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Need for Speed: Rivals Benchmarked

Second fiddle. Brace yourselves, PC gamers. Need for Speed: Rivals has a serious shortcoming: It doesn't play perfectly on any PC, not even the most powerful ones. Read about the 30 fps cap and the game's (mobile) hardware requirements here.
Florian Glaser, Tanja Hinum (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 🇩🇪

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Need for Speed: Rivals
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For the original German article, see here.

Graphics

There's no hiding the fact that Need for Speed: Rivals (like most games) was developed primarily for consoles. You notice the PC version's defective operation almost immediately. We don't just mean the annoying tutorials for the Racer and Cop campaigns -- those can't be avoided on consoles either… see this YouTube video for a humorous edit -- but more than anything we mean the strange key assignments and (from the point of view of a PC gamer) the uncomfortably-arranged menu. Some gamers will simply shake their heads in disbelief at the fact that to reach the graphics options from the garage, you have to hit either the Page Up or Page Down key twice. Mouse support doesn't seem to have been on the developers' radar.

According to the publisher, Electronic Arts, their goal was to make competition between players fairer (Rivals combines single and multiplayer elements) and not put players with weaker hardware at a disadvantage. But it still eludes us as to why EA didn't cap the frame rate a little higher, and why they had to penalize owners of more potent hardware. Or did the party responsible forget that you can tailor the game's settings to your own hardware?

Need for Speed: Rivals
Need for Speed: Rivals
Need for Speed: Rivals
Need for Speed: Rivals
Need for Speed: Rivals
Need for Speed: Rivals

Apart from a few disconnects, the game's graphics made a good or perhaps even a very good impression on us. In order to offer buyers the best visuals possible, the developer Ghost Games turned to DICE's Frostbite 3 Engine. Compared to Battlefield 4Rivals appears to have both somewhat harder edges (missing anti-aliasing) and to be spongier (no anisotropic filtering, some weaker textures). On the positive side, though, there's a high vegetation density, good lighting, great (weather) effects, and -- one of the trademarks of the series -- snazzy high-class car models. The changeover from day to night is also well-executed, and there's a nice damage model. The graphics aren't the only aspect of the game that has improved -- Rivals' driving experience is also superior (Most Wanted uses the Chameleon Engine).

In terms of sound, there's little to critique about the arcade racer. The roaring motors are accompanied by a dubstep soundtrack. Gamers may not be completely satisfied when they find the graphics menu -- 10 settings options are neither especially many nor especially few. One of the highlights of the graphics menu is Ambient Occlusion (SSAO or HBAO). Fortunately, settings changes are adopted directly within the game, so there's no need to restart.

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

Benchmark

For our benchmark sequence, we chose a race between two safe-houses in the middle of the map (Pacific Woods). The sequence lasts about a minute (as long as you don't crash) and is good for assessing the level of performance to expect from various devices.

As our tests reveal, Rivals only runs normally when the frame rate is exactly 30 fps. A lower frame rate not only causes the image to jerk, but it also causes the game to run more slowly. The exact opposite is true when the fps cap is crossed, which is possible if you take a roundabout approach. Due to the negative consequences of artificially passing the cap, we tested Rivals in its original version without interfering with the game manually.

Results

If you want to enjoy the new Need for Speed title in its full splendor, i.e. at a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and full details, you'll need a high-end graphics card. The GeForce GTX 765M was the first card to reach 30 fps in our test sequence. For a resolution of 1366x768 pixels and high graphics options, you'll only need a mid-class GPU (for instance the GT 750M).

Low-end models, on the level of the GeForce GT 630M, or CPU accelerators like the Radeon HD 7660G or HD Graphics 4600, break into a sweat even at low details and 1024x768 pixels. The Iris Pro 5200 is the only chip to approach the 30 fps mark here. Depending on the settings, the hardware demands can be even higher in this game than in Battlefield 4.

