Similar to our productivity tests, we made some changes to our game test suite by removing some older titles and adding some brand-spanking-new ones. We stopped using Alien: Isolation, GRID Autosport, Metro: Last Light Redux, and Thief, and in their places we added Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation (to replace the previous Ashes benchmark) and Middle Earth: Shadows of War. As usual, we tested all games with the maximum settings, which for Ashes: Escalation is the DX12 Crazy Preset with MSAA x8. For Shadows of War, we didn’t pre-load the MIPS and disabled Dynamic Resolution and set the game to Ultra with FXAA only.
For this particular review, we also excluded 2560 x 1440 resolution test results. This is partially because the mobile GPU would not run that resolution at full screen (although we could have run the tests with windowed resolutions), but also because these types of devices are typically meant for the living room, where 1080p and 4K TVs rule the roost. (Note: you will see that a GTX 1060 GPU, in either mobile or desktop form, is not exactly adequate for 4K gaming, especially at these high settings.)
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
The MSI Vortex’s mobile GPU is going to be a thorn in its side throughout our gaming benchmarks when compared to a system with a desktop graphics card, and it starts testing off with the expected ~10% performance gap from the next closest reference system with a stock-clocked desktop GPU. Although there is only difference of roughly 5 FPS between our Z270 reference rig and the Vortex, the Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation results show that a GTX 1060 isn’t going to bode well at Ultra settings with demanding modern AAA games. Scaling back the detail levels and anti-aliasing will vastly improve your frame rates in a game such as this.
The MSI G25 Vortex 8RD provides excellent frame rates at 1920 x 1080 in Bioshock Infinite, netting an average of 113.05 FPS. This is still behind our reference systems with a desktop GPU, but this game isn’t particularly taxing until you crank up the resolution. However, even at 4K, the Vortex puts out an average of 37.28 FPS, which is playable (and easily improved without turning down too many settings).
The MSI G25 Vortex 8RD once again trails the desktop GPU-equipped comparison systems. At 1920 x 1080, the Vortex falls behind our H270 reference rig by 1.24 FPS. Cranking the resolution up to 3840 x 2160 makes the margin even slimmer, with only a 0.62 average FPS difference between the Vortex and the Core i5-7500-equipped H270 test system. You won’t be able to get playable frame rates at 4K without some significant reductions to the detail and AA settings, but all of the GTX 1060-equipped systems are able to provide close to a 60 FPS average with the maximum detail settings at 1080p.
Grand Theft Auto V
GTA V gives the MSI G25 Vortex 8RD its only second-place finish in the game benchmarks at 3840 x 2160, where the six-core i5-8400 gives it a slight edge over the previous-gen i5-7500 in our H270 reference machine. However, at 1920 x 1080, the Vortex remains at the bottom of the chart, behind the H270 test rig by 3.45 FPS average.
The MSI G25 Vortex 8RD nets impressive average frame rates in the Hitman benchmarks at 1920 x 1080, but it still remains behind the desktop GPU-equipped comparison systems. At 4K, the reference PCs are able to almost achieve a playable 30 FPS at the most punishing settings, but the Vortex falls painfully short of the 30 FPS mark with its mobile GPU by 3.57 FPS. However, reducing the detail and AA settings will get you playable frame rates at 3840 x 2160.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Rise of the Tomb Raider is one of the most punishing games in our test suite, and the Vortex puts out an average frame rate of 34.72 FPS at 1920 x 1080 with all the bells and whistles turned on. Reducing the AA will drastically improve performance, but gaming at 3840 x 2160 will be a tough task without reducing the texture details to their minimums. At max settings, none of the GTX 1060-equipped systems is able to reach double-digit average frame rates.
The Division is another hardware-intensive game with all the eye candy at maximum, and the Vortex again finds the bottom of the pile with an average frame rate of 50.7 FPS at 1920 x 1080. Dialing up the resolution to 3840 x 2160 again proves to be a tough order; not a single system in the field reaches beyond 20 FPS. Reducing settings will help, but it’s starting to become apparent that the G25 Vortex 8RD is more limited to 1080p TVs/displays, at least at maxed-out settings.
Middle Earth: Shadows of War
The newest game in our test suite is extremely GPU-focused using its Ultra preset, evidenced by the identical average frame rates of our Z270 and H270 test systems. (We used the same GPU in each platform.) As such, the MSI G25 Vortex 8RD trails the desktop GPU-equipped systems at a reasonably expected margin (9-11%) at 1920 x 1080 and 3840 x 2160. Once again, the Vortex demonstrates enthusiast-level frame rates at 1080p, but it fails to impress at 4K with the detail settings at max. You'll have to upgrade the graphics card for that.
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