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Fallout 4 Notebook Benchmarks

Florian Glaser (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 11/17/2015

Old-school technology, but fascinating. About four years after Skyrim, Bethesda Softworks releases their next role-play highlight called Fallout 4. Visually, the title might not impress much, but it offers a huge gaming world full of possibilities. Our benchmark article takes a look at how the game performs on various notebooks.

Fallout 4 Logo

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For the original German article, see here.

Graphics

We wouldn't exactly call Fallout 4 a "visual treat". Aside from the sheer range and the well-designed (although moderately animated) characters, the engine seems like an relic from a bygone era. Undefined textures here, lackluster lighting and effects there: it takes just a few minutes before it becomes clear that the title can't measure up to other examples of the genre - no matter if it's Dragon Age Inquisition, which is based on the Frostbite 3 engine (familiar from Battlefield 4) or the extremely polished The Witcher 3.

Fallout 4
Fallout 4
Fallout 4

On the other hand, Fallout 4 is clearly a game where looks matter less and less the longer you play it. Just like the predecessor from 2008, the title offers a fascinating world with hundreds of characters, tasks and surprises. Since the Fallout-universe is a rather strange one in the first place, even bugs like flickering objects or other glitches don't take away much from the game - on the contrary: they bring a few smiles to the face instead.

Nonetheless: we would have liked it had the developers of the PC-version fine-tuned the game some more. Especially the controls could use improvement in many situations: the mouse response is spongy, which - in combination with the not very constant frame rate - makes neither the ego nor the third-person view that enjoyable.

Fallout 4
Fallout 4
Fallout 4

Our main point of criticism concern the console-style menus with their long and convoluted entries. The weapons quick-select wheel and the assignment of the keys could also be a lot more intuitive. At least we didn't encounter any major bugs during the benchmark tests, although Fallout 4 crashed repeatedly after the start (especially in fullscreen-mode) on one of our Intel NUC PCs. Other test systems had no issues with the game, however.

Fallout 4
Fallout 4
Fallout 4

Rather unfortunate is the fact that most of the graphics options can't be changed from within the game. The menu is accessible through the launcher inside Steam. Both the arrangement as well as the range of functionality remind us of Skyrim. Fallout 4 has several presets as well, which change a lot of the settings in one go.

The advanced menu allows the user to tailor the game to their individual needs. Some settings are on/off only (motion blur, lens flares,...), while others have several different levels to choose from.

Fallout 4
Fallout 4
Fallout 4

Somewhat of a nuisance is the fact that there's no real consistency, either: the shadow quality, for example, is implemented at the low setting, whereas textures are only available from medium quality settings on up. In our opinion, the presets are not quite optimal. Activating SSAO and FXAA at the lowest level is a questionable decision and so are the increments of the anisotropic filtering (Off @Low, 16x @Medium).

Speaking of anti-aliasing: compared to other games, Fallout 4 doesn't seem to be able to take advantage of FXAA. Not only do angled edges flicker, but thin objects (shrubs, leaves,...) are affected heavily as well. Due to the anti-aliasing issues in combination with block-like shadows, we can't really recommend the preset "low". Fallout 4 starts to get more compelling at medium details with TAA, which is implemented surprisingly well. There's hardly a recognizable difference between the settings "high" and "ultra" - also as far as the benchmark results are concerned.

Fallout 4
Fallout 4
Fallout 4

The RPG's frame rate is limited by the monitor (60 Hz in most cases). To remove the fps lock, the user has to edit the Fallout4Prefs.ini (located in C:UsersxyzDocumentsMy GamesFallout4) and change the iPresentInterval= from 1 to 0. Caution: changing the graphics options afterwards reactivates the fps lock.

Owners who have notebooks with graphics switching shouldn't be surprised by the fact that Fallout 4 will always recommend the lowest preset regardless of the actual performance, since the launcher seems only capable of identifying the integrated GPU. The game itself opened - at least on Nvidia notebooks with the current driver (ForceWare 358.91) – always with the correct GPU, however.

Online shops see a lot of complaints about the retail version of the game, since Bethesda supposedly ships a DVD containing 5 GB of data, which in turn necessitates a download of about 24 GB before Fallout 4 is complete.

