Notebookcheck

Middle-earth: Shadow of War Laptop and Desktop Benchmarks

Florian Glaser (translated by Stanislav Kokhanyuk), 10/24/2017

Mass slaughter. After its 2014 predecessor left a surprisingly good impression (not in the least thanks to the Nemesis System), Warner Bros. Interactive has launched its successor, “Shadow of War”, a well-made action game based upon the Lord of the Rings universe. We test out the hardware requirements for PC and notebooks.

Technology

For the original German review, click here.

Those who want to download and install the “Lord of the Rings” title must first take one deep breath. With some 70 GB, “Shadow of War” ranks high on the list of games with one of the largest file sizes and consequently takes up an enormous amount of storage space. The options menu will disappoint some buyers. The ultra-settings, even at Full HD resolution, require 8 GB of video memory and 10 GB of RAM. The predecessor has kicked up some dust with its high VRAM requirements, as well. Back then, 6 GB of VRAM was necessary for the maximum settings.

Despite the high system requirements, we would describe the new “Middle Earth” game as technically well-made. During our gaming session and benchmarks, we did not experience crashes, graphics errors or slowdowns. However, the minimum FPS fluctuated significantly in the in-game benchmark.

Shadow of War” relies on Monolith's own Firebird Engine (made known by F.E.A.R.), which was also used for the first game.

The title offers a wide range of options for PC users. Starting with the display menu in which settings such as resolution, display mode, brightness and display area can be adjusted. Furthermore, there are settings for vertical synchronization, dynamic resolution (dynamically reduces details to boost performance) and max FPS (the setting for the maximum FPS can be altogether disabled).

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Most of the settings can be found in the advanced tab of the graphics menu. There are some 10 settings for things such as anti-aliasing (FXAA or TAA), texture filtering, shadow quality, lighting quality, and vegetation range and texture quality in this menu. Moreover, the action title supports a range of modern effects such as tessellation. 

Tip: All the settings are explained through a text pop-up. The (V)RAM usage meter and the fact that the changing of the settings does not require a restart are also to be praised.

He who does not have a desire to tinker with a diverse selection of graphics settings can simply choose one of the pre-defined presets. Whilst we have not observed any difference between the presets “High” and “Very High”, switching between other presets can have significant effects on the graphics quality.

Despite the fact that, even at medium settings, some objects begin to exhibit noticeable pop-in, Shadow of War still looks good with the medium graphics preset. With the ultra preset, the open world game looks gorgeous, however the textures could have been sharper. All in all, Shadow of War fails to reach a reference status.

Attention: Unlike in most other games, the resolution in “Shadow of War” is always upscaled to fit the native resolution of the monitor. That is to say, if you choose a resolution below the native resolution of your display, it will be automatically upscaled to fit the native resolution of your screen. This procedure does not take up any resources. Setting the resolution to 1920x1080 on our 4K monitor had no impact on performance. 

In terms of gameplay, “Shadow of War” cuts a fine figure. The game has tight controls (in spite of a few quirks here and there). Its combat system resembles a mixture of “Assassin's Creed” and “Batman”. Its gameplay, as far as we can tell, is solid, although we can imagine that some elements of it might become repetitive over time.

Benchmark

Like its predecessor, “Shadow of War” comes with an in-game benchmark. It lasts for some 60 seconds and consists of a tracking shot through outside and inside areas, and it includes such effects as smoke, fire and explosions. In our experience, the frame rate of the benchmark lends itself rather well to the actual performance of the title. It is therefore a good reference point. Even though what we are dealing with here is “only” a third-person game, we would still recommend 40 FPS as the minimum frame rate on account of smooth gameplay and time-critical manoeuvres. 

Results

Modest gamers, who can be satisfied with a 720p resolution, lowest detail settings and no more than 30 FPS, will be able to enjoy “Shadow of War” with a graphics card from the lower end of the mid-range spectrum, such as the GeForce 940M(X). Weaker systems that are based on Intel’s processor GPUs (e.g. the HD graphics 630) will not be able to handle this game even at those settings.