Need for Speed: Rivals
    1920x1080 Ultra / On / HBAO (30 FPS Limit)     1366x768 High / On / SSAO (30 FPS Limit)     1366x768 Medium / Off (30 FPS Limit)     1024x768 Low / Off (30 FPS Limit)
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
12.7 (9min) fps ∼42%
15.4 (10min) fps ∼48%
20.1 (13min) fps ∼63%
Radeon HD 7660G, A10-4600M, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZ-7PC0128D/EU
AMD Pumori Platform A10-4600M
18.6 (14min) fps ∼58%
21 (16min) fps ∼66%
GeForce GT 630M, 3720QM
Asus N56VM
20.4 (10min) fps ∼64%
24.4 (15min) fps ∼76%
Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180B3
Schenker S413
12.4 (8min) fps ∼41%
20 (14min) fps ∼67%
23.5 (16min) fps ∼73%
27.5 (20min) fps ∼86%
GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
19.2 (16min) fps ∼64%
29.9 (27min) fps ∼100%
30 (28min) fps ∼94%
30 (28min) fps ∼94%
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
30 (27min) fps ∼100%
30 (27min) fps ∼100%
30 (28min) fps ∼94%
30 (28min) fps ∼94%
Radeon HD 8970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
30 (29min) fps ∼100%
30 (29min) fps ∼100%
30 (29min) fps ∼94%
30 (29min) fps ∼94%
GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
30 (29min) fps ∼100%
30 (29min) fps ∼100%
30 (29min) fps ∼94%
30 (29min) fps ∼94%
Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
30 (29min) fps ∼100%
30 (29min) fps ∼100%
30 (29min) fps ∼94%
30 (29min) fps ∼94%
GeForce GTX 680, 2600K, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
Desktop GTX 680, Intel Core i7-2600K
30 (28min) fps ∼100%
30 (0min) fps ∼100%
30 (0min) fps ∼94%
30 (0min) fps ∼94%
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Verdict

With a little more effort, Rivals could have been a great game. The smart combination of single and multiplayer elements adds a good deal of excitement to the gaming experience. That makes the PC version's weaknesses even more frustrating. Better controls and less spoon-feeding/paternalism would have done the game good.

Need for Speed: Rivals
Need for Speed: Rivals
Need for Speed: Rivals

Test Systems

Our three most important test devices are courtesy of Schenker Technologies (mysn.de):

  • W503 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 765M, GTX 770M, GTX 780M, Radeon HD 8970M & HD Graphics 4600)
  • M503 (Core i7-4702MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 750M & HD Graphics 4600)
  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670MX, GTX 675MX, GTX 680M, Radeon HD 7970M & HD Graphics 4000)

A further thank you goes to Micron for providing the 480 GB Crucial M500, on which Windows 7 Professional 64-bit is installed.

GPU drivers used: Nvidia 331.82 WHQL, AMD 13.11 Beta 9.2, Intel 10.18.10.3345

From left to right: Schenker M503, XMG P502 & W503
From left to right: Schenker M503, XMG P502 & W503

