Notebookcheck

Civilization VI: Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks

Florian Glaser (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 01/13/2017

Better late than never. At the end of 2016, we got caught up in the excitement of Pascal, Kaby Lake and co. and entirely forgot about Civilization VI. To rectify our mistake, we are putting the latest addition to the Civilization family in the spotlight with multiple notebook and desktop PC tests.

Civilization VI

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For the original German article, see here.

Graphics

The first time you see this turn-based strategy game with its comic visuals, you might think it runs easily on PCs. That is far from the truth: Civilization VI can run on entry-level systems, but if you expect 20-40 fps consistently with high settings or resolutions, we recommend choosing a powerful system. The graphics card is usually the limiting factor for games, but in Civilization VI the processor is just as important.

Civilization VI
Civilization VI
Civilization VI

Our tower PC uses an Intel Core i7-6700K. We ran the game with a GeForce GTX 1060, a GTX 1070 and a GTX 1080: on all settings and resolutions, the frame rates were identical across the graphics cards. On notebooks, we did not notice significant performance increases from a GeForce GTX 980M and upwards. In summary: after a certain level, the graphics performance is not nearly as important as the CPU.

With weaker and/or older processors, the GPU performance is even significantly slowed down. As such, you should not be surprised to see a few relatively "faster" gaming platforms fall behind otherwise "slower" devices. Furthermore, lowering the settings and/or resolutions does not result in a great performance increase. A GTX 980 would perform between 61 FPS (3840x2160 pixels, high settings) and 90 FPS (1024x768, minimum settings).

Civilization VI
Civilization VI
Civilization VI

Now that we are talking about settings, let us take a look at the presets provided in this game. The developer, Firaxis Games, has made it possible to change the game quality with two sliders, which are dubbed "Performance Impact" and "Memory Impact". Advanced users can also manually tweak the video settings, via an additional, detailed graphics menu (also covers the lighting, shadows, overlay, terrain, water and character portraits). Vertical synchronization and optional frame limiter settings can also be found in this extra menu.

Most options can only be turned on or off. Some settings are presented as sliders, but there does not seem to be a great difference between "Low" and "Ultra" - at least from far away. It seems that only "Minimal" settings hurt the game atmosphere due to missing shadows.

Civilization VI
Civilization VI
Civilization VI

Depending on your taste, you will either like or dislike the comic style of this game. We like the fact that this game is very memory-conservative and takes up a mere 8 GB on a storage device. This is a rarity in 2016 where some games can take up to 70 GB (Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, Doom, etc). We also appreciate the option to deactivate the intro video and the ability to activate new settings without needing a restart of the game. Sadly, the long loading times are a definite weakness of the game, as it can take ages to load maps, even with an SSD.

Civilization VI
Civilization VI
Civilization VI

Fans will be happy to know that we did not encounter any graphical issues, such as bugs or crashes, during our testing. There were some problems with changing the resolution (due to wrong scaling, the mouse did not work properly). These issues could be remedied with a restart of the game. Civilization VI can be started in DirectX 12, but this typically led to worse performance for us. As such, we ran our tests with the DirectX 11 mode. A note about the anti-aliasing: the game supports MSAA, which is light on many GPUs.

Civilization VI
Civilization VI
Civilization VI

Benchmark

Keeping with tradition, Civilization VI includes an in-game graphics benchmark, which runs for 40 seconds (including the "Warm-up Phase"). This benchmark measures the frame rate and frame times. Sadly, at the end of the benchmark, the report only includes an average of the latter.

Civilization VI
Civilization VI
Civilization VI

The procedure to determine the average fps is a little awkward. The user will have to go to the benchmark file in the Documents folder in Windows (see screenshot #2). This file must be opened and the detailed frame rates must be calculated together (see screenshot #3). We will be using FRAPS to determine the average fps (see video).

Results

If you have a cheap office or multimedia notebook with a processor integrated graphics chip, you will need to run Civilization at minimal details and/or resolutions. The Intel HD Graphics 4600 was only able to produce 31 fps with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels and minimal details. This was sufficient for the turn-based strategy game. At a resolution of 1366x768 pixels and medium settings, the game needs a dedicated GPU like the GeForce 940MX or better.

Minimum Preset
Minimum Preset
Medium Preset
Medium Preset
High Preset
High Preset
Ultra Preset + 4x MSAA
Ultra Preset + 4x MSAA

For FHD and high settings, the gamer needs a powerful CPU and GPU. The "Medium" preset runs well starting from a GeForce GTX 950M, whereas the "High" preset requires a GeForce GTX 960M. The "Ultra" preset needs a GeForce GTX 965M or better. 4K fans will be looking for a GeForce GTX 970M or stronger to run this game.

Verdict: Civilization VI runs on almost every system (to a certain extent) and does not need a GeForce GTX 1080 or GTX 1070 to run at max settings (like a few other modern games). However, this game is demanding and, considering the visuals it offers, the fps should be higher.

Other systems (Intel, AMD, etc.) will be added in the near future.

