Notebookcheck

Thief Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 03/09/2014

Treading quietly. The underrepresented stealth-adventure genre gets a fresh wind with the new Thief game. This article will not cover whether the series-reboot attains to the quality of its predecessor. Instead, we will investigate how much performance the title demands of a variety of hardware components. Will owners of weaker notebooks be able to enjoy this game?

Thief

For the original German article, see here.

Graphics

Like many new releases, Thief is based on a highly modified version of the Unreal Engine 3. Although the developers implemented a ton of new, hot features (parallax occlusion mapping, tessellation, etc.), in some ways the graphics are lacking. While the lighting, shadows and many of the surface structures meet today's standards, other elements (faces, for example) seem a little outdated. Despite several weaknesses, however, overall the graphics quality falls somewhere between solid and good. Most stealth fans will be satisfied here.

In terms of atmosphere, there is little to critique. With the exception of a few dreary passages, the game world fits together coherently. The aura is sometimes reminiscent of the 2012 release of Dishonored. Thanks to the protagonist's visible arms and legs, the player gets a thrilling sense of being "in" the game.

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

We would like to give special recognition to Nixxes, who took care of the PC version of this game. The Dutch company has already drawn attention to themselves in the past for how well they port software across platforms (ex. Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution and Deus Ex: Human Revolution). They are not known necessarily for their graphics conversion itself, but more for their commitment to promoting ease of use and implementing a wide range of settings options (much better than a console port).

The user-friendly graphics menu, which is accessible even outside of the game, reveals a variety of options. Firstly, there is a "Display" tab with settings for resolution, picture mode, frame rate, vertical sychronization and the optional 3D mode. But there are even more options under the "Graphics" tab. Along with the FXAA anti-aliasing mode, Thief also supports the high-class SSAA. The five presets ("Very Low" to "Very High") prove to be very practical and allow the user to change the overall graphics quality quickly and easily. We used these presets in our tests.

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

We also applaud the developers for the integrated benchmark as well. The sequence, which lasts about a minute, shows a city street lined with dozens of passers-by and sparkling with effects. Graphically, this sequence is quite demanding (see video). As far as we can tell from the time we spent in the game itself, inside the campaign the game generally runs more smoothly. Bearing that in mind, our benchmark result of about 25 fps suggests that the title runs at a reasonably playable speed. It is a shame, however, that the numbers do not quite remain constant. As we repeated the test, the results tended to vary by a few fps (especially the minimum fps).

In contrast to other titles like Total War: Rome II, the visuals can only be scaled back to a limited extent. Pro: Even at low settings, Thief does not look ugly. Con: Because there are no giant improvements in performance when the graphics quality is reduced, weaker systems will quickly reach their limits. Independent of all this, the engine is well-developed. In our benchmark test, we only ran into one serious problem (an incorrect start with the Radeon R9 280X). When we ran the title on Intel GPUs, some textures were wrong, loaded too late or did not load at all, but it is possible that the problem had to do with the driver and not the game itself.

Results

From the perspective of a notebook user, the title's hardware demands are not exactly low. While mid-class GPUs, like the GeForce GT 740M, can still run the game fluidly on the "Very Low" preset (~30 fps), the popular HD Graphics 4000 and 4600 Intel chips only manage about 20 fps in the integrated benchmark. At that frame rate, the game is just barely playable, but it will not be much fun.

For 1366 x 768 pixels and the "Normal" preset, you will need at least an upper middle class graphics card. The GeForce GT 750M is the first card to run the game at these settings with over 25 fps. If you want to play Thief at high settings, you will need nothing less than a bona fide high-end GPU. Even at a moderate resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, the game will only run smoothly on a GeForce GTX 660M or higher. Only owners of expensive gaming notebooks will be able to enjoy the game's graphics in their full splendor. Only top models, like the GeForce GTX 770M or the Radeon HD 8970M, do well at 1920 x 1080 pixels and the "Very High" preset.

Maximum details...
Maximum details...
...with full anti-aliasing...
...with full anti-aliasing...
...and high texture filtering
...and high texture filtering

Because Thief is part of the Gaming Evolved program, it is not surprising that AMD graphics cards tend to achieve better results than their Nvidia counterparts. Need an example? The Radeon R9 280X desktop model comes in substantially ahead of the GeForce GTX 660 Ti in the "Ultra" setting, even though the Nvidia GPU almost never runs more slowly than the AMD card in other games.

