Among the co-op games of last year, Rebellion’s Strange Brigade shooter stands out. It’s a peppy, Indiana Jones-esque action thriller that combines monster-shooting with puzzle-solving. Visually, the game looks quite good, while it only supports the Vulkan API and DirectX 12, without the popular DirectX 11. This is of some technical interest. And the presence of a built-in gaming benchmark allows you to satisfy this curiosity and compare the capabilities of different video cards in the available APIs. This is what we will do in this review. We will test budget models and top solutions in different resolutions and different APIs.
The game uses Rebellion’s own engine called the Asura Engine. It produces large locations with a high draw distance and an abundance of small details. Large spaces with vegetation and intricate ruins look very attractive.
The shooting of monsters is accompanied by numerous visual effects and flashes, which sometimes turn what is happening into a colorful show, which even gets in the way a little. Lots of glare and reflections on the water. Although the nighttime locations or interior caves look too faded, the details are lost behind the same color scheme.
Solutions from the top, middle and budget segments, including new generation models and old video cards, will take part in comparative testing. Top models are tested only in high resolutions.
The new generation of NVIDIA is represented by the reference GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card.
The ASUS DUAL-RTX2080-O8G graphics card replaces the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition.
The flagship of the old generation is present — the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.
A simple version of the GeForce RTX 2070 represented by the MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor 8G will also take part in testing.
From AMD’s side, the only high-end option is the reference design Radeon RX Vega 64. Testing was done with stock BIOS in normal balanced mode (default settings).
The full list of participants is below:
All video adapters were brought to standard frequencies to match the reference options. The participants have been tested at nominal and overclocked. In simple modes, older models are used only at standard frequencies.
The test bench configuration is as follows:
- processor: Intel Core i7-6950X (firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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;
- Radeon driver: AMD Adrenalin Edition 18.10.2;
- GeForce driver: NVIDIA GeForce 416.34.
For tests, a built-in benchmark was used, which was run seven times.
Graphics quality set to maximum for all resolutions. The same settings for Vulkan and DirectX 12, only the active API changed.
Let’s start with a resolution of 1920×1080. In this mode, mid-range graphics accelerators and budget solutions were tested.
The results in the two APIs are slightly different. The general trend is that in DirectX 12 the average frame rate is lower, and in Vulkan the minimum fps is slightly lower. Even the GeForce GTX 960 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti show acceptable performance. But with 2 GB of video memory, the game does not load detailed textures, so all budget solutions show a more “muddy” picture. As a result, the minimum option for the game is the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB or similar older generation accelerators. And the total load of video memory can reach 4-5 gigabytes. The GeForce GTX 1060 6GB turns out to be weaker than the Radeon RX 480/580, but all these video cards easily provide performance above 60 fps.
Let’s move on to 2560×1440 resolution. Top graphics accelerators have been added to the list.
Higher average fps is seen in the Vulkan API. AMD solutions in the transition to DirectX 12 slightly increase the minimum figure, while the situation with GeForce is ambiguous. The Radeon RX 480 retains a slight advantage over the GeForce GTX 1060. In general, even these participants are able to provide acceptable performance in WQHD mode. The GeForce RTX 2070 already hits under 100 fps, outperforming the Radeon RX Vega 64. The GeForce RTX 2080 has a slight advantage over the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, which is most noticeable in the Vulkan environment. The performance of the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is record-breaking, the gap from its predecessor GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is from 32% to 40% and higher.
At 4K resolution, you can play on the GeForce RTX 2070, a few percent faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64. The GeForce RTX 2080 FE is 25-30% faster than its younger brother. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is approaching 90 fps. HD video memory can be loaded up to 7 GB.
Strange Brigade shows moderate system requirements. If you slightly reduce the maximum graphics quality (anti-aliasing, Motion Blur effect), then you can play on the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. Older budget solutions with low memory will show muddy textures, but with 4 GB there will be no problems. Radeon RX 580 or GeForce GTX 1060 not only allow you to play in Full HD, but also at higher resolutions. But 4K is only possible for graphics cards of the older price segment, which the GeForce RTX 2070 and more powerful NVIDIA models can easily handle. The Radeon RX Vega 64 peaks at 4K, outperforming the GeForce RTX 2070 in this mode. The old flagship GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is slightly behind the GeForce RTX 2080, but without a major gap. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti outperforms the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti by 30-40%.
Performance in Vulkan and DirectX 12 differs little, although the first mode consistently provides an increase in the average frame rate for all video cards. In any case, Vulkan is the better API because it allows the game to work on different operating systems, and DirectX 12 is only supported on Windows 10.