The game Valheim has become one of the main surprises of this year. A small project from a small studio Iron Gate has gained a lot of popularity on Steam. The main visual feature is pixel styling and simple detailing of the models. At the same time, the system requirements of the game are serious, and the maximum graphics quality may be beyond the power of old video cards. In this review, we will compare the performance of different AMD and NVIDIA solutions in order to determine the optimal video cards for the game.
Valheim is a survival game set in the world of Norse mythology. The hero begins his journey with the extraction of the simplest resources, creates tools and weapons, hunts, builds a dwelling, a boat and studies the world around him. Quite typical activities for this genre, but united by a series of tasks that set specific goals for the player. You have to explore large procedurally generated locations with a diverse landscape, where there are forests, rocks, rivers and lakes.
Rough low-poly detail and pixelated objects are combined with modern lighting and beautiful effects.
The game is based on the Unity engine, only DirectX 11 is supported.
AMD and NVIDIA video cards of different generations take part in testing. All of them are tested at the recommended frequencies.
On the NVIDIA side, the senior member of the new generation is the ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 3070, whose frequencies were adjusted to the standard level.
The previous generation is represented by the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition.
From AMD’s side, the senior member is the reference variant of the Radeon RX 6800.
The full list of video cards is as follows:
- GeForce RTX 3070 8GB (57,999 – 68,999 UAH);
- GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB;
- GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8GB;
- GeForce RTX 3060 12GB;
- GeForce GTX 1060 6GB;
- Radeon RX 6800 16GB (68,999 UAH);
- Radeon RX 6700 XT 12GB;
- Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB;
- Radeon RX 580 8GB.
Characteristics of the tested video cards
|Video adapter||GeForce RTX 3070||GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE||GeForce RTX 2070 Super||GeForce RTX 3060||GeForce GTX 1060||Radeon RX 6800||Radeon RX 6700 XT||Radeon RX 5700 XT||Radeon RX 580|
|Core||GA104||TU102||TU104||GA106||GP106||Navi 21||Navi 22||Navi 10||Polaris 20|
|Number of transistors, million pieces||17000||18600||13600||13250||4400||26800||17200||10300||5700|
|Process technology, nm||8||12||12||8||16||7||7||7||14|
|Core area, sq. mm||450||754||545||276||200||520||335||251||232|
|Number of CUDA Stream Processors||5888||4352||2560||3584||1280||3840||2560||2560||2304|
|Number of RT cores||46||68||40||28||—||60||40||—||—|
|Number of texture blocks||184||272||160||112||80||240||160||160||144|
|Number of render units||96||88||64||48||48||96||40||64||32|
|Base core frequency, MHz||1500||1350||1605||1320||1506||1700||2321||1605||1257|
|Game Clock frequency, MHz||–||–||–||–||–||1815||2424||1755||–|
|Boost frequency, MHz||1725||1635||1770||1777||1708||2105||2581||1905||1340|
|Memory bus, bit||320||352||256||192||192||256||192||256||256|
|Memory frequency, MHz||14000||14000||14000||15000||8000||16000||16000||14000||8000|
|Memory size, GB||8||11||8||12||6||16||12||8||8|
|Supported version of DirectX||12 Ultimate (12_2)||12 Ultimate (12_2)||12 (12_1)||12 Ultimate (12_2)||12 (12_1)||12 Ultimate (12_2)||12 Ultimate (12_2)||12 (12_1)||12 (12_1)|
|Interface||PCI-E 4.0||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 4.0||PCI-E3.0||PCI-E 4.0||PCI-E 4.0||PCI-E 4.0||PCI-E 4.0|
Further, the graphs show the full frequency range — from the base value to the peak Boost (above the declared Boost Clock).
The test bench configuration is as follows:
- Processor: Intel Core i9-9900K;
- cooling system: be quiet! Silent Loop 280mm;
- motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula;
- Memory: Kingston HyperX HX434C16FB3K2/32 (DDR4-3466@3600);
- system disk: Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB;
- Optional Drive #1: Kingston A2000 NVMe PCIe 1000GB;
- Optional Drive #2: Kingston KC2000 NVMe PCIe 1000GB;
- case: Antec NX800;
- power supply: Antec HCG850 Gold;
- monitor: ASUS PB278Q (2560×1440, 27″);
- operating system: Windows 10 Pro x64;
- AMD Radeon Adrenalin Edition driver 21.3.2/21.3.1;
- NVIDIA GeForce 466.11/461.72 driver.
The maximum graphics quality is selected, all sliders are in the extreme position.
The game has a dynamic change of time of day, plus the possibility of fog and other weather conditions. It is impossible to select completely identical conditions for testing. Therefore, we tried to follow certain criteria during the repetition of the test run: daylight hours, excluding fog and other non-standard conditions. Such testing requires a lot of time with the expectation of a suitable time period in the game. And according to the results, you still need to take into account the probability of error, therefore, in a number of moments, a rough rounding of the final data to integer values was used.
The big surprise was the low results of the GeForce GTX 1060 and Radeon RX 580 in Full HD resolution. It will be easier to achieve comfortable fps when lowering the settings on the GeForce GTX 1060 due to a serious advantage over the competitor. Comfortable performance with maximum graphics will be provided by the GeForce RTX 3060 and Radeon RX 5700 XT. In this case, it is necessary to take into account the possibility of drawdowns during fog and at other times. Upload video memory up to 1.5 GB.
In high resolutions, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card was added, which turned out to be the most powerful in our list of participants.
To avoid drawdowns, the GeForce RTX 2070 Super can be considered the optimal solution for a resolution of 2560×1440, the results of the Radeon RX 6700 XT are slightly lower. The GeForce RTX 3070 outperforms the Radeon RX 6800.
The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti keeps its lead at 4K resolution. The Radeon RX 6800 is still inferior to the GeForce RTX 3070.
For all its low-poly styling, Valheim proves to be a tough nut to crack for high-resolution graphics cards. If you play in the standard Full HD format, then for maximum graphics settings you need models more powerful than the GeForce RTX 2060 and Radeon RX 5700. For 1440p, we can recommend the GeForce RTX 2070 Super or solutions similar in performance. The minimum choice for 4K is the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, but the demanding gamer will need a GeForce RTX 3080, which is pretty unexpected. In all modes, NVIDIA video cards demonstrate a serious advantage over AMD competitors. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is faster than the Radeon RX 6800, while the GeForce RTX 2070 Super has parity with the Radeon RX 6700 XT.