Additionally, strong GPUs prove that Thief can be limited by the processor. If you only look at the "Very Low" preset, there is hardly a difference between many of the high-end models (with identical CPUs). In the next few weeks, a patch should be released to give Thief support for AMD's Mantle technology. Future results will only be comparable to a limited extent.

Note: As we unfortunately only noticed after we finished our benchmark tests, the game runs faster by a few percentage points when "Exclusive Fullscreen" is activated.

Thief
    1024x768 Very Low Preset     1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX     1366x768 High Preset AA:FXAA & Low SS AF:4x     1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x
Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
69.4 fps ∼56%
67.4 fps ∼64%
65.6 fps ∼62%
53.4 fps ∼68%
GeForce GTX 680, 2600K, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
Desktop GTX 680, Intel Core i7-2600K
75.5 (min: 49) fps ∼61%
71.8 (min: 48) fps ∼68%
69.3 (min: 35) fps ∼65%
49.3 (min: 22.4) fps ∼62%
GeForce GTX 660 Ti, 3770K
Desktop-PC
72.5 fps ∼58%
66.7 fps ∼63%
64.8 fps ∼61%
40.9 fps ∼52%
GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
58.7 fps ∼47%
56.7 fps ∼54%
56.5 fps ∼53%
40.2 fps ∼51%
Radeon HD 8970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
55.1 fps ∼44%
50.9 fps ∼48%
49.9 fps ∼47%
35.9 fps ∼45%
Radeon HD 7970M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
49.5 fps ∼40%
45.3 fps ∼43%
44.6 fps ∼42%
33.5 fps ∼42%
GeForce GTX 680M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
56.3 fps ∼45%
54 fps ∼51%
51 fps ∼48%
31.3 fps ∼40%
GeForce GTX 770M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
57.1 fps ∼46%
51.3 fps ∼49%
46.8 fps ∼44%
26.6 fps ∼34%
GeForce GTX 675MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
55 fps ∼44%
46.6 fps ∼44%
41 fps ∼39%
23.4 fps ∼30%
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
58.2 fps ∼47%
43.1 fps ∼41%
37 fps ∼35%
19.1 fps ∼24%
GeForce GTX 670MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
54.6 fps ∼44%
39.7 fps ∼38%
34.4 fps ∼32%
18.5 fps ∼23%
GeForce GTX 660M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
46 fps ∼37%
30.7 fps ∼29%
26.4 fps ∼25%
13 fps ∼16%
GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
40 fps ∼32%
25.7 fps ∼24%
21.5 fps ∼20%
10.5 fps ∼13%
Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180B3
Schenker S413
30.7 (min: 21) fps ∼25%
20.4 (min: 8.4) fps ∼19%
16 (min: 0.9) fps ∼15%
7.4 (min: 1) fps ∼9%
GeForce GT 740M, 4200M
HP Envy 15-j011sg
29 fps ∼23%
17.5 fps ∼17%
13.9 fps ∼13%
6.6 fps ∼8%
HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
21.3 fps ∼17%
12.2 fps ∼12%
9.9 fps ∼9%
4.8 fps ∼6%
HD Graphics 4000, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
19 fps ∼15%
10.9 fps ∼10%
8.8 fps ∼8%
4.3 fps ∼5%

Test Systems

Three of our test systems are courtesy of Schenker Technologies (mysn.de):

  • W503 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 765M, GTX 770M, GTX 780M, Radeon HD 8970M & HD Graphics 4600)
  • M503 (Core i7-4702MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 750M & HD Graphics 4600)
  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670MX, GTX 675MX, GTX 680M, Radeon HD 7970M & HD Graphics 4000)

The 64-bit edition of Windows 7 is installed on each of these notebooks. We thank 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 & HD Graphics 4600)

Intel provided us with the following notebook:

  • Schenker S413 (Intel Core i7-4750HQ, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 GT3) 

GPU drivers used: Nvidia 334.89, AMD 14.2 Beta 1.3, Intel 10.18.10.3412

Benchmark results from changing notebooks (possibly with other drivers) to follow.

