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 QualityUltra*
Brightness10
Contrast15
V-SyncOFF
Frame LimitOFF
Custom FPS Limit-
Shadow QualityHigh
Spot ShadowsHigh
Spot Shadow ResolutionUltra
Contact ShadowsAll High
Resolution Scaling100%
Sharpening07
Particle DetailUltra
Volumetric FogUltra
Reflection QualityMedium
Local Reflection QualityVery High
Vegetation QualityHigh
Sub-Surface ScatteringOn
Anisotropic Filtering16x
Parallax MappingYes
Ambient OcclusionVery High
Depth of FieldOn
Object Detail60
Extra Streaming Distance10
Lens FlareOn
Vignette EffectOn
Water QualityHigh
Chromatic AberrationOn
Projected Texture Resolution512
High Resolution Sky TexturesYes
Terrain QualityHigh

Test System

ComponentsZ370
CPUIntel Core i9-9900k @ 5GHz
Memory 16GB G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 3200
MotherboardEVGA Z370 Classified K
StorageCrucial P1 1TB NVMe SSD
PSUCooler Master V1200 Platinum

Graphics Cards Tested

GPUArchitectureCore Count
Clock SpeedMemory Capacity
Memory Speed
NVIDIA RTX 2080tiTuring43521350/163511GB GDDR614Gbps
NVIDIA RTX 2080 FETuring29441515/18008GB GDDR614Gbps
NVIDIA RTX 2070 FETuring23041410/17108GB 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
XLR8 GTX 1060 3GBPascal11521506/17083GB GDDR58Gbps
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 19.3.2
GeForce419.35

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.

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