Notebookcheck

Mirror's Edge Catalyst Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks

Florian Glaser (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 06/19/2016

Tightrope walking. It took 7.5 years for EA and DICE to announce the successor to the Parkour-title Mirror's Edge. While the technology has improved drastically, content-wise, Catalyst hasn't made any progress. We vaulted around roof tops with the main character Faith to get an idea how the title performs on notebooks. Update: we've now tested more than 24 GPUs.

For the original German article, see here.

Graphics

Like most current Triple-A product from EA, Mirror's Edge Catalyst is based on the mighty Frostbite 3 engine, which also powers Battlefield 4Star Wars BattlefrontNeed for Speed and Dragon Age Inquisition. The engine is know for high quality, but also high demands on the hardware. According to the manufacturer, the 2017 iteration of the soccer game Fifa will make use of Frostbite 3 as well.  

Back to Mirror's Edge: compared to the predecessor from 2009, Catalyst appears more modern as far as graphics are concerned. Reflections as well as light and shadows are top notch. The game is characterized by outstanding animations, very compelling day/night transitions and a - similar to the first installment - very individual look with strong contrasts and single-color object areas, which at times look like abstract art. Occasionally, Catalyst looks a little too "clean" and sterile, however. 

Let's touch upon texture sharpness, which is - although not up to the standard of other Frostbite games - pretty decent overall. Unfortunately, there are still a few bugs and inconsistencies. When the graphics option "GPU Memory Restriction" is turned on, some of the objects suffer - independently of the other settings - from fairly undefined textures.  

Our assumption: once the GPU's VRAM becomes scarce, Mirror's Edge automatically loads lower-grade textures. Even though deactivating the "GPU Memory Restriction" supposedly threatens the stability, we would generally avoid having the option turned on. We didn't encounter any problems at all during our testing period.

We only experienced difficulties at the highest quality level - called hyper - which was announced shortly before launch. Yes, the shadows are even more defined, and yes, even more objects are visible at a distance. But the visual improvements stand in no relation to the loss in performance, as even potent desktop GPUs like the GeForce GTX 980 hit their limit already at Full-HD resolution. The frame rate during our NBC test sequence dropped from a fluent 76 to only 29 fps (ultra vs. hyper). Catalyst then was also prone to crashes and strange performance drops.

Otherwise, the engine looks good - minor graphics and clipping errors notwithstanding. The load times are OK with SSDs, but HDDs require more patience. The download isn't too large considering it's 2016 - many other games require substantially more room than 23 GB (Doom, for examples needs ~50 GB).

For PC gamers, the "base of operations" is the graphics menu, which contains an adequate number of options. In addition to the brightness, the field of view, and the picture mode, the overall quality is adjustable as well in several steps. A great feature: advanced users can select from nine different detail settings (Ambient Occlusion, Motion Blur, …).   

We are not completely satisfied with the options. One one hand, the user has to - depending on the resolution - resort to scrolling. We also consider it a nuisance that there's no anti-aliasing switch and that changes require a restart. We also would like to see explanations for some of the settings.

The main problem of Catalyst is the content itself. The gameplay and the sense of motion (aside from the boring fights) are well done, but other sources of amusement are rather standard-fare missions (hack x, steal y, deactivate y). EA seems to follow their competitor Ubisoft here - Assassin's CreedWatch DogsFar Cry, and The Division also suffer at times from uninspiring tasks designed to fill the humongous world.

The upgrade system seems contrived as well and the fair-to-middling story suffers as a result. We couldn't warm up to the characters at all during our during our initial gaming session, which lasted for several hours. To bad - the surveillance scenario in particular would have a lot to offer.

Video Options I
Video Options I
Video Options II
Video Options II

Benchmark

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Since Catalyst comes with only one profile and one savegame, it took us a while to find a suitable benchmark sequence. At the end, we chose the beginning of the second mission, called "Old Friends". We start the tool Fraps after Faith gets hold of a control chip and steps through the door on the opposite side (see video). What follows is a 20 second sprint, jump and sliding stunt over bright white rooftops. This sequence represents the gameplay very well and offers insight into what performance can be expected.

Since this is a brisk first-person title, the frame rate should be 35-40 fps on average. More than 200 frames per second are not possible because of an fps limit.

Results

Users who can do without 3840 x 2160 pixels and the hyper setting, need a powerful, but not outrageously fast high-end notebook. A combination of 1920 x 1080 pixels and the ultra preset runs well on an GeForce GTX 970M on up (GTX 880M+ for High). Side note: analyzing the benchmarks clearly shows Nvidia's Maxwell architecture to be superior to the old Kepler technology. Owners of gaming notebooks costing between 1000 and 1500 Euro (~$1130 - 1690) are likely going to ask the FHD question: can I play Catalyst at full resolution with a GeForce GTX 960M? The answer is yes - but only at up to medium details. 