From left to right: Schenker M503, XMG P502 & W503
From left to right: Schenker M503, XMG P502 & W503
HP Envy 15-j011sg
HP Envy 15-j011sg

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Thief
 Thief (2014)
low
1024x768
Very Low Preset
med.
1366x768
Normal Preset
FXAA
high
1366x768
High Preset
4xAF FXAA & Low SSAA
ultra
1920x1080
Very High Preset
8xAF FXAA & High SSAA
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
101.6
98.6
98
79.1
 2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
98.2
96.3
97.8
76.8
 3NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M SLI
76.2
73.3
70
63.6
 5AMD Radeon R9 M290X Crossfire
60.3
57.3
57
52.1
 9AMD Radeon R9 290X
63
70
743
643
 11AMD Radeon R9 280X
69.4
67.4
65.6
53.4
 12NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
124
105.1
89.3
47.9
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M SLI
75.5
67.5
64.2
40.4
 14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
75.5
71.8
69.3
49.3
 18NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
97.7
75.5
67.3
39.2
 19NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
62.63
62.33
595
40.35
 20NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
72.5
66.7
64.8
40.9
 22NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
58.7
56.7
56.5
40.2
 23NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
57.4
50.7
49.6
45.4
 26NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
54.12
50.552
48.23
31.93
 27AMD Radeon R9 M290X
51.1
48
45.3
34
 28AMD Radeon HD 8970M
55.1
50.9
49.9
35.9
 32NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
56.3
54
51
31.3
 35AMD Radeon HD 7970M
49.5
45.3
44.6
33.5
Pos      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 36NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
91.9
63.2
53.4
27.6
 41NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
57.1
51.3
46.8
26.6
 42NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
58.45
50.256
43.8510
23.9510
 50NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
55
46.6
41
23.4
 52NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
47.55
41.256
37.67
18.37
 57NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
58.2
43.1
37
19.1
 75NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
54.6
39.7
34.4
18.5
 78AMD Radeon R9 M275
26.8
22.6
19.3
10.5
 97NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
46
30.7
26.4
13
 99AMD Radeon HD 8850M
27.1
22.5
19.7
11.5
 100*AMD Radeon R9 M265X
37.8
28.62
24.62
12.82
 108NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
40
25.7
21.5
10.5
 110NVIDIA GeForce 840M
33.89
228
17.658
8.756
 112NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
27.9
19.9
17.1
9.5
 115AMD Radeon R7 in A10-7850K APU (Kaveri)
33.2
22
17.5
8.3
 116Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
30.7
20.4
16
7.4
 117AMD Radeon R7 in A10-7700K APU (Kaveri)
33.42
20.752
15.852
8.22
 118*NVIDIA GeForce 830M
29.7
19.9
16.3
 119NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
25.952
15.92
12.82
6.6
 123NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
25.1
14.7
11.9
Pos      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 125NVIDIA GeForce 825M
26.2
15.5
12.4
 137NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
25.32
15.252
12.352
6.3
 141AMD Radeon HD 8750M
21
14.8
11.1
 143AMD Radeon R7 M265
18.22
13.552
11.52
3.4
 148NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
24.8
19.2
14.6
7.2
 161AMD Radeon R7 M260
22.3
16.6
 173AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri)
12.154
6.352
5.052
3.6
 194AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8570M Dual Graphics
14
11.6
9.6
 198AMD Radeon R6 M255DX
14.1
10.9
8.4
 217AMD Radeon HD 8650G
16.752
13
10.4
5.5
 227NVIDIA GeForce 820M
19.1
12
9.9
 229NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
21.3
13
10.7
 231Intel Iris Graphics 5100
20.8
13.2
10.7
5.1
 232AMD Radeon R5 M230
15.62
10.252
8.152
3.82
 243Intel HD Graphics 4600
16.27
9.37
7.56
4.8
 248AMD Radeon HD 7660G
15.6
12.9
10.2
5
 253Intel HD Graphics 5000
11.9
8.4
7.6
3.9
 269AMD Radeon HD 8550G
18.7
12
 278AMD Radeon HD 8470D
16.4
 281Intel HD Graphics 4400
12.413
7.813
6.0510
3.85
Pos      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 319Intel HD Graphics 4000
19
10.9
8.8
4.3
 322AMD Radeon R5 (Beema)
8.3
4.1
1.2
 323*AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
8.9
5.7
4.2
0.7
 324Intel HD Graphics 4200
12.52
6.22
5.8
 332AMD Radeon HD 8450G
10.33
7.43
8
4.3
 336AMD Radeon HD 8400
10.4
 347AMD Radeon HD 8350G
10.1
7.6
 348AMD Radeon HD 8330
10
3.7
 376Intel HD Graphics (Haswell)
10.1
5.7
 396AMD Radeon HD 8280
7.8
 431AMD Radeon HD 8210
2.2
 435Intel HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge)
5.9
3.6
 473Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
4.12
3.3
* 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 > Thief Benchmarked
Author: Florian Glaser, 2014-03- 9 (Update: 2014-03- 9)