Gears 5 PC Performance Explored – Rev Up Those Lancers!

Keith May

The Coalition is back with the Gears of War series, but this time they've dropped the 'of War' so I guess war does change sometimes. Our review for Gears 5 isn't up yet but when it is we'll link it so you can easily find it if that was what you were looking for.  Here we'll be looking at Gears 5 PC performance and how the cards I have in office stack, up.  Gears 5 is a bit of an interesting one from a release standpoint as it released on Xbox as well as the multiple stores on the PC; Steam as well as the Xbox PC App and Windows Store.

Testing Methodology

For our testing, we are using the Xbox PC app version that came along with my Xbox Live Ultimate Subscription. Because of this, we are limited to DX12 Fullscreen but not having the ability to use exclusive fullscreen which can impact performance somewhat but without the ability to change that then the performance is what it is, hopefully, that'll get updated one day.   We tested Gears 5 using the in-game benchmark but used FrameView to capture the frametime output and then used our same tool as usual to extract AVG FPS, 1% Low, and .1% Low frame rates.  For those who want to use OCAT, Presentmon, or FrameView be aware that MsBetweenDisplayChangeActual =/= MsBetweenPresents as when running a DX12 program in a non-exclusive format will send MsBetweenPresents on a triple buffering like pacing, often causing performance to look the same across multiple cards only because of the way DX12 and Windows is handling the screen, odd but if you're running a variable refresh rate panel then you'll likely see MsBetweenDisplayChangeActual = MsBetweenPresents so long as you stay within the variable refresh rate window. The in-game benchmark is quite a bit more taxing than typical gameplay and will represent some of the lowest performance you'll see in the game, you will see performance like this in the game just not always.

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With that out of the way we used the Ultra Preset but made one change as the Animation Quality is set to "Auto" but we changed it to "Best" and when running these tests I do not let variable settings take effect if at all possible. The below screenshots show the entirety of the settings we used for the testing of Gears 5, outside of the resolution of course.

gears-of-war-5-screenshot-2019-09-07-11-31-20-45
gears-of-war-5-screenshot-2019-09-07-11-31-38-43
gears-of-war-5-screenshot-2019-09-07-11-31-52-03
gears-of-war-5-screenshot-2019-09-07-11-32-02-43
gears-of-war-5-screenshot-2019-09-07-11-32-13-63
gears-of-war-5-screenshot-2019-09-07-11-32-23-77

Test System

ComponentsZ370
CPUIntel Core i9-9900k @ 5GHz
Memory 16GB G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 3200
MotherboardEVGA Z370 Classified K
StorageKingston KC2000 1TB NVMe SSD
PSUCooler Master V1200 Platinum
Windows Version1903 with latest security patches

Graphics Cards Tested

GPUArchitectureCore Count
Clock SpeedMemory Capacity
Memory Speed
NVIDIA RTX 2080ti FETuring43521350/163511GB GDDR614Gbps
NVIDIA RTX 2080 SUPER FETuring30721650/18158GB GDDR615.5Gbps
NVIDIA RTX 2070 SUPER FETuring25601605/17708GB GDDR614Gbps
NVIDIA RTX 2060 SUPERTuring21761470/16508GB GDDR614Gbps
NVIDIA RTX 2060 FETuring19041365/1686GB GDDR614Gbps
ZOTAC Gaming GTX 1660Turing14081530/17856GB GDDR58Gbps
NVIDIA GTX 1080 FEPascal
25601607/17338GB GDDR5X10Gbps
NVIDIA GTX 1070 FEPascal
19201506/16838GB GDDR58Gbps
NVIDIA GTX 1060 FE 6GBPascal
1280
1506/17086GB GDDR58Gbps
AMD Radeon RX 5700XTNavi25601605/1755/19058GB GDDR614Gbps
AMD Radeon RX 5700Navi 23041465/1625/17258GB GDDR614Gbps
AMD RX Vega 64 Vega 1040961247/15468GB HBM2945Mbps
AMD RX Vega 56Vega 1035841156/14718GB HBM2800Mbs
MSI RX 580 Armor 8GB Polaris 20230413668GB GDDR58Gbps
Sapphire Nitro+ RX 570 4GBPolaris 20204813404GB GDDR57Gbps

