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Horizon Zero Dawn Laptop and Desktop Benchmarks

Wasted Potential. While the PS4 version won a lot of praise in 2017, the Horizon Zero Dawn PC port suffers from various problems. Nevertheless, we fought our way through the integrated benchmarks with several graphics cards and analyzed their performance.
Florian Glaser, 👁 Florian Glaser, Andrea Grüblinger (translated by Daniel Koenig), 🇩🇪 🇷🇺
Horizon Zero Dawn

Technology

After the recently released PC version of Death Stranding functioned well, hopes for a decent implementation of the console hit Horizon Zero Dawn were high. According to numerous users and some press reviews, though, the port we got could be improved. As our tests show, many of the technical criticisms are well justified. We would, therefore, also classify the PC version as a rather mediocre port.

Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn

First, let us touch on the fact that, when the game is started for the first time, there is an automatic system optimization that takes more than 5 minutes; it ends up being even more annoying than the very aggravating and incomprehensible shader optimizations of Call of Duty Modern Warfare. After what feels like an eternal pause, players then have to endure a several-minute (albeit very nice) intro video that cannot be skipped and appears every time the game starts until you begin the campaign and save. The fact that Horizon Zero Dawn crashed every now and then during our test and that (rather minor) graphics errors often occurred despite using current drivers did not improve the situation.

Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn

The publishers and developers should also work on the game's performance. Regardless of the strength of a user's hardware, Horizon Zero Dawn has occasional and random jolts, which can be seen clearly from the low minimum FPS in the benchmark tables below. Why Horizon Zero Dawn often continues to run in the background for a certain time after it has been closed (see the task manager below) is also a mystery to us.

Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn

There is little to complain about when it comes to graphics options. These have been split into two menus. While the display tab takes care of the resolution and resolution scaling, the field of view, the aspect ratio, the image mode, and the FPS settings (optional HDR, V-Sync & FPS-Limit), the Graphics menu contains 9 detail options that can all be controlled at once using a number of presets. The presets do not have the usual names Low, Medium, High, and Ultra; instead, they have the names Favor Performance, Original (= PS4 level), Favor Quality, and Ultimate Quality.

Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn

On the medium graphical settings, i.e. the original quality, we think the game looks quite pretty. The higher presets hardly have any effect, which our comparison screenshots confirm. Positively, setting changes do not require a restart of the game. Overall, the graphics look nice, but without - in contrast to Death Stranding - breaking any major records. Given the unique style of the world (mixture of ancient civilizations and futuristic technology), the high level of detail is definitely a positive. That said, we were a bit disappointed with the water graphics. 

Favor Performance
Favor Performance
Original
Original
Favor Quality
Favor Quality
Ultimate Quality
Ultimate Quality

Benchmarks

Horizon Zero Dawn has an integrated benchmark, but it is extremely long at around 3 minutes, so it takes a long time to use with multiple devices and settings. The creators deserve praise for the extensive details at the end of the benchmark, though. For example, in addition to standard details such as the minimum, average, and maximum FPS, there are also separate performance curves for the CPU and GPU.

Results

FHD (1920x1080)

The benchmark results on weaker systems show that the third-person title is rather poorly optimized “downwards” and that it requires a lot of GPU memory. Low-end GPUs with less than 3 GB VRAM such as the GeForce MX330 or MX350 are unsuitable even for minimal details on a resolution of 1280x720 pixels.


When using a resolution of 1920x1080 and the original preset, even midrange chips on the level of the GeForce GTX 1050 (Ti) have their problems and regularly stutter. Only current models from the upper mid-range with at least 4 GB VRAM (e.g. the GeForce GTX 1650) manage these settings well. For the presets Favor Quality and Ultimate Quality, a Radeon RX 5500M or better is recommended when using Full HD.

