Notebookcheck

No Man's Sky - Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks

Florian Glaser, Sven Kloevekorn (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 09/25/2016

Risky gamble. Infinite worlds, endless boredom - critics could easily sum up No Man's Sky with this sentence. We checked this game by British indie developer, Hello Games, on laptops and desktop PCs to see how it performs.

For the original German article, see here.

Game Engine

The launch of the new Nvidia Pascal generation took a lot of time, which means we only got around to testing No Man's Sky now. Perhaps it was better like this, as this hyped game had many technical bugs being reported in the first month. Although we did not encounter any major issues, the game itself suffers from various flaws.

The start problems are annoying, but one can deal with them. Regardless of the test model we used, the game needed to be clicked two to four times in Steam before it actually launched. The graphics-to-performance ratio is imbalanced: despite having modest visuals, which include blurry textures and weak effects (like lighting), the game is hungry for resources. The large universe and spanning worlds are not enough to make up for this resource drain.

No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky

The game was launched for the PS4 simultaneously and it seems there are issues with the controls, as it constantly feels as if they have been customized for console controllers. In the menus, the mouse cursor is slow and to change any settings, the user must click and wait multiple seconds. This is understandably uncomfortable for PC users.

When the game starts the first time on an HDD, it takes a long, long time to load. Depending on the settings and the hardware, this problem might persist even with an SSD. Thankfully, the cut-scenes, which depict a spaceship flying through galaxies and star systems, look really good. The biggest highlight of this game is its brilliant soundtrack, which is a rare thing for games.

No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky

The graphics settings are far less impressive. The game offers 15 options, which is not bad, but it does require the user to restart to change the resolution. Other open world games, like The Witcher 3, Far Cry Primal, The Division, Mad Max or Need for Speed, simply change the resolution.

In terms of individual settings, No Man's Sky covers its bases. The developer has included options for the display mode, the pixel quality, view distance (field of view), the gamma value, anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing (AA). The only AA options available are the conservative FXAA (can be a little blurry) and the very demanding SSAA x 4. The video menu is rounded out with four quality and detail scales, a HUD option and an FPS limit range, which offers 30, 60, 90 or 110 frames per second. The lack of presets was inconvenient as this means the user cannot simply change all settings in one go.

No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky

As mentioned in the intro, the game quickly bored us. After a few planets, the whole ordeal is repetitive, despite having a whole universe at our disposal. Soon, most things run in a set way, which dampens the explorer spirit and the joy from the crafting system (Minecraft says "hi"). When combined with the lack of storytelling, the game simply lacks content for continual entertainment.

As such, we can only recommend this game to people who enjoy simple exploration and upgrade mechanisms. A lot of potential under the hood, but the game simply cannot live up to it.

Benchmark

Space travel runs at higher FPS (frames per second) than planet travel. For our test, we took a trip on foot, as can be seen in the video. First, we get out of the spaceship via an alien facility, which shows the performance in buildings. Afterwards, we go around the landing zone and take a look at the flora and fauna of the planet we have landed on (which we named NBC). The benchmark ends after 30 seconds with us getting back on the spaceship.

Although the FPS should be affected by the dynamic day and night change, our test sequence should provide an average expected performance for this game. Due to the "Ego" perspective, we recommend a minimum of 40 FPS. At lower ranges, the game will stutter.

Results

The game may have great art style, but the system requirements are far too high for our liking. Devices running on Intel IGPs (Integrated Graphics Processors) will refuse to start the game ("not currently supported"). Low- and middle-class graphics chips from Nvidia and AMD will run it at low details and a resolution of 1280x720 pixels. At normal settings and a resolution of 1366x768 pixels, No Man's Sky needs a multimedia laptop or a slightly old high-end graphics card (like the GeForce GTX 860M or the GTX 960M).

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

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If you want Full HD, you need a cutting-edge, gaming GPU. Medium to high details will run on the GeForce GTX 880M and the GTX 970M smoothly. If you want a mix of 1920x1080 pixels, max settings and 4x SSAA, then you need at least a GeForce GTX 1060 or GTX 980. Our 4K test (3840x2160 pixels, High, FXAA) can only be run smoothly on ultra high-end models, such as the GeForce GTX 1070.

