Total War WARHAMMER DX12 Benchmark – Our GPU & CPU Test

Keith May
Posted May 28, 2016
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Total War: WARHAMMER is the latest installment of the Total War franchise to hit the PC market and possibly the best one yet as highlighted in our review.  Being known in the past to be an extremely CPU intensive series that lacked good multithreading support, Creative Assembly chose to implement DX12 this time to help resolve that issue.  Unfortunately the ability to utilize DX12 was not available at launch but, according to the developers, will be available soon.  We received an early DX12 benchmark utility from AMD to see how performance is with DX12 in Total War: WARHAMMER.

*DISCLAIMER*

There are some very important things to keep in mind going into this performance test.  We are not able to compare directly to DX11 to measure the performance gain or loss going to DX12.  Neither AMD or NVIDIA have drivers ready for this launch, therefore this should be used merely as reference for current DX12 performance in Total War: WARHAMMER when using DX12.  One last thing regarding this benchmark, with no way to further test frame rates and frame times (as programs such as FRAPS have yet to catch up to DX12) we’re at the mercy of the results given by the benchmark.  Being that this game utilized Asynchronous Compute we suspect that Radeon graphics cards will see greater gains when going from DX11 to DX12, but without having DX11 results it’s only speculation.  We only mention that because it is important to note that the gains with DX12 are likely heavily attributed to the inclusion of Asynchronous Compute.

AMD_DirectX 12_Asynchronus Compute 1

Test Bench, Settings, and Testing

Test bench for GPU testing

Component Selection
CPU Intel Core i7-4770k (4.4ghz)
Motherboard Asus Maximus VI Hero
Power Supply Cooler Master V1200platinum
Storage Disk Seagate 2TB SSHD
Memory Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600mhz
Monitor Monoprice Crystalview 4k
Video Cards GTX 960, R9 380, R9 390, GTX 980,

R9 Nano, GTX 980ti, R9 Fury X

Operating System Window 10 64-Bit

Graphics Cards Tested

–              EVGA GTX 960 SSC 4GB

–              XFX R9 380 OC 4GB

–              XFX R9 390 Black Edition 8GB

–              PNY GTX 980 XLR8 OC 4GB

–              AMD R9 Nano 4GB

–              EVGA GTX 980ti ACX SC

–              Sapphire R9 Fury X

Drivers used were Crimson 16.5.3 and GeForce 368.22

Settings

We tested Total War: WARHAMMER using the in game Ultra Preset. While there were more settings we could have enabled, we wanted to stick to the preset to ensure parity across our tests as well as for comparative purposes with other outlets.  We then ran the benchmark three times and took the average FPS from the three runs.

WH settings

1080p

1080p

1440p

1440p

2160p/4k

2160p

CPU Performance

In addition to GPU performance we wanted to evaluate current CPU performance as well.  We noticed that this game does utilize all available cores well, but interestingly it did not translate to higher FPS on the AMD CPUs.  Left out of the results right now are the i5 6400 and Athlon x4 845 as we are currently locked out due to having used too many different configurations, we’ll update the charts as soon as we can launch the game again.

Configurations for CPU tests

i7 4770k stock and 2 core 4 thread configuration

Component Selection
CPU Intel Core i7-4770k stock
Motherboard Asus Maximus VI Hero
Power Supply Cooler Master V1200platinum
Storage Disk Seagate 2TB SSHD
Memory Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600mhz
Monitor Monoprice Crystalview 4k
Video Cards R9 Fury X
Operating System Window 10 64-Bit

FX 8350 and 6 core configuration

Component Selection
CPU FX 8350
Motherboard Asus 970 Pro Gaming Aura
Power Supply Cooler Master V1200platinum
Storage Disk Seagate 2TB SSHD
Memory Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600mhz
Monitor Monoprice Crystalview 4k
Video Cards R9 Fury X
Operating System Window 10 64-Bit

A10 7890k configuration

Component Selection
CPU A10 7890k
Motherboard Asus Crossblade Ranger
Power Supply Cooler Master V1200platinum
Storage Disk Seagate 2TB SSHD
Memory AMD Radeon Gamer Ram 8gb DDR3 2400mhz
Monitor Monoprice Crystalview 4k
Video Cards R9 Fury X
Operating System Window 10 64-Bit

CPU Tests

Conclusion

In the end, we still have to remember that the drivers have not been finalized for the DX12 version of this game so we can use this to see how everything is performing comparatively at the current time.  Something of note is that multi-GPU does not appear to be functioning at the moment, at least on AMD side since neither the R9 295×2 or Fury X + Nano configurations would crash as soon as the game loaded.  All of the GPUs tested ran the game well and were all right in line with performance expectations.

As far as CPUs go, I was expecting to see better performance out of the FX 8350 as both the 6 core variant and the A10 7890k matched it in performance on this benchmark.  By contrast, we see the i7 take a significant step back when all 8 threads aren’t available, but without being able to properly test the i5 I’m not able to make a conclusion whether that’s a thread issue or a core issue.

Stay tuned for us to update the CPU portion of this article as we’ll be doing so as soon as we’re able to get back into the game.

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