Horizon Zero Dawn
    1920x1080 Ultimate Quality     1920x1080 Favor Quality     1920x1080 Original
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (Desktop)
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, i9-9900K
115 (28min) fps ∼50%
133 (14min) fps ∼51%
146 (24min) fps ∼29%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Desktop)
MSI GeForce RTX 2080, i9-9900K
93 (26min) fps ∼41%
111 (28min) fps ∼43%
124 (23min) fps ∼25%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile
MSI GT76 Titan DT 9SG, i9-9900K
84 (29min) fps ∼37%
103 (29min) fps ∼39%
121 (21min) fps ∼24%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Desktop)
MSI GeForce RTX 2070, i9-9900K
79 (37min) fps ∼34%
97 (29min) fps ∼37%
113 (29min) fps ∼23%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Desktop)
MSI GeForce RTX 2060, i9-9900K
69 (41min) fps ∼30%
86 (40min) fps ∼33%
101 (43min) fps ∼20%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile
MSI GP65 Leopard 9SF, i7-9750H
67 (26min) fps ∼29%
85 (30min) fps ∼33%
100 (30min) fps ∼20%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
Alienware 17 R4, i7-7820HK
62 (21min) fps ∼27%
73 (27min) fps ∼28%
84 (31min) fps ∼17%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile
MSI GE65 Raider 9SE, i7-9750H
59 (24min) fps ∼26%
75 (15min) fps ∼29%
90 (34min) fps ∼18%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Mobile
Asus G752VS, 6820HK
56 (17min) fps ∼24%
68 (27min) fps ∼26%
78 (30min) fps ∼16%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
MSI GP65 Leopard 9SD, i7-9750H
55 (22min) fps ∼24%
70 (22min) fps ∼27%
83 (30min) fps ∼17%
AMD Radeon RX 5500M
MSI Alpha 15, R7 3750H
47 (25min) fps ∼21%
60 (6min) fps ∼23%
67 (22min) fps ∼13%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile
MSI GT62VR, 6820HK
39 (11min) fps ∼17%
51 (26min) fps ∼20%
62 (31min) fps ∼12%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
MSI GP75 Leopard 9SC, i7-9750H
34 (0min) fps ∼15%
46 (18min) fps ∼18%
54 (3min) fps ∼11%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mobile
MSI GE72 7RE, i7-7700HQ
24 (9min) fps ∼10%
31 (13min) fps ∼12%
38 (10min) fps ∼8%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Mobile
MSI GL62M 7RD, i7-7700HQ
18 (5min) fps ∼8%
24 (1min) fps ∼9%
28 (0min) fps ∼6%
NVIDIA GeForce MX350
MSI Prestige 14, i7-10710U
10 (4min) fps ∼4%
12 (6min) fps ∼5%
14 (7min) fps ∼3%
NVIDIA GeForce MX330
MSI Prestige 14, i7-10510U
9 (4min) fps ∼4%
11 (5min) fps ∼4%
13 (7min) fps ∼3%

QHD (2560x1440)

If you want to enjoy Horizon Zero Dawn with maximum details on a QHD monitor (a resolution of 2560x1440), you need a real gaming or high-end GPU like the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti or the GeForce RTX 2060.

Horizon Zero Dawn
    2560x1440 Ultimate Quality
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (Desktop), i9-9900K
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
94 (32min) fps ∼44%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Desktop), i9-9900K
MSI GeForce RTX 2080
74 (16min) fps ∼34%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile, i9-9900K
MSI GT76 Titan DT 9SG
65 (28min) fps ∼30%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Desktop), i9-9900K
MSI GeForce RTX 2070
61 (35min) fps ∼28%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Desktop), i9-9900K
MSI GeForce RTX 2060
52 (30min) fps ∼24%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile, i7-9750H
MSI GP65 Leopard 9SF
51 (25min) fps ∼24%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile, i7-7820HK
Alienware 17 R4
49 (24min) fps ∼23%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-9750H
MSI GE65 Raider 9SE
45 (25min) fps ∼21%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H
MSI GP65 Leopard 9SD
43 (10min) fps ∼20%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Mobile, 6820HK
Asus G752VS
43 (21min) fps ∼20%
AMD Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H
MSI Alpha 15
34 (10min) fps ∼16%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, 6820HK
MSI GT62VR
29 (14min) fps ∼13%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i7-9750H
MSI GP75 Leopard 9SC
24 (2min) fps ∼11%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mobile, i7-7700HQ
MSI GE72 7RE
17 (8min) fps ∼8%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Mobile, i7-7700HQ
MSI GL62M 7RD
14 (6min) fps ∼6%

