Notebookcheck

Dirt Rally Notebook Benchmarks

Florian Glaser (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 06/02/2015

Purist. In the past few years, Codemasters has developed an arcade-oriented, racing game. Now with “Dirt Rally”, they have decided to return to the old Colin McRae roots. We ran the "Early-Access" game to check its hardware requirements.

Dirt Rally Logo

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Game Engine

Dirt Rally” uses the fourth phase of the EGO engine. The predecessor of this engine can be found in games like “Grid 2”, “Grid Autosport” and “F1 2013/2014” - all of which are made by Codemasters. Although the engine offers decent/good visuals, it looks a little outdated. The cars have glossy reflections and amazing details (inside and outside), but the race tracks are no longer up-to-date. The lighting is not great (depending on the time of day, the scene may appear pale and garish, similar to “Watch Dogs”) and the textures can be poor from time to time. We particularly dislike the ground graphics, which should be far better, considering this is the year 2015. Tessellation should add more structure and details here. Furthermore, the tracks left behind by the car seem to be 2D textures.

Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally

On the other hand, “Dirt Rally” offers great draw-distance and pretty panoramas, which look truly amazing in the race replays. Codemasters have done a great job with the vegetation as well: the lush grass, bushes and trees are rare in racing games. Compared with the “F1” series, “Dirt Rally” offers a much better atmosphere. We would also like to point out the smaller details on each track, such as houses, parked cars or the spectators (very polygonal). The particle and smoke effects during races are a nice touch.

Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally

We love the damage system of the game. The car has to be smashed hard against objects to leave large marks, but smaller effects, like scratches and dirt, are easy to see. Depending on the race track, the visual car damage particles change: dirt, rain, mud and snow are all found in the game.

Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally

This brings us to our next topic: the tracks. There is a lot of variation in the looks and the architecture of the different race tracks. The demanding driving experience reminds us of Colin McRae and turns each track into a challenge. For example, cutting the corner too close will shoot the car over the border, into the trees. Codemasters has optimized the driving experience and the interface. The menus are far more intuitive now. Overall, although we find the engine to be above average, we think it is time for a new one.eack Other racing games (for example, “Need for Speed Rivals”) have far better graphics.

Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally

However, the gameplay is extremely fun. As mentioned before, “Dirty Rally” separates itself from the mass of Arcade racing games (like “The Crew”) with its demanding driving experience. If you are not looking for a story, but rather want to enjoy a classic racing game, then “Dirt Rally” is the right game for you. Currently, the game is available for 30 Euros (~$33) on Steam. Despite being an "Early-Access" version, we did not notice any bugs. In fact, the old "Codemasters Bug" (game would not run properly in full screen mode), occurred on only one notebook (Schenker XMG A505).

Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally

The studio deserves praise for its extensive settings. We are familiar with the advanced settings from “Grid” and “F1”, which hide many tweaks. Furthermore, the menu includes 5 presets and various options for the resolution, picture and additional display settings (frequency, gamma, vertical synchronization). Anti-aliasing is available in various modes, like CMAA and MSAA. All settings are applied immediately, without requiring a restart.

Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally

Benchmark

Thanks to the in-built, 3-minute benchmark; “Dirt Rally” is well suited for performance measurements. Overall, every test notebook performed at the level we expected. Since “Dirt Rally” belongs to the Gaming Evolved program, AMD systems can perform quite well, as can be seen in the comparison of the GeForce GTX 980 to the Radeon R9 290X (the latter lags further behind in other games). At very low settings, the CPU may be a bottleneck, but at higher settings, the GPU is the limiting factor. Considering the demanding driving experience, we believe having a constant frame rate of 35-40 fps (or higher) is important. Note: the benchmark does not go under 12.5 fps.

Results

First the good news: as long as your system supports DirectX 11 and has a dual-core processor with 4 GB of RAM, you can probably run “Dirt Rally”. Therefore, it does not matter if it is a lower-end multimedia notebook or an office laptop. The bad news: at low settings, the game is anything but pretty: blurry textures, poor 2D bitmap trees and missing shadows/reflections. Thankfully, “Dirt Rally” runs smoothly on low-end GPUs like the Intel HD Graphics 4000 or 4600 IGPs. Middle-class GPUs, like the GeForce GT 740M, are strong enough to run the game at 1366x768 pixels and the medium preset.

