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Tom Clancy's The Division 2 Performance Preview

Manufacturer: PC Perspective

AMD and NVIDIA GPUs Tested

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 launched over the weekend and we've been testing it out over the past couple of days with a collection of currently-available graphics cards. Of interest to AMD fans, this game joins the ranks of those well optimized for Radeon graphics, and with a new driver (Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2) released over the weekend it was a good time to run some benchmarks and see how some AMD and NVIDIA hardware stack up.

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The Division 2 offers DirectX 11 and 12 support, and uses Ubisoft's Snowdrop engine to provide some impressive visuals, particularly at the highest detail settings. We found the "ultra" preset to be quite attainable with very playable frame rates from most midrange-and-above hardware even at 2560x1440, though bear in mind that this game uses quite a bit of video memory. We hit a performance ceiling at 4GB with the "ultra" preset even at 1080p, so we opted for 6GB+ graphics cards for our final testing. And while most of our testing was done at 1440p we did test a selection of cards at 1080p and 4K, just to provide a look at how the GPUs on test scaled when facing different workloads.

Tom Clancy's The Division 2

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Washington D.C. is on the brink of collapse. Lawlessness and instability threaten our society, and rumors of a coup in the capitol are only amplifying the chaos. All active Division agents are desperately needed to save the city before it's too late.

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Developed by Ubisoft Massive and the same teams that brought you Tom Clancy’s The Division, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is an online open world, action shooter RPG experience set in a collapsing and fractured Washington, D.C. This rich new setting combines a wide variety of beautiful, iconic, and realistic environments where the player will experience the series’ trademark for authenticity in world building, rich RPG systems, and fast-paced action like never before.

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Play solo or co-op with a team of up to four players to complete a wide range of activities, from the main campaign and adversarial PvP matches to the Dark Zone – where anything can happen.

Continue reading our preview of GPU performance with The Division 2

PC Perspective GPU Test Platform
Processor Intel Core i7-8700K
Motherboard ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-H Gaming
Memory Corsair Vengeance LED 16GB (8GBx2) DDR4-3000
Storage Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Power Supply CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W
Operating System Windows 10 64-bit (Version 1803)
Drivers AMD: Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2
NVIDIA: GeForce Game Ready Driver 419.35

2560x1440 Ultra Results

In an effort to simplify the benchmarking process (or to irritate as many people as possible) I chose to benchmark only Turing graphics cards from NVIDIA now that most of the Pascal cards have been officially replaced (and with much of the remaining new inventory of GTX 10-series cards hopelessly overpriced relative to their newer counterparts). For comparison, roughly speaking, the GTX 1660 is just ahead of a GTX 1060 6GB, with the GTX 1660 Ti matching a GTX 1070, and an RTX 2060 providing GTX 1070 Ti-level performance (with factory-OC cards able to reach GTX 1080 levels of performance).

And now for those 1440p results:

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Beginning at the top of the chart, between the two $699 cards the RTX 2080 holds a 3.9 FPS advantage over the Radeon VII at this resolution, with the RX Vega 64 coming out on top of the RTX 2070. This alone is worth noting, as RX Vega 64 cards can be found (depending on the day, it seems) for less than the $499 list price of the lowest-cost RTX 2070 cards, and in fact the RX Vega 64 was a great performer all-around with this game as you will see. But the RX Vega 56 was actually more impressive to me, as it has been found for less than $300 of late and bests the $349 RTX 2060. We see solid results from all cards on the lower third of the chart, though NVIDIA's latest GTX 1660 series holds a very slight edge over the RX 580 and RX 590 here, though these RX 500-series cards do have the price advantage currently.

1920x1080 Ultra Results (GPUs under $400)

Taking just the $400-and-under cards down to 1920x1080, we see similar results:

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The RX Vega 56 holds a 4.2 FPS lead over the RTX 2060, with the GTX 1660 cards again holding off the RX 500-series - though it's nearly a tie between the GTX 1660 and RX 580 in the last two places, and with RTX 580s selling for under $200 currently the price/performance edge over NVIDIA's $219 card is notable here.

What about 4K? It makes no sense to run mid-range cards at 3840x2160 even when we lower the detail setting to "high", but the top four cards from the 1440/ultra tests are up to the task. These cards are joined by the current single-GPU desktop gaming titan, the RTX 2080 Ti - which is such an expensive option (our ASUS STRIX Gaming card sells for a whopping $1299) that it just didn't make sense to test it at the lower resolutions.

