Benchmarks: FPS, Frame Time, and Smoothness
Tom's Clancy Ghost Recon Wildlands includes an integrated benchmark that lasts about 55 seconds. It's composed of one sequence, which alternates between close and far views. While we're using this metric for our test, certain parts of the game itself do prove more graphically demanding, we've found.
Medium Quality - 1080p
At Medium quality, the GeForce GTX 1060 cards dominate with frame rates that never drop below 60 FPS. The Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 970 aren't far behind, while the RX 470 and R9 390 are a notch below. They all deliver respectable performance, though.
The GeForce GTX 1050 and Radeon RX 460 can't say the same; they've already fallen behind. In fact, our benchmark sequence is uncomfortably choppy on the Radeon.
Medium Quality - 1080p - Patch 1.1.5
Only the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, GTX 970, and GTX 1050 (to a smaller extent) demonstrate slightly better performance with patch 1.1.5. On the other hand, all of the cards enjoy improved frame time stability, particularly the 2GB RX 460), which has a noticeably positive effect on perceived smoothness.
Very High Quality - 1080p
Given their struggles at Medium quality, we don't bother with the GeForce GTX 1050 or Radeon RX 460 using the Very High preset. We do, however, add the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB and Radeon RX 480 with some additional Nvidia-contributed effects.
Even the slowest contender keeps its minimum frame rate above 40 FPS, but only Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1060 6GB makes it through the benchmark without ever dropping below 50 FPS. The sequence still runs relatively smoothly across our test field, though.
It's no surprise that activating HBAO+, Turf Effects, and Enhanced God Rays has a measurable performance impact. The drop is fairly equivalent, affecting the GeForce by -12% and the Radeon by -14%.
Very High Quality - 1080p - Patch 1.1.5
Once again, the GTX 1060 6GB and GTX 970 see their frame rates improve slightly. We also notice that only the GeForce cards seem to benefit from improved frame time stability. That's interesting, since this patch was supposed to help Radeons perform better.