It’s time for a new test under the heading «Games against video cards»! In this series of materials, we study the performance in those games that have received little attention in reviews of specific video cards. Often this is a comparison of budget models, but this time we will go beyond the usual limits by testing several models over $200. Also, the legendary already legendary GeForce GTX 1060 and Radeon RX 580, which will take part in the new battle, are also regular participants in this column.

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The list of tested games includes projects that were released at the end of 2019 and at the beginning of 2020. These are representatives of different genres, indie projects and game blockbusters. Once again, let’s return to Red Dead Redemption 2 — the performance in the game was sorted out earlier, but then little attention was paid to budget video cards.

The full list of test applications is as follows:

  • Blacksad: Under the Skin;
  • Darksiders Genesis;
  • Detroit: Become Human;
  • Green Hell;
  • Halo: Reach;
  • Journey to the Savage Planet;
  • MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries;
  • Moons of Madness;
  • Phoenix Point;
  • Red Dead Redemption 2;
  • Terminator: Resistance;
  • Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem.

Test participants

ASUS ROG-STRIX-RX5600XT-O6G-GAMING will act as an ordinary representative of the Radeon RX 5600 XT series. Since we do not study the performance of top models in this review, higher frequencies are not involved. The video card ran at frequencies provided by the initial specifications, including 12000 MHz memory.

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Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5500 XT 4G will act as an ordinary representative of the Radeon RX 5500 XT series.

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On the NVIDIA side, the senior participant will be the GeForce GTX 1660 Super, namely the ASUS TUF 3-GTX1660S-O6G-GAMING. Frequencies are lowered to standard values ​​for the series.

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Next in NVIDIA’s hierarchy is the GeForce GTX 1660 (ASUS DUAL-GTX1660-6G-EVO).

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The GeForce GTX 1650 Super (ASUS TUF-GTX1650S-O4G-GAMING) also participates in testing.

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Full list of test participants:

  • Radeon RX 5600 XT 6GB;
  • Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB;
  • Radeon RX 580 8GB;
  • Radeon RX 480 8GB;
  • Radeon RX 570 4GB;
  • GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB;
  • GeForce GTX 1660 6GB;
  • GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB;
  • GeForce GTX 1060 6GB.

All video adapters were brought to standard frequencies to match the reference models of their series.

The official characteristics of video cards are given in the table.

Video adapter Radeon RX 5600 XT Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB Radeon RX 580 Radeon RX 480 Radeon RX 570 GeForce GTX 1660 Super GeForce GTX 1660 GeForce GTX 1650 Super GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
Core Navi 10 Navi 14 Polaris 20 Polaris 10 Polaris 20 TU116 TU116 TU116 GP106
Number of transistors, million pieces 10300 6400 5700 5700 5700 6600 6600 6600 4400
Process technology, nm 7 7 14 14 14 12 12 12 16
Core area, sq. mm 251 158 232 232 232 284 284 284 200
Number of stream processors 2304 1408 2304 2304 2048 1408 1408 1280 1280
Number of texture blocks 144 88 144 144 128 88 88 80 80
Number of render units 36 32 32 32 32 48 48 32 48
Core frequency, MHz 1130–1560 1607–1845 1257–1340 1120–1266 1168–1244 1530–1785 1530–1785 1530–1725 1506–1708
Memory bus, bit 192 128 256 256 256 192 192 128 192
Memory type GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR6 GDDR5 GDDR6 GDDR5
Memory frequency, MHz 12000 14000 8000 8000 7000 14000 8000 12000 8000
Memory size, MB 6144 4096 8192 8192 4096 6144 6144 4096 6144
Supported version of DirectX 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1) 12 (12_0) 12 (12_0) 12 (12_0) 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1) 12 (12_1)
Interface PCI-E 4.0 PCI-E 4.0 (8x) 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 3.0
Power, W 150 130 185 150 150 125 120 100 120

The table shows the official data on the average Boost Clock for the core, the graphs show the full range of frequencies, including peak Boost values.

test stand

The test bench configuration was 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 disk: Kingston SSDNow KC400 (512 GB, SATA 6Gb/s);
  • secondary drive: WD Red 3TB 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 video card driver: AMD Adrenalin Edition 20.2.2/20.1.1;
  • GeForce video card driver: NVIDIA GeForce 445.75/442.01.

A brief summary of the games and testing methodology are described below. The tests were carried out at 1920×1080 and 2560×1440 resolutions. The second mode was used only for older video cards or in applications with low system requirements. The games are listed alphabetically. The graphs show the minimum and average fps.

Test Methodology

Blacksad: Under the Skin

Story-driven adventure from Pendulo Studios. This is a classic noir detective, but with anthropomorphic animals as heroes. A good adventure with an unusual style.

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For its genre, the game has a nice detailed picture. A fixed opening scene was chosen for testing. The maximum graphics settings are enabled.

Darksiders Genesis

An offshoot within the famous Darksiders series. A variation of hack and slash with a top-down view and role-playing elements. The developers from Airship Syndicate managed to build an interesting adventure where it is interesting to explore the game world with many secrets. And the combat system with switching between heroes and a constant combination of skills works quite well. A good addition for fans that doesn’t pretend to be something outstanding, but gives a new gaming experience and expands the boundaries of the known universe.

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The game uses the Unreal Engine 4 and supports DirectX 11. The picture is nice, the system requirements are moderate. A certain sequence of actions was repeated with a small cut-scene at the beginning of the game.

Several repetitions on each video card, Ultra settings.

Detroit: Become Human

The latest game from Quantic Dream, which first came out on PC at the end of last year (only on the Epic Games Store so far). It’s a visually pleasing adventure game with an emphasis on variety. A familiar story from David Cage, where everything rests on cinematography, drama and a constant choice of how to act in a given situation. This time it does without mysticism, and the events take place in the near future.