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

High details and the FHD resolution (1920x1080 pixels) require a more powerful gaming GPU, like the GeForce GTX 850M. For maximum settings and 4x MSAA, a high-end GPU, like the GeForce GTX 870M or higher, is necessary. Thankfully, the system requirements are not as extreme as most other games (see “The Witcher 3” or “GTA V”), which means that high-end gaming notebooks can run the game at 4K (3840x2160 pixels). High details without Anti-Aliasing will run smoothly on a GeForce GTX 880M. Overall, considering the benchmark results, we believe the hardware requirements are appropriate for the graphics quality.

Dirt Rally
    3840x2160 High Preset     1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS     1920x1080 High Preset     1366x768 Medium Preset     1024x768 Ultra Low Preset
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 3770K
Desktop-PC
84 (min: 68) fps ∼52%
96.4 (min: 85) fps ∼57%
132.1 (min: 100) fps ∼72%
163.8 (min: 118) fps ∼75%
419.4 (min: 306) fps ∼81%
AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4790K
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC
75.2 (min: 64) fps ∼46%
97.4 (min: 78) fps ∼58%
137 (min: 106) fps ∼75%
163 (min: 126) fps ∼75%
441 (min: 209) fps ∼85%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
58.6 (min: 45) fps ∼36%
72 (min: 54) fps ∼43%
107.4 (min: 83) fps ∼59%
140.7 (min: 105) fps ∼64%
291.7 (min: 243) fps ∼57%
AMD Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
52 (min: 42) fps ∼32%
69.5 (min: 57) fps ∼41%
109.9 (min: 90) fps ∼60%
133.5 (min: 101) fps ∼61%
403.2 (min: 284) fps ∼78%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
45.5 (min: 25) fps ∼28%
56.5 (min: 38) fps ∼34%
106.1 (min: 80) fps ∼58%
134.1 (min: 98) fps ∼61%
282 (min: 239) fps ∼55%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
41.3 (min: 34) fps ∼25%
51.6 (min: 43) fps ∼31%
102 (min: 85) fps ∼56%
134.8 (min: 98) fps ∼62%
289.8 (min: 241) fps ∼56%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
34.8 (min: 28) fps ∼21%
40.4 (min: 33) fps ∼24%
87.6 (min: 74) fps ∼48%
133.2 (min: 96) fps ∼61%
292.4 (min: 242) fps ∼57%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
22.4 (min: 18) fps ∼14%
32.9 (min: 25) fps ∼20%
73 (min: 60) fps ∼40%
126.3 (min: 96) fps ∼58%
307.4 (min: 239) fps ∼60%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
23 (min: 19) fps ∼14%
27.9 (min: 23) fps ∼17%
60.4 (min: 48) fps ∼33%
111.8 (min: 86) fps ∼51%
286.2 (min: 238) fps ∼55%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, 4340M
Schenker M504
24.1 (min: 20) fps ∼14%
57.8 (min: 48) fps ∼32%
104.1 (min: 79) fps ∼48%
227.7 (min: 192) fps ∼44%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
13.2 (min: 12) fps ∼8%
30.4 (min: 25) fps ∼17%
55.9 (min: 45) fps ∼26%
201.1 (min: 150) fps ∼39%
AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop), A10-7850K
A10-7850K Asus A88-XM-PLUS
13.8 (min: 12.5) fps ∼8%
26.5 (min: 21) fps ∼14%
49 (min: 38) fps ∼22%
150 (min: 126) fps ∼29%
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ
Schenker S413
12.5 (min: 12.5) fps ∼7%
19.1 (min: 14) fps ∼10%
41 (min: 32) fps ∼19%
168 (min: 143) fps ∼33%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, 4200M
HP Envy 15-j011sg
12.5 (min: 12) fps ∼7%
22 (min: 17) fps ∼12%
41.2 (min: 34) fps ∼19%
144.6 (min: 118) fps ∼28%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, 2637M
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
12.6 (min: 12.5) fps ∼8%
18.2 (min: 12.5) fps ∼10%
35.5 (min: 16) fps ∼16%
128 (min: 87) fps ∼25%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, 4200M
MSI CX61-i572M
12.5 fps ∼7%
16.1 fps ∼9%
32.1 fps ∼15%
120.4 fps ∼23%
AMD Radeon HD 8650G, A10-5750M
Pumori Test Platform (A10-5750M)
12.5 (min: 12.5) fps ∼7%
19.6 (min: 13) fps ∼11%
31.5 (min: 22) fps ∼14%
114 (min: 96) fps ∼22%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M, 3720QM
Asus N56VM
14.5 (min: 12.5) fps ∼8%
29.2 (min: 22) fps ∼13%
110 (min: 77) fps ∼21%
Intel Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
13.5 (min: 12.5) fps ∼7%
26 (min: 20) fps ∼12%
87 (min: 68) fps ∼17%
Intel HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
12.5 (min: 12) fps ∼7%
12.7 (min: 12) fps ∼7%
25.3 (min: 21) fps ∼12%
125.8 (min: 102) fps ∼24%
Intel HD Graphics 5500, 5010U
Intel NUC Kit NUC5i3RYH
12.5 (min: 12) fps ∼7%
12.5 (min: 12) fps ∼7%
21.5 (min: 18) fps ∼10%
80.4 (min: 67) fps ∼16%
Intel HD Graphics 3000, 2637M
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
0 fps ∼0%

