Notebookcheck

Dishonored 2 Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks

Florian Glaser (translated by Maria Vittoria Occhipinti), 11/17/2016

The Performance Enigma. Gaming qualities aside: the stealth-action game, Dishonored 2, is not running as smoothly as one would expect. The PC version is suffering from performance drops. In the following review, we will check how the game runs on notebooks.

Dishonored 2

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Game Engine

If you disregard the performance issues, the successor of Dishonored (2012) does almost everything right. No wonder, as the developers, Arkane Studios, have a long and illustrious track record, which includes Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (the author first played an "Arkane game" in 2002: Arx Fatalis). The French developer is due to launch the long delayed and temporarily cancelled reboot of Prey in 2017 (also known as Prey 2).

Dishonored is a special gift to gamers. Arkane Studios have produced an amazing game, which feels like a mix of Thief and BioShock. The gameplay and the world are impressive. Dishonored 2 is based in a steampunk universe (like the predecessor) and draws many parallels to Victorian England (19th century). Thanks to their unique style, Dishonored 2 stands out in its category.

The story uses interesting themes, such as the loss of the throne and the hunt for a serial murderer. To understand the second installment of this series, you need to play the first game first (a copy of Dishonored 1 was next to our pre-ordered game at all times).

Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2

Few games of 2016 can match the extent of freedom the developer gives the gamer in Dishonored 2: if you want to run through levels and pummel virtual bad guys, you can. Stealth fans, who are not interested in bloodshed, will also find pathways. Role-play and fantasy fans will enjoy this game equally, as the developer has provided enough weapon upgrades and magic abilities. In fact, the offering seems almost endless.

It is even more surprising that all the elements are well balanced (Dishonored 1 was less so) and fun to use. The game design includes many details, such as in-depth evaluations at the end of each mission, which will motivate gamers to try the challenge again with more stealth or to explore more areas (many collectibles and secrets). We can only criticize the AI, which, at times, acts blind and at other times, can be extremely vigilant. The pathfinding during fighting and search patterns seem a little erratic (including fixtures).

Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2

The game runs on the Void Engine, which is based on id Tech from id Software. The latter has caused a lot of headaches in the past few years: loading textures (Rage, Wolfenstein: The New Order) and high system requirements (The Evil Within). Dishonored 2 does not have major texture bugs, but it does run into some performance problems. Even on high-end systems, the frame rate of the game drops drastically at times - regardless of the settings.

Let us consider the GeForce GTX 1070 of the Asus G752VS. While the Pascal chip can run the game with max settings and 1920x1080 pixels at 60 to 150 FPS for most parts (very smooth), the game can suffer from occasional performance drops in outside areas (down to 30 FPS). This behavior is not only distracting, but also hard to understand. The frame rate barely rises when we lower the settings. In fact, the game looks much worse at lower settings, but yields very slight performance increases. On the other hand, Doom, the new release of id Software in 2016, runs much smoother. These problems may be popping up due to the DirectX base (id Tech usually uses OpenGL).

Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2

In short: we are not happy with the performance. Unfortunately, this statement applies to many triple-A games of the last 1 to 2 years: Mafia 3Batman: Arkham KnightJust Cause 3 and so on. Thankfully, Bethesda, the publisher, has announced a patch for the problematic PC version of the game. All benchmarks of this test were run on the "original" version of the game. Future measurements might not be 1:1 comparable as the patch may bring significant improvements.

The game offers appealing graphics which, subjectively, we would classify as upper middle-class. Gamers will accommodate the occasional blurry texture in Dishonored 2 as it fits right in with its comic graphics style. We love the lighting and shadows. Combined with the great, colorful environments, the lovely soundtrack and smart level design, the game is a special offering for any gamer.

Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2

Arkane Studios should be lauded for their extensive options menu. In "Video Settings", the developer offers various base settings to adjust the picture, brightness, field of vision, vertical synchronization and resolution (our 4K monitor had some issues with the scaling of the game). The HBAO+ option is only available on certain devices with Nvidia GPUs. The "Adaptive Resolution" left us puzzled, as every time the game started, it was set to 75 (50 to 100). This indicates that Dishonored 2 uses a different resolution internally and scales this up depending on the needs of the gamer.

Tuning fans will be happy with the "Advanced Settings" section. Some of the 6 presets and 16 individual options can be regulated at various levels and others can be turned on/off. Anti-aliasing is offered in the form of FXAA and TXAA, which are two post-processing features. The former barely changes anything. In comparison, TXAA (works on AMD chips as well) does a decent job. Both features result in a blurry picture.

Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2

Great: settings can be adapted without needing a restart. This is good news, as the intro videos cannot be skipped. Dishonored 2 needs a long time to start for the first time. In-game the load times are surprisingly short. The game size is large: at 37 GB, the gamer will need to set aside a decent amount of space for the game. We did not have any crashes while testing the game. The only exceptions were Intel GPUs, on which, Dishonored 2 freezes (this bug can be reproduced). However, these GPUs are far too weak to run the game anyway.

Benchmark

Although our benchmark sequence is quite demanding, it is not able to test the game to its limits. However, it did find a lot of performance drops. After the main character leaves a ship at the port of Karnaca (mission 2, "Edge of the World"), we record a sprint of around 30 seconds from the motor boat along a pre-determined route (see video) with the Fraps tool to determine the average and minimum FPS.

The game needs relatively lower FPS than other action games in the Ego perspective to run smoothly. This is especially true if you want to sneak around. We believe Dishonored 2 runs comfortably with at least 35 FPS. Passionate gamers, who expect 60 FPS or more consistently, should avoid this game (till perhaps the patch).

Discussion

Results

Due to the high system requirements, few notebook users will be able to enjoy Dishonored 2. Entry-level graphic cards, up to the GeForce 920M, cannot run the game at all. Middle-class models, such as, the GeForce 940M, are also overworked at minimum settings. At 1280x720 pixels and the preset "Very Low", a GPU of the upper mid-range (like the GeForce GTX 950M) is able to scrape through. For a resolution of 1366x768 pixels and a "Medium" preset, the gamer will need (at least) a GeForce GTX 960M (better with a GTX 965M).

Very Low Preset
Very Low Preset
Medium Preset
Medium Preset
High Preset
High Preset
Ultra Preset
Ultra Preset
Very Low Preset
Very Low Preset
Medium Preset
Medium Preset
High Preset
High Preset
Ultra Preset
Ultra Preset

At FHD (1920x1080 pixels), the laptop will need a high-end GPU. There is little difference between high and max settings (in terms of graphics and performance), which means that the gamer will be happy with a GeForce GTX 970M (better with a GTX 980M) at the "High" and "Ultra" presets. 4K forces almost all notebooks to their knees. At 3840x2160 pixels, the game will only run reliably with a GeForce GTX 1070 (better with a GTX 1080). The CPU power does not seem to be a major bottleneck.

