Notebookcheck

The Witcher 3 Notebook Benchmarks

Florian Glaser (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 05/27/2015

Heavyweight. The third part of the fantasy saga based on the sorcerer Geralt is now in front of us. The story and graphics of the game promises to eclipse the RPG competition. However, we are more interested in the game performance on notebooks. What system is needed for what settings?

The Witcher 3 Logo

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Engine

Alleged graphics downgrades aside: With maximum details, the PC version of “The Witcher 3” looks great. The draw-distance and textures look great, but the greatest strength lies in the amazing details in this 3rd person RPG. Compared to other RPGs, the objects in “The Witcher 3” come alive with intricate details. The thick vegetation is impressive, but the quality of trees and bushes fluctuates heavily due to the (slightly) exaggerated representation of the weather.

The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3

The atmospheric day and night cycle dips the environment in a dynamic light. The Polish studio, CD Project RED, has chosen a suboptimal color scheme (subjective) and we would have preferred lower saturation. However, the engine leaves little room for complaint and runs well, apart from the occasional object popping in and out of vision. According to modern standards, the game is medium-sized (~25 GB) and offers an extensive options menu. CD Project splits the graphics settings into two menus.

The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3

While the Post Processing menu contains all the options for effects and graphics improvements, like Motion Blur, Bloom and Anti-Aliasing (apparently only FXAA is used), the Graphics Menu offers options for the resolution, the picture and more detail and quality settings. The vertical synchronization and FPS limit were turned off for the test. The engine deserves praise for its presets. A single click allows the user to adjust the overall game quality in 3 or 4 steps. With the exception of the environment coverage (SSAO instead of HBAO+), all settings are turned on with the maximum preset.

The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3

Although the Nvidia HairWorks feature (hair simulation) is available on the AMD and Intel systems, we recommend only Nvidia users to enable this. In the Radeon R9 290X test, the frames dropped at maximum settings by about 40%, from 50 to a poor 29 fps. The Nvidia competitor, GeForce GTX 980, ran just 20% slower with active HairWorks (44 instead 55 fps). In general, AMD GPUs suffer a lot more (Project Cars says hello). As can be witnessed from desktop GPU, the Radeon R9 280X, is positioned below the technically slower GeForce GTX 970M.

The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3

Let us go back to the graphics menu: the user does not have to restart “The Witcher 3” as the settings are applied directly applied while fine-tuning. We truly appreciate the ability to skip the cut sequences and the relatively short load times (even on a HDD). We deduct some points for the somewhat cluttered interface for mouse and keyboard use. We used the GOG version with the Day One patch (v1.02) for our test. Steam and Origin also offer this game.

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

Benchmark

We picked a benchmark sequence that included dense vegetation outdoors. After Geralt finishes the tutorial and successfully wins a small fight against a few monsters, the player receives a horse. As shown in the video below, we follow our partner Vesemir through an incredible landscape bathed in afternoon light. We head to Ross following a path up a mountain and, on the way, pass the ruins of a burnt village. The benchmark sequence ends after 55 seconds when we reach the wooden bridge.

Results

The results make it clear that “The Witcher 3” has very high requirements. Even at low settings, the graphics of the game are quite good, which means that the user will require at least a powerful middle-class GPU. In fact, the GeForce GT 750M, which performs well in most games at normal to high settings, could offer a mere 27 fps at a resolution of 1024x768 pixels and the Low preset.

Cheaper models, like the GeForce GT 740M, are overburdened by “The Witcher 3”. The same is true for the Intel IGPs (Integrated Graphics Processors). Neither the HD Graphics 4600 nor the Iris Pro 5200 can run the game fluidly. Stronger GPUs, like the GeForce GTX 850M or the GTX 860M, can manage a resolution of 1366x768 pixels and the Medium preset.