UHD (3840x2160)

As expected, the game gets even more demanding in the 4K range. Only the GeForce RTX 2080 is able to present the game in an even slightly smooth fashion when using both a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels and the ultimate preset. 

Horizon Zero Dawn
    3840x2160 Ultimate Quality
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (Desktop), i9-9900K
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
54 (21min) fps ∼38%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Desktop), i9-9900K
MSI GeForce RTX 2080
42 (17min) fps ∼29%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile, i9-9900K
MSI GT76 Titan DT 9SG
38 (22min) fps ∼27%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Desktop), i9-9900K
MSI GeForce RTX 2070
35 (18min) fps ∼24%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Desktop), i9-9900K
MSI GeForce RTX 2060
30 (18min) fps ∼21%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile, i7-9750H
MSI GP65 Leopard 9SF
29 (15min) fps ∼20%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile, i7-7820HK
Alienware 17 R4
28 (14min) fps ∼20%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-9750H
MSI GE65 Raider 9SE
25 (12min) fps ∼17%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H
MSI GP65 Leopard 9SD
23 (14min) fps ∼16%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Mobile, 6820HK
Asus G752VS
23 (11min) fps ∼16%
AMD Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H
MSI Alpha 15
18 (9min) fps ∼13%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i7-9750H
MSI GP75 Leopard 9SC
15 (4min) fps ∼10%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, 6820HK
MSI GT62VR
15 (6min) fps ∼10%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mobile, i7-7700HQ
MSI GE72 7RE
6 (2min) fps ∼4%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Mobile, i7-7700HQ
MSI GL62M 7RD
4 (1min) fps ∼3%

Note

Since gaming tests are very time consuming and are often hindered by installation and activation limits, we can only provide you with part of the benchmarks at the time of this article's publication. More graphics cards will be tested and added here in the coming days and weeks.

Overview

Show Restrictions
PosModel< prevnext >Horizon Zero Dawn
 Horizon Zero Dawn (2020)
low
1280x720
Favor Performance
med.
1920x1080
Original
high
1920x1080
Favor Quality
ultra
1920x1080
Ultimate Quality
QHD
2560x1440
Ultimate Quality
4K
3840x2160
Ultimate Quality
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090
158
147
138
126
82
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
164
151
147
141
133
95
NVIDIA Titan RTX
158
142
126
109
90
54
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super (Desktop)
158
125
113
95
75
44
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
172
152
132
125
109
77
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (Desktop)
159
146
133
115
94
54
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Desktop)
162
124
111
93
74
42
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Mobile
127
104
80
45
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile
162
121
103
84
65
38
NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
128
107
93
75
60
34
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super (Desktop)
155
111
95
78
63
37
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT (Desktop)
168.5n2
114.5n2
97n2
73.5n2
55.5n2
29.5n2
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Desktop)
149
113
97
79
61
35
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mobile
145n3
120n3
107n3
86n4
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile
131
100
85
67
51
29
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q
148
109
90
75n2
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Super (Desktop)
149
102
85
69
54
31
AMD Radeon RX 5700 (Desktop)
176
120
100
78
59
32
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
111
80
68
56
44
26
PosModel< prevnext >Horizon Zero Dawn
lowmed.highultraQHD4K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
102
84
73
62
49
28
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Desktop)
146
101
86
69
52
30
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
125
92
77
64n2
51.5n2
29n2
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile
126.5n4
87n4
72.5n4
60.5n6
45
25
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT (Desktop)
172
114
96
75
54
28
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
61
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Mobile
96
78
68
56
43
23
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super (Desktop)
138
88
73
57
44
24
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
125
83
72.5n2
56.5n2
43
23
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 (Desktop)
130
82
67
54
40
21
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
119
78
65
51
AMD Radeon RX 590 (Desktop)
119
73
61
48
37
19
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile
83
62
51
39
29
15
AMD Radeon RX 5500M
78
67
60
47
34
18
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
84n3
54n3
45n3
34n3
24
15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (Desktop)
99
55
46
36
26
15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mobile
65
38
31
24
17
6
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Mobile
53
28
24
18
14
4
NVIDIA GeForce MX350
29
14
12
10
NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 (Desktop)
31
15
13
10
PosModel< prevnext >Horizon Zero Dawn
lowmed.highultraQHD4K
NVIDIA GeForce MX250
28.5n2
13n2
11n2
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
26
12
NVIDIA GeForce MX330
27
13
11
9
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 (Ryzen 2000/3000)
23
12
AMD Radeon RX Vega 7
41
19
16
AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 (Ryzen 4000)
17
11
9
NVIDIA GeForce MX110
14
7
Intel UHD Graphics 620
7
(-) * Smaller values are better. / n123 Number of benchmarks for this median value / * 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
60Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 58fps
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.
?Uncertain – 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 System