Fallout 4
Fallout 4
Fallout 4

Benchmark

Because of the inconsistent performance, which changes depending on the surroundings as well as the view point, even powerful systems can get close to their limit. To get an idea of how high the demands on the hardware really are, we use a very taxing sequence right at the beginning of the game with lots of vegetation and NPCs. The main character (spoiler alert!) and his spouse have to evacuate their home on short notice and find refuge in a bomb shelter. We use the tool Fraps and start recording as soon as the player character enters the front yard. The benchmark ends after about 40 seconds near a guarded fence.

Since the environment is slightly less structured in the later sequences, it stands to reason that the resulting frame rate will be somewhat higher compared to our test sequence. Because of the undefined and not entirely smooth appearance we recommend at least 35 fps during the benchmark. A suggestion: those who want to eek out the last bit of performance can gain a few fps by avoiding the third-person perspective.

Results

To be able to play Fallout 4 at all, a medium-level GPU is required. Entry-level solutions like the HD Graphics 4600 or the 5500 are not powerful enough even at minimum details and a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. Older allrounder-GPUs like the GeForce GT 740M and GT 750M are pushed to their limits even at the low preset. Notebook users who have one of these GPUs should manually adjust (lower) the graphics settings and deactivate FXAA as well as SSAO. For normal details and a resolution of 1366 x 768 we recommend an upper middle-class GPU (example: GTX 850M).

low settings
low settings
medium settings
medium settings
high settings
high settings
ultra settings
ultra settings
4K settings
4K settings
low settings
low settings
medium settings
medium settings
high settings
high settings
ultra settings
ultra settings
4K settings
4K settings

1920 x 1080 pixels and the high preset are only possible with a true gaming laptop. From the GeForce GTX 870M on up, it's possible to reach average frame rates of above 35 fps. Maximum settings and Full-HD meanwhile require a GTX 880M or GTX 970M. A resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels is too much for every single notebook GPU out there. Even the desktop graphics card GTX 980 manages only 34 fps at high details. Just like Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, this setting would require a GTX 980 Ti or two GTX-980M in SLI-mode. Fallout 4 doesn't tax the processor too much. During all our tests the CPU was only a limiting factor - if at all - with the settings on low.