Postprocessing I
Postprocessing I
Postprocessing II
Postprocessing II
Graphics I
Graphics I
Graphics II
Graphics II
Discussion

High details and a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels are only possible once you have a GeForce GTX 880M or higher. The maximum settings (FHD, HairWorks On) are only somewhat possible with the top Nvidia GPU, the GeForce GTX 980M. At a 4K resolution (3840x2160 pixels), all mobile GPUs are too weak for High or Ultra presets. In fact, expensive desktop GPUs, like the Radeon R9 290X, are hard pushed to deliver a fluid fps.

The Witcher 3” does not seem to have high CPU requirements. In our test, we found the graphics card to be the bottleneck on systems equipped with Intel processors and Hyperthreading technology. Note: CD Project will soon release additional patches to improve the graphics and performance of the game. Future results may not be directly comparable.

The Witcher 3
    3840x2160 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)     1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)     1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)     1366x768 Medium Graphics & Postprocessing     1024x768 Low Graphics & Postprocessing
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 3770K
Desktop-PC
32.1 (min: 27) fps ∼37%
44.4 (min: 36) fps ∼39%
83.8 (min: 70) fps ∼47%
139.8 (min: 120) fps ∼62%
200.1 (min: 167) fps ∼74%
AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4790K
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC
28.4 (min: 22) fps ∼33%
29 (min: 25) fps ∼25%
75 (min: 64) fps ∼42%
123 (min: 87) fps ∼55%
179 (min: 160) fps ∼66%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
22.8 (min: 19) fps ∼26%
32.6 (min: 25) fps ∼28%
61.4 (min: 43) fps ∼35%
102.2 (min: 79) fps ∼45%
168.4 (min: 143) fps ∼62%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960, E3-1230 v3
MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 4G Desktop-PC
27.7 (min: 21) fps ∼24%
49.8 (min: 40) fps ∼28%
86.6 (min: 74) fps ∼38%
142.8 (min: 121) fps ∼53%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
17.6 (min: 15) fps ∼20%
25.8 (min: 19) fps ∼22%
47.8 (min: 39) fps ∼27%
84.3 (min: 65) fps ∼37%
137.7 (min: 112) fps ∼51%
AMD Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
20.2 (min: 17) fps ∼18%
47.6 (min: 41) fps ∼27%
76.4 (min: 66) fps ∼34%
114.4 (min: 101) fps ∼42%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
18.7 (min: 14) fps ∼16%
34.2 (min: 26) fps ∼19%
58.4 (min: 51) fps ∼26%
94.4 (min: 83) fps ∼35%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
15.4 (min: 12) fps ∼13%
27.7 (min: 23) fps ∼16%
47.4 (min: 41) fps ∼21%
77.7 (min: 70) fps ∼29%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
9.7 (min: 7) fps ∼11%
13.7 (min: 11) fps ∼12%
27.1 (min: 21) fps ∼15%
49 (min: 42) fps ∼22%
80.6 (min: 72) fps ∼30%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
11.7 (min: 9) fps ∼10%
19.9 (min: 15) fps ∼11%
35.9 (min: 29) fps ∼16%
57.3 (min: 50) fps ∼21%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, 4340M
Schenker M504
11.3 (min: 9) fps ∼10%
20.9 (min: 17) fps ∼12%
38.4 (min: 32) fps ∼17%
63.9 (min: 37) fps ∼24%
AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop), A10-7850K
A10-7850K Asus A88-XM-PLUS
5.5 (min: 4) fps ∼5%
10.3 (min: 7) fps ∼6%
20.2 (min: 17) fps ∼9%
30.9 (min: 26) fps ∼11%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
5.3 (min: 3) fps ∼5%
9.3 (min: 7) fps ∼5%
16.4 (min: 14) fps ∼7%
27 (min: 23) fps ∼10%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, 4200M
HP Envy 15-j011sg
4 (min: 2) fps ∼3%
6.9 (min: 5) fps ∼4%
12.1 (min: 10) fps ∼5%
20.6 (min: 18) fps ∼8%
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ
Schenker S413
20.5 (min: 12) fps ∼8%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, 2637M
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
19.8 (min: 16) fps ∼7%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, 4200M
MSI CX61-i572M
5.1 fps ∼3%
9 fps ∼4%
14.7 fps ∼5%
AMD Radeon HD 8650G, A10-5750M
Pumori Test Platform (A10-5750M)
15.6 (min: 12) fps ∼6%
Intel Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
14.1 (min: 5) fps ∼5%
Intel HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
8.4 (min: 4) fps ∼4%
13.1 (min: 10) fps ∼5%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M, 3720QM
Asus N56VM
12.1 (min: 7) fps ∼4%

