The Division 2 PC Performance Explored

Mar 17, 2019
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Ubisoft if back at it again with The Division 2. This time the Snowdrop powered game comes ready and rocking DX12 to extract the most out of modern hardware.  For those who haven’t been keeping up with the game it launched March 14 on Uplay and the Epic Games store, joining a list of titles that have forgone a Steam release lately.  And for recent Radeon card buyers this was in their game bundle offering up pretty good value, and as we get through the results it appears that, unlike Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, this investment on their end was worth it for them.

Testing Methodology

Testing The DIvision 2 was pretty straightforward thanks to a useful built in benchmarking tool.  I would typically prefer an in game scenario to run repeatedly but fighting day/night cycles and dynamic weather made that nearly impossible.  Due to the results in our Private Beta testing we found that DX12 was by far the superior performing API regardless of GPU vendor so that is what we went with for this one. OCAT was employed to track the performance but it does reflect closely the result that the game gives but allows us to run it through my in house tool to extract the Average, 1%, and .1% for each test.  We did go with the highest preset on this one with the Ultra preset but with VSYNC disabled.

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Graphics Settings Used In The Division 2

Setting Value Selected
Graphics Quality Ultra*
Brightness 10
Contrast 15
V-Sync OFF
Frame Limit OFF
Custom FPS Limit -
Shadow Quality High
Spot Shadows High
Spot Shadow Resolution Ultra
Contact Shadows All High
Resolution Scaling 100%
Sharpening 07
Particle Detail Ultra
Volumetric Fog Ultra
Reflection Quality Medium
Local Reflection Quality Very High
Vegetation Quality High
Sub-Surface Scattering On
Anisotropic Filtering 16x
Parallax Mapping Yes
Ambient Occlusion Very High
Depth of Field On
Object Detail 60
Extra Streaming Distance 10
Lens Flare On
Vignette Effect On
Water Quality High
Chromatic Aberration On
Projected Texture Resolution 512
High Resolution Sky Textures Yes
Terrain Quality High

Test System

Components Z370
CPU Intel Core i9-9900k @ 5GHz
Memory 16GB G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 3200
Motherboard EVGA Z370 Classified K
Storage Crucial P1 1TB NVMe SSD
PSU 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 RTX 2060 FE Turing 1904 1365/168 6GB GDDR6 14Gbps
ZOTAC Gaming GTX 1660 Turing 1408 1530/1785 6GB GDDR5 8Gbps
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
AMD RX Vega 56 Vega 10 3584 1156/1471 8GB HBM2 800Mbs
MSI RX 580 Armor 8GB Polaris 20 2304 1366 8GB GDDR5 8Gbps
Sapphire Nitro+ RX 570 4GB Polaris 20 2048 1340 4GB GDDR5 7Gbps

Drivers Used

Drivers  
Radeon Settings 19.3.2
GeForce 419.35

Preset Scaling At 4K

Testing preset performance is a good way to see how the game scales by simply adjusting the presets rather than individual settings for a quick idea. While we did all our testing below you can see that this is a title that scales up greatly in performance as you drop the preset setting.  High offers a good balance that makes it difficult to spot differences in but giving good performance boost and would be where I recommend most people start.

Intel Core Scaling Performance

While this test won’t tell just how many cores and threads the game will and can use it does show how the game performs as you move up in cores and threads available. While 8 cores and no Hyper-Threading offers the best overall performance in terms of spread from averages to .1% lows you will be hard pressed to be concerned with moving beyond a quad core with HT enabled for this game.  Dual core need not apply as the game would not move past the initial loading screen with that configuration.

Graphics Card Results

1080p

1080p already shows that this isn’t going to be exactly the easiest game to have cranked to Ultra, but the performance does scale well up the stack showing that more powerful hardware does indeed run better in this one.  The only card giving a subpar experience at 1080p is the GTX 1060 3GB, you’re going to want to change the settings for sure if you’re rocking one of them or any other card with less than 4GB of VRAM.

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1440p

WQHD starts to put the hurt on for real and if you’re on less than an enthusiast level graphics card prepare for a good bit of tweaking settings to be able to reach over that 60FPS target.  This game definitely starts squeezing hard on resources at this resolution.

2160p/UHD

Only one graphics card was able to break the 60FPS average at 4K Ultra in this title. If 4K is your target then you’re looking at a pretty tough time running this one.  But, all is not lost as our preset scaling shows that the game does scale really well.  This is the one test that the GTX 1060 3GB simply would not run, but then again not much is running it to a playable level but simply here to show scaling at that resolution.

Conclusion

Ultra is brutal in this one, but fair.  Looking at the game running I still feel high is a great balance of visuals and performance in a game that isn’t a twitch style shooter but still benefits from higher frame rates.  The Radeon team definitely has a win on their hands with this and not just a small one showing why they pushed this game so hard during CES and in marketing. But that’s not to say GeForce lays down either, performance is good all around and even Pascal shows better than expected performance with DX12.  It’s time for me to get back to the grind.  If you’re joining in the fray with The Division 2 share your results in the comment section below along with system specifications.

Products mentioned in this post

GTX 1060
GTX 1060
USD 286

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