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Ark Survival Evolved Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks

Florian Glaser (translated by Martin Jungowski), 09/02/2017

Dinosaur whisperer. It has been one of the most popular early-access titles of the last few years, and now that the dinosaur action spectacle Ark: Survival Evolved has been officially launched it is time to take a look at its system requirements to figure out whether or not the game gulps up computing power as fast as it does player avatars. Update: 25 Systems tested

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Ark Survival Evolved

Technology

After almost two years of early access on Steam, the survival game Ark has finally been officially released for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. First things first: even though the game is referred to as “final” and the developers had plenty of time to address the numerous bugs and issues reported during the early access period the game is still far from perfect. Despite the short period of time we spent with it we found numerous graphics glitches, sound bugs, clipping bugs, as well as other problems ranging from things like path finding to dinosaurs randomly falling out of the sky after loading a game. At least those were all minor glitches that didn’t have a massive impact on our overall gaming experience. The game’s overall system requirements have the potential to do so but we’ll get to that later.

Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved

But first, let’s cover the basics. The game is built around the Unreal Engine 4 by Epic Games that really shines in high details settings. In addition to crisp textures we adored the thick vegetation, the impressive weather effects, and the day/night rhythm. Lighting is also very nice even though we find it to be a bit exaggerated, resulting in reflections on all sorts of organic material that make it look like metal. Anti-aliasing is also not exactly stellar – even on its highest settings some objects, such as palm leaves, seem to flicker severely. Apparently, Ark is utilizing a rather simple post-processing anti-aliasing algorithm.

Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved

The settings menu is surprisingly extensive. While more detailed explanations would have been welcome the 30+ available options are impressive. Some settings can only be turned on or off, others can be fine-tuned more extensively (see screenshots below). Their respective impact on performance varies between negligible and massive. For those of us who prefer playing rather than fiddling with settings a total of four presets are available. Unfortunately, we find them to lack refinement. For example, the medium setting has some settings set to epic while the epic setting doesn’t necessarily mean that all settings are enabled or maxed out. Accordingly, some additional fine-tuning might be necessary.

Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved
Ark Survival Evolved

One thing to note is that regardless of preset, Ark reduces the resolution via “Resolution Scale” somewhat to improve overall frame rates while at the same time resulting in a slightly mushy and blurry image. Thus, after selecting a new preset we had to manually reset this option to 100 % every time. In addition, we found it quite bothersome and annoying that some settings require a restart of the entire game, and more often than not a change in resolution had not been applied after restarting the game. The latter in particular needs to be addressed by the developers asap. In addition to powerful hardware, the game also requires a large hard drive. Despite a download size of only 16 GB once installed the game required around 60 GB without any additional mods installed. Loading times were decent with an SSD, loading from HDDs is obviously going to be significantly slower.

Low
Low
Medium
Medium
High
High
Epic
Epic

Benchmark

In order to achieve more consistent benchmark results we opted for the single-player instead of the multi-player mode. As can be seen in the video below the avatar is spawned in a newly created map, more specifically the “South Zone 1” map that is part of the “The Island” campaign.

The game stutters noticeably in the very beginning and frame rates obtained during this early period are highly unreliable. Consequently, we start our benchmark sequence the moment we were able to start moving the main character. Once we obtain control over the avatar, we sprint along the beach for roughly 20 seconds until we reach a predetermined point. Due to the random placement of dinosaurs slight variances in the frame rates obtained during this sprint sequence might occur. In addition, the random placement of dinosaurs also leads to occasional attacks by aggressive species early on, in which case we repeat the entire procedure. Although the time of day is one of the many random factors determined when launching the campaign, we found it to have almost no effect on frame rates. It does therefore not matter whether the benchmark is performed at virtual dawn, noon, or dusk.

Given that Survival Evolved is a first-person shooter (third-person perspective is optional) we’re aiming for an average of at least 35-40 FPS (consistent with our requirements for all other first-person shooters). A truly smooth gaming experience starts at around 60 FPS or more. As expected, the GPU has the biggest impact on performance and even high-performance graphics cards turn out to be a bottleneck. The microprocessor was only relevant on low settings and resolutions. Short and sudden FPS drops can be attributed to the less than optimal coding with lots of room for improvement.

