Tom Clancy's The Division 2 Performance Preview
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
|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:
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:
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)
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.
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:
- AMD Radeon RX 580: XFX GTS XXX Edition 8GB, $187.99, Amazon.com
- AMD Radeon RX 590: XFX Fatboy 8GB, $249.99, Amazon.com
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 56: Gigabyte Gaming OC 8GB, $416.94, Amazon.com
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 64: MSI AIR Boost, $521.53, Amazon.com
- AMD Radeon VII: PowerColor Radeon VII, $699.99, Amazon.com
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660: EVGA XC Black, $219, Amazon.com
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti: EVGA XC Black, $279.99, Amazon.com
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060: EVGA Black Edition, $349.99, Amazon.com
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070: EVGA Black Edition, $489.99, Amazon.com
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080: MSI Ventus, $694.99, Amazon.com
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti: ASUS ROG STRIX Gaming, $1299.99, Amazon.com