Notebookcheck

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Benchmarked

Florian Glaser, Tanja Hinum (translated by Martina Osztovits), 10/07/2014

GPU glutton. In Shadow of Mordor, Sauron does not aim for the ring but primarily goes for video memory. We tried to determine the hardware requirements. Do you really need a lightning fast high-end system?

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Working For Notebookcheck

Are you a techie who knows how to write? Then join our Team! Especially English native speakers welcome!

Currently wanted: 
News and Editorial Editor - Details here

For the original German article, see here.

Technology

How much video memory does a graphics card require? This question is raised when buying the brand new scion of the Lord of the Rings universe. While 1 to 2 GB VRAM is sufficient for most games, 6 GB is recommended for Middle-earth. In 2014, a few other games (Watch Dogs & Wolfenstein: The New Order require 3 GB at ultra settings) also require more than 2 GB with maximum details. However, the requirements of Shadow of Mordor are definitely exorbitant.

In view of the graphics quality, you might sooner or later suspect that Monolith (F.E.A.R., Tron 2.0, Aliens vs. Predator 2, No One Lives Forever...) was a bit lazy when optimizing their LithTech Jupiter EX Engine; at least at the PC. While most of the textures are razor-sharp and the technology is better than the competition's in many aspects (simulation of cloth), this does not justify such high video memory requirements. Shadow of Mordor looks good, yet not outstanding. Apart from facial expressions, polygon count and quality of effects should also be improved in some scenes.

HD textures: step I
HD textures: step I
HD textures: step II
HD textures: step II
HD textures: step III
HD textures: step III

Let's return to the topic: If you want to enjoy Middle-earth in all its glory, you have to manually download and install the texture package via Steam first (see screenshots). If you skip this, only high textures are used with ultra settings and image errors might occur.

Our tests proved that 6 GB VRAM is not absolutely necessary for maximum graphics options, but, with less memory, you'll face stuttering and slowdowns, which have a big, negative effect on the gaming experience. Previous to the launch of the GeForce 900 generation, only the top models of the GeForce GTX 870M (6 GB) and the GeForce GTX 880M (8 GB) could meet the high memory requirements in the notebook range. This gets especially apparent in the minimum fps. Instead of 26 fps, the predecessor of the GTX 870M only reached 11 fps (GTX 770M @ 3 GB) at ultra settings. Likewise, the GTX 780M with 4 GB VRAM stuttered more than its counterpart of the 800 series. While the performance was comparable otherwise, the minimum fps were more than 50% lower (13 vs. 30 fps).

Since the texture quality at ultra settings hardly differs from high settings, we would recommend omitting the HD package and playing with the (very) high presetting if possible. In dropping ultra textures, not only the average fps will increase, but especially the minimum fps.

Not only the video memory requirements raised discussion in advance, the CPU requirements did too. According to Monolith, you'll require a quad-core CPU. Don't panic: Reasonably powerful dual-core models like the Core i5-4340M are sufficiently fast. However, a lot of storage is required. Shadow of Mordor with high-res textures (~4 GB) occupies over 40 GB on the hard drive.

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

Otherwise, you can hardly complain about the technical implementation. The enhanced options menu brings more than 10 options. Apart from Ambient Occlusion, the DirectX 11 engine also supports other "graphical gems" like tessellation. The video menu allows changing the resolution, configuring the display mode, and activating vertical sync. In addition, not every game allows limiting the frame rate. Unfortunately, Shadow of Mordor requires being restarted after specific changes. This would not be a problem if you could skip the intro video. It is also annoying that Monolith did not implement anti-aliasing. Jagged edges are an issue in Middle-earth - see "overhead wiring" in the video.

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

Furthermore, the following things are notable:

  • While Nvidia platforms deliver rather constant frame rates, they partly fluctuate extremely in AMD systems. This gets especially apparent in the diagram of the integrated benchmark.
  • In general, the minimum fps varies greatly - regardless whether run on an Nvidia or AMD platform. The minimum is usually higher in the second benchmark run.
  • Weaker AMD processors often falter.
  • Only low to medium details are possible with Intel HD Graphics 4600. The game crashes with "high" setting and above.
  • With low to very high setting, the performance is hardly different with or without HD texture package (tested with GeForce GTX 780 Ti).
  • The options menu only displays the Intel chip instead of the Radeon in AMD notebooks with Enduro graphics switch. Nevertheless, the settings can be configured as usual.
  • It seems that the integrated benchmark starts recording a few seconds too early. In any case, the maximum fps is much too high.
  • In contrast to the other options, the "graphical quality" is not changed after restarting the settings. Restarting again helps here.