Civilization VI
    3840x2160 High Preset     1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS     1920x1080 High Preset     1920x1080 Medium Preset     1366x768 Medium Preset     1024x768 Minimum Preset
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
65.2 (min: 47) fps ∼72%
66.7 (min: 54) fps ∼72%
66.1 (min: 53) fps ∼86%
73.9 (min: 60) fps ∼99%
73.5 (min: 60) fps ∼99%
90.1 (min: 76) fps ∼100%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
65.1 (min: 52) fps ∼72%
66.7 (min: 54) fps ∼72%
66.2 (min: 54) fps ∼87%
74.2 (min: 62) fps ∼100%
73.7 (min: 61) fps ∼99%
90.1 (min: 75) fps ∼100%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 4790K
Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti Desktop PC
78 (min: 61) fps ∼86%
87 (min: 68) fps ∼94%
AMD Radeon R9 Fury, 4790K
XFX Radeon R9 Fury Pro
61 (min: 48) fps ∼67%
71 (min: 54) fps ∼76%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
64.4 (min: 52) fps ∼71%
63.8 (min: 52) fps ∼69%
66.5 (min: 54) fps ∼87%
74.5 (min: 62) fps ∼100%
74.1 (min: 61) fps ∼100%
89.7 (min: 74) fps ∼100%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 6700K
Desktop PC
61.3 (min: 49) fps ∼67%
64.1 (min: 52) fps ∼69%
66.2 (min: 54) fps ∼87%
74.3 (min: 60) fps ∼100%
73.5 (min: 62) fps ∼99%
89.9 (min: 75) fps ∼100%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
Asus G752VS
52.6 (min: 43) fps ∼58%
50.9 (min: 40) fps ∼55%
52.1 (min: 42) fps ∼68%
58.9 (min: 48) fps ∼79%
58.5 (min: 47) fps ∼79%
72.2 (min: 56) fps ∼80%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6820HK
MSI GT62VR
50.6 (min: 41) fps ∼56%
47.5 (min: 38) fps ∼51%
50.7 (min: 38) fps ∼66%
57.4 (min: 46) fps ∼77%
56.7 (min: 44) fps ∼77%
70.3 (min: 58) fps ∼78%
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop), 4790K
AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB Reference
58 (min: 45) fps ∼64%
57 (min: 45) fps ∼63%
68 (min: 49) fps ∼73%
76.5 (min: 59) fps ∼100%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, 4790K
MSI Gaming Z GeForce GTX 970 Desktop PC
57.5 (min: 44) fps ∼63%
68 (min: 51) fps ∼73%
AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop), 4790K
MSI RX 470 Gaming X 4GB
54.5 (min: 42) fps ∼60%
63.5 (min: 47) fps ∼68%
AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4790K
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC
51 (min: 41) fps ∼56%
55 (min: 43) fps ∼59%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
44.7 (min: 36) fps ∼49%
47.6 (min: 37) fps ∼51%
56.4 (min: 43) fps ∼74%
66.7 (min: 51) fps ∼90%
63.2 (min: 46) fps ∼85%
77.2 (min: 62) fps ∼86%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
36.3 (min: 29) fps ∼40%
43.1 (min: 31) fps ∼46%
51.3 (min: 41) fps ∼67%
66.1 (min: 53) fps ∼89%
69.8 (min: 56) fps ∼94%
87.7 (min: 68) fps ∼97%
AMD Radeon R7 370, 4790K
MSI Gaming R7 370 2GB
18.4 (min: 13) fps ∼20%
23.1 (min: 17) fps ∼25%
32.4 (min: 23) fps ∼42%
AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop), 4790K
XFX RX-460P4DFG5 Double Dissipation 4 GB
36.1 (min: 26) fps ∼39%
48.2 (min: 33) fps ∼63%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
36.6 (min: 27) fps ∼39%
42.7 (min: 34) fps ∼56%
49.6 (min: 37) fps ∼67%
60.8 (min: 50) fps ∼67%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
20.8 (min: 16) fps ∼23%
24.6 (min: 18) fps ∼26%
32.7 (min: 23) fps ∼43%
46.2 (min: 31) fps ∼62%
60.1 (min: 43) fps ∼81%
82.4 (min: 61) fps ∼91%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
MSI PE60 2QD
19.8 (min: 15) fps ∼21%
25.9 (min: 18) fps ∼34%
46.4 (min: 33) fps ∼63%
60.4 (min: 43) fps ∼67%
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 6700HQ
MSI CX72 6QD
9.9 (min: 7) fps ∼11%
13.8 (min: 10) fps ∼18%
27.4 (min: 18) fps ∼37%
61.2 (min: 46) fps ∼68%
NVIDIA GeForce 920M, 2970M
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
19.3 (min: 15) fps ∼26%
38 (min: 30) fps ∼42%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, 4200M
MSI CX61-i572M
14 fps ∼19%
32.9 fps ∼37%
Intel HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
10 (min: 8) fps ∼13%
30.9 (min: 28) fps ∼34%
Civilization VI - 3840x2160 High Preset
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti Desktop PC, 4790K
78 (min: 61) fps ∼86%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
Desktop PC, 6700K
65.2 (min: 47) fps ∼72%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
Desktop PC, 6700K
65.1 (min: 52) fps ∼72%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
Desktop PC, 6700K
64.4 (min: 52) fps ∼71%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
Desktop PC, 6700K
61.3 (min: 49) fps ∼67%
AMD Radeon R9 Fury
XFX Radeon R9 Fury Pro, 4790K
61 (min: 48) fps ∼67%
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB Reference, 4790K
58 (min: 45) fps ∼64%
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB Reference, 4790K
57 (min: 45) fps ∼63%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
MSI Gaming Z GeForce GTX 970 Desktop PC, 4790K
57.5 (min: 44) fps ∼63%
AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
MSI RX 470 Gaming X 4GB, 4790K
54.5 (min: 42) fps ∼60%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Asus G752VS, 6820HK
52.6 (min: 43) fps ∼58%
AMD Radeon R9 290X
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC, 4790K
51 (min: 41) fps ∼56%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
MSI GT62VR, 6820HK
50.6 (min: 41) fps ∼56%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
Schenker W504, 4700MQ
44.7 (min: 36) fps ∼49%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
Schenker W504, 4700MQ
36.3 (min: 29) fps ∼40%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
Schenker XMG A505, 4720HQ
20.8 (min: 16) fps ∼23%
AMD Radeon R7 370
MSI Gaming R7 370 2GB, 4790K
18.4 (min: 13) fps ∼20%