Dishonored 2
    3840x2160 High Preset AA:TX     1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:TX     1920x1080 High Preset AA:TX     1920x1080 Medium Preset AA:TX     1366x768 Medium Preset AA:TX     1280x720 Very Low Preset AA:FX
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop), 4790K
MSI Gaming X GeForce GTX 1080 Desktop PC
47.3 (min: 38) fps ∼61%
82 (min: 53) fps ∼91%
96 (min: 77) fps ∼96%
113 (min: 92) fps ∼100%
121 (min: 102) fps ∼100%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop), 4790K
MSI Gaming Z GeForce GTX 1070 OC Bios Desktop PC
38.4 (min: 32) fps ∼49%
81 (min: 51) fps ∼90%
91 (min: 57) fps ∼91%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
Asus G752VS
35.9 (min: 30) fps ∼46%
65 (min: 45) fps ∼72%
77.9 (min: 55) fps ∼78%
86.4 (min: 73) fps ∼100%
88.6 (min: 74) fps ∼78%
94.1 (min: 82) fps ∼78%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 4790K
Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti Desktop PC
36.9 (min: 27) fps ∼47%
72 (min: 49) fps ∼80%
AMD Radeon R9 Fury, 4790K
XFX Radeon R9 Fury Pro
30.7 (min: 23) fps ∼39%
57.3 (min: 44) fps ∼63%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 6700K
Desktop PC
32.1 (min: 27) fps ∼41%
61.8 (min: 49) fps ∼68%
67.8 (min: 51) fps ∼68%
84.5 (min: 70) fps ∼98%
98.2 (min: 77) fps ∼87%
104 (min: 83) fps ∼86%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
31.6 (min: 28) fps ∼40%
57 (min: 45) fps ∼63%
66.1 (min: 55) fps ∼66%
76.6 (min: 65) fps ∼89%
96.7 (min: 79) fps ∼86%
98.3 (min: 85) fps ∼81%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6820HK
MSI GT62VR
31.2 (min: 26) fps ∼40%
58.6 (min: 47) fps ∼65%
63.9 (min: 51) fps ∼64%
76.1 (min: 64) fps ∼88%
93 (min: 76) fps ∼82%
100 (min: 89) fps ∼83%
AMD Radeon RX 480, 4790K
AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB Reference
25.3 (min: 20) fps ∼32%
60.6 (min: 41) fps ∼67%
68 (min: 54) fps ∼68%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, 4790K
MSI Gaming Z GeForce GTX 970 Desktop PC
28.5 (min: 23) fps ∼36%
57 (min: 44) fps ∼63%
60 (min: 46) fps ∼60%
100 (min: 71) fps ∼88%
106 (min: 82) fps ∼88%
AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop), 4790K
MSI RX 470 Gaming X 4GB
24.8 (min: 18) fps ∼32%
46.4 (min: 32) fps ∼51%
49.1 (min: 35) fps ∼49%
AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4790K
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC
23.6 (min: 18) fps ∼30%
47.8 (min: 34) fps ∼53%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
26.4 (min: 22) fps ∼34%
41.3 (min: 31) fps ∼46%
46.1 (min: 36) fps ∼46%
53.1 (min: 44) fps ∼61%
68 (min: 57) fps ∼60%
74.2 (min: 62) fps ∼61%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop), 4790K
MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
21.9 (min: 17) fps ∼28%
38.7 (min: 32) fps ∼43%
41.1 (min: 32) fps ∼41%
73 (min: 64) fps ∼65%
82 (min: 70) fps ∼68%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
20.8 (min: 16) fps ∼27%
35.5 (min: 27) fps ∼39%
37.7 (min: 29) fps ∼38%
42.6 (min: 35) fps ∼49%
58.4 (min: 47) fps ∼52%
68.8 (min: 51) fps ∼57%
AMD Radeon R7 370, 4790K
MSI Gaming R7 370 2GB
30.3 (min: 25) fps ∼30%
44.2 (min: 35) fps ∼39%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
33 (min: 25) fps ∼37%
33.9 (min: 29) fps ∼34%
34.8 (min: 30) fps ∼40%
48.6 (min: 38) fps ∼43%
58.6 (min: 51) fps ∼48%
AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop), 4790K
XFX RX-460P4DFG5 Double Dissipation 4 GB
13.8 (min: 10) fps ∼18%
31.4 (min: 25) fps ∼35%
32.5 (min: 29) fps ∼33%
35.2 (min: 30) fps ∼41%
50.5 (min: 41) fps ∼45%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
12.1 (min: 10) fps ∼15%
24.7 (min: 18) fps ∼27%
27.3 (min: 22) fps ∼27%
30.8 (min: 28) fps ∼36%
36 (min: 29) fps ∼32%
41.1 (min: 34) fps ∼34%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
MSI PE60 2QD
21.8 (min: 15) fps ∼24%
23.6 (min: 16) fps ∼24%
32.3 (min: 27) fps ∼29%
34.7 (min: 29) fps ∼29%
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 6700HQ
MSI CX72 6QD
21.1 (min: 17) fps ∼17%
NVIDIA GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
MSI GP62 2QD
18.3 (min: 14) fps ∼16%
20.2 (min: 16) fps ∼17%
Intel HD Graphics 530, 6700HQ
MSI CX72 6QD
12.1 (min: 9) fps ∼10%
NVIDIA GeForce 920M, 2970M
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
fps ∼0%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, 4200M
MSI CX61-i572M
10 fps ∼9%
12.3 fps ∼10%
Intel HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
0 fps ∼0%
0 fps ∼0%