Overview

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AMD Radeon Pro WX 3100
AMD Radeon HD 6990M Crossfire
AMD Radeon HD 6990M
AMD Radeon HD 6450M
AMD Radeon HD 6470M
AMD Radeon HD 6350M
AMD Radeon HD 6320
AMD Radeon HD 6970M
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800M
AMD Radeon Pro 560X
AMD Radeon Pro WX 2100
AMD Radeon HD 6760G2
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
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AMD Radeon HD 6770M
AMD Radeon HD 6775G2
AMD Radeon HD 6545G2
AMD Radeon HD 6430M
AMD FirePro W5170M
AMD Radeon HD 7520G
AMD Radeon HD 7490M
AMD Radeon HD 7500G
AMD Radeon HD 7480D
AMD Radeon HD 7450M
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go 5200
NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M
NVIDIA GeForce Go 6400
NVIDIA GeForce GT 240M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 GDDR5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce 845M
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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX SLI
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop)
NVIDIA Quadro FX Go 1000
NVIDIA Quadro 5010M
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AMD Radeon HD 6830M
AMD Radeon HD 6520G
AMD Radeon HD 6540G2
AMD Radeon HD 6380G
AMD Radeon HD 6370M
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AMD Radeon HD 6290
AMD Radeon HD 6250
AMD FirePro W2100
AMD FirePro W7170M
AMD Radeon 530
AMD Radeon HD 6740G2
AMD Radeon HD 7570M
AMD Radeon HD 6520G + HD 7450M Dual Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 6450 GDDR5
AMD Radeon HD 6330M
AMD FirePro W5130M
AMD Radeon 610
NVIDIA Quadro FX 1600M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
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AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16
AMD Radeon HD 6630M
AMD Radeon HD 6640G2
AMD Radeon HD 7310
AMD Radeon HD 6620G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 7690M
AMD Radeon HD 7340
AMD Radeon HD 7690M XT
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AMD Radeon HD 6650M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile
NVIDIA GeForce Go 7800 GTX
AMD Radeon HD 6730M
AMD Radeon HD 6620G + HD 7450M Dual Graphics
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AMD Radeon HD 6645G2
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AMD Radeon Pro W6800
NVIDIA Quadro K4100M
AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200
AMD Radeon Pro WX 4130
AMD Radeon Pro WX 4150
AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100
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AMD Radeon R2 (Stoney Ridge)
AMD Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
AMD Radeon HD 7430M
AMD Radeon HD 7420G
AMD Radeon HD 7370M
AMD Radeon HD 7350M
AMD Radeon HD 7400G
Intel HD Graphics 3000
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AMD Radeon HD 7850M
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
Intel HD Graphics 4400
16.7
13.2
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) HD Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 4200
14.1
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI
NVIDIA Quadro M620
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590
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NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
30
30
29.9
19.2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M SLI
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Mobile
NVIDIA Quadro FX 1700M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M SLI
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
30
30
30
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M SLI
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
30
30
30
30
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M
AMD Radeon HD 6790
AMD Radeon HD 6570M
AMD Radeon HD 6550M
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AMD Radeon HD 6620G
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AMD Radeon HD 6870
AMD Radeon HD 6550D
AMD Radeon HD 6310
AMD FirePro W4190M
AMD FirePro W4100
AMD Radeon HD 6490M
AMD Radeon HD 6480G + HD 7450M Dual Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 6480G
AMD Radeon 630
AMD Radeon 620
AMD Radeon 625
AMD FirePro W4170M
AMD FirePro M6000
AMD FirePro M4100
AMD FirePro M8900
AMD FirePro M4000
AMD FirePro M5100
AMD Radeon 540X
AMD FirePro M3900
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AMD Radeon HD 6970
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AMD Radeon HD 6970M Crossfire
AMD FirePro M6100
AMD Radeon R2 (Mullins/Beema/Carrizo-L)
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AMD FirePro M5950
NVIDIA Quadro FX 350M
AMD Radeon HD 6755G2
AMD Radeon HD 6950M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
Intel HD Graphics 405 (Braswell)
NVIDIA Quadro FX 360M
AMD Radeon Pro WX Vega M GL
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3600M
AMD Radeon HD 7290
AMD Radeon 520
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AMD Radeon HD 6515G2
AMD Radeon HD 6510G2
AMD Radeon R7 370
AMD Radeon R7 250
AMD Radeon HD 7470M
NVIDIA Quadro FX 2700M
NVIDIA Quadro FX 2500M
AMD Radeon HD 6720G2
AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
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AMD Radeon Pro 560
AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
Vivante GC7000UL
AMD Radeon Pro 555X
AMD Radeon Pro 555
AMD Radeon HD 6750M
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AMD Radeon Pro 5600M
AMD Radeon HD 6690G2
NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTX SLI
(-) * 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.
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Florian Glaser
Editor of the original article: Florian Glaser - Managing Editor Gaming Laptops - 642 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2009
I discovered my interest in computers in my childhood, growing up with MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 in the early 1990s. I was especially fascinated with computer games, even from an early age. From Monkey Island through Lands of Lore to Doom, I tried every game I could get my hands on. I have been working for Notebookcheck since 2009 with my focus mostly being on high-performance gaming laptops.
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Florian Glaser, 2013-11-27 (Update: 2021-05-18)