Test Systems

Four of our test models originate from Schenker Technologies (mysn.de):

  • W504 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 860M, GTX 870M, GTX 880M, GTX 970M, GTX 980M)
  • A505 (Core i7-4720HQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 960M)
  • M504 (Core i5-4340M, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 850M)
  • M503 (Core i7-4702MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 750M)

We use Windows 7 64-bit on these notebooks (Win 8.1 @XMG A505).

Nvidia provides three of our test models:

Intel provides one test model:

  • Schenker S413 (Core i7-4750HQ, 8 GB DDR3, Iris Pro Graphics 5200)

The desktop PCs use CPUs/APUs from Intel and AMD, SSDs from Micron, Intel and Samsung, motherboards from Intel and Asus and graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD. The 4K monitor we use is an Asus PB287Q (our review).

GPU drivers: Nvidia 352.86, AMD 15.4 Beta, Intel 10.18.14.4170

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
 The Witcher 3 (2015)
low
1024x768
Low Graphics & Postprocessing
med.
1366x768
Medium Graphics & Postprocessing
high
1920x1080
High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
4k
3840x2160
High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
 1NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
269.8
225.6
159.7
89.5
68.1
 2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 SLI (Laptop)
177
115
87.2
 3NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop)
169
92.22
74.6
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
82
55.752
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
139
74.2
51
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI (Laptop)
270.3
203.4
131.9
74
51.2
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
123
63.52
444
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
2033
161.44
100.456
55.27
36.44
 9NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
59.3
44
 11AMD Radeon R9 Fury
207
146
91
45.5
35.9
 12AMD Radeon R9 Nano
47
35
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
213.552
146.92
84.92
45.62
28.652
 14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
221.452
147.42
83.52
44.052
30.12
 16AMD Radeon R9 390X
183.5
130.9
76
40.8
29.1
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
205.1
144.7
84.8
47.6
28.4
 18NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
223
149
81.4
44.4
29
 19*NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
66.25
37.77
24.9
 20AMD Radeon RX 480
78
43.9
27.2
 22NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
146.2
81.2
42.52
29.1
Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
lowmed.highultra4k
 23AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
40.7
 27AMD Radeon R9 290X
179
123
75
29
28.4
 34NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
172.43
101.84
61.39
33.29
22.052
 35NVIDIA Quadro M5000M
155
123
67
38
 36AMD Radeon R9 280X
114.4
76.4
47.6
20.2
 37AMD Radeon R9 380
144.3
89.6
51.3
29.9
18.5
 38NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
142.8
86.6
49.8
27.7
 39NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
49.4
27.5
 41NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
137.75
84.37
45.29
25.89
162
 44NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
115.32
72.352
41.82
22.452
15.752
 50AMD Radeon R9 M295X
94.3
62.5
36.7
17.1
14
 52NVIDIA Quadro M3000M
122.7
73.852
41.652
22.32
14.1
 53AMD FirePro W7170M
97
72
31
23
 55AMD Radeon R7 370
84.96
61.25
35.04
22.36
 57NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
94.4
58.4
34.2
18.7
 58NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
120.4
71.9
38
20.5
12.7
 63NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
70.8
44
25
13.5
9.6
 64NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX
72
43.6
26.4
14.2
 65AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
37
23
12
 66AMD Radeon HD 7870
63.5
36.3
