Notebookcheck

The Evil Within Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 10/23/2014

A PC version to make you shiver. When it comes to games, the PC is often neglected; The Evil Within is a prime example. The high performance demands are particularly effective at spoiling the fun. Our article reveals which GPUs shake in their boots when they encounter this survival-horror game.

The Evil Within Logo

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Graphics

While the console version of The Evil Within scored quite well on the metacritic.com review aggregator, the PC adaptation has not exactly been received with shouts of praise. Nor does it deserve them, as demonstrated by our tests. Not only is the third-person title plagued by sporadic crashes -- regardless of the system hardware, it also occasionally stutters and sometimes the sound is off-kilter. The controls on the PC are also suboptimal. Even in the menu, the mouse functions very spongily and imprecisely. Still, after a while you get used to the defective controls.

The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within

The hardware demands also deserve criticism. Like other titles from Bethesda, The Evil Within uses the id Tech 5 engine from id Software. This engine was first used for the game RAGE, and since its release it has been a subject of controversy. The Evil Within also comes with a variety of graphics-related advantages and disadvantages. Thanks to the so-called MegaTexture technology, the levels appear to offer a lot of variety; unlike most other games, The Evil Within's textures don't repeat every few meters.

In addition to the variegated textures, the characters are incredibly detailed and the effects (water, smoke, etc.) are well-executed. The cloth simulation is also fairly realistic. The lighting impressed us the most. Similarly to Alien: Isolation, The Evil Within conjures up a both spooky and pretty interplay of light and shadow. The id Tech 5 engine also deserves praise for its short load times. Even with an HDD, the levels show up very quickly. The fact that the user can implement changes in the settings without restarting the game isn't a matter of course either.

The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within

High on the list of cons is the fluctuating texture quality. Here and there, the object wallpapers look somewhat sloppy. Fortunately, the delayed loading of textures when the camera pans quickly (think Wolfenstein: The New Order) is hardly present in The Evil Within. The fact that the horror game lacks a good anti-aliasing option, however, is frustrating. True, FXAA, MLAA and SMAA improve matters, but the enhancement provided by MSAA is simply unavailable. Additionally, PC users have to make do with just a handful of graphics options. Besides resolution and anti-aliasing, only the shadow quality can be adjusted across several notches. The only remaining settings options are motion blur, SSAO (ambient occlusion) and reflections, all of which can be deactivated.

Apart from changes in the number of pixels, modifying the settings doesn't massively alter the performance. Because the id Tech 5 engine doesn't offer super low detail settings, The Evil Within always looks decent. The downside, of course, is that weaker GPUs don't have enough power to run the game -- though the title's poor optimization is the real culprit there. There are certainly cases in which the id Tech 5 engine is more frugal with its resources. The fact that the developers implemented a 30 fps limit (more on that later) and restricted the field of vision with black bars is also hard to understand.

The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within
The Evil Within

Purely in terms of gameplay, the title cuts a fine figure. In these times dominated by casual games, The Evil Within offers a thrilling level of difficulty. Every step needs to be well-deliberated; every shot and every attack can mean victory or defeat. The upgrade and trap systems increase the depth of gameplay even further. In general, the survival game makes a good impression with its excellent staging -- especially in the video sequences. The camera work and cuts rival that of real Hollywood productions. Stylistically, we found The Evil Within reminiscent of the older horror game Alan Wake -- also a good sign. In fact, the deranged story is even more exciting.

Low Settings
Low Settings
Medium Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
High Settings
Low Settings
Low Settings
Medium Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
High Settings

Benchmark

To remove the aforementioned fps limit, you'll have to do a bit of finagling. Before you can enter the appropriate command, you need to activate the console. In order to do this: in Steam right click on the game to bring up the Properties menu and add the line +com_allowconsole 1 in the Set Launch Options. The next time the game is started, it should be possible to bring up the console with the Insert key. Finally, the command R_swapinterval 0 deactivates the 30 fps limit. If you're content with a maximum of 60 frames per second, you can choose to enter R_swapinterval 1 (standard: R_swapinterval 2).

Enabling the console
Enabling the console
Removing the fps lock
Removing the fps lock

Our benchmarks are based on the beginning of the first chapter ("An Emergency Call"). As soon as we gain control of the main character after a short tracking shot, the recording with the Fraps tool begins. In the following 40-45 seconds, we circle the front area of the madhouse until the main character lands back at the entrance.