Device Graphics Card Processor RAM Operating System
Desktop-PC I MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (11 GB GDDR6)
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 (8 GB GDDR6)
MSI GeForce RTX 2070 (8 GB GDDR6)
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 (6 GB GDDR6)
Intel Core i9-9900K 4 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 i7-8086K, Aorus Z370 Ultra Gaming 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
Desktop-PC III Nvidia Titan RTX (24 GB GDDR6)
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super (8 GB GDDR6)
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super (8 GB GDDR6)
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super (8 GB GDDR6)
KFA2 GeForce RTX 2060 Super (8 GB GDDR6)
Nvidia Titan X (Pascal) (12 GB GDDR5X)
KFA2 GeForce GTX 1660 Super (6 GB GDDR6)
PNY GeForce GTX 1660 (6 GB GDDR5)
Gainward GeForce GTX 1650 (4 GB GDDR5)
Zotac GeForce GT 1030 (2 GB GDDR5)
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT (8 GB GDDR6)
AMD Radeon RX 5700 (8 GB GDDR6)
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT (8 GB GDDR6))
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (8 GB HBM2)
XFX AMD Radeon RX 590 (8 GB GDDR5)
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GT76 Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 (8 GB GDDR6) Intel Core i9-9900K 2 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GP65 Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 (8 GB GDDR6) Intel Core i7-9750H 2 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GE65 Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 (6 GB GDDR6) Intel Core i7-9750H 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GP65 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (6 GB GDDR6) Intel Core i7-9750H 2 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GP75 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 (4 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-9750H 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
Alienware 17 R4 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8 GB GDDR5X) Intel Core i7-7820HK 2 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
Asus G752VS Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-6820HK 2 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GT62VR Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-6820HK 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GE72 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (2 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2 x 4 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 Prestige 14 Nvidia GeForce MX350 (2 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-10710U 1 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI Prestige 14 Nvidia GeForce MX330 (2 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-10510U 1 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI Alpha 15 AMD Radeon RX5500M (4 GB GDDR6) AMD Ryzen 7 3750H 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
4K Monitors Nvidia Drivers AMD Drivers
Asus PB287Q, Philips Brilliance 329P9H ForceWare 451.67 Adrenalin 20.8.1
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Horizon Zero Dawn Laptop and Desktop Benchmarks
Florian Glaser, 2020-08-18 (Update: 2020-08-18)
Florian Glaser
Editor of the original article: Florian Glaser - Managing Editor Gaming
Growing up with MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 in the early 90s, I discovered my interest in computers in my childhood. Especially computer games radiated a great fascination for me even then. From Monkey Island to Lands of Lore to Doom, everything was gambled that you could get your hands on. I have been working for Notebookcheck since 2009 with focus on high-performance gaming notebooks.