Rise of the Tomb Raider is a very demanding game and requires top-tier hardware to maintain 60 frames-per-second at the Very High preset. Please note that simultaneously turning on HBAO+, PureHair and MSAA x2/x4 will reduce your frame-rate by a substantial margin. At least the comprehensive options menu allows you to find the perfect balance between performance and visual quality. For instance, if you manage to exceed 60 frames-per-second at your chosen resolution, then it might be worth trying to add a more complex form of AA. Personally, I don’t think the level of optimization is as good as the original Tomb Raider reboot but that was always going to be a herculean task.
The effect of FXAA on our benchmark results would typically be around 2-5 frames-per-second. This doesn’t seem like much but it might be enough to drop the average performance under 60 frames-per-second. Furthermore, many people really do not care for the FXAA implementation and prefer TXAA or MSAA. This is something to take into consideration when tweaking the default presets. Even though the game has some hefty requirements, it’s warranted given the immense graphics on show. Any captured footage or spectacular screenshots fail to showcase the engine’s impressive array of PC upgrades. This ranges from HDR and adaptive tone mapping to volumetric lighting and localized Global Illumination. Rise of the Tomb Raider is one of the best looking PC games ever made, and it’s so easy to sit and gaze at how far technology has progressed.
In terms of performance, the GTX Titan X and 980 Ti consistently beat the Fury X by a large margin. Perhaps, this is due to it being an NVIDIA bundled title, or AMD needs to do some work in the drivers department. On another note, AMD could make some substantial gains if the rumoured DirectX 12 patch actually comes to fruition. If this happens, we will certainly compare the results from DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 testing. Towards the mid-range, the R9 Nano did extremely well and defeated the GTX 970 and 980 at higher resolutions. This is fantastic when you take the small form factor into account. As you might expect, it’s pretty even between the low-mid range GPUs, and it seems the 380X is a good starting point for 60 frames-per-second at 1080p with high details.
Overall, Rise of the Tomb Raider scales rather well across modern graphics cards providing you’re using a 1920×1080 monitor. Once the resolution increases to 1440P and beyond, you really need to invest in higher end solutions such as the Fury X, and GTX 980 Ti. This isn’t a surprising revelation and most users with a QHD or UHD panel usually opt for the appropriate graphics hardware. To reiterate, the game has hefty requirements because of its astonishing visuals and not due to lacklustre optimization. Nixxes Software have emphasized their credentials as one of the best PC developers around and I can’t wait to see what projects they work on next.
Thank you to all our partners who provided the hardware and software that made this performance analysis possible.