Due to the massive downpour, the innumerable objects and the ubiquitous reflections, the sequence demands a lot from the hardware -- in fact, it is basically a worst-case scenario. The performance can be considerably higher at other points in the game. The CPU is to blame for the fact that no notebook reached over 70 fps in our tests; when it comes to high-end GPUs, the CPU is often the limiting factor even at medium settings.

Results

The Evil Within requires a potent multimedia or gaming platform. More inexpensive graphics chips, like the GeForce GT 740M, can't even render low settings and 1024x768 pixels fluidly; the same goes for Intel iGPU processors. The GeForce GT 750M is the first graphics unit to more or less manage with these settings. If you'd like to play at 1366x768 pixels and with the shadow quality set to "Medium," you'll need at least a GeForce GTX 850M or GTX 765M under your hood.

High details and 1920x1080 pixels are too much even for some high-end processors. Only the Radeon R9 M290X and Nvidia chips starting with the GeForce GTX 780M/870M are cut out for The Evil Within's maximum graphics splendor. Will future GPU drivers improve the speed, or will the developers release a performance patch? That certainly wouldn't go amiss. Currently, the programming behind the graphics is very inefficient.

Discussion
The Evil Within
    1920x1080 High / Enabled AA:SM     1366x768 Medium / Enabled AA:FX     1024x768 Low / Disabled
GeForce GTX 780 Ti, 3770K
Desktop-PC
64.7 (min: 43) fps ∼73%
65.7 (min: 44) fps ∼48%
66.1 (min: 44) fps ∼42%
Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
52.1 (min: 35) fps ∼59%
52.1 (min: 36) fps ∼38%
53.6 (min: 37) fps ∼34%
GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
46.4 (min: 37) fps ∼53%
63.3 (min: 43) fps ∼46%
64.1 (min: 43) fps ∼41%
GeForce GTX 760, 3770K
Desktop-PC
43.6 (min: 34) fps ∼49%
64.7 (min: 43) fps ∼47%
65.4 (min: 44) fps ∼42%
GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
41.8 (min: 34) fps ∼47%
62.4 (min: 46) fps ∼45%
64.3 (min: 43) fps ∼41%
Radeon R9 M290X, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
41.8 (min: 34) fps ∼47%
55 (min: 37) fps ∼40%
56.8 (min: 39) fps ∼36%
GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
38.2 (min: 31) fps ∼43%
61.2 (min: 42) fps ∼45%
64.5 (min: 41) fps ∼41%
GeForce GTX 750 Ti, 3770K
Desktop-PC
31.6 (min: 26) fps ∼36%
55 (min: 43) fps ∼40%
65.4 (min: 44) fps ∼42%
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
29 (min: 23) fps ∼33%
48.5 (min: 40) fps ∼35%
65.6 (min: 45) fps ∼42%
GeForce GTX 770M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
28.4 (min: 23) fps ∼32%
46.3 (min: 37) fps ∼34%
64.4 (min: 45) fps ∼41%
GeForce GTX 850M, 4340M
Schenker M504
24.2 (min: 20) fps ∼27%
42.6 (min: 36) fps ∼31%
56.9 (min: 40) fps ∼36%
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
23.1 (min: 18) fps ∼26%
38.2 (min: 31) fps ∼28%
57.2 (min: 40) fps ∼37%
GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
13 (min: 10) fps ∼15%
23.2 (min: 18) fps ∼17%
34.4 (min: 27) fps ∼22%
Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop), A10-7850K, Samsung SSD 470 Series MZ-5PA256/EU
A10-7850K Asus A88-XM-PLUS
12 (min: 10) fps ∼14%
21.9 (min: 17) fps ∼16%
26.9 (min: 21) fps ∼17%
Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180B3
Schenker S413
11.4 (min: 8) fps ∼13%
19.6 (min: 15) fps ∼14%
24.4 (min: 17) fps ∼16%
GeForce GT 740M, 4200M
HP Envy 15-j011sg
9.4 (min: 7) fps ∼11%
16.7 (min: 13) fps ∼12%
25.2 (min: 18) fps ∼16%
GeForce GT 720M, 4200M, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
MSI CX61-i572M
7.3 fps ∼8%
12.9 fps ∼9%
19.1 fps ∼12%
GeForce GT 630M, 3720QM, Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS
Asus N56VM
6.9 (min: 5) fps ∼8%
11.9 (min: 9) fps ∼9%
17.6 (min: 13) fps ∼11%
HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
6.7 (min: 4) fps ∼8%
11.8 (min: 8) fps ∼9%
16.9 (min: 13) fps ∼11%
Radeon HD 8650G, A10-5750M, Samsung SSD 470 Series MZ-5PA256/EU
Pumori Test Platform (A10-5750M)
17.7 (min: 9) fps ∼11%
HD Graphics 4000, 3720QM
Asus N56VM
8.8 fps ∼6%