Hyper
Hyper
Ultra
Ultra
High
High
Medium
Medium
Low
Low
Hyper
Hyper
Ultra
Ultra
High
High
Medium
Medium
Low
Low

Owners of multimedia notebooks with upper middle-class GPUs (GTX 950M etc.) can use the preset medium only at 1366 x 768 or 1600 x 900 pixels without encountering stutters. Inexpensive allrounder-notebooks (up to GeForce 940M) can use low settings at best. Notebooks without dedicated GPUs are out of the question: an Intel HD Graphics 4600 managed not even 25 fps at minimum details and at a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.

The results were mixed for AMD APUs. We were unable to install the newest 16.6.1 beta driver on the desktop APU 7850K or an Asus notebook with Kaveri APU. Maybe that's why the Radeon R9 M280X (Kaveri-based Asus N551ZU) was too slow and couldn't produce playable frame rates. The 7850K APU stuttered initially, but subsequent runs showed higher frame rates. Conceivably we need to wait for a new driver here.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst
    3840x2160 High Preset AF:16x     1920x1080 Ultra Preset AF:16x     1920x1080 High Preset AF:16x     1920x1080 Medium Preset AF:4x     1366x768 Medium Preset AF:4x     1280x720 Low Preset AF:2x
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop), 4790K
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
47 (min: 44) fps ∼69%
121 (min: 108) fps ∼74%
135 (min: 123) fps ∼84%
162 (min: 146) fps ∼91%
175 (min: 149) fps ∼91%
193 (min: 177) fps ∼96%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 4790K
Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti Desktop PC
38.3 (min: 35) fps ∼56%
95 (min: 86) fps ∼58%
105 (min: 96) fps ∼66%
AMD Radeon R9 Fury, 4790K
XFX Radeon R9 Fury Pro
31.5 (min: 23) fps ∼46%
81.3 (min: 74) fps ∼50%
92 (min: 82) fps ∼58%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 6700K
Desktop PC
28.3 (min: 26) fps ∼42%
76.4 (min: 69) fps ∼47%
83.4 (min: 78) fps ∼52%
108 (min: 99) fps ∼60%
156 (min: 142) fps ∼81%
198 (min: 189) fps ∼99%
AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4790K
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC
28.6 (min: 26) fps ∼42%
65.9 (min: 53) fps ∼40%
80.5 (min: 74) fps ∼50%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
20.6 (min: 17) fps ∼30%
53.8 (min: 48) fps ∼33%
60.8 (min: 56) fps ∼38%
78.4 (min: 74) fps ∼44%
112 (min: 98) fps ∼58%
125 (min: 114) fps ∼62%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
16.4 (min: 15) fps ∼24%
42.1 (min: 33) fps ∼26%
47.3 (min: 40) fps ∼30%
64.2 (min: 61) fps ∼36%
97 (min: 90) fps ∼50%
125 (min: 113) fps ∼62%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950, 6700K
Desktop PC
4.8 (min: 2) fps ∼7%
34.3 (min: 32) fps ∼21%
42.1 (min: 39) fps ∼26%
58.1 (min: 55) fps ∼32%
93.1 (min: 88) fps ∼48%
151 (min: 134) fps ∼75%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
11.8 (min: 10) fps ∼17%
33.2 (min: 29) fps ∼20%
40 (min: 37) fps ∼25%
55.3 (min: 52) fps ∼31%
81.2 (min: 75) fps ∼42%
124 (min: 114) fps ∼62%
AMD Radeon R7 370, 4790K
MSI Gaming R7 370 2GB
9 (min: 8) fps ∼13%
33.4 (min: 31) fps ∼20%
41 (min: 38) fps ∼26%
87 (min: 82) fps ∼45%
129 (min: 96) fps ∼64%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
3.6 (min: 2) fps ∼5%
33.5 (min: 30) fps ∼21%
41.7 (min: 38) fps ∼26%
58 (min: 54) fps ∼32%
87 (min: 80) fps ∼45%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
10.2 (min: 9) fps ∼15%
26.9 (min: 24) fps ∼17%
33.1 (min: 29) fps ∼21%
45.3 (min: 43) fps ∼25%
70.1 (min: 65) fps ∼36%
111 (min: 96) fps ∼55%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
26 (min: 21) fps ∼16%
31.1 (min: 29) fps ∼19%
41.1 (min: 39) fps ∼23%
63.4 (min: 59) fps ∼33%
104 (min: 89) fps ∼52%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
MSI PE60 2QD
20.7 (min: 18) fps ∼13%
25.4 (min: 22) fps ∼16%
34.9 (min: 33) fps ∼19%
56 (min: 51) fps ∼29%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
18.9 (min: 16) fps ∼12%
24.7 (min: 23) fps ∼15%
36.4 (min: 34) fps ∼20%
57.6 (min: 53) fps ∼30%
91.7 (min: 80) fps ∼46%
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 6700HQ
MSI CX72 6QD
9.4 (min: 8) fps ∼6%
12.1 (min: 10) fps ∼8%
28.3 (min: 26) fps ∼15%
47.3 (min: 42) fps ∼24%
NVIDIA GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
MSI GP62 2QD
12.2 (min: 11) fps ∼8%
17.8 (min: 16) fps ∼10%
28.6 (min: 25) fps ∼15%
48.3 (min: 43) fps ∼24%
AMD Radeon R9 M280X, FX-7600P
Asus N551ZU-CN007H
27.2 (min: 14) fps ∼14%
NVIDIA GeForce 920M, 2970M
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
18.6 (min: 15) fps ∼10%
30.1 (min: 25) fps ∼15%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, 4200M
MSI CX61-i572M
13.7 fps ∼7%
24.7 fps ∼12%
Intel HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
12.2 (min: 11) fps ∼6%
21.3 (min: 19) fps ∼11%