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The game uses its own engine, which has clearly been upgraded since Beyond: Two Souls. Therefore, Detroit: Become Human pleases with a good study of locations, abundant reflections and beautiful effects. People look very convincing and alive. The game only works in the Vulkan API environment. The frame rate is capped at 60 fps. There are several graphics quality profiles, we used the Ultra mode.

For testing, we repeated a walk in a large city location at the beginning of the third game episode.

Green Hell

Jungle survival game from Creepy Jar studio. A typical representative of the genre with crafting and protection from environmental hazards. The game is distinguished by a certain realism and an atmosphere of immersion in a real jungle. Recently, co-op was added to Green Hell, which further increased interest from the gaming community.

The game is based on the Unity engine. We can observe the well-developed world of the Amazonian jungle with meticulous detail.

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The run through the thickets was repeated within the framework of the starting location. A series of repetitions for each video card. Very High quality settings are selected, all additional quality sliders are in the highest position.

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Halo: Reach

After a long period of exclusivity for the Halo series, Microsoft has decided to release all the major parts on PC with the release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Computer players received remastered versions with improved graphics. Halo: Reach was the first ported game on the list. And, unlike the re-release of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, this is a more modern game, since it originally came out after the main trilogy.

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Before us is a console game in 2010 and it looks pretty simple. Works in DirectX 11 environment. Improved graphics mode is used for tests. Due to low system requirements, all graphics cards are tested in 4K resolution (3840×2160).

Performance in the game is highly dependent on the combat situation and sags when firing and numerous effects. So there was a recurring firefight from the first mission where a number of key actions were taken to maintain a certain uniformity during the test session. Up to ten repetitions were also performed for more accurate totals. The maximum level of graphics.

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Journey to the Savage Planet

An indie game about exploring an alien planet. An interesting project with elements of metroidvania, where a lot is tied to exploring the world and crafting. A cozy little adventure with a nice light atmosphere and funny little animals. The game is based on the Unreal Engine 4. The game looks cartoony, but the world has a high draw distance, so performance in open areas sags.

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For testing, a run was repeated from the spacecraft landing zone to the local jungle. Maximum graphics settings Epic.

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MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

The revival of the old series from the studio Piranha Games. A game about the battles of large robots with scrupulous technical nuances of combat vehicles, but with an unprincipled story campaign. The graphics in MechWarrior 5 are at a high level. These are large detailed spaces with pleasant lighting, live weather effects. Bright explosions and the complete destructibility of artificial structures make shooting spectacular and beautiful.

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The game is based on Unreal Engine 4. The main API is DirectX 11, but a recent update added support for DirectX 12 and NVIDIA DLSS technology (only available on GeForce RTX graphics cards). In our case, the standard Ultra-settings under DirectX 11 were used. For testing, the moment of landing and walking in the custom single-player mode was repeated. For this, a huge level with a forest landscape was selected in the settings in order to create the maximum load. The effects of flames and smoke during the takeoff of the landing craft created a peak load during the test scene.

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Moons of Madness

An adventure game from Rock Pocket Games that combines Lovecraftian motifs and the atmosphere of space horror. Events take place on the Martian base, which was exposed to mysterious forces. Creepy atmospheric story with good reviews from Steam users.

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Another game based on Unreal Engine 4. It looks nice, but the graphics level is simpler than MechWarrior 5. For testing, a certain sequence of actions was selected, which was repeated several times on each video card.

Phoenix Point

A turn-based tactical game from the Snapshot Game studio. In fact, this is the successor to the X-COM series from the game designer of old games, Julian Gollop. The game resembles modern XCOM in a different setting and with a lot of tactical nuances. But visually it looks simpler than XCOM 2.

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The Unity engine is based on DirectX 11. For testing, a certain sequence of actions was repeated on a large detailed location. Immediately after the landing, commands were issued to the members of the detachment, after which the enemy’s move was carried out. Without a direct combat encounter, everything can be repeated in one pattern, but due to unstable performance, the number of repetitions has been increased to 7–10. The frame rate is capped at 60 fps.

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Red Dead Redemption 2

The performance in this game was analyzed in a separate material, but in the past testing there were few budget video cards. Now we have more of them at our disposal, there are new models, and a lot of updates have been released for the game itself. The patches may have slightly improved performance.

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The game blocks some parameters when the amount of video memory is low and does not set identical settings profiles for different video cards. Therefore, manually the main parameters were set to the “High” position, only the “Ultra” textures with 16x filtering. Older graphics cards are additionally tested with all parameters set to «Ultra».

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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.

Terminator: Resistance

A game based on the Terminator universe. Not the most successful shooter diluted with stealth and exploration of large locations. The main plus of the game is authenticity, careful adherence to the atmosphere of old films and its own story that is successfully inscribed in the general outline. This is another game on Unreal Engine 4. Terminator: Resistance has a rustic design, but sometimes the picture is pleasing to the eye.

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For testing, the moment after the first checkpoint at the beginning of the game, when the hero runs away from the advancing robots, was replayed. The abundance of flashes makes the scene relatively heavy, but keep in mind that in daytime episodes, the load on the system can be even higher.

Several repetitions on each video card. Measurements were taken with MSI Afterburner.

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem

Beautiful epic Diablo clone from WOLCEN Studio. Spectacular game on the CryEngine 4 engine, which confidently claims to be the most beautiful project in its genre. The picture pleases with excellent detail and live lighting.

The game runs in the DirectX 11 environment. For testing, the presets of the maximum quality Very High were selected. The episode with the arrival in the city was replayed — an introductory scene where the camera shows the outskirts of the city, plus a short run to certain points.

A series of repetitions was performed on each video card for more accurate data.

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