Results

As can be seen on the screenshots below the four presets have different effects on the overall gaming experience. While the main differences between medium, high, and epic are long distance rendering and details (high and epic mostly improve on vegetation in the distance) as well as shadows, the game is shabby and ugly on low due to a complete lack of shadows, mushy and poor textures, and a very short rendering distance.

Unfortunately, the higher settings come at a high price. In order to enjoy the game at FHD resolution (1920 x 1080) in the epic preset you will need at least a GeForce GTX 1070 or a GeForce GTX 1080. In other words: the crème de la crème of gaming GPUs. For the high preset and FHD resolution a GeForce GTX 1060 or GTX 980 will do fine, although with these the medium preset will offer a more reactive and overall smoother gaming experience. The AMD Radeon RX 480 GPU for desktops is in our tests a bit slower than the competing GeForce GTX 1060 and gets even beaten by the laptop version. 

Low
Low
Medium
Medium
High
High
Epic
Epic

Midrange GPUs, such as the GeForce GTX 1050 (Ti), will only be able to render the game smoothly with medium details at lower resolutions (e.g. 1366 x 768). Multimedia laptops with a Geforce 940MX (DDR3) or Radeon R7 M440 (and the like) are not able to achieve playable framerates over 30fps in our tests. Therefore, office laptops with integrated graphics cards like the Intel UHD 620 are not able to display fluent framerates in Ark.

Ark Survival Evolved
    3840x2160 Epic Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)     1920x1080 Epic Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)     1920x1080 High Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)     1920x1080 Medium Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)     1366x768 Medium Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)     1280x720 Low Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop), 4790K
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
22.5 (min: 21) fps ∼83%
58.5 (min: 54) fps ∼92%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
17.6 (min: 16) fps ∼65%
47.2 (min: 44) fps ∼74%
70.1 (min: 66) fps ∼74%
91.3 (min: 70) fps ∼96%
127 (min: 84) fps ∼100%
128 (min: 85) fps ∼98%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
15.1 (min: 14) fps ∼56%
40.4 (min: 38) fps ∼64%
59.4 (min: 56) fps ∼63%
82.6 (min: 73) fps ∼86%
118 (min: 83) fps ∼93%
130 (min: 85) fps ∼100%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
Asus G752VS
13.8 (min: 13) fps ∼51%
36.2 (min: 34) fps ∼57%
54.3 (min: 51) fps ∼57%
74.9 (min: 66) fps ∼78%
101 (min: 68) fps ∼80%
102 (min: 68) fps ∼78%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
9.9 (min: 9) fps ∼37%
27.1 (min: 25) fps ∼43%
39.9 (min: 38) fps ∼42%
54.6 (min: 49) fps ∼57%
85.1 (min: 74) fps ∼67%
126 (min: 83) fps ∼97%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 6700K
Desktop PC
9.4 (min: 8) fps ∼35%
26.7 (min: 25) fps ∼42%
39.7 (min: 37) fps ∼42%
57.2 (min: 53) fps ∼60%
88.2 (min: 73) fps ∼69%
118 (min: 74) fps ∼91%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6820HK
MSI GT62VR
9.1 (min: 8) fps ∼34%
25 (min: 23) fps ∼39%
37 (min: 35) fps ∼39%
48.6 (min: 46) fps ∼51%
76.7 (min: 57) fps ∼60%
86.6 (min: 60) fps ∼67%
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop), 4790K
AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB Reference
23.3 (min: 21) fps ∼37%
33.9 (min: 32) fps ∼36%
47.3 (min: 38) fps ∼50%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
MSI GE72 7RE-046
21.8 (min: 20) fps ∼23%
31.6 (min: 30) fps ∼33%
89 (min: 55) fps ∼68%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
MSI GL62M 7RD-077
16.5 (min: 12) fps ∼17%
24.3 (min: 23) fps ∼25%
76 (min: 64) fps ∼58%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
24.5 (min: 23) fps ∼26%
78 (min: 51) fps ∼60%
NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (Laptop GT 1030), 7700HQ
MSI PL62 MX150 7700HQ
13.5 (min: 12) fps ∼14%
53.8 (min: 47) fps ∼41%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
MSI PE60 2QD
10.3 (min: 9) fps ∼11%
15.3 (min: 14) fps ∼16%
53.7 (min: 49) fps ∼41%
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 6700HQ
MSI CX72 6QD
7 (min: 6) fps ∼7%
26.4 (min: 23) fps ∼20%
NVIDIA GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
MSI GP62 2QD
7.5 (min: 6) fps ∼8%
28.2 (min: 25) fps ∼22%
NVIDIA GeForce 920M, 2970M
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
16.6 (min: 15) fps ∼13%