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Civilization VI
 Civilization VI (2016)
low
1024x768
Minimum Preset
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
high
1920x1080
High Preset
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset
4xMSAA
4k
3840x2160
High Preset
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop)
90.52
89.52
 2NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
85.6
67
58.5
59.1
59.3
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
90.1
73.5
66.1
66.7
65.2
 9NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
90.1
73.7
66.2
66.7
65.1
 10NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
72.14
58.254
51.854
51.254
52.6
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
87
78
 15AMD Radeon R9 Fury
71
61
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
89.9
73.5
66.2
64.1
61.3
 20*NVIDIA Quadro P4000
66.66
55.24
45.13
43.7
 23NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
89.7
74.1
66.5
63.8
64.4
 25AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
76.5
68
57.52
 27NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
64.22
51.92
46.852
433
43.82
 30NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
68
57.5
 33AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
63.5
54.5
 38AMD Radeon R9 290X
55
51
 45NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
77.2
63.2
56.4
47.6
44.7
 50NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
70.2
50.1
41.8
42.4
 51NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
57.5
47.3
36.3
 52NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
87.7
69.8
51.3
43.1
36.3
Pos      Model                                     Civilization VI
lowmed.highultra4k
 63NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop)
48
40.2
31.5
 64NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
69.92
57.352
40.92
32.92
 67AMD Radeon R7 370
32.4
23.1
18.4
 77AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
48.2
36.1
 81NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
60.8
49.6
42.7
36.6
 99NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
82.4
60.1
32.7
24.6
20.8
 111*AMD Radeon Pro 555
30.2
23.3
 112*AMD Radeon Pro 455
69
28.8
21.6
 123*AMD Radeon Pro 450
61
25.8
 124NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
60.4
46.4
25.9
19.8
 199*NVIDIA Quadro M520
50.8
30.4
15.2
11.7
 200NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
52.13
27.43
13.83
10.53
10.1
 219*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
30.5
14.6
7.6
 220AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
49.7
18.2
 225*Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650
42.2
20.2
 272AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
36.8
9.7
 273AMD Radeon R7 M440
36.4
26.1
9.5
 280NVIDIA GeForce 920M
38
19.3
 282Intel HD Graphics 630
41.1
15.5
 284Intel HD Graphics 530
18.9
7.1
Pos      Model                                     Civilization VI
lowmed.highultra4k
 288AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
30.5
13.9
 289AMD Radeon R5 (Stoney Ridge)
29.4
12.1
 290*Intel HD Graphics 620
26.83
9.63
 359AMD Radeon R5 M255
38.4
22.6
10
 363Intel HD Graphics 520
27.9
10
 365NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
32.9
14
 384Intel HD Graphics 4600
27.552
8.552
 390*Intel HD Graphics 615
20.6
9.2
 431Intel HD Graphics 515
21.5
10.3
 432Intel HD Graphics 4400
20.3
7.5
 433*Intel HD Graphics 510
24.5
9.4
 463*Intel HD Graphics 505
9.7
 480AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
18.3
7
 530Intel HD Graphics 405 (Braswell)
12.2
5.2
* 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 Platform I Platform II
Mainboard Asus Z170-A Asus Z97-Deluxe
Processor Intel Core i7-6700K (Skylake) Intel Core i7-4790K (Haswell)
Graphics Card 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)
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
Memory 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 4 x 16 GB DDR4-2400 2 x 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
2 x Asus PB287Q ForceWare 376.33 Crimson 16.12.2 15.40.28.4501
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Civilization VI: Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks
Florian Glaser, 2017-01-13 (Update: 2017-01-13)