Benchmark

As already mentioned, we used the integrated benchmark for our measurement, which can be directly run from the option menu. Although it is not particularly representative for the real game (frame rate reduction due to VRAM overflow), we decided to use this sequence, which takes just under 40 seconds, because of comfort and identical passes. It would also be hard to recommend hardware for specific settings based on a "real" in-game benchmark. This would require a more constant performance of the game. So, the GPUs listed below are only a rough estimation based on minimum and average fps of the benchmark.

Results

Those only owning a cheap office or multimedia notebook can save about 50 Euros (~$63) due for the game. Neither the HD Graphics 4000/4600 nor mid-range chips like the GeForce GT 740M can handle it. At least a GeForce GT 750M is required to smoothly run the game with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels and "lowest" level. Not less than a GeForce GTX 850M or GTX 765M are necessary for 1366x768 pixels and normal settings. The high presetting and 1920x1080 pixels only run adequately on a top GPU. Both the Radeon R9 M290X and the GeForce GTX 870M achieve an average of above 50 fps. You should not use the ultra presetting because of the reasons mentioned above.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
    1920x1080 Ultra Preset (HD Package)     1920x1080 High Preset     1344x756 Medium Preset     1280x720 Lowest Preset
GeForce GTX 780 Ti, 3770K
Desktop-PC
88 (min: 20) fps ∼47%
112.3 (min: 73) fps ∼56%
194.9 (min: 88) fps ∼57%
225.8 (min: 108) fps ∼53%
Radeon R9 290X, 2600K, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
Sapphire Tri-X R9 290X Desktop
78 (min: 31) fps ∼42%
113 (min: 46) fps ∼57%
Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
51.3 (min: 16) fps ∼27%
70.7 (min: 29) fps ∼35%
156.4 (min: 42) fps ∼46%
198.2 (min: 105) fps ∼46%
GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
48.3 (min: 30) fps ∼26%
63 (min: 38) fps ∼32%
108.9 (min: 59) fps ∼32%
177.6 (min: 80) fps ∼41%
GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
44.1 (min: 13) fps ∼24%
57.2 (min: 34) fps ∼29%
99.8 (min: 56) fps ∼29%
161.6 (min: 75) fps ∼38%
GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
38.9 (min: 26) fps ∼21%
50.2 (min: 33) fps ∼25%
84.9 (min: 52) fps ∼25%
142 (min: 70) fps ∼33%
GeForce GTX 760, 3770K
Desktop-PC
37.4 (min: 9) fps ∼20%
61.3 (min: 41) fps ∼31%
102.8 (min: 56) fps ∼30%
167.6 (min: 102) fps ∼39%
Radeon R9 M290X, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
37.1 (min: 10) fps ∼20%
50.8 (min: 30) fps ∼25%
102.8 (min: 50) fps ∼30%
151 (min: 84) fps ∼35%
GeForce GTX 770M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
29.8 (min: 11) fps ∼16%
38.8 (min: 25) fps ∼19%
66.2 (min: 40) fps ∼19%
110.8 (min: 51) fps ∼26%
GeForce GTX 750 Ti, 3770K
Desktop-PC
29.2 (min: 8) fps ∼16%
43.4 (min: 31) fps ∼22%
76.4 (min: 46) fps ∼22%
126.4 (min: 82) fps ∼29%
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
26.4 (min: 12) fps ∼14%
34.7 (min: 25) fps ∼17%
61.8 (min: 40) fps ∼18%
99.3 (min: 62) fps ∼23%
GeForce GTX 850M, 4340M
Schenker M504
17.2 (min: 4) fps ∼9%
23.5 (min: 15) fps ∼12%
54.2 (min: 27) fps ∼16%
78.4 (min: 51) fps ∼18%
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
16.4 (min: 6) fps ∼9%
28.6 (min: 20) fps ∼14%
51.5 (min: 33) fps ∼15%
80.5 (min: 56) fps ∼19%
Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop), A10-7850K, Samsung SSD 470 Series MZ-5PA256/EU
A10-7850K Asus A88-XM-PLUS
12.4 (min: 4) fps ∼7%
17 (min: 9) fps ∼9%
28.5 (min: 13) fps ∼8%
41 (min: 18) fps ∼10%
GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
11.6 (min: 3) fps ∼6%
16.7 (min: 12) fps ∼8%
29.7 (min: 16) fps ∼9%
47.1 (min: 34) fps ∼11%
Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180B3
Schenker S413
0 (min: 0) fps ∼0%
16.4 (min: 6) fps ∼8%
29 (min: 14) fps ∼8%
44 (min: 22) fps ∼10%
GeForce GT 640M, 2637M, Lite-On LMT-256M3M
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
10 (min: 1) fps ∼5%
14.5 (min: 8) fps ∼7%
25 (min: 12) fps ∼7%
38.4 (min: 24) fps ∼9%
GeForce GT 740M, 4200M
HP Envy 15-j011sg
7.9 (min: 2) fps ∼4%
10.6 (min: 8) fps ∼5%
19.3 (min: 12) fps ∼6%
30.4 (min: 20) fps ∼7%
GeForce GT 720M, 4200M, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
MSI CX61-i572M
5.7 (min: 0) fps ∼3%
8.7 (min: 0) fps ∼4%
15.2 (min: 0) fps ∼4%
25.6 (min: 0) fps ∼6%
GeForce GT 630M, 3720QM, Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS
Asus N56VM
15 (min: 10) fps ∼4%
26 (min: 12) fps ∼6%
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
0 (min: 0) fps ∼0%
9.5 (min: 5) fps ∼5%
17.3 (min: 12) fps ∼5%
25 (min: 20) fps ∼6%
HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
17.4 (min: 9) fps ∼5%
26.8 (min: 17) fps ∼6%
Radeon HD 8650G, A10-5750M, Samsung SSD 470 Series MZ-5PA256/EU
Pumori Test Platform (A10-5750M)
17.3 (min: 8) fps ∼4%
HD Graphics 4000, 3720QM
Asus N56VM
13 (min: 8) fps ∼3%