3820x2160 High Results (GPUs over $400)

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Regardless of price, the RTX 2080 Ti is pretty remarkable for a single-GPU option, with this ASUS STRIX card way out ahead of this small group. Things are much more interesting when we move down to cards that cost a little more than half as much, with the comparatively "affordable" $699 Radeon VII and RTX 2080 neck and neck at ~65 FPS in second place (and if you look at the frame time results the Radeon VII is ahead with a more consistent result here). AMD's great showing in The Division 2 concludes with the RX Vega 64's edge over the RTX 2070 - and even though it could be argued that our ASUS STRIX version of the RX Vega 64 has a factory OC and the EVGA Black RTX 2070 card does not, the cards would be very close in either case.

Conclusion

With this admittedly small sample size we obviously haven't covered every budget, and it will be interesting to see how the lower-cost cards fare with games like The Division 2. This new game is quite VRAM hungry at higher detail settings, making a great case for 8GB AMD Radeon cards in the sub-$200 price bracket. As the year progresses will likely see successors to more affordable cards from both AMD and NVIDIA, and The Division 2 will be a solid title to revisit as we go. It joins Far Cry 5 as a high-profile Ubisoft title that is well-optimized for Radeon hardware, and helps level the playing field with a number of NVIDIA-optimized titles currently available.

Current Amazon pricing for GPUs tested (or closest equivalents) as of 3/18/19:

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March 18, 2019 | 07:30 PM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

Bear in mind that the "Ultra" preset doesn't use the highest settings for everything. There are one or two that unlock additional options when you use custom settings.

March 18, 2019 | 09:07 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

Certainly worth pointing out. I'll add that while I did want to stick with presets for simplicity, a couple of things were toggled off as the game defaults to using VSync whenever you pick a preset, so that was disabled for the above benchmarks as was the "enable reduced latency" option which lowers overall performance. Everything else was left at defaults.

March 22, 2019 | 03:28 PM - Posted by coylabel

I just noticed that using the DX12 renderer increased my Ultra benchmark performance from 76fps to 79fps. Were these benchmarks all done in DX12? I believe DX11 was the default for my installation. The review mentions both options are available but I could not determine which option was used after reading the article.

If your results are DX12, then my wc and OC'd 1070 does in fact match the performance of the 1660ti as you stated, even though I have an older quad core, compared to the 6 cores tested here.

I'm not sure if my results are wrong or not, but every time I tested with "enable reduced latency" on, CPU utilization dropped 10-15% and FPS went up 5-7. Are my results wrong or misleading?

March 18, 2019 | 09:17 PM - Posted by Odin (not verified)

But is it a good game?

March 20, 2019 | 03:33 PM - Posted by Anonymously Anonymous (not verified)

Jim sterling gave it a 'meh'. The genral consensus about Ubisoft games in general is that they're not bad games, just i'd pick one of them to play through once and then I'm done with that experience. ie, if you played one FC, same experience for all of them, same goes for AC, etc.

but hey, if you have fun with their games, then jump in and have fun!

March 21, 2019 | 09:05 AM - Posted by Theodyce (not verified)

This game causes me headaches with temps hitting 90c on my 8700k with only 40% load on the cpu. This is the only game I have that causes this and I do not have anything overclocked on my H100V2

March 21, 2019 | 06:50 PM - Posted by terminal addict

So... you're not going to include the single-most popular video card (according to Steam) in your p/reviews anymore?

March 22, 2019 | 05:23 AM - Posted by coylabel

Another site has details for the 1060:
https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/the_division_2_pc_graphics_perform...

My heavily OC'd (2114 Mhz) and water-cooled 1070 w/ a 4790k@4.8 ghz get's 76 fps with an overall score of 6818 on Ultra at 1080p. I also have 2400mhz DDR3. This is just to give you an idea of how important the 6 or 8 cores are for this game.

A stock 1070 with a stock 8700k may be a bit better.

Guru3d got 77 Fps using a 1070 with a 9900k on Ultra at stock.

Hopefully Intel will improve the core technology.. Adding cores sounds good on paper but it just seems to cost more money while providing minimal benefits.. Who would pay to upgrade for 1 fps on average??

April 5, 2019 | 05:57 AM - Posted by JaymeAnderson

It looks great as you can see on online gaming streams. But unfortunately I can’t play with the full settings on my computer I can only play at https://duckdice.io/lottery I have seen a detailed review on the page above and I will probably postpone my winnings to such a purchase. Thank you for motivating me to be better)

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