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'Need For Speed' PC Performance Review

Test Results: Full HD To Ultra HD

Higher Resolutions Just Destroy Frame Rates

We used the highest quality settings for testing to gauge the performance hit due to increased memory requirements. But even graphics cards like AMD's Radeon R9 380X run smoothly at 2560x1440, so long as  you're willing to toggle some of the game's eye candy off. The same is true for AMD's Radeon R7 360 at 1920x1080 and low detail settings, where the entry-level board manages more than 30 FPS. Granted, the result is neither smooth nor pretty. It's nice to have the option, though.

We rounded all results to the next full frame per second. Between the online nature of the game and the AI competitors, the results just aren't precise enough for more than that.

At Full HD, Nvidia's GeForce graphics cards tend to do a bit better than AMD's. However, the older Radeon R9 390X does inch out the GeForce GTX 980. So, too, does the Radeon R9 390, beating Nvidia's GeForce GTX 970.

At higher resolutions, Need for Speed’s graphics memory requirements skyrocket. Memory should be both plentiful and fast to keep up. This plays right into the hands of AMD's Fiji-based boards. The Radeon Fury X even inches out Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan X.

The older Kepler-based cards, which kept up well enough at 1920x1080, can't compete any longer due to their lack of memory.

At Ultra HD, the older Grenada-based cards with their seemingly overkill memory configurations have their chance to shine. AMD's Radeon R9 390X almost catches up with the Fury X and beats the Fury Nitro by a large margin.

Nvidia's GeForce Titan X is saved by its massive 12GB of GDDR5, pulling ahead of the two 8GB competitors. The Fiji-based products lose the advantage they held at 2560x1440 due to their 4GB of memory.

The other Nvidia graphics cards can't compete; GeForce GTX 970, in particular, falls off in the rankings.

Even after reducing detail settings significantly, the minimum performance level needed to play Need for Speed at Ultra HD comes from a Radeon R9 Nano or GeForce GTX 980. Even then, those cards struggle mightily. Everything below simply cannot handle the game at 3840x2160.

  • blppt
    I'm not sure the lack of memory size matters as much as the memory bandwidth and other considerations, as my Titan Blacks (6GB onboard) still get beaten pretty badly by 4GB boards at 4K. If the game was saturating the VRAM and having to go over the PCI-E bus to get some system memory, you can bet the minimum framerates would be at the very least lower than the Titan Blacks for some of the 4GB cards, like the 980 or the Furys.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    This line: "When a 10-year-old game is more realistic, that's not something to be proud of".

    There are only 2 games in the entirety of the NFS franchise that wanted to be "realistic" or "simulation", and that is Shift. Even they were arcade as hell, no matter how you sliced it.

    Anyone playing a NFS game does not look for "realism" in it. They look for fun and fast cars; some fun cop chases and great tuning.

    Sorry about the rant, but I think the game does not deserve that line, because it has never painted itself as a Gran Turismo wannabe. You have great games that play to realism and they do it pretty darn well. NFS is just not one of them.

    In any case, nice tech review. I would have liked some screenshots on how it looks in the different settings though.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • ohim
    I find it so funny how AMD cards age much better than Nvidia cards.

    Take the 780Ti for example, it was totally superior even to 290X at launch .. now it just struggles to compeat with 380x that is practically a refreshed 280x ...
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    17846375 said:
    I find it so funny how AMD cards age much better than Nvidia cards.

    Take the 780Ti for example, it was totally superior even to 290X at launch .. now it just struggles to compeat with 380x that is practically a refreshed 280x ...

    The 290x at launch is a bad example of a GPU to look at for comparison. At launch the 290 series had heat issues and throttled all the time, they couldn't even run at maximum speed all the time which gave nVidia an advantage.

    The 900 series is more the 200/300 series competition, even the 970 at launch was close to the 780Ti and with time and driver improvements the 970 is still with or better than the 780Ti.

    And the 380X is a bit more than a refresh of the 280X/7970. It has a 256bit buss vs the 384bit memory buss, faster VRAM, newer iteration of GCN and power enhancements.
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    17846375 said:
    I find it so funny how AMD cards age much better than Nvidia cards.
    Take the 780Ti for example, it was totally superior even to 290X at launch .. now it just struggles to compeat with 380x that is practically a refreshed 280x ...

    Not nearly as funny as the suckers who spent $650 on an R9 Fury X thinking they had a 980Ti beater.

    Reply
  • FormatC
    17846361 said:
    This line: "When a 10-year-old game is more realistic, that's not something to be proud of".
    There are only 2 games in the entirety of the NFS franchise that wanted to be "realistic" or "simulation", and that is Shift. Even they were arcade as hell, no matter how you sliced it.

    Bad translation. The tuning options in NFS:UG2 were better (more realistic) but this doesn't mean that NFS is a realistic racing game. It's simple Arcade but the influence of different options was in UG2 simply better balanced.

    I wrote a few trainers and savegame tools for NFS:UG2 and I also extracted a lot of car models to understand the system of this different values. And I've played with the car settings in the files and had finally a lot of fun. :)

    This was 6 years ago :D
    http://gamebanana.com/tools/5380


    Reply
  • ohim
    17846375 said:
    I find it so funny how AMD cards age much better than Nvidia cards.
    Take the 780Ti for example, it was totally superior even to 290X at launch .. now it just struggles to compeat with 380x that is practically a refreshed 280x ...

    Not nearly as funny as the suckers who spent $650 on an R9 Fury X thinking they had a 980Ti beater.
    The cards are just fine, the games running Gameworks are the main problem...and i`m willing to bet that the 980ti will end up like the 780Ti in time ... there`s a thing called planned obsolescence that Nvidia seem to have got the taste of it lately.
    Reply
  • blppt
    "The 290x at launch is a bad example of a GPU to look at for comparison. At launch the 290 series had heat issues and throttled all the time, they couldn't even run at maximum speed all the time which gave nVidia an advantage."

    Agreed. I was one of those dumb early adopters---I got a Sapphire 290x shortly after they were available at Newegg, and holy hell--that card got loud if you even looked at it odd.

    Eventually I couldnt take it anymore and I bought 2 8GB Sapphire 290x Toxics later on to replace it.
    Reply
  • blppt
    The cards are just fine, the games running Gameworks are the main problem...and i`m willing to bet that the 980ti will end up like the 780Ti in time ... there`s a thing called planned obsolescence that Nvidia seem to have got the taste of it lately.

    Its pretty much always seemed that way. AMD usually seems to have the better hardware on paper, but it takes them forever to get the drivers optimized to exploit the advantage over their Nvidia competitors. Nvidia's strength pretty much always lies in their drivers.

    Its hard to say one approach is better than the other absolutely---often, by the time AMD's drivers have gotten to the level where they have eclipsed the inferior Nvidia hardware they were competing with, the 'next big thing' is either there or coming shortly. Whereas, like you said, you get the standard "planned obsolescence" on the Nvidia side.
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    17847328 said:
    The cards are just fine, the games running Gameworks are the main problem...and i`m willing to bet that the 980ti will end up like the 780Ti in time ... there`s a thing called planned obsolescence that Nvidia seem to have got the taste of it lately.

    Uhm, no they are not. They run 10% slower than a reference 980Ti and a factory overclocked 980Ti like Gigabyte's Windforce leaves it in the dust...and uses less power to do it. Gameworks has nothing to do with it. Just a little memory refresher:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/9390/the-amd-radeon-r9-fury-x-review/13
    Reply