Test Systems

Four of our test devices are courtesy of Schenker Technologies (mysn.de):

  • W504 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 860M, GTX 870M, GTX 880M, Radeon R9 M290X)
  • W503 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 765M, GTX 770M, GTX 780M)
  • M504 (Core i5-4340M, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 850M)
  • M503 (Core i7-4702MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 750M)

Windows 7 (64-bit) is installed on each of these notebooks. A further thank you goes to Micron for the 480 GB Crucial M500.

Another test device is courtesy of Nvidia:

  • HP Envy 15-j011sg (Core i5-4200M, 12 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 740M)

GPU drivers used: Nvidia 344.11, AMD 14.9, Intel 10.18.10.3907

There are also benchmarks from other notebooks, potentially with different drivers.

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     The Evil Within
 The Evil Within (2014)
low
1024x768
Low / Disabled
med.
1366x768
Medium / Enabled
FXAA
high
1920x1080
High / Enabled
SMAA
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI
156.3
137.4
88.1
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
65
65
63.8
 11NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
74.8
73.8
53.8
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
66.1
65.7
64.7
 18AMD Radeon R9 290X
68.7
68.7
64.752
 25NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
88.12
87.252
72.92
 27AMD Radeon R9 280X
53.6
52.1
52.1
 31NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
104.42
101.552
64.72
 46NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
64.1
63.3
46.4
 50NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
65.4
64.7
43.6
 51NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
64.3
62.4
41.8
 55NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
120.2
84.6
51
 57NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
64.5
61.2
38.2
 58AMD Radeon R9 M290X
56.8
55
41.8
 69NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
65.4
55
31.6
 73NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
93.72
67.652
40.42
 77NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
64.4
46.3
28.4
 78NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
612
46.452
28.52
 86NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
60
51.4
35.1
Pos      Model                                     The Evil Within
lowmed.high
 87NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
62.52
44.752
25.652
 95NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
57.2
38.2
23.1
 149AMD Radeon R9 M265X
28.1
20.8
12.1
 160NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
34.4
23.2
13
 163NVIDIA GeForce 940M
38.052
27.12
16.42
 171NVIDIA GeForce 840M
31.9
22.3
12.7
 172AMD Radeon R7 M275DX
19.5
 176AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
26.9
21.9
12
 177Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
24.4
19.6
11.4
 180NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
25.2
16.7
9.4
 181NVIDIA GeForce 930M
40.2
29.3
15.9
 183NVIDIA GeForce 830M
32.2
21.6
12.7
 210AMD Radeon R7 M270
26.8
20.1
10.1
 221AMD Radeon R7 M360
28
20
12.5
 233NVIDIA GeForce 920M
26.5
17.7
10.1
 238AMD Radeon R7 M260
25.8
18
15.2
 277AMD Radeon HD 8670M
16.4
11.8
 278AMD Radeon R6 M255DX
19.3
13.7
 297AMD Radeon HD 8650G
17.7
 302NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
17.6
11.9
6.9
Pos      Model                                     The Evil Within
lowmed.high
 307AMD Radeon R5 M330
22.5
15.3
 310NVIDIA GeForce 820M
18.3
13.4
7.7
 312Intel Iris Graphics 6100
19.9
15.4
9.4
 313NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
19.1
12.9
7.3
 317AMD Radeon R5 M230
14.8
10.4
5.6
 326Intel Iris Graphics 5100
11.42
9.22
 331Intel HD Graphics 4600
15.052
10.352
6.7
 333Intel HD Graphics 5500
16.052
11.652
5.6
 335AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri)
9.4
7.6
 342Intel HD Graphics 5000
14.2
10.6
 375Intel HD Graphics 4400
14
10.4
6.2
 405Intel HD Graphics 5300
8
6.5
 414Intel HD Graphics 4000
8.8
 420AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
14
10.3
 421AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
9.8
8
 422Intel HD Graphics 4200
6.6
 447AMD Radeon HD 8350G
11.5
 451AMD Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema)
8.3
5.1
 577Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
5.2
3.6
* 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.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > The Evil Within Benchmarked
Florian Glaser, 2014-10-23 (Update: 2014-10-23)