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Dishonored 2
 Dishonored 2 (2016)
low
1280x720
Very Low Preset
FXAA
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
TXAA
high
1920x1080
High Preset
TXAA
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset
TXAA
4k
3840x2160
High Preset
TXAA
 1NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
105.9
105.5
94.5
90.4
78.1
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
121
113
96
82
47.3
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
100
79.9
49.2
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
91
81
38.4
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
94.1
88.6
81.652
63.552
35.9
 10NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
72
36.9
 12AMD Radeon R9 Fury
57.3
30.7
 14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
104
98.2
67.8
61.8
32.1
 20NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
98.3
96.7
66.1
57
31.6
 21*NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
94.652
82.73
63.93
58.63
31.2
 23AMD Radeon RX 480
68
60.6
25.3
 25NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
106
100
60
57
28.5
 26AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
49.1
46.4
24.8
 30AMD Radeon R9 290X
47.8
23.6
 37NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
74.2
68
46.1
41.3
26.4
 42NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
82
73
41.1
38.7
21.9
 43*NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
48.7
39.6
18.2
 44NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
68.8
58.4
37.7
35.5
20.8
 58AMD Radeon R7 370
44.2
30.3
Pos      Model                                     Dishonored 2
lowmed.highultra4k
 68AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
50.5
32.5
31.4
13.8
 70*NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop)
80
37.3
33.7
 71*NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
76
66
37.4
32.7
 72NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
58.6
48.6
33.9
33
 90NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
41.1
36
27.3
24.7
12.1
 95*AMD Radeon Pro 455
44.1
20.6
 105*AMD Radeon Pro 450
29.5
 106NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
34.7
32.3
23.6
21.8
 180NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
21.13
20.352
13.6
11.3
 182NVIDIA GeForce 940M
20.2
18.3
 185*NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
23.6
19.7
 198AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
19.1
 207Intel Iris Graphics 540
17.3
 244AMD Radeon R7 M360
10.7
9
 249AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
13.8
 261Intel HD Graphics 530
12.1
 334*AMD Radeon R5 M430
13.8
10.9
 336AMD Radeon R5 M255
10.5
9.3
 342NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
12.3
10
* Smaller values are better. / * Approximate position

 

Legend
5Stutters – This game is very likely to stutter and have poor frame rates. Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, average frame rates are expected to fall below 25fps
May Stutter – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, stutters and poor frame rates are expected.
30Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 25fps
40Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 35fps
May Run Fluently – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, fluent frame rates are expected.
123Uncertain – This graphics card experienced unexpected performance issues during testing for this game. A slower card may be able to achieve better and more consistent frame rates than this particular GPU running the same benchmark scene.
Uncertain – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game and no reliable interpolation can be made based on the performances of surrounding cards of the same class or family.
The value in the fields displays the average frame rate of all values in the database. Move your cursor over the value to see individual results.