Fallout 4
    3840x2160 High Preset AA:T AF:16x     1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T AF:16x     1920x1080 High Preset AA:T AF:16x     1366x768 Medium Preset AA:T AF:16x     1280x720 Low Preset AA:FX
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 3770K
Desktop-PC
33.8 (min: 27) fps ∼37%
80.6 (min: 65) fps ∼54%
95.6 (min: 82) fps ∼64%
140.8 (min: 106) fps ∼77%
148.9 (min: 112) fps ∼76%
AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4790K
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC
31.6 (min: 25) fps ∼34%
64 (min: 51) fps ∼43%
84 (min: 68) fps ∼56%
135 (min: 115) fps ∼73%
159 (min: 120) fps ∼81%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
24 (min: 18) fps ∼26%
55 (min: 42) fps ∼37%
65.3 (min: 53) fps ∼44%
117.6 (min: 95) fps ∼64%
126.7 (min: 98) fps ∼65%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
18 (min: 9) fps ∼20%
43.4 (min: 33) fps ∼29%
49.4 (min: 38) fps ∼33%
98.6 (min: 81) fps ∼54%
125.4 (min: 99) fps ∼64%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950, 3770K
Desktop-PC
14.9 (min: 12) fps ∼16%
37.8 (min: 31) fps ∼25%
46.9 (min: 40) fps ∼31%
87.4 (min: 74) fps ∼48%
142.8 (min: 110) fps ∼73%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
14.9 (min: 11) fps ∼16%
35.4 (min: 28) fps ∼24%
42.6 (min: 37) fps ∼29%
73.9 (min: 66) fps ∼40%
110.4 (min: 91) fps ∼57%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
11.6 (min: 8) fps ∼13%
28.9 (min: 23) fps ∼19%
35.1 (min: 29) fps ∼23%
61.3 (min: 52) fps ∼33%
97.1 (min: 80) fps ∼50%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
10.1 (min: 8) fps ∼11%
25.3 (min: 20) fps ∼17%
31.4 (min: 26) fps ∼21%
57.7 (min: 48) fps ∼31%
101.7 (min: 82) fps ∼52%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
7.9 (min: 6) fps ∼9%
20.3 (min: 16) fps ∼14%
24.5 (min: 20) fps ∼16%
43.6 (min: 38) fps ∼24%
69.3 (min: 58) fps ∼36%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, 4340M
Schenker M504
7.3 (min: 4) fps ∼8%
18.8 (min: 15) fps ∼13%
22.8 (min: 18) fps ∼15%
41.8 (min: 34) fps ∼23%
69.6 (min: 59) fps ∼36%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
9.9 (min: 5) fps ∼7%
12.2 (min: 8) fps ∼8%
21.3 (min: 19) fps ∼12%
31.9 (min: 27) fps ∼16%
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ
Schenker S413
15.6 (min: 11) fps ∼8%
24.6 (min: 16) fps ∼13%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, 4200M
HP Envy 15-j011sg
7.4 (min: 4) fps ∼5%
9 (min: 4) fps ∼6%
16.7 (min: 9) fps ∼9%
26.9 (min: 23) fps ∼14%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, 4200M
MSI CX61-i572M
6.8 fps ∼5%
12.4 fps ∼7%
20 fps ∼10%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M, 3720QM
Asus N56VM
18.3 (min: 11) fps ∼9%
Intel HD Graphics 5500, 5010U
Intel NUC Kit NUC5i3RYH
0 fps ∼0%
9.7 (min: 6) fps ∼5%
16.4 (min: 9) fps ∼8%
Intel HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
5.4 (min: 2) fps ∼4%
9.4 (min: 5) fps ∼5%
15.8 (min: 9) fps ∼8%

Testsysteme

Four of our review notebooks are from Schenker Technologies:

  • 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)

Three notebooks are courtesy of Nvidia:

Intel provided the:

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

Our desktop utlize CPUs/APUs from Intel and AMD, SSDs from Micron, Intel and Samsung, motherboards from Intel and Asus as well as GPUs from Nvidia adn AMD. Our 4K display is the Asus PB287Q.

We used the following GPU drivers: Nvidia 358.91, AMD 15.11 Beta, Intel 20.19.15.4300 (Win 10) and Intel 10.18.14.4294 (Win 7), respectively.

