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.

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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).

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

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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 ∼30%
117 (min: 52) fps ∼64%
138 (min: 64) fps ∼71%
155 (min: 73) fps ∼79%
167 (min: 72) fps ∼74%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
40 (min: 26) fps ∼23%
71 (min: 27) fps ∼45%
102 (min: 47) fps ∼56%
129 (min: 62) fps ∼66%
154 (min: 68) fps ∼79%
170 (min: 90) fps ∼76%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop), 4790K
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
38 (min: 21) fps ∼22%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
Alienware 17 R4
39 (min: 21) fps ∼23%
69 (min: 36) fps ∼43%
94 (min: 46) fps ∼52%
116 (min: 51) fps ∼60%
132 (min: 67) fps ∼67%
139 (min: 78) fps ∼62%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
34 (min: 20) fps ∼20%
58 (min: 24) fps ∼36%
86 (min: 29) fps ∼47%
112 (min: 51) fps ∼58%
140 (min: 60) fps ∼71%
168 (min: 90) fps ∼75%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop), 4790K
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition
30 (min: 17) fps ∼18%
76 (min: 34) fps ∼42%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
Asus G752VS
31 (min: 18) fps ∼18%
54 (min: 26) fps ∼34%
80 (min: 31) fps ∼44%
105 (min: 48) fps ∼54%
125 (min: 50) fps ∼64%
138 (min: 77) fps ∼61%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
22 (min: 10) fps ∼13%
39 (min: 13) fps ∼25%
58 (min: 15) fps ∼32%
78 (min: 46) fps ∼40%
102 (min: 56) fps ∼52%
167 (min: 78) fps ∼74%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 6700K
Desktop PC
21 (min: 10) fps ∼12%
37 (min: 12) fps ∼23%
53 (min: 14) fps ∼29%
78 (min: 44) fps ∼40%
103 (min: 55) fps ∼53%
167 (min: 69) fps ∼74%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6820HK
MSI GT62VR
19 (min: 12) fps ∼11%
35 (min: 14) fps ∼22%
54 (min: 14) fps ∼30%
74 (min: 21) fps ∼38%
97 (min: 37) fps ∼49%
132 (min: 69) fps ∼59%
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop), 4790K
AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB Reference
36 (min: 8) fps ∼23%
55 (min: 14) fps ∼30%
72 (min: 35) fps ∼37%
96 (min: 49) fps ∼49%
160 (min: 70) fps ∼71%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
MSI GE72 7RE-046
12 (min: 3) fps ∼7%
20 (min: 5) fps ∼13%
29 (min: 5) fps ∼16%
43 (min: 11) fps ∼22%
62 (min: 36) fps ∼32%
121 (min: 54) fps ∼54%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
Asus GL753VD
10 (min: 3) fps ∼6%
16 (min: 5) fps ∼10%
24 (min: 5) fps ∼13%
34 (min: 18) fps ∼18%
46 (min: 30) fps ∼23%
113 (min: 55) fps ∼50%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
16 (min: 7) fps ∼10%
23 (min: 9) fps ∼13%
35 (min: 15) fps ∼18%
50 (min: 30) fps ∼26%
102 (min: 52) fps ∼45%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
MSI PE60 2QD
10 (min: 4) fps ∼6%
15 (min: 6) fps ∼8%
22 (min: 13) fps ∼11%
31 (min: 23) fps ∼16%
73 (min: 41) fps ∼32%
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 7700HQ
MSI PL62
12 (min: 3) fps ∼7%
20 (min: 5) fps ∼10%
28 (min: 17) fps ∼14%
71 (min: 29) fps ∼32%
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 6700HQ
MSI CX72 6QD
7 (min: 2) fps ∼4%
10 (min: 6) fps ∼5%
14 (min: 9) fps ∼7%
34 (min: 20) fps ∼15%
NVIDIA GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
MSI GP62 2QD
14 (min: 8) fps ∼7%
34 (min: 15) fps ∼15%
NVIDIA GeForce 920M, 2970M
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
26 (min: 8) fps ∼12%
Intel HD Graphics 630, 7700HQ
MSI PL62
9 (min: 2) fps ∼5%
12 (min: 3) fps ∼6%
14 (min: 5) fps ∼6%