If one wishes to be able to run this game at 1920x1080 with the medium graphical settings, they will need a video card from the upper echelons of the mid-range spectrum. At these settings, we were able to achieve playable frame rates with a GeForce GTX 1050. For high settings at Full HD resolution, one needs something like a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

Lowest Preset
Lowest Preset
Low Preset
Low Preset
Medium Preset
Medium Preset
High Preset
High Preset
Very High Preset
Very High Preset
Ultra Preset
Ultra Preset

Genuine gaming chips are required for very high and ultra-settings. In order to achieve smooth frame rates at 1080p with the max settings, one would need a graphics card such as a GeForce GTX 1060. For QHD displays (2560x1440), a video card like a GeForce GTX 1070 would suffice. Playable frame rates at 4K resolution (3840x2160) can be achieved with a GeForce GTX 1080.

The processor plays, for the most part, a minor role. We could hit CPU limits only at low resolutions and with the minimum settings.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War
    3840x2160 Ultra Preset AA:T     2560x1440 Ultra Preset AA:T     1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T     1920x1080 High Preset AA:T     1920x1080 Medium Preset AA:T     1280x720 Lowest Preset
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop), 4790K
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
51 (min: 22) fps ∼93%
117 (min: 52) fps ∼100%
138 (min: 64) fps ∼100%
155 (min: 73) fps ∼100%
167 (min: 72) fps ∼98%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
40 (min: 26) fps ∼73%
71 (min: 27) fps ∼100%
102 (min: 47) fps ∼87%
129 (min: 62) fps ∼93%
154 (min: 68) fps ∼99%
170 (min: 90) fps ∼100%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop), 4790K
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
38 (min: 21) fps ∼69%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
Alienware 17 R4
39 (min: 21) fps ∼71%
69 (min: 36) fps ∼97%
94 (min: 46) fps ∼80%
116 (min: 51) fps ∼84%
132 (min: 67) fps ∼85%
139 (min: 78) fps ∼82%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
34 (min: 20) fps ∼62%
58 (min: 24) fps ∼82%
86 (min: 29) fps ∼74%
112 (min: 51) fps ∼81%
140 (min: 60) fps ∼90%
168 (min: 90) fps ∼99%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop), 4790K
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition
30 (min: 17) fps ∼55%
76 (min: 34) fps ∼65%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
Asus G752VS
31 (min: 18) fps ∼56%
54 (min: 26) fps ∼76%
80 (min: 31) fps ∼68%
105 (min: 48) fps ∼76%
125 (min: 50) fps ∼81%
138 (min: 77) fps ∼81%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
22 (min: 10) fps ∼40%
39 (min: 13) fps ∼55%
58 (min: 15) fps ∼50%
78 (min: 46) fps ∼57%
102 (min: 56) fps ∼66%
167 (min: 78) fps ∼98%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 6700K
Desktop PC
21 (min: 10) fps ∼38%
37 (min: 12) fps ∼52%
53 (min: 14) fps ∼45%
78 (min: 44) fps ∼57%
103 (min: 55) fps ∼66%
167 (min: 69) fps ∼98%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6820HK
MSI GT62VR
19 (min: 12) fps ∼35%
35 (min: 14) fps ∼49%
54 (min: 14) fps ∼46%
74 (min: 21) fps ∼54%
97 (min: 37) fps ∼63%
132 (min: 69) fps ∼78%
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop), 4790K
AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB Reference
36 (min: 8) fps ∼51%
55 (min: 14) fps ∼47%
72 (min: 35) fps ∼52%
96 (min: 49) fps ∼62%
160 (min: 70) fps ∼94%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
MSI GE72 7RE-046
12 (min: 3) fps ∼22%
20 (min: 5) fps ∼28%
29 (min: 5) fps ∼25%
43 (min: 11) fps ∼31%
62 (min: 36) fps ∼40%
121 (min: 54) fps ∼71%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
Asus GL753VD
10 (min: 3) fps ∼18%
16 (min: 5) fps ∼23%
24 (min: 5) fps ∼21%
34 (min: 18) fps ∼25%
46 (min: 30) fps ∼30%
113 (min: 55) fps ∼66%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
16 (min: 7) fps ∼23%
23 (min: 9) fps ∼20%
35 (min: 15) fps ∼25%
50 (min: 30) fps ∼32%
102 (min: 52) fps ∼60%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
MSI PE60 2QD
10 (min: 4) fps ∼14%
15 (min: 6) fps ∼13%
22 (min: 13) fps ∼16%
31 (min: 23) fps ∼20%
73 (min: 41) fps ∼43%
NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (Laptop GT 1030), 7700HQ
MSI PL62
12 (min: 3) fps ∼10%
20 (min: 5) fps ∼14%
28 (min: 17) fps ∼18%
71 (min: 29) fps ∼42%
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 6700HQ
MSI CX72 6QD
7 (min: 2) fps ∼6%
10 (min: 6) fps ∼7%
14 (min: 9) fps ∼9%
34 (min: 20) fps ∼20%
NVIDIA GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
MSI GP62 2QD
14 (min: 8) fps ∼9%
34 (min: 15) fps ∼20%
NVIDIA GeForce 920M, 2970M
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
26 (min: 8) fps ∼15%
Intel HD Graphics 630, 7700HQ
MSI PL62
9 (min: 2) fps ∼7%
12 (min: 3) fps ∼8%
14 (min: 5) fps ∼8%