No Man's Sky
    3840x2160 High AA:FX AF:8x     1920x1080 Ultra High AA:4x SS AF:16x     1920x1080 High AA:FX AF:8x     1920x1080 Medium AA:Off AF:4x     1366x768 Medium AA:Off AF:4x     1280x720 Low AA:Off AF:1x
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop), 4790K
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
58.5 (min: 21) fps ∼86%
64.7 (min: 46) fps ∼86%
133 (min: 91) fps ∼84%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
Asus G752VS
46.1 (min: 38) fps ∼68%
52 (min: 41) fps ∼69%
113 (min: 94) fps ∼71%
130 (min: 96) fps ∼100%
134 (min: 96) fps ∼100%
135 (min: 96) fps ∼91%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 4790K
Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti Desktop PC
46.7 (min: 38) fps ∼69%
49.3 (min: 40) fps ∼66%
102 (min: 73) fps ∼64%
AMD Radeon R9 Fury, 4790K
XFX Radeon R9 Fury Pro
35.7 (min: 26) fps ∼53%
39 (min: 32) fps ∼52%
69 (min: 54) fps ∼43%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 6700K
Desktop PC
33.9 (min: 27) fps ∼50%
36.1 (min: 28) fps ∼48%
80.4 (min: 61) fps ∼51%
98.1 (min: 78) fps ∼75%
129 (min: 101) fps ∼96%
149 (min: 110) fps ∼100%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
33 (min: 27) fps ∼49%
37.6 (min: 29) fps ∼50%
80.1 (min: 65) fps ∼50%
94.3 (min: 80) fps ∼73%
131 (min: 109) fps ∼98%
147 (min: 114) fps ∼99%
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop), 4790K
AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB Reference
30.3 (min: 23) fps ∼45%
33.7 (min: 28) fps ∼45%
68 (min: 54) fps ∼43%
AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop), 4790K
MSI RX 470 Gaming X 4GB
28.2 (min: 21) fps ∼41%
31.6 (min: 27) fps ∼42%
62.5 (min: 48) fps ∼39%
93 (min: 70) fps ∼69%
98 (min: 71) fps ∼66%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
23.7 (min: 14) fps ∼35%
26.3 (min: 20) fps ∼35%
48.4 (min: 33) fps ∼30%
59.1 (min: 41) fps ∼45%
74.6 (min: 41) fps ∼56%
99.1 (min: 66) fps ∼67%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
19.1 (min: 13) fps ∼28%
20.5 (min: 15) fps ∼27%
38.3 (min: 20) fps ∼24%
49.7 (min: 35) fps ∼38%
64.9 (min: 40) fps ∼48%
74 (min: 47) fps ∼50%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
17.8 (min: 9) fps ∼24%
38.6 (min: 32) fps ∼24%
47.3 (min: 39) fps ∼36%
66 (min: 55) fps ∼49%
76 (min: 60) fps ∼51%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
14.2 (min: 9) fps ∼21%
16.8 (min: 12) fps ∼22%
38.7 (min: 29) fps ∼24%
43.4 (min: 30) fps ∼33%
61.4 (min: 43) fps ∼46%
73.4 (min: 61) fps ∼49%
AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop), 4790K
XFX RX-460P4DFG5 Double Dissipation 4 GB
15.4 (min: 10) fps ∼21%
33 (min: 23) fps ∼21%
57.3 (min: 44) fps ∼43%
70.1 (min: 53) fps ∼47%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
13.4 (min: 8) fps ∼20%
14.4 (min: 8) fps ∼19%
33.5 (min: 28) fps ∼21%
39.9 (min: 31) fps ∼31%
55.8 (min: 44) fps ∼42%
66 (min: 53) fps ∼44%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
11.2 (min: 7) fps ∼15%
25.8 (min: 21) fps ∼16%
30.5 (min: 23) fps ∼23%
44 (min: 35) fps ∼33%
52.3 (min: 35) fps ∼35%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
10.8 (min: 5) fps ∼14%
24.5 (min: 13) fps ∼15%
29.9 (min: 23) fps ∼23%
42.6 (min: 33) fps ∼32%
50.6 (min: 40) fps ∼34%
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 6700HQ
MSI CX72 6QD
25.5 (min: 12) fps ∼17%
NVIDIA GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
MSI GP62 2QD
22.1 (min: 15) fps ∼16%
26.7 (min: 20) fps ∼18%
AMD Radeon R9 M280X, FX-7600P
Asus N551ZU-CN007H
32.5 (min: 9) fps ∼22%
NVIDIA GeForce 920M, 2970M
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
17 fps ∼11%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, 4200M
MSI CX61-i572M
12 fps ∼8%
Intel HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
fps ∼0%
fps ∼0%
fps ∼0%
fps ∼0%
fps ∼0%
fps ∼0%