Overview

Show Restrictions
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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
 308AMD Radeon 520
22
10
7
 251AMD Radeon 530
 710AMD Radeon HD 6250
 701AMD Radeon HD 6290
 689*AMD Radeon HD 6310
 687*AMD Radeon HD 6320
 663*AMD Radeon HD 6330M
 643*AMD Radeon HD 6350M
 602AMD Radeon HD 6370M
 635*AMD Radeon HD 6380G
 634*AMD Radeon HD 6430M
 605AMD Radeon HD 6450M
 572AMD Radeon HD 6470M
 594*AMD Radeon HD 6480G
 531AMD Radeon HD 6490M
 581AMD Radeon HD 6520G
 448AMD Radeon HD 6530M
 436AMD Radeon HD 6550M
 376AMD Radeon HD 6570M
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 511AMD Radeon HD 6620G
 440AMD Radeon HD 6630M
 414AMD Radeon HD 6650M
 372*AMD Radeon HD 6730M
 360AMD Radeon HD 6750M
 335AMD Radeon HD 6770M
 368AMD Radeon HD 6830M
 340AMD Radeon HD 6850M
 268AMD Radeon HD 6870M
 203AMD Radeon HD 6950M
 191AMD Radeon HD 6970M
 168AMD Radeon HD 6990M
 700AMD Radeon HD 7290
 688AMD Radeon HD 7310
 686AMD Radeon HD 7340
 642*AMD Radeon HD 7350M
 598AMD Radeon HD 7370M
 593AMD Radeon HD 7400G
 575AMD Radeon HD 7420G
 606*AMD Radeon HD 7430M
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 564AMD Radeon HD 7450M
 530AMD Radeon HD 7470M
 496*AMD Radeon HD 7490M
 526AMD Radeon HD 7500G
 500*AMD Radeon HD 7510M
 537AMD Radeon HD 7520G
 490*AMD Radeon HD 7530M
 471AMD Radeon HD 7550M
 443AMD Radeon HD 7570M
 437*AMD Radeon HD 7590M
 479AMD Radeon HD 7600G
 456AMD Radeon HD 7610M
 457AMD Radeon HD 7620G
 444AMD Radeon HD 7630M
 459AMD Radeon HD 7640G
 441AMD Radeon HD 7650M
 430AMD Radeon HD 7660G
 381AMD Radeon HD 7670M
 350AMD Radeon HD 7690M
 329AMD Radeon HD 7690M XT
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 292AMD Radeon HD 7730M
 278AMD Radeon HD 7750M
 241AMD Radeon HD 7770M
 211AMD Radeon HD 7850M
 194AMD Radeon HD 7870M
 152*AMD Radeon HD 7950M
 112AMD Radeon HD 7970M
 690AMD Radeon HD 8180
 637AMD Radeon HD 8210
 611AMD Radeon HD 8240
 613AMD Radeon HD 8250
 603AMD Radeon HD 8280
 582*AMD Radeon HD 8310G
 547AMD Radeon HD 8330
 546AMD Radeon HD 8350G
 533AMD Radeon HD 8400
 532*AMD Radeon HD 8410G
 529AMD Radeon HD 8450G
 447*AMD Radeon HD 8510G
 449AMD Radeon HD 8550G
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 409AMD Radeon HD 8550M
 406AMD Radeon HD 8570M
 363*AMD Radeon HD 8590M
 412*AMD Radeon HD 8610G
 377AMD Radeon HD 8650G
 333*AMD Radeon HD 8650M
 357AMD Radeon HD 8670M
 298AMD Radeon HD 8690M
 334AMD Radeon HD 8730M
 280AMD Radeon HD 8750M
 272AMD Radeon HD 8770M
 213AMD Radeon HD 8790M
 271*AMD Radeon HD 8830M
 208AMD Radeon HD 8850M
 193AMD Radeon HD 8870M
 102AMD Radeon HD 8970M
 144AMD Radeon Pro 450
 124AMD Radeon Pro 455
 114AMD Radeon Pro 460
 123AMD Radeon Pro 555
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 113AMD Radeon Pro 560
 134*AMD Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile
 600*AMD Radeon R2 (Mullins/Beema/Carrizo-L)