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
 Middle-earth: Shadow of War (2017)
low
1280x720
Lowest Preset
med.
1920x1080
Medium Preset
TAA
high
1920x1080
High Preset
TAA
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset
TAA
4k
3840x2160
Ultra Preset
TAA
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
139
132
116
94
39
 9*NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
1382
1272
1082
86.52
33
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
138
125
105
80
31
 16NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
111.52
982
822
65.52
 23NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
 33*AMD Radeon RX 580 (Laptop)
 34NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
132
97
74
54
19
 35*NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
128
82.52
63.52
472
27
 38*AMD Radeon RX 480 (Laptop)
 41*AMD Radeon RX 570 (Laptop)
 42*AMD Radeon RX 470 (Laptop)
 46*AMD Radeon RX 490M
 52NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
 57NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
121
62
43
29
12
 59NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
115
59
43
32
12
 65AMD Radeon R9 M395X
 66AMD Radeon R9 M485X
 67AMD Radeon R9 M295X
 68*AMD Radeon R9 M390X
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 71NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
113
46
34
24
10
 73AMD Radeon R9 M395
 76NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
 81NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
 83NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX
 85*AMD Radeon RX 560 (Laptop)
 88NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
102
50
35
23
 90NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
 91AMD Radeon R9 M290X
 92AMD Radeon HD 8970M
 97*AMD Radeon RX 460 (Laptop)
 98NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
 99NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M
 101AMD Radeon HD 7970M
 102*AMD Radeon R9 M390
 103AMD Radeon Pro 560
 104AMD Radeon Pro 460
 106NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
83
37
25
19
 112*AMD Radeon RX 550 (Laptop)
 114NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (Laptop GT 1030)
722
282
192
132
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 119*AMD Radeon Pro 555
 120*AMD Radeon Pro 455
 121NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
 122*AMD Radeon RX 540
 123NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
 129NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
 131*AMD Radeon Pro 450
 132NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
73
31
22
15
 133*AMD Radeon R9 M470X
 134AMD Radeon R9 M385X
 135NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
 138AMD Radeon R9 M280X
 139*AMD Radeon HD 7950M
 143NVIDIA GeForce 945M
 144NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
 149*AMD Radeon RX Vega 10
 150*Intel Iris Pro Graphics P580
 151Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580
 153NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
 154NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 155AMD Radeon HD 6990M
 156*AMD Radeon R9 M470
 157*AMD Radeon R9 M385
 158*AMD Radeon R9 M380
 160NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M SLI
 163NVIDIA GeForce GTX 485M
 169AMD Radeon R9 M370X
 170NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
 172NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
 173AMD Radeon R9 M275
 174NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
 175NVIDIA Maxwell GPU Surface Book (940M, GDDR5)
 178AMD Radeon HD 6970M
 179AMD Radeon R9 M270
 180AMD Radeon HD 8870M
 181AMD Radeon HD 7870M
 183NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570M
 190AMD Radeon HD 6950M
 192NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M
 193NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 194NVIDIA GeForce 845M
 195AMD Radeon HD 8850M
 196AMD Radeon R9 M365X
 197AMD Radeon R9 M265X
 198AMD Radeon HD 7850M
 199AMD Radeon R7 M465
 200AMD Radeon HD 8790M
 205NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470M
 206NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480M
 207NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
 208Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
 210*NVIDIA GeForce MX130
 211NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