Drivers Used

Drivers 
Radeon Settings 19.9.1
GeForce436.30

Preset Scaling At 4K

Testing presets at 4K gives us a couple of quick metrics before diving into the game too deeply.  First off it shows us how the game looks at various presets as well as how performance scales with those settings.  Gears 5 does a better job of squeezing out more performance from the "Low" setting than most games I've tested recently, but the image quality is clearly low.  But seeing as how it more than double the frame rate from the Ultra setting if you find yourself on older hardware it at least offers you the ability to give it a go, however at this point you're better off running it on an Xbox because those textures are ugly!  The "Medium preset has an obvious improvement to image quality but at the trade-off of a pretty big hit to performance, one I would be willing to take for the improvement.  Moving up to "High" doesn't appear to have a major impact when playing, but when looking back you actually see that there are assets now in the game that were missing from the lower settings, take note of the drain grates on the street for example. Moving to "Ultra" is most evident in the lighting of the game and how it reacts to the world, honestly, I would find it nearly impossible to see the difference between "High" and "Ultra" when the game is in motion.

Low Preset
Medium Preset
High Preset
Ultra Preset
UHD 4K Preset Scaling
AVG FPS
1 Percent Lows
0.1 Percent Low
0
40
80
120
160
200
240
0
40
80
120
160
200
240
Low
139
98
84
Medium
85
69
64
High
68
56
46
Ultra
57
46
39

Intel Core Scaling Performance

While this test won’t tell just how many cores and threads the game can and will use, it does show how the game performs as you move up in cores and threads available. These were tested at the 1080p settings that we tested the rest of the results while pairing the CPU with the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition.  You'll notice a new 4th bar in this chart and that's the GPU Bound % number indicating how much of the performance is bound by the GPU so that you can actually see the dropoff, this was part of the conclusion from the in-game benchmark and when it is available from the games I will be including it as it's a good quick visual to see where things are really bottlenecked.

In Gears 5 we see that bringing more to the table doesn’t necessarily mean more frames. Once you hit 4 cores and 8 threads the improvement is modest at best and shows the game leans very heavily on the GPU for its performance. While at least a 4 core 8 threaded part would be ideal we have to keep in mind that this is at 1080p with the highest end gaming graphics card, so even a basic quad core will serve anyone with a midrange card adequetly.  The most curious take-away is the fact that this game will even run at all on a Dual-Core, while that makes me sigh a bit at least those still clinging on aren't locked out of this one.

Core i9-9900K Core and Thread Scaling
AVG FPS
1 Percent Lows
0.1 Percent Low
GPU Bound %
0
40
80
120
160
200
240
0
40
80
120
160
200
240
8c/16t
139
101
84
99.9
8c/8t
140
103
85
99.9
6c/12t
137
98
79
99.8
6c/6t
140
100
84
99.7
4c/8t
137
97
74
99.6
4c/4t
134
84
67
93.4
2c/4t
101
62
53
77.4
2c/2t
78
43
33
56.3

Graphics Card Results

1080p

Standard 1080p Performance
AVG FPS
1 Percent Lows
0.1 Percent Low
0
40
80
120
160
200
240
0
40
80
120
160
200
240
RTX 2080ti FE
139
101
84
RTX 2080 SUPER
121
92
82
RTX 2070 SUPER
110
85
78
RX 5700XT
105
75
65
RX 5700
95
64
58
GTX 1080 FE
92
59
55
RTX 2060 SUPER
89
65
60
RX Vega 64
82
58
54
RTX 2060 FE
81
62
52
RX Vega 56
81
57
52
GTX 1070 FE
76
52
48
RX 580 8GB
57
44
32
GTX 1060 6GB FE
57
43
32
GTX 1660
54
44
33
RX 570 4GB
54
41
30

