Normal performance in this mode is provided by the GeForce RTX 2060 Super, Radeon RX 5700 and more powerful models. The closest performance is for the GeForce RTX 2070 Super and the Radeon RX 5700 XT. The GeForce GTX 1060 can’t even deliver 30 fps; The Radeon RX 580 is 20% faster, but this card is also weak for Ultra graphics. Loading video memory is about 5 GB.

Red Dead Redemption 2

At the higher resolution of 2560×1440, the minimum acceptable graphics cards are GeForce RTX 2070 Super and Radeon RX 5700 XT. The Radeon VII has a minimal advantage over the Radeon RX 5700 XT. The old flagship GeForce GTX 1080 Ti outperforms the GeForce RTX 2060 Super with a modest lead over the Radeon RX 5700. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti outperforms the GeForce RTX 2070 Super by 31-36%. Loading video memory of 6 GB or more.

Two videos will serve as a visual addition.

Comparison of GeForce RTX 2060 Super, GeForce RTX 2070 Super, Radeon RX 5700 XT and Radeon RX 5700 at 2560×1440:

Comparison of GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, GeForce RTX 2070 Super, GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and Radeon VII at 2560×1440:

The situation in 4K is quite sad, so we decided to optimize the settings a bit. Based on the Ultra quality profile, far shadow quality, TAA anti-aliasing, soft shadows, far effect resolution, and grass shadow level have been lowered by one level. Disabled motion blur effect. That is, we have slightly sacrificed the quality of long-range plans, which in reality is almost not noticeable. The performance gain is more than 6%, which is also not much. But this is a quick selection of settings, with a scrupulous approach, you can get a more noticeable acceleration.

GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and Radeon VII tested in 4K settings configuration described.

Red Dead Redemption 2

The flagship NVIDIA showed 41-47 fps, the results of the competitor AMD are 25% lower. Overclocking will allow you to win another 5-10%, which will make the performance of the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti more comfortable.

A demo of the game in 4K on the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition is shown below.

It is clearly seen that drawdowns below 40 fps are possible. Here you can not do without overclocking. A demanding player will have to further reduce the settings.

conclusions

If you want to play in Full HD with Ultra graphics, you need Radeon RX 5700 or GeForce RTX 2060 Super graphics cards. 2560×1440 requires graphics cards starting with Radeon RX 5700 XT, GeForce RTX 2070 Super and above. Not a single modern video card can cope with the maximum settings in 4K. But with manual parameter correction and overclocking, you can achieve acceptable performance on the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. Even if you have to sacrifice individual settings in high resolutions, you will still get the most beautiful picture that is not available on consoles.

As a result, Red Dead Redemption 2 can be safely called one of the most demanding modern games. One can hope that additional optimization of the game and video drivers will provide additional acceleration, but one should hardly hope for a serious increase in fps. What will be the performance changes, we will check in future reviews.

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