Overview

Show Restrictions
      Model
No Man's Sky
 No Man's Sky (2016)
low
1280x720
Low
1x AF Off AA
med.
1366x768
Medium
4x AF Off AA
high
1920x1080
High
8x AF FXAA
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra High
16x AF 4x SSAA
4k
3840x2160
High
8x AF FXAA
NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
116.8
118.3
118.7
88.4
79.9
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop)
146
77.4
74.7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
133
64.7
58.5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
95
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
126.8n2
124.25n2
108.5n2
50.35n2
44.7n2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
102
49.3
46.7
AMD Radeon R9 Fury
69
39
35.7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
149
129
80.4
36.1
33.9
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
147
131
80.1
37.6
33
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
68
33.7
30.3
AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
98
93
62.5
31.6
28.2
AMD Radeon HD 8970M Crossfire
60.6
46.2
31.5
15.6
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
99.1
74.6
48.4
26.3
23.7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop)
44.6
22
18.1
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
79
44.6
20.7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
74
64.9
38.3
20.5
19.1
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
88.7
89.8
47
19.7
18.2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
73.4
61.4
38.7
16.8
14.2
AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
70.1
57.3
33
15.4
      Model
No Man's Sky
lowmed.highultra4k
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
76
66
38.6
17.8
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
66
55.8
33.5
14.4
13.4
AMD Radeon HD 8970M
60.4
51.3
32.6
16.7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
48.4n2
41.15n2
24.4n2
10.85n2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
52.3
44
25.8
11.2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
35.6
29.4
18.2
AMD Radeon R9 M280X
32.5
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
28n2
24.3
14.3
6.2
NVIDIA GeForce 940M
26.7
22.1
AMD Radeon R7 M460
19.8
15.7
8.6
AMD Radeon R7 M360
18.1
14.9
7.9
NVIDIA GeForce 920M
17
AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
21.8
18
10
AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
10.7
8.5
AMD Radeon R5 M255
18.8
14.8
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
12
Intel HD Graphics 4600
6
(-) * 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.

Test Systems

Desktop-PCs Custom Nvidia Custom AMD
Mainboard Asus Z170-A Asus Z97-Deluxe
Processor Intel Core i7-6700K (Skylake) Intel Core i7-4790K (Haswell)
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB GDDR5)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 (4 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 2 x 8 GB DDR4-2133 2 x 4 GB DDR3-1600
Storage Device 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)
Graphics Card 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 Device Samsung SSD 840 EVO (250 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)
Graphics Card 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 1 x 8 GB DDR4-2133 2 x 4 GB DDR4-2133 1 x 8 GB DDR3-1600 1 x 8 GB DDR3-1600 1 x 8 GB DDR3-1600
Storage Device 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
Asus Notebooks Asus G752VS Asus N551ZU
Mainboard Intel CM236 AMD K15.1
Processor Intel Core i7-6820HK (Skylake) AMD FX-7600P (Kaveri)
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8 GB GDDR5) AMD Radeon R9 M280X (4 GB GDDR5)
RAM 4 x 16 GB DDR4-2400 2 x 4 GB DDR3-1600
Storage Device Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7 SSD (512 GB) Samsung SSD 830 (256 GB)
OS Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit Windows 10 64 Bit
4K Monitor Nvidia Driver AMD Driver Intel Driver
2 x Asus PB287Q ForceWare 372.70 Crimson 16.9.1 15.40.28.4501
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > No Man's Sky - Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks
Florian Glaser, 2016-09-25 (Update: 2018-05-15)