Test systems

Four of our test models stem from Schenker Technologies (mysn.de):

  • W504 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 860M, GTX 870M, GTX 880M, Radeon R9 M290X)
  • W503 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 765M, GTX 770M, GTX 780M)
  • M504 (Core i5-4340M, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 850M)
  • M503 (Core i7-4702MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 750M)

All of these used Windows 7 64-bit as operating system. Thanks to Micron for providing us with a 480 GB Crucial M500.

Nvidia provided us with another test system:

  • HP Envy 15-j011sg (Core i5-4200M, 12 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 740M)

Used GPU driver: Nvidia 344.11, AMD 14.9, Intel 10.18.10.3907

In addition, there are benchmarks from other notebooks with probably different drivers.

Overview

Show Restrictions
      Model
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
 Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014)
low
1280x720
Lowest Preset
med.
1344x756
Medium Preset
high
1920x1080
High Preset
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset (HD Package)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
166.5
151.8
145.4
134.8
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
129n2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
133.6
117.1
AMD Radeon R9 Fury
255
205
134
103
AMD Radeon R9 Nano
102
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
218.7
193.3
110.1
89.45n2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
230n2
194.8n2
121.2n3
91.4n5
AMD Radeon R9 390X
209.8
144.8
94.5
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
116
84
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
147.5
130.9
109
85.7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
225.8
194.9
112.3
88
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
238.4
186.9
100.8
78.45n2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop)
136
123.1
84.2
69.3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
170.2
139.9
96.7
76.9
AMD Radeon R9 290X
244
196
113.5n2
84.5n2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
191.2n4
155.25n4
88.7n9
67.7n9
AMD Radeon R9 280X
198.2
156.4
70.7
51.3
AMD Radeon R9 380
203.9
82.8
61.6
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
194.7
131.8
71.8
48.6
      Model
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
lowmed.highultra
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop)
128.5n2
119.35n2
95.3n2
73.45n2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
58.2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
170n5
125.3n7
68.6n12
51.8n12
AMD Radeon R9 M295X
131.9
94.8
58
44.6
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop)
44.9
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop)
156n3
102.7n3
58.8n3
45.3n3
AMD Radeon R7 370
181.5
111.99
64.62
47.44
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
177.6
108.9
63
48.3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
174.3
110
60.1
40.3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
167.6
102.8
61.3
37.4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
161.6
99.8
57.2
44.1
AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
41.2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
129.4n3
92.3n3
48.7n3
29.3n3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
142
84.9
50.2
38.9
AMD Radeon R9 M290X
151
102.8
50.8
37.1
AMD Radeon R9 M390
154
92
53
39
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
127n3
79.3n7
41.4n15
28.5n15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
126.4
76.4
43.4
29.2
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
82.1
54.9
32.9
24.9
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
110.8
66.2
38.8
29.8
      Model
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
lowmed.highultra
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
95.85n2
61.55n2
34.95n2
18.05n2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
80.85n2
54.75n4
28.45n4
20.6n4
AMD Radeon R9 M385X
60.3
51.2
37.8
27.5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