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Ark Survival Evolved
 Ark Survival Evolved (2017)
low
1280x720
Low Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)
med.
1920x1080
Medium Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)
high
1920x1080
High Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)
ultra
1920x1080
Epic Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)
4k
3840x2160
Epic Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop)
58.5
22.5
 2NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
101.2
95.5
94.9
63.6
27
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Desktop)
121.4
85.2
81.6
62.1
26.7
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop)
88.6
53
25.8
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
128
91.3
70.1
47.2
17.6
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
62.92
42.152
16.12
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti (Desktop)
47.1
17.3
 9*NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
56.6
38.6
 12NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
130
82.6
59.4
40.4
15.1
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
102
74.9
54.3
36.2
13.8
 21NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
118
57.2
39.7
26.7
9.4
 22AMD Radeon RX 580 (Desktop)
116
56
37.5
26.1
9
 26*NVIDIA Quadro P4000 Max-Q
92
52
51
27
27
 29NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
126
54.6
39.9
27.1
9.9
 32AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
47.3
33.9
23.3
 33*AMD Radeon RX 580 (Laptop)
87.5
41.2
29.1
20.3
 34NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
86.6
48.6
36.22
253
9.1
 57NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
91.952
31.452
22.252
14.6
 71NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
76
24.3
16.5
Pos      Model                                     Ark Survival Evolved
lowmed.highultra4k
 88NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
78
24.5
 113NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 (Desktop)
64.1
14.2
10.9
 114NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (Laptop GT 1030)
53.252
13.42
10.2
 119*AMD Radeon Pro 555
47.1
14
 131*AMD Radeon Pro 450
38.9
12
 132NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
53.7
15.3
10.3
 211NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
26.43
7.33
6.2
3.1
 214NVIDIA GeForce 940M
28.2
7.5
 216AMD FirePro W4190M
19.4
9
6.2
3.6
 229*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
13.1
 235NVIDIA GeForce 930M
24.4
 283NVIDIA GeForce 920M
16.6
 287AMD Radeon R7 M440
15.8
 297Intel HD Graphics 630
15.7
 299Intel HD Graphics 530
4.1
 304AMD Radeon R5 (Stoney Ridge)
15
6.2
 305*Intel UHD Graphics 620
15.3
 375AMD Radeon R5 M255
13.8
5
 379Intel HD Graphics 520
10
 381NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
7
Pos      Model                                     Ark Survival Evolved
lowmed.highultra4k
 400Intel HD Graphics 4600
9.6
 402Intel HD Graphics 5500
10.9
 449Intel HD Graphics 4400
7
 559Intel HD Graphics (Haswell)
5.9
* 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

System Graphics Card Processor RAM Operating System
Desktop-PC I MSI GeForce GTX 1080 (8 GB GDDR5X)
MSI GeForce GTX 1070 (8 GB GDDR5)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB GDDR5)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 (4 GB GDDR5)
Intel Core i7-6700K 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
Desktop-PC II Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11 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)
Intel Core i7-4790K 2 x 4 GB DDR3 Windows 10 64 Bit
Asus G752VS Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-6820HK 4 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GT62VR Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-6820HK 4 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GE72 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2 x 4 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
Asus GL753VD Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (4 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GL62 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (2 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2 x 4 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GE72 Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M (2 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-6700HQ 1 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI PE60 Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M (2 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2 x 4 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GP62 Nvidia GeForce 940M (2 GB DDR3) Intel Core i7-5700HQ 1 x 8 GB DDR3 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI CX61 Nvidia GeForce 920M (2 GB DDR3) Intel Celeron 2970M 1 x 8 GB DDR3 Windows 10 64 Bit
Asus N551ZU AMD Radeon R9 M280X (4 GB GDDR5) AMD FX-7600P 2 x 4 GB DDR3 Windows 10 64 Bit
4K monitor Nvidia driver AMD driver
2 x Asus PB287Q, Philips 328P6VJEB ForceWare 385.41 Crimson 17.8.2
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Ark Survival Evolved Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks
Florian Glaser, 2017-09- 2 (Update: 2017-10-25)