Test Systems

Four of our test models come 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)

These notebooks have Windows 7 64-bit installed on them (Win 8.1 @XMG A505).

Three of our test models come with Nvidia:

Intel provided one 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 is an Asus PB287Q.

GPU drivers: Nvidia 352.86, AMD 15.5 Beta, Intel 10.18.14.4170

Overview

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Pos      Model                                     Dirt Rally
 Dirt Rally (2015)
low
1024x768
Ultra Low Preset
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
high
1920x1080
High Preset
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset
4x MSAA
4k
3840x2160
High Preset
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop)
129
135
 2NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
234
153.3
95.5
94.3
97
 3NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 SLI (Laptop)
162
161
155
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop)
170
168
163
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
382
189
152
135
126
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
145
125
118
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI (Laptop)
394
178.9
137.3
124.4
85.6
 9NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
1342
1462
 10NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
294.3
154.5
113.32
93.82
98.9
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
155
137
109
 15AMD Radeon R9 Fury
94
81
 16AMD Radeon R9 Nano
106
138
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
419.4
163.8
132.1
96.4
84
 18NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
381.952
156.652
123.852
94.952
832
 21AMD Radeon R9 390X
353.7
134.9
107.6
93.5
71.2
 22NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
374.4
168
135.6
83.3
71.4
 23NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
378
207
183
106
87.7
 24*NVIDIA Quadro P3000
233.9
129.8
80.7
71.6
61.8
 25AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
82
64
Pos      Model                                     Dirt Rally
lowmed.highultra4k
 27NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
122
95.6
79
 30NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
139.3
108.7
93.652
143
 33AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
82
116
 38AMD Radeon R9 290X
441
163
137
97.4
75.2
 45NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
396.65
148.96
121.46
75.37
60.652
 46NVIDIA Quadro M5000M
386
160
126
73
 47AMD Radeon R9 280X
403.2
133.5
109.9
69.5
52
 48AMD Radeon R9 380
363.9
135.3
100.3
60.5
45.1
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
441.4
180.3
130.9
61.3
47.1
 50NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
93.4
65.7
57.8
 51NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
62.1
52.7
 52NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
275.93
127.14
100.634
58.54
45.5
 55NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
235.6
149.6
94.3
67
60
 60AMD Radeon R9 M295X
226.5
103.3
68.4
43
 62NVIDIA Quadro M3000M
108.6
89.6
53.6
39.2
 63NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop)
76
49.8
 64NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
223.2
117.1
88.4
53
 65AMD FirePro W7170M
278
187
89
63
 67AMD Radeon R7 370
341.79
153.5
88.81
49.68
 69NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
289.8
134.8
102
51.6
41.3
Pos      Model                                     Dirt Rally
lowmed.highultra4k
 70NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
411.5
156.7
108.3
50.3
37.3
 75NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
401.9