322
13.52
9.52
6.52
 213*AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
 214NVIDIA GeForce 940M
34
14
 215NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
 217AMD Radeon R9 M375
 218AMD Radeon R7 M445
 219*AMD Radeon R7 M380
 220AMD Radeon R7 M370
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 222NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
 224NVIDIA GeForce 840M
 226NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
 227AMD Radeon HD 7770M
 228NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M
 229*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
 231Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
 233NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
 234*AMD Radeon 530
 235NVIDIA GeForce 930M
28
 236*Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650
 237*Intel Iris Graphics 550
 238NVIDIA GeForce 830M
 239*NVIDIA GeForce MX110
 240*NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
 243Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
28
 244Intel Iris Graphics 540
 249NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
 250ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870
 251NVIDIA GeForce 825M
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 255AMD Radeon HD 6870M
 258*AMD Radeon HD 8830M
 259AMD Radeon HD 8770M
 260AMD Radeon R7 M260X
 261NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M
 263NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
 264NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M
 265AMD Radeon HD 7750M
 267AMD Radeon HD 8750M
 269AMD Radeon R7 M270
 270AMD Radeon R7 M265
 272NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285M
 273ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4870
 274NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
 275AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
 277*AMD Radeon R7 M460
 278AMD Radeon HD 7730M
 280AMD Radeon R7 M360
 281NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M
 282*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 283NVIDIA GeForce 920M
26
 285AMD Radeon HD 8690M
 287AMD Radeon R7 M440
 293AMD Radeon R7 M340
 294AMD Radeon 520
22
10
7
 296Intel UHD Graphics 630
 297Intel HD Graphics 630
14
12
9
 298Intel HD Graphics P630
 299Intel HD Graphics 530
 300Intel HD Graphics P530
 302AMD Radeon R7 M260
 303AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
 304AMD Radeon R5 (Stoney Ridge)
8
 305*Intel UHD Graphics 620
20
10
 306*Intel HD Graphics 620
16
8
 307AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
 308ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4860
 310ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4850
 311NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M
 312NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTX
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 316AMD Radeon HD 7690M XT
 318NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE
 319AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri)
 320*AMD Radeon HD 8650M
 321AMD Radeon HD 8730M
 322AMD Radeon HD 6770M
 323NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M
 324NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M
 326ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850
 327AMD Radeon HD 6850M
 330NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GT
 331NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTX
 333NVIDIA GeForce GT 445M
 334NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M
 337AMD Radeon HD 7690M
 338Intel HD Graphics 5600
 344AMD Radeon HD 8670M
 347AMD Radeon HD 6750M
 349NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
 350*AMD Radeon HD 8590M
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 351NVIDIA GeForce GTS 260M
 352NVIDIA GeForce GTS 160M
 353NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTS
 355AMD Radeon HD 6830M
 356ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5830
 359*AMD Radeon HD 6730M
 360NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GS
 361ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4830
 362ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5770
 363AMD Radeon HD 6570M
 364AMD Radeon HD 8650G
 368AMD Radeon HD 7670M
 369NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
 371*NVIDIA GeForce GTS 150M
 372AMD Radeon R5 M335