Ultrawide 1080p

Ultrawide 1080p Performance
AVG FPS
1 Percent Lows
0.1 Percent Low
0
40
80
120
160
200
240
0
40
80
120
160
200
240
RTX 2080ti FE
117
90
80
RTX 2080 SUPER
107
81
70
RTX 2070 SUPER
92
72
66
RX 5700XT
89
67
55
RX 5700
82
61
48
RTX 2060 SUPER
80
61
49
GTX 1080 FE
78
60
51
RX Vega 64
70
54
45
RTX 2060 FE
68
54
42
RX Vega 56
68
52
42
GTX 1070 FE
66
50
40
RX 580 8GB
49
38
34
GTX 1060 6GB FE
48
36
32
GTX 1660
46
37
30
RX 570 4GB
45
35
23

1440p

Standard 1440p Performance
AVG FPS
1 Percent Lows
0.1 Percent Low
0
40
80
120
160
200
240
0
40
80
120
160
200
240
RTX 2080ti FE
102
80
71
RTX 2080 SUPER
87
71
60
RTX 2070 SUPER
76
63
52
RX 5700XT
74
57
47
RX 5700
67
49
45
RTX 2060 SUPER
65
54
45
GTX 1080 FE
66
50
40
RX Vega 64
58
46
40
RX Vega 56
57
44
35
RTX 2060 FE
55
44
35
GTX 1070 FE
54
42
30
RX 580 8GB
40
31
23
GTX 1060 6GB FE
39
30
22
GTX 1660
37
31
20
RX 570 4GB
37
28
15

Ultrawide 1440p

Ultrawide 1440p Performance
AVG FPS
1 Percent Lows
0.1 Percent Low
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
RTX 2080ti FE
84
67
55
RTX 2080 SUPER
73
58
44
RTX 2070 SUPER
63
52
38
RX 5700XT
60
46
34
RTX 2060 SUPER
53
42
31
RX 5700
55
42
32
GTX 1080 FE
53
41
30
RX Vega 64
48
39
30
RX Vega 56
46
38
28
RTX 2060 FE
45
36
25
GTX 1070 FE
44
35
25
RX 580 8GB
32
25
16
GTX 1060 6GB FE
31
24
15
RX 570 4GB
29
23
12
GTX 1660
28
23
14

UHD 4K

UHD 4K Performance
AVG FPS
1 Percent Lows
0.1 Percent Low
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
RTX 2080ti FE
58
47
40
RTX 2080 SUPER
49
41
34
RTX 2070 SUPER
44
36
28
RX 5700XT
40
32
25
RTX 2060 SUPER
36
28
20
RX 5700
36
30
22
GTX 1080 FE
35
30
18
RX Vega 64
32
27
18
RTX 2060 FE
31
25
15
RX Vega 56
31
25
15
GTX 1070 FE
29
23
13
RX 580 8GB
22
16
10
GTX 1060 6GB FE
20
16
9
GTX 1660
19
16
9
RX 570 4GB
11
3
1

Conclusion

Before I get too far into the conclusion, I want to reiterate that the in-game benchmark is quite a bit more taxing than typical gameplay and will represent some of the lowest performance you'll see in the game, you will see performance like this in the game just not always.  That said, Gears 5 shook things up quite a bit in the way graphics cards stack up and how they handle this game.  The team over at Radeon gave some deep attention to their Navi based 5700 Series when it comes to average framerates as they're miles ahead of the Vega cards, unfortunately they still mimic previous generations when it comes to 1% and .1% performance.  Radeon does show some strong numbers in the lower mid-range with good performance on the RX 580 and RX 570.  GeForce performance is an interesting one with Pascal bringing more to the table than I expected while Turing brings much tighter performance between the average and bottom frame rates resulting in a typically smoother experience.  Overall, everyone is performing in this one and the game looks great at higher detail settings and as long as you're not pushing the frame buffer of your graphics cards outside of its walls then you're going to find yourself in a good place with Gears 5. So everyone, rev up your Lancers and get ready to Roadie Run!

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