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Mirror's Edge Catalyst
 Mirror's Edge Catalyst (2016)
low
1280x720
Low Preset
2xAF
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
4xAF
high
1920x1080
High Preset
16xAF
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset
16xAF
4k
3840x2160
High Preset
16xAF
 2NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
160.4
140
130.9
125.4
61.1
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
193
175
135
1212
482
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
1314
1214
47.43
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
114
1022
392
 14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
106
97.8
38.8
 15NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
176
137.6
100.34
92.054
35.82
 18NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
105
95
38.3
 19NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
86.852
79.42
31.5
 22AMD Radeon R9 Fury
92
81.3
31.5
 23AMD Radeon R9 Nano
77
31.9
 24NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
198
156
83.4
76.4
28.3
 26NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
197.4
165.5
90
81.9
31
 30NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
197
164
86.1
78.3
27.6
 32AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
125
80
70.3
25.4
 33NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
63.6
71.254
64.854
24.8
 36AMD Radeon RX 580 (Laptop)
102
88.9
72.6
63.3
23.3
 40NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
151.3
136.8
80.8
72.52
26.1
 41NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
130
66.4
59.6
20.5
 45AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
65.2
23.7
Pos      Model                                     Mirror's Edge Catalyst
lowmed.highultra4k
 50AMD Radeon R9 290X
80.5
65.9
28.6
 57NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
125
112
60.8
53.8
20.6
 62NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
159.9
111.8
55.7
50
17.1
 63NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
49.33
44.93
16.2
 65NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
46.5
 67NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
125
97
47.3
42.1
16.4
 70NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
156.5
102.9
47.2
38.6
7.1
 80NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
110.3
83.7
40.4
32.4
 84AMD Radeon R7 370
129
87
41
33.4
9
 86NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
124
81.2
40
33.2
11.8
 87NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
151
93.1
42.1
34.3
4.8
 95AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
39.7
34.2
12.1
 98NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
1262
83.63
40.53
35.83
8.12
 102NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
111
70.1
33.1
26.9
10.2
 104AMD Radeon HD 8970M
81.5
60.3
33.4
15
 119NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
96.23
61.83
303
24.33
 131NVIDIA GeForce MX150
81.4
54.5
39.5
23.4
 138NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
91.7
57.6
24.7
18.9
 146NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
69.3
53.82
24.52
19.52
 153AMD Radeon R9 M280X
27.2
Pos      Model                                     Mirror's Edge Catalyst
lowmed.highultra4k
 227NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
47.35
26.25
11.754
9.93
 230AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
45.1
28.1
12.6
8.1
 231NVIDIA GeForce 940M
48.3
28.6
12.2
 232NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
42.1
25.6
11.3
8.7
 248AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
36.3
 253NVIDIA GeForce 930M
39
23.6
 255AMD Radeon 530
30.3
18.3
 259NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
34.9
20.5
 260Intel Iris Graphics 540
35
20.5
 292*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
16.9
11.7
 293NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
34
18.6
 295AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
24.6
 297*AMD Radeon R7 M460
27.7
19.6
7.9
 300AMD Radeon R7 M360
25.8
18.3
7.4
 302NVIDIA GeForce 920M
30.1
18.6
 317Intel UHD Graphics 630
19.8
13.7
 318Intel HD Graphics 630
27.4
15.9
 320Intel HD Graphics 530
25.3
14
 323AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
21.1
13.6
 324Intel UHD Graphics 620
22.3
15.2
Pos      Model                                     Mirror's Edge Catalyst
lowmed.highultra4k
 325Intel HD Graphics 620
28.8
17
7.1
 326AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
6
2.3
 383AMD Radeon HD 8650G
15.1
 388NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
21.2
 393AMD Radeon R5 M430
27
16.3
 394AMD Radeon R5 M255
23.8
18.1
7.1
 396NVIDIA GeForce 910M
22.6
13.8
6.5
3.9
 399Intel HD Graphics 520
27.4
13.7
 400Intel Iris Graphics 6100
24.6
16
 401NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
24.7
13.7
 414Intel HD Graphics 6000
20.8
 422Intel HD Graphics 4600
18.52
11.052
 424Intel HD Graphics 5500
21.5
12.6
 432*Intel HD Graphics 615
15.5
9
 473Intel HD Graphics 515
11.4
 474Intel HD Graphics 4400
20.7
10.3
 505Intel HD Graphics 5300
12.2
6.9
 524AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
10.5
 577Intel HD Graphics 405 (Braswell)
10.5
6.1
 588Intel HD Graphics (Haswell)
12.4
7.1
* 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.