76.46n2
53.3n3
23.8n3
18.15n3
AMD Radeon R9 M280X
48.1
32.2
18.5
NVIDIA GeForce 945M
75.4
47.2
26.1
20
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
80.5
51.5
28.6
16.4
AMD Radeon RX Vega 10
53.8
35.1
19.6
15.5
NVIDIA GeForce 845M
58.4
41.2
22.4
AMD Radeon R9 M265X
49.5
20
14.18
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
47.1
29.7
16.7
11.6
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
37.7n3
24.6n3
16.45n2
12.55n2
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
59.6n2
46.75n2
20.55n2
15.85n2
NVIDIA GeForce 940M
39n2
25n2
13.05n2
AMD Radeon R9 M375
36
25.5
15.5
AMD Radeon R7 M370
37.4
27.8
15.7
11.7
NVIDIA GeForce 840M
38.74n2
24.1n2
13.71n2
6.6
AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
41
28.5
17
12.4
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
44
29
16.4
AMD Radeon R7 384 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
44
28.1
14.8
10.4
      Model
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
lowmed.highultra
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
30.4
19.3
10.6
7.9
NVIDIA GeForce 930M
38.15n2
24.2n2
Intel Iris Graphics 550
41.2
26.4
14.6
11.6
AMD Radeon 530
46.8
29.1
15.2
NVIDIA GeForce 830M
36.6
23.2
12.8
9.5
NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
35.2
22.6
12.4
AMD Radeon R7 M260X
45
27.2
15.5
4.1
AMD Radeon R7 M270
35.05n2
22.25n2
13.1n2
10n2
AMD Radeon R7 M265
31.3
24.1
11.9
AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
21.7
14.7
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
38.4
25
14.5
10
AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
27.7n2
17.75n2
10n2
7.2
AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
28.3
20
11.6
AMD Radeon R7 M460
33.3
20.9
11.1
7.3
AMD Radeon R7 M360
29.9n2
18.5n2
10.15n2
6.3
NVIDIA GeForce 920M
29.6n2
18.95n2
10.1n2
6.45n2
AMD Radeon R7 M260
25.9
17.3
9.7
AMD Radeon R7 M340
29.4
19.6
10.9
8.1
Intel UHD Graphics 630
39.6
23.7
Intel HD Graphics 630
37.7
23.9
12.6
      Model
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
lowmed.highultra
Intel HD Graphics 530
32.95n2
22.5
11n2
8.5
AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
34.6
18.3
Intel UHD Graphics 620
37.7
22.6
11.3
Intel HD Graphics 5600
32
19.9
10.5
8.3
AMD Radeon HD 8670M
23.4
15.5
8
AMD Radeon HD 8650G
17.3
NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
26
15
AMD Radeon R5 M335
21.5
14.5
8.1
6.3
AMD Radeon R5 M330
21.7
15.25
AMD Radeon R5 M255
30.7
19.6
10.6
AMD Radeon RX Vega 3
42.6
24.9
11.8
NVIDIA GeForce 820M
26.65n2
17.05n2
8.8n2
6.7
Intel HD Graphics 520
29.3n2
18.6n2
9.85n2
Intel Iris Graphics 6100
27.8
18.6
10.8
8.6
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
25.6
15.2
8.7
5.7
AMD Radeon R5 M240
25.5
16.9
AMD Radeon R5 M230
19.1
13.9
6.9
AMD Radeon R5 (Stoney Ridge)
19.15n2
12.4n2
Intel Iris Graphics 5100
25
17.3
9.5
Intel HD Graphics 4600
22.4n2
14.7n2
      Model
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
lowmed.highultra
Intel HD Graphics 5500
18.8n5
12.5n5
6.8n5
4.9n3
Intel UHD Graphics 615
27.8
16.7
Intel HD Graphics 615
23.5
13.7
6.8
Intel HD Graphics 5000
20.1
13
7.2
AMD Radeon HD 8550G
28
18
Intel HD Graphics 4400
16.8n4
10.48n4
6.5n2
3.1
Intel HD Graphics 610
22.9
14.1
Intel UHD Graphics 605
14.4
9.3
Intel HD Graphics 505
12.4
7.7
Intel HD Graphics 5300
15.43n4
8.6n4
5n3
Intel HD Graphics 4000
13
AMD Radeon R4 (Stoney Ridge)
18.1
11.6
AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
15.4
9.7
5.3
AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
14.2
10
AMD Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema)
14.7
9
Intel HD Graphics 4200
12.41n2
8.43
3.7n2
AMD Radeon HD 8350G
18
AMD Radeon HD 8330
12.7
7.7
Intel HD Graphics 500
17.7
Intel HD Graphics (Haswell)
13.5
8.3
      Model
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
lowmed.highultra
Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
8.5
6.1
(-) * 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.
Read all 1 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Benchmarked
Florian Glaser, 2014-10- 7 (Update: 2016-02-18)