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No Man's Sky - Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks

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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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Ultra
Ultra
Low
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Medium
Medium
High
High
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 (21min) fps ∼86%
64.7 (46min) fps ∼86%
133 (91min) fps ∼84%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Mobile, 6820HK
Asus G752VS
46.1 (38min) fps ∼68%
52 (41min) fps ∼69%
113 (94min) fps ∼71%
130 (96min) fps ∼100%
134 (96min) fps ∼100%
135 (96min) fps ∼91%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 4790K
Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti Desktop PC
46.7 (38min) fps ∼69%
49.3 (40min) fps ∼66%
102 (73min) fps ∼64%
AMD Radeon R9 Fury, 4790K
XFX Radeon R9 Fury Pro
35.7 (26min) fps ∼53%
39 (32min) fps ∼52%
69 (54min) fps ∼43%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 6700K
Desktop PC
33.9 (27min) fps ∼50%
36.1 (28min) fps ∼48%
80.4 (61min) fps ∼51%
98.1 (78min) fps ∼75%
129 (101min) fps ∼96%
149 (110min) fps ∼100%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
Desktop PC
33 (27min) fps ∼49%
37.6 (29min) fps ∼50%
80.1 (65min) fps ∼50%
94.3 (80min) fps ∼73%
131 (109min) fps ∼98%
147 (114min) fps ∼99%
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop), 4790K
AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB Reference
30.3 (23min) fps ∼45%
33.7 (28min) fps ∼45%
68 (54min) fps ∼43%
AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop), 4790K
MSI RX 470 Gaming X 4GB
28.2 (21min) fps ∼41%
31.6 (27min) fps ∼42%
62.5 (48min) fps ∼39%
93 (70min) fps ∼69%
98 (71min) fps ∼66%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
23.7 (14min) fps ∼35%
26.3 (20min) fps ∼35%
48.4 (33min) fps ∼30%
59.1 (41min) fps ∼45%
74.6 (41min) fps ∼56%
99.1 (66min) fps ∼67%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
19.1 (13min) fps ∼28%
20.5 (15min) fps ∼27%
38.3 (20min) fps ∼24%
49.7 (35min) fps ∼38%
64.9 (40min) fps ∼48%
74 (47min) fps ∼50%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
17.8 (9min) fps ∼24%
38.6 (32min) fps ∼24%
47.3 (39min) fps ∼36%
66 (55min) fps ∼49%
76 (60min) fps ∼51%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
14.2 (9min) fps ∼21%
16.8 (12min) fps ∼22%
38.7 (29min) fps ∼24%
43.4 (30min) fps ∼33%
61.4 (43min) fps ∼46%
73.4 (61min) fps ∼49%
AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop), 4790K
XFX RX-460P4DFG5 Double Dissipation 4 GB
15.4 (10min) fps ∼21%
33 (23min) fps ∼21%
57.3 (44min) fps ∼43%
70.1 (53min) fps ∼47%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
13.4 (8min) fps ∼20%
14.4 (8min) fps ∼19%
33.5 (28min) fps ∼21%
39.9 (31min) fps ∼31%
55.8 (44min) fps ∼42%
66 (53min) fps ∼44%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
11.2 (7min) fps ∼15%
25.8 (21min) fps ∼16%
30.5 (23min) fps ∼23%
44 (35min) fps ∼33%
52.3 (35min) fps ∼35%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
10.8 (5min) fps ∼14%
24.5 (13min) fps ∼15%
29.9 (23min) fps ∼23%
42.6 (33min) fps ∼32%
50.6 (40min) fps ∼34%
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 6700HQ
MSI CX72 6QD
25.5 (12min) fps ∼17%
NVIDIA GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
MSI GP62 2QD
22.1 (15min) fps ∼16%
26.7 (20min) fps ∼18%
AMD Radeon R9 M280X, FX-7600P
Asus N551ZU-CN007H
32.5 (9min) 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