Testsysteme

Desktop PCs Custom Nvidia Custom AMD
Mainboard Asus Z170-A Asus Z97-Deluxe
Processor Intel Core i7-6700K (Skylake) Intel Core i7-4790K (Haswell)
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 (4 GB GDDR5)
PNY GeForce GTX 950 (2 GB GDDR5)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8 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)
RAM 2x 8 GB DDR4-2133 2x 4 GB DDR3-1600
Storage Crucial MX100 SSD (256 GB)
Crucial M500 SSD (480 GB)
OCZ Trion 100 SSD (480 GB)
OCZ Trion 150 SSD (960 GB)
Intel SSD 530 (240 GB)
OCZ Trion 100 SSD (480 GB)
OS Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Schenker Notebooks Schenker W504 Schenker XMG A505 Schenker S413
Mainboard Intel HM87 Intel HM87 Intel HM87
Processor Intel Core i7-4700MQ (Haswell) Intel Core i7-4720HQ (Haswell) Intel Core i7-4750HQ (Haswell)
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (8 GB GDDR5)
GTX 970M (6 GB GDDR5)
GTX 880M (8 GB GDDR5)
GTX 870M (6 GB GDDR5)
GTX 860M Kepler (4 GB GDDR5)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (2 GB GDDR5) Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
RAM 2x 4 GB DDR3-1600 2x 4 GB DDR3-1600 2x 8 GB DDR3-1600
Storage Samsung SSD 840 EVO (250 GB)
Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD (500 GB)
Micron M600 SSD (128 GB)
HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HDD (1.000 GB)
Intel SSD
OS Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit Windows 10 Home 64 Bit Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
MSI Notebooks MSI GE72 MSI PE60 MSI GP62 MSI CX61 MSI CX61
Mainboard Intel HM170 Intel HM170 Intel HM86 Intel HM86 Intel HM86
Processor Intel Core i7-6700HQ (Skylake) Intel Core i7-6700HQ (Skylake) Intel Core i7-5700HQ (Broadwell) Intel Celeron 2970M (Haswell) Intel Core i5-4200M (Haswell)
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M 2016 (2 GB GDDR5) Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M (2 GB GDDR5) Nvidia GeForce 940M (2 GB DDR3) Nvidia GeForce 920M (2 GB DDR3) Nvidia GeForce GT 720M (2 GB DDR3)
RAM 1x 8 GB DDR4-2133 2x 4 GB DDR4-2133 1x 8 GB DDR3-1600 1x 8 GB DDR3-1600 1x 8 GB DDR3-1600
Storage Toshiba THNSNJ128G8NU SSD (128 GB)
WDC WD10JPVX HDD (1.000 GB)
OCZ Trion 100 SSD (480 GB)
Toshiba MQ01ABF050 HDD (500 GB) WDC Scorpio Blue HDD (1.000 GB)
OS Windows 10 Home 64 Bit Windows 10 Windows 10 Windows 10 Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
Other Notebooks Asus N551ZU
Mainboard AMD K15.1
Processor AMD FX-7600P (Kaveri)
GPU AMD Radeon R9 M280X (4 GB GDDR5)
RAM 2x 4 GB DDR3-1600
Storage Samsung SSD 830 256 GB
OS Windows 10 64 Bit
4K Monitor Nvidia driver AMD driver Intel driver
2x Asus PB287Q ForceWare 368.39 Crimson 16.6.1 Hotfix 15.40.22.4424
static version load dynamic
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Mirror's Edge Catalyst Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks
Florian Glaser, 2016-06-19 (Update: 2016-06-19)
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 ;-).