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Fallout 4
 Fallout 4 (2015)
low
1280x720
Low Preset
FXAA
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
16xAF TAA
high
1920x1080
High Preset
16xAF TAA
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset
16xAF TAA
4k
3840x2160
High Preset
16xAF TAA
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop)
149
74
 2NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
156
150
120
120
74
 3NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 SLI (Laptop)
132
129
92.2
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop)
141
137
82.3
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
147
129
55.52
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
141
122.54
52.554
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI (Laptop)
189.2
183.8
149.4
129.9
55.6
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
1112
46.152
 9NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
112.52
102.97
423
 11NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
106
46
 13AMD Radeon R9 Fury
80
38.7
 14AMD Radeon R9 Nano
79.5
36.6
 15NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
148.9
140.8
95.6
79.72
33.8
 16NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
185.22
171.12
98.22
79.33
34.052
 19AMD Radeon R9 390X
154.2
140.8
89.3
72.8
33.3
 20NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
145.9
139.2
96
78.4
32.4
 21NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
194
169
96
77.1
32.2
 23AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
67.6
28.4
 25NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
102
100
78.752
66.89
27.43
Pos      Model                                     Fallout 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 27NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
131.7
91.4
73.52
30
 30AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
65
26.8
 35AMD Radeon R9 290X
159
135
84
64
31.6
 42NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
1313
124.74
71.88
56.710
23.55
 44AMD Radeon R9 280X
135
97
57
44.7
17
 45AMD Radeon R9 380
155.2
107
60.9
46.7
21.3
 46NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
163.6
103.4
56.7
44.8
18.5
 47NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
108.5
96.5
552
45.352
18.5
 48NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
46.4
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
135.23
100.14
53.17
43.47
18.32
 52NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
102.5
58.2
53
47.2
19.8
 60NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop)
41.1
 61NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
112.32
72.32
41.25
345
14
 64AMD Radeon R7 370
123
74
43.3
34
12.3
 66NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
110.4
73.9
42.6
35.4
14.9
 67NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
142.8
87.4
46.9
37.8
14.9
 74AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
32.3
13.3
 77AMD Radeon HD 7870
77.4
44.5
35.7
 78NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
120.63
78.054
41.854
34.94
13.9
 80NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
97.1
61.3
35.1
28.9
11.6
Pos      Model                                     Fallout 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 82AMD Radeon HD 8970M
96.6
66.8
39
30.9
 92*AMD Radeon R9 M390
38.5
30.3
13.8
 95NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
97.44
57.210
31.415
24.9516
10.34
 105*AMD Radeon Pro 455
27.8
 108NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
69.3
43.6
24.5
20.3
7.9
 116*AMD Radeon Pro 450
70
24.1
 117NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
68.052
412
22.42
18.8
 119AMD Radeon R9 M385X
39.2
35.5
23.3
19.3
 120NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
69.6
41.8
22.8
18.8
7.3
 123AMD Radeon R9 M280X
39.2
35.2
21.2
15.7
 128NVIDIA GeForce 945M
54
33
18
15
 190NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
31.9
21.3
12.2
9.9
 193NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
35.956
22.95
12.35
10.23
 195NVIDIA GeForce 940M
36.23
21.654
11.95
9.42
 203AMD Radeon R7 M370
34
21.1
11.5
8.4
 214Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
24.6
15.6
 216NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
26.9
16.7
9
7.4
 217NVIDIA GeForce 930M
32.3
19.8
11.1
9.2
 219*Intel Iris Graphics 550
21.3
8.4
 221*NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
27.9
17.4
Pos      Model                                     Fallout 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 223Intel Iris Graphics 540
23.2
 254AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
23.6
16.4
 256*AMD Radeon R7 M460
27
15.8
8.2
6.5
 259AMD Radeon R7 M360
19.252
132
7.12
 261*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
16.152
11.92
6.1
 264AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
24.9
15.9
8.4
 265AMD Radeon R7 M440
25.6
15.8
8.3
 271AMD Radeon R7 M340
29.3
16.8
9.2
6.6
 272NVIDIA GeForce 920M
24.92
15.952
9.3
6.2
 273AMD Radeon R6 M340DX
19.4
12.8
6.7
4.1
 274Intel HD Graphics 630
21.8
 280AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
22.1
15.2
6.5
 282*Intel HD Graphics 620
19.2
12.3
 283AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
18.3
11.3
6.5
 314Intel HD Graphics 5600
17.9
 345NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
18.3
 349*AMD Radeon R5 M430
19.4
12.8
 350AMD Radeon R5 M330
19.4
13.2
6.9
4.1
 351AMD Radeon R5 M255
25.1
15.9
8.5
6.6
 355Intel HD Graphics 520
13.63
9.13
Pos      Model                                     Fallout 4
lowmed.highultra4k
 357NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
20
12.4
6.8
 376Intel HD Graphics 4600
17.82
10.92
6.12
 378Intel HD Graphics 5500
16.4
9.7
 382*Intel HD Graphics 615
10.1
 472AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
13.4
7.8
* 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 > Archive of our own reviews > Fallout 4 Notebook Benchmarks
Florian Glaser, 2015-11-17 (Update: 2015-11-17)
Bernhard Pechlaner
Bernhard Pechlaner - Review Editor
Ended up in the IT sector in the 90s more or less accidentally and have remained in the industry (as a sysadmin) ever since. Always been interested in laptops - first purchase was - if memory serves correctly - a Toshiba Satellite T2115CS with DX4-75 processor, 4 MB of RAM and 350 MB hard disk drive (and Windows 3.1). To this day, laptops appeal to me - much to the chagrin of my wife, who doesn’t seem understand why we need 5-10 of them at any given time ;-).