Test Systems

Desktop-PCs Plattform I Plattform II
Mainboard Asus Z170-A Asus Z97-Deluxe
Processor Intel Core i7-6700K (Skylake) Intel Core i7-4790K (Haswell)
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB GDDR5)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 (4 GB GDDR5)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8 GB GDDR5X)
Asus GeForce GTX 980 Ti (6 GB GDDR5)
XFX Radeon R9 Fury (4 GB HBM)
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X (4 GB GDDR5)
Sapphire Radeon R9 280X (3 GB GDDR5)
MSI Radeon R7 370 (2 GB GDDR5)
RAM 2 x 8 GB DDR4-2133 2 x 4 GB DDR3-1600
Storage Device Crucial MX100 SSD (256 GB)
Crucial M500 SSD (480 GB)
OCZ Trion 100 SSD (480 GB)
OCZ Trion 150 SSD (960 GB)
Intel SSD 530 (240 GB)
OCZ Trion 100 SSD (480 GB)
OS Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Schenker Notebooks Schenker W504 Schenker XMG A505 Schenker S413
Mainboard Intel HM87 Intel HM87 Intel HM87
Processor Intel Core i7-4700MQ (Haswell) Intel Core i7-4720HQ (Haswell) Intel Core i7-4750HQ (Haswell)
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (8 GB GDDR5)
GTX 970M (6 GB GDDR5)
GTX 880M (8 GB GDDR5)
GTX 870M (6 GB GDDR5)
GTX 860M Kepler (4 GB GDDR5)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (2 GB GDDR5) Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
RAM 2x 4 GB DDR3-1600 2x 4 GB DDR3-1600 2x 8 GB DDR3-1600
Storage Device Samsung SSD 840 EVO (250 GB) Micron M600 SSD (128 GB)
HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HDD (1.000 GB)
Intel SSD
OS Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit Windows 10 Home 64 Bit Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
MSI Notebooks MSI GT62VR MSI GE72 MSI PE60 MSI GP62 MSI CX61 MSI CX61
Mainboard Intel HM170 Intel HM170 Intel HM170 Intel HM86 Intel HM86 Intel HM86
Processor Intel Core i7-6820HK (Skylake) Intel Core i7-6700HQ (Skylake) Intel Core i7-6700HQ (Skylake) Intel Core i7-5700HQ (Broadwell) Intel Celeron 2970M (Haswell) Intel Core i5-4200M (Haswell)
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB GDDR5) Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M 2016 (2 GB GDDR5) Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M (2 GB GDDR5) Nvidia GeForce 940M (2 GB DDR3) Nvidia GeForce 920M (2 GB DDR3) Nvidia GeForce GT 720M (2 GB DDR3)
RAM 4 x 8 GB DDR4-2133 1 x 8 GB DDR4-2133 2 x 4 GB DDR4-2133 1 x 8 GB DDR3-1600 1 x 8 GB DDR3-1600 1 x 8 GB DDR3-1600
Storage Device Samsung NVMe MZVPV128 SSD (128 GB) Toshiba THNSNJ128G8NU SSD (128 GB)
WDC WD10JPVX HDD (1.000 GB)
OCZ Trion 100 SSD (480 GB)
Toshiba MQ01ABF050 HDD (500 GB) WDC Scorpio Blue HDD (1.000 GB)
OS Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit Windows 10 Home 64 Bit Windows 10 Windows 10 Windows 10 Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
Asus Notebooks Asus G752VS Asus N551ZU
Mainboard Intel CM236 AMD K15.1
Processor Intel Core i7-6820HK (Skylake) AMD FX-7600P (Kaveri)
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8 GB GDDR5) AMD Radeon R9 M280X (4 GB GDDR5)
RAM 4x 16 GB DDR4-2400 2x 4 GB DDR3-1600
Storage Device Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7 SSD (512 GB) Samsung SSD 830 (256 GB)
OS Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit Windows 10 64 Bit
4K Monitor Nvidia Driver AMD Driver Intel Driver
2x Asus PB287Q ForceWare 375.70 Crimson 16.11.3 15.40.28.4501
static version load dynamic
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Dishonored 2 Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks
Florian Glaser, 2016-11-17 (Update: 2016-11-21)