Overview

Show Restrictions
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1x AF Off AA
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4x AF Off AA
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8x AF FXAA
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Ultra High
16x AF 4x SSAA
4K
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High
8x AF FXAA
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PowerVR SGX554MP4
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M
PowerVR SGX545
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AMD Radeon HD 6775G2
AMD Radeon HD 6770M
AMD Radeon Graphics (Ryzen 9000)
AMD Radeon HD 6250
AMD Radeon 760M
AMD Radeon 680M
AMD Radeon HD 6755G2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
NVIDIA RTX A1000 Laptop GPU
AMD Radeon HD 8970M Crossfire
60.6
46.2
31.5
15.6
AMD Radeon Pro 5300M
AMD Radeon HD 6630M
AMD Radeon Pro 455
AMD Radeon Pro 450
AMD Radeon HD 6640G2
AMD Radeon HD 6645G2
AMD Radeon HD 6450M
AMD Radeon 890M
AMD FirePro W5130M
AMD Radeon HD 7370M
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AMD Radeon HD 7290
AMD Radeon HD 7310
AMD Radeon HD 6990M Crossfire
AMD Radeon HD 6970M Crossfire
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
147
131
80.1
37.6
33
Intel UHD Graphics 600
NVIDIA GeForce 8700M GT
NVIDIA T600
Intel UHD Graphics 32EUs (Alder Lake)
NVIDIA GeForce 8700M GT SLI
Intel HD Graphics (Broadwell)
NVIDIA GeForce GT 415M
NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GT
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI (Laptop)
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 (Laptop)
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q
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NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 (Laptop)
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 Max-Q
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 (Laptop)
PowerVR GX6450
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
PowerVR GE8322 / IMG8322
NVIDIA Quadro T1000 (Laptop)
NVIDIA T1200 Laptop GPU
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AMD Radeon HD 6680G2
PowerVR SGX544MP2
AMD Radeon HD 6370M
AMD Radeon HD 6450 GDDR5
AMD Radeon 880M
AMD Radeon 780M
AMD Radeon 630
AMD Radeon 625
AMD FirePro M8900
AMD FirePro W5170M
AMD Radeon 520
AMD Radeon HD 6620G
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AMD Radeon HD 7470M
AMD Radeon HD 6380G
AMD Radeon Graphics (Ryzen 7000)
AMD Radeon 740M
AMD FirePro W4190M
AMD Radeon 540X
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
NVIDIA GeForce GT 335M
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AMD Radeon PRO W6600M
AMD Radeon HD 6520G
AMD Radeon HD 6520G + HD 7450M Dual Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 6830M
AMD Radeon HD 6515G2
AMD Radeon HD 7610M
AMD Radeon HD 6850M
AMD Radeon HD 7620G
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AMD Radeon HD 6540G2
NVIDIA RTX A5000 Laptop GPU
NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
95
NVIDIA Quadro P2000
AMD Radeon HD 6570M
AMD Radeon HD 6510G2
AMD Radeon HD 6530M
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AMD Radeon Pro 460
NVIDIA GeForce Go 6600
AMD Radeon Pro 555
AMD Radeon Pro 555X
AMD Radeon Pro 560
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AMD Radeon Pro 5600M
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56
NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M
AMD Radeon HD 6970M
AMD Radeon HD 6970
AMD Radeon HD 6870M
AMD Radeon HD 6870
AMD Radeon HD 6950M
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ATI Radeon HD 4250
AMD Radeon HD 7650M
ATI Mobility Radeon X2500
ATI Radeon HD 5670
ATI Mobility Radeon X2300
ATI Radeon HD 5570
NVIDIA GeForce GT 325M
NVIDIA GeForce GT 320M
NVIDIA GeForce 710M
NVIDIA GeForce 705M
NVIDIA Quadro NVS 120M
NVIDIA GeForce MX110
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low med. high ultra 4K
NVIDIA GeForce GT 240M
NVIDIA Quadro T2000 (Laptop)
NVIDIA GeForce 7000M
NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 GDDR5
NVIDIA GeForce GT 230M
NVIDIA GeForce 845M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
52.3
44
25.8
11.2
NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
76
66
38.6
17.8
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE
NVIDIA Quadro P3000
NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M
NVIDIA Quadro NVS 320M
AMD Radeon HD 6650M
AMD Radeon HD 6480G + HD 7450M Dual Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 6480G
NXP PXP
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NVIDIA Quadro P5000 Max-Q
PowerVR SGX543MP4
NVIDIA Quadro P520
NVIDIA T500 Laptop GPU
NVIDIA Quadro P5000
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PowerVR GE8100
PowerVR G6430
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PowerVR G6200
Nvidia RTX 500 Ada Generation Laptop GPU
PowerVR SGX530
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AMD Radeon R5 M320
AMD Radeon HD 6490M
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AMD Radeon HD 6430M
AMD Radeon HD 6720G2
AMD Radeon HD 6470M
AMD Radeon 660M
AMD FirePro W4170M
AMD FirePro W2100
AMD Radeon HD 6320
AMD Radeon HD 6310
AMD Radeon HD 6290
AMD Radeon 620
AMD Radeon 610
AMD Radeon 610M
AMD FirePro W4100
AMD FirePro M5950
AMD FirePro M4000
AMD FirePro M6100
AMD FirePro M3900
AMD FirePro M4100
AMD Radeon 530
AMD FirePro M2000
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AMD Radeon HD 6750M
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AMD Radeon HD 6760G2
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AMD FirePro M6000
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16
NVIDIA RTX 4000 Ada Generation Laptop GPU
AMD FirePro M5100
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
35.6
29.4
18.2
AMD Radeon HD 6620G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 6740G2
NVIDIA GeForce 840M
ATI Radeon HD 4850
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
48.4n2
41.15n2
24.4n2
10.85n2
NVIDIA Quadro NVS 300M
AMD Radeon Pro 560X
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
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AMD Radeon HD 6790
AMD FirePro W7170M
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AMD Radeon HD 6350M
AMD Radeon HD 6330M
AMD Radeon R5 M420
AMD Radeon R5 M335
AMD Radeon HD 6990M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
73.4
61.4
38.7
16.8
14.2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
66
55.8
33.5
14.4
13.4
AMD Radeon HD 6550M
AMD Radeon R5 M315
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AMD Radeon HD 8870M
AMD Radeon R5 M330
NVIDIA Quadro M600M
AMD Radeon HD 8850M
PowerVR SGX535
AMD Radeon HD 8830M
AMD Radeon HD 6620G + HD 7450M Dual Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 8970M
60.4
51.3
32.6
16.7
AMD Radeon HD 6550D
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Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650
(-) * 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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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > Reviews > No Man's Sky - Notebook and Desktop Benchmarks
Florian Glaser, 2016-09-25 (Update: 2024-05-28)