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

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.

ValheimValheim

Rough low-poly detail and pixelated objects are combined with modern lighting and beautiful effects.

Valheim

The game is based on the Unity engine, only DirectX 11 is supported.

Test participants

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.

Valheim

The previous generation is represented by the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition.

Valheim

From AMD’s side, the senior member is the reference variant of the Radeon RX 6800.

Valheim

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 type GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR5 GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR5
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
Power, W 220 260 215 170 120 250 230 225 185

Further, the graphs show the full frequency range — from the base value to the peak Boost (above the declared Boost Clock).

test bench

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.

Valheim

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.

Test results

Valheim

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.

Valheim

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.

Valheim

The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti keeps its lead at 4K resolution. The Radeon RX 6800 is still inferior to the GeForce RTX 3070.

conclusions

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.

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