Darksiders 3 PC Performance Explored: Fury Free Edition

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Nov 30
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Darksiders 3 has finally made it’s way out to the world thanks to Gunfire Games and THQ Nordic and I couldn’t be more excited.  I’ve enjoyed the previous entry’s into the post apocalyptic world of the four horsemen.  And so far Darksiders 3 has not disappointed me, but this isn’t a review for that you’ll need check out our Darksiders 3 Review for that.  We’re here for performance to see how the latest entry into the series is across a variety of hardware.  Style wise it retains the general look of the earlier entry’s but has beefed things up a bit in assets.  Giving that the game is built on the Unreal 4 Engine we can already make a few assumption on performance, but we’re still going to drill down the usual gamut to see how things shake out.

Testing Methodology

First off, the game comes with a 60FPS lock, GG guys, really? But it’s easy enough to circumvent, simply:

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  • Navigate to C:\Users\[USER]\AppData\Local\Darksiders3\Saved\Config\WindowsNoEditor
  • Open GameUserSettings
  • ensure VSync=0
  • Change FrameRateLimit=0 from 0 to 999 (FrameRateLimit=999)

Now you’ve unlocked the frame rate.  I have yet to see if there is any reason for this outside of a quality of life thing for the gamer, no breaking physics, no speed up or anything like that.  Once that was configured we setup a like-for-like course to run though to easily replicate each run for consistency. The results are presented as Avgerage FPS that represent where the average frame rate fell over the course of the test, 1% Low which represents the lowest 1% of frames, and then the .1% low represents the bottom .1% frames.  These metrics give a better understanding of overall performance rather than representing the absolute minimum frame rate as that could potentially be a random outlier, but know that the .1% can still be effected by asset loading during runs.

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Test Systems

Components X370 Z370
CPU Ryzen 7 1700 @ 4GHz i5 8600k @ 5GHz
Memory 16GB G.Skill Flare X DDR4 3200 16GB Geil EVO X DDR4 3200
Motherboard MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium EVGA Z370 Classified K
Storage Adata SU800 128GB
2TB Seagate SSHD
Adata SU800 128GB
2TB Seagate SSHD
PSU Cooler Master V1200 Platinum Cooler Master V1200 Platinum

Graphics Cards Tested

GPU Architecture Core Count
Clock Speed Memory Capacity
Memory Speed
NVIDIA RTX 2080ti Turing 4352 1350/1635 11GB GDDR6 14Gbps
NVIDIA RTX 2080 FE Turing 2944 1515/1800 8GB GDDR6 14Gbps
NVIDIA RTX 2070 FE Turing 2304 1410/1710 8GB GDDR6 14Gbps
NVIDIA GTX 1080 FE Pascal
2560 1607/1733 8GB GDDR5X 10Gbps
NVIDIA GTX 1070 FE Pascal
1920 1506/1683 8GB GDDR5 8Gbps
NVIDIA GTX 1060 FE 6GB Pascal
1280
1506/1708 6GB GDDR5 8Gbps
XLR8 GTX 1060 3GB Pascal 1152 1506/1708 3GB GDDR5 8Gbps
AMD RX Vega 64 Vega 10 4096 1247/1546 8GB HBM2 945Mbps
XFX RX Vega 56 Vega 10 3584 1156/1471 8GB HBM2 800Mbs
Sapphire Nitro+ RX 590 Polaris 30 2304 1560 8GB GDDR5 8.4Gbps
XFX RX 480 8GB Polaris 10 2304 1266 8GB GDDR5 8Gbps
Sapphire Nitro+ RX 570 4GB Polaris 20 2048 1340 4GB GDDR5 7Gbps

Drivers Used

Drivers  
Radeon Settings 18.11.2
GeForce 417.01

Settings Scaling At 4K

Scaling at 4K was pretty interesting as we saw modest gains from bumping the settings down from EPIC through Medium but Low saw MASSIVE performance gains.  Although it looks like swamp butt, but could be useful for those on very low end hardware to be able to join in the reindeer games here.  It is refreshing to see a game where the settings do make a visual impact that can be seen in the screenshots below.

Low Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
Epic Settings

Ryzen Core Scaling

Ryzen core scaling was an interesting beast this go around and actually saw performance increase as we went down in cores and threads.  I had to run these tests more than 3 times just to make sure that they were accurate and observed core utilization while running the benchmark course.  It appeared that the game simply become less stable across the core utilization the more were added in.

Core i5 8600K vs Ryzen 7 1700

From what we gathered in the Ryzen core scaling tests the showdown between it and the i5 8600k is unsurprising. It’s clear that clock speed is king over cores in this game.  However as the resolution increases Ryzen claws back some of the gap between the two.

1080p

Run on Z370 Test System.

1440p

Run on Z370 Test System.

4K

Run on Z370 Test System.

Conclusion

It’s always interesting to see how a game that comes shipped with a framerate lock performs when the cap is removed, after all at 1080p with the lock on it you would be hard pressed to find a difference in performance across most of these cards, take it off and watch GeForce scream past Radeon on every level.  Same can be said for the CPU side of things where the RTX 2080Ti performs like a RTX 2070 when paired with the Ryzen 7 1700.  But, turn the FPS cap back on and you’ll be unsure what setup you’re using, at 1080p anyway.  But the game feels per second in the out of the box configuration were good.  Something to note on 4K performance is that this game hammers everything hard.  When I first started testing and seeing the 1080p and 1440p numbers rolling in all I could think was “How is DLSS really gonna help this game?”, then I got to 4K testing and figured it out real quick.  But as with other RTX features, this one isn’t showing it’s head just yet.  If you’ll excuse me I’ve got a few more of the Seven Deadly Sins to go hunt down.

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