20.3
Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
lowmed.highultra4k
 67NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
104.754
63.34
334
19.054
13.1
 68NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
77.7
47.4
27.7
15.4
 70AMD Radeon HD 8970M
81.9
53.6
30.9
17.7
 82*AMD Radeon R9 M390
82
31.1
17.8
11.5
 87NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
80.67
50.710
24.510
14.210
9.52
 89NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
75.956
47.058
22.58
13.68
8.72
 94NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
57.3
35.9
19.9
11.7
 102*AMD Radeon Pro 450
40.9
20.3
 103NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
58.35
36.66
19.25
11.23
 105AMD Radeon R9 M385X
53.6
44.4
21.8
 106NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
63.9
38.4
20.9
11.3
 107NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
56.72
37.252
18.92
10.92
7.352
 108AMD Radeon R9 M280X
40.1
31.6
16
8.5
 113NVIDIA GeForce 945M
51.9
30.6
17
9.3
 136NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
40.3
23.5
13.8
7.2
5.1
 138AMD Radeon R9 M370X
40.7
25.9
14.9
7.8
 145AMD FirePro W5130M
31
21
10
 155NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
26
18
9
 170AMD FirePro W4100
25
17
7
 175NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
27
16.4
9.3
5.3
Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
lowmed.highultra4k
 177NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
31.47
197
10.76
5.43
 178NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
19.7
11.8
6.7
3.7
 179NVIDIA GeForce 940M
31.45
18.85
10.25
5.93
 181AMD Radeon R9 M375
9.8
 182*NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
27
20
8
 184AMD Radeon R7 M370
27.6
18
9.5
5.7
 188NVIDIA GeForce 840M
28.42
17.82
8.752
6.152
 194AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
30.9
20.2
10.3
5.5
 195Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
20.5
 197NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
20.6
12.1
6.9
4
 198NVIDIA GeForce 930M
26.52
16.7
9
6.9
 199*Intel Iris Graphics 550
20.62
14.12
7.8
 200NVIDIA GeForce 830M
24.5
15
7.3
5.9
 201Intel Iris Graphics 540
18.754
123
 202*Intel HD Graphics 620
14.814
10.5
 203*NVIDIA Quadro M500M
29.752
18.42
10.052
 221*NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
22.1
13.6
 229AMD Radeon R7 M265
22.9
15.9
8.8
 233NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
19.8
 234AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
23.3
15.9
8.4
Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
lowmed.highultra4k
 235AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
19.63
12.93
6.83
 236*AMD Radeon R7 M460
20.7
13.4
6.7
 239AMD Radeon R7 M360
19.32
12.62
6.52
 241*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
18.1
11.9
6.2
 244AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
22.1
14.1
7.4
 245AMD Radeon R7 M440
21.5
13.9
7.3
 251AMD Radeon R7 M340
18.3
13
6.7
3.9
 252NVIDIA GeForce 920M
19.654
11.64
6.53
3.83
 253AMD Radeon R6 M340DX
17.6
11.4
5.8
3.1
 254Intel HD Graphics 530
12.83
8.9
5.3
3.2
 257AMD Radeon R7 M260
18.3
12.8
4
3.2
 258AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
20.2
11
5.9
 260AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
16.42
10.22
5.32
 268AMD Radeon HD 8670D
21.2
 281AMD FirePro W2100
17
10
 291Intel HD Graphics 5600
14.7
9.6
5.6
3.1
 317AMD Radeon HD 8650G
15.6
 322NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
12.1
 325AMD Radeon R5 M335
17.2
11.3
6.4
2.9
 326*AMD Radeon R5 M430
18
Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
lowmed.highultra4k
 327AMD Radeon R5 M330
15.9
10.7
 328AMD Radeon R5 M255
18.5
12.9
4.1
3.4
 332Intel HD Graphics 520
11.8514
6.85
 333Intel Iris Graphics 6100
15.82
10.252
 334NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
14.7
9
5.1
 336AMD Radeon R5 M240
18.2
12
 345Intel HD Graphics 6000
13.62
 348Intel Iris Graphics 5100
14.1