147.4
81.5
39
32.3
 77AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
42.4
33
 81NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
227.13
112.33
86.23
44.23
38.9
 83NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
292.4
133.2
87.6
40.4
34.8
 85AMD Radeon HD 8970M
196
124.6
82.4
49.5
 99NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
233.75
108.65
72.696
33.158
22.43
 108NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
232.952
118.12
72.352
32.852
 110NVIDIA Quadro K4100M
457
122
67
33
12.5
 115NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
286.2
111.8
60.4
27.9
23
 124NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
162.8610
84.6512
46.413
22.713
 126AMD Radeon R9 M385X
124.2
53
40.7
27.1
 127NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
227.7
104.1
57.8
24.1
 128NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
261
115
62
29
20
 129*NVIDIA Quadro M620
248.97
118.51
62.05
28.2
 130AMD Radeon R9 M280X
133
53
38.8
20.7
 135NVIDIA GeForce 945M
229
98.5
52.7
22.1
 158NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
273.92
83.352
45.62
23.22
16.752
 160AMD Radeon R9 M370X
316.7
79.6
40.1
21.2
 167AMD FirePro W5130M
216
71
47
19
Pos      Model                                     Dirt Rally
lowmed.highultra4k
 177NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
225
60
25
 197NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
201.1
55.9
30.4
13.2
 199*NVIDIA Quadro M520
145.6
75.1
40.5
18.7
14.7
 200NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
125.794
52.45
29.75
13.974
 201NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
171
41
23
12
 202NVIDIA GeForce 940M
146.19
45.89
23.59
12.59
 203NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
158.552
58.372
31.052
132
 205AMD Radeon R9 M375
40.8
24.8
 210AMD Radeon R7 M370
116.8
47.6
25.6
13.4
 214NVIDIA GeForce 840M
183.2
45.1
22.6
12.5
 219*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
79
27.3
15.2
 220AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
150
49
26.5
13.8
 221Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
168
41
19.1
12.5
 223NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
144.6
41.2
22
12.5
 224NVIDIA GeForce 930M
137.4
47.852
24.452
 226*Intel Iris Graphics 550
132.9
38.8
19.1
12.5
 227NVIDIA GeForce 830M
165.4
45.6
25.5
12.5
 228*NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
170.3
44.4
22.6
 231Intel Iris Graphics 540
1493
36.83
17.23
12.52
 232*NVIDIA Quadro M500M
82.6
32.8
19.5
12.7
Pos      Model                                     Dirt Rally
lowmed.highultra4k
 257AMD Radeon R7 M265
136.6
40.6
21.3
12.6
 261NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
128
35.5
18.2
12.6
 262AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
106
34
19.4
12.5
 263AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
71.92
262
15.72
12.52
 264*AMD Radeon R7 M460
108.7
36.7
17.9
12.5
 267AMD Radeon R7 M360
116.93
343
18.43
12.53
 269*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
77.852
25.352
142
12.5
 272AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
95.5
35.6
20.6
12.5
 273AMD Radeon R7 M440
93.4
36.4
18.9
12.5
 279AMD Radeon R7 M340
129.8
40
21.1
12.5
 280NVIDIA GeForce 920M
135.25
33.25
16.95
12.54
 282Intel HD Graphics 630
178.9
38.3
16.1
 284Intel HD Graphics 530
135.22
26.552
12.92
 288AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
65.3
20.6
13.1
 289AMD Radeon R5 (Stoney Ridge)
59.7
22
 290*Intel HD Graphics 620
129.452
352
15.252
12.5
 291AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
85.62
24.152
13.72
12.5
 322Intel HD Graphics 5600