The other day, Ubisoft introduced a new action game called For Honor. The game plunges us into the epicenter of the centuries-old confrontation between knightly orders, Vikings and samurai clans. You can famously swing your sword, blowing heads, in a single story campaign or in a multiplayer game, confronting real opponents.
In For Honor there are massive battles and fortress assaults, where enemy warriors attack each other in waves, and the outcome of the battle depends on the fighters of a higher rank, which are controlled by real players. Knights suppress enemy forces and converge with heated battles with opponents of equal strength.
We will share our opinion about the game in a separate review. In this article, we will look at performance issues, test different video cards and find out which ones will provide a comfortable gaming experience with maximum graphics quality.
The game is based on the AnvilNext 2.0 engine used in the latest games in the Assassin’s Creed series. For Honor pleases with excellent detailing of textures and high elaboration of the environment. Works under DirectX 11.
The game has a built-in benchmark that gives an overall impression of performance. It recreates the battle scene at one of the night levels of the story campaign. We decided to take a more difficult path and compare the capabilities of video cards in the most difficult gaming conditions. Mission 1.3 «Black Stone Legion» is great for this. Here, events develop in a detailed area with abundant vegetation. Performance drops are more severe than elsewhere.
For comparative testing, the frame rate was measured during the introductory staged scene and during the subsequent short run. The sequence of actions is shown in the video.
There were at least seven repetitions with fps monitoring using Fraps.
The list of tested video cards is as follows:
All video cards were brought to standard frequencies in order to match the reference solutions of their series as much as possible. They have also been overclocked. The younger Radeon R9 270 and HD 7870 series are represented by one video adapter, so a single option replaces them all in overclocking.
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: Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB (240 GB, SATA 6Gb/s);
- secondary drive: Hitachi HDS721010CLA332 (1 TB, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200 rpm);
- power supply: Seasonic SS-750KM (750 W);
- monitor: ASUS PB278Q (2560×1440, 27″);
- operating system: Windows 10 Pro x64;
- GeForce driver: NVIDIA GeForce 378.66;
- Radeon Driver: AMD Crimson Edition 17.2.1.
The main mode for testing will be the very highest quality profile Very High at 1920×1080 resolution. With such presets, all participants in the comparison were tested.
A pleasant surprise for older NVIDIA graphics cards will be the results of the GeForce GTX 780 Ti. This aged flagship suddenly finds itself in competition with the Radeon RX 480. The GeForce GTX 1060 is 6-9% faster. The Radeon R9 290 also has high performance, which, when overclocked, reaches the level of the Radeon RX 480. Among simpler video adapters, the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is the best option. Taking into account the fact that even in the heaviest scene this accelerator delivers 33-42 fps, we can talk about complete comfort in Full HD. GeForce GTX 960 needs overclocking for comparable results. The Radeon R9 270X is on par with the GeForce GTX 760.
The memory load in the test scene reaches 3.8 GB. A standard benchmark at Very High quality downloads about 2 GB or a little more. There were no problems with muddy textures on solutions with 2 GB.
Let’s compare older video adapters in a higher resolution of 2560×1440.
The increase in resolution does not affect the positions of the old GeForce GTX 780 Ti, it still successfully competes with the Radeon RX 480 and even outperforms it when overclocked. The GeForce GTX 1060 retains a slight advantage. In principle, all participants are allowed to play at the selected resolution. But under 4K, top-end solutions from NVIDIA are clearly needed.
When very high quality is selected, the game offers TAA by default. SMAA and FXAA are available among other options. Separately, you can activate the extreme SSAA oversampling mode. Let’s compare the quality of anti-aliasing. First, a little visual comparison.
The TAA anti-aliasing active by default gives some blurring. The best picture quality with a combination of smooth lines without ladders and high definition gives SSAA. For clarity, below is a comparison of identical fragments.
The best smoothing of contours gives TAA and SSAA. Among the FXAA and SMAA options, the second wins due to better clarity. Large screenshots clearly show that sharpening is also present on FXAA.
Let’s compare the impact on performance using the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti as an example.
Almost zero difference between TAA and SMAA, FXAA works a little faster. All of these post-processing anti-aliasing options have minimal performance impact relative to non-anti-aliased mode. But SSAA squanders the frame rate by 2.6 times.
Perhaps, on a more powerful video adapter with a large amount of memory, SSAA does not hit performance so critically? Our comparison of the GeForce GTX 1060 in TAA and SSAA mode showed no.
Even the GeForce GTX 1060 can’t handle that kind of anti-aliasing. This is an extreme option, which is worth experimenting with only on the most powerful graphics accelerators.
For Honor’s GPU power requirements are moderate. Normally playing at 1920×1080 at maximum quality allows the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti or solutions similar in performance. In this mode, the game already requires up to 4 GB of video memory. A slight reduction in graphics settings will allow you to achieve good results on the GeForce GTX 960, even in the 2 GB version. And the owners of old solutions like the GeForce GTX 760 and Radeon R9 270X can theoretically count on high quality.
If you own a 2560×1440 monitor, then you need to focus on 256-bit mid-range models. Among the new solutions are the GeForce GTX 1060, Radeon RX 480 and similar options, including the Radeon R9 290/290X or GeForce GTX 970. It is worth noting the high results of the old flagship GeForce GTX 780 Ti, which is slightly inferior to the GeForce GTX 1060 and is a competitor to the Radeon RX 480 .
The optimal anti-aliasing option is SMAA. We recommend manually enabling it in the settings to achieve the optimal balance between smooth edges and crisp fine details.