 519AMD Radeon R2 (Stoney Ridge)
 518AMD Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema)
 517AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
 513*AMD Radeon R4 (Kaveri)
 512AMD Radeon R4 (Stoney Ridge)
15
 516AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
 317AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
16
7
 425*AMD Radeon R5 (Carrizo)
 426AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri)
 396AMD Radeon R5 (Stoney Ridge)
8
 400AMD Radeon R5 M230
 398AMD Radeon R5 M240
 388AMD Radeon R5 M255
24
 401*AMD Radeon R5 M315
 399*AMD Radeon R5 M320
 386AMD Radeon R5 M330
 385AMD Radeon R5 M335
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 387AMD Radeon R5 M430
 320AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
 332AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri)
 612AMD Radeon R6 (Mullins)
 243*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
 288AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
 289AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
 306AMD Radeon R7 M260
 273AMD Radeon R7 M260X
 283AMD Radeon R7 M265
 282AMD Radeon R7 M270
 307AMD Radeon R7 M340
 294AMD Radeon R7 M360
 234AMD Radeon R7 M370
 233*AMD Radeon R7 M380
 300AMD Radeon R7 M440
 232AMD Radeon R7 M445
 291*AMD Radeon R7 M460
 212AMD Radeon R7 M465
 210AMD Radeon R9 M265X
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 192AMD Radeon R9 M270
 186AMD Radeon R9 M275
 150AMD Radeon R9 M280X
 101AMD Radeon R9 M290X
 75AMD Radeon R9 M295X
 209AMD Radeon R9 M365X
 182AMD Radeon R9 M370X
 231AMD Radeon R9 M375
 171*AMD Radeon R9 M380
 170*AMD Radeon R9 M385
 146AMD Radeon R9 M385X
 110AMD Radeon R9 M390
 76AMD Radeon R9 M390X
 82AMD Radeon R9 M395
 73AMD Radeon R9 M395X
 169*AMD Radeon R9 M470
 145*AMD Radeon R9 M470X
 74AMD Radeon R9 M485X
 107AMD Radeon RX 460 (Laptop)
 48*AMD Radeon RX 470 (Laptop)
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 44*AMD Radeon RX 480 (Laptop)
 52*AMD Radeon RX 490M
 133*AMD Radeon RX 540
 118AMD Radeon RX 550 (Laptop)
 88*AMD Radeon RX 560 (Laptop)
 87*AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop)
 47*AMD Radeon RX 570 (Laptop)
 36AMD Radeon RX 580 (Laptop)
117
85
66
49
 162*AMD Radeon RX Vega 10
 151*AMD Radeon RX Vega 11
50.52
242
18.52
 392*AMD Radeon RX Vega 3
27
8
 310*AMD Radeon RX Vega 6
 226*AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
39.52
17.52
132
 39*AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH
150
69
48
36
 60*AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL / 870
 38*AMD Radeon RX Vega Mobile
 857ATI Mobility 128 M3
 848ATI Mobility Radeon 7000 IGP
 812ATI Mobility Radeon 7500
 793ATI Mobility Radeon 9000
Pos      Model                                     Middle-earth: Shadow of War
lowmed.highultra4k
 843ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 IGP
 842ATI Mobility Radeon 9100 IGP