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Saints Row IV Benchmarked

Turn off your brain, prepare to laugh. You do not have to play Saints Row IV for very long before you realize that it is a bunch of anarcho-baloney. Prime grade baloney, that is. Whether the game's graphics and hardware appetite are equally as appealing is a question for this article to answer.
Florian Glaser, Sabine Kückemanns (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 🇩🇪
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Saints Row IV Logo

For the original German article, see here.

Graphics

Gorgeous graphics, as we have recently seen in Crysis 3Metro: Last Light or Hitman: Absolution, are not to be expected from Saints Row IV. Low-poly objects and weak textures are typical of a console game. That is not to say that the explosive action game looks bad. Using a number of tricks, the US developer Volition created a consistent overall look.

Alongside the abundant particle effects and the high "kaboom" factor, the interplay between light and shadows is also appealing. Imagine it is a dark night, and several cars sitting on brightly lit asphalt explode, sending sparks hurling through the air. Scenes like that establish a certain esthetic. Every few meters, Saints Row IV sets off firework-like effects that greatly contribute to the game's chaos and self-mockery. With all that going on, it is easy to overlook any weaknesses in the area of graphics.

Although the graphics menu does not offer a multitude of options, most buyers will appreciate the settings available. Anyone who does not want to pick their way through the 10 specific settings options can just select one of the game's presets. The presets are nothing spectacular, as the title already activates 2x MSAA at medium quality settings. "High" represents 4x MSAA, "Ultra" even activates 8x MSAA. Should there be a problem with the game's performance, the first thing to do is lower the MSAA level. The fact that Volition chose to make all the settings options accessible in the middle of a running game, rather than forcing the player to go all the way to the main menu, is also praiseworthy.

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

Because it was easy, for our benchmarks we used the automatic starting point, where the game drops us when we are outside of the campaigns and missions (see video). With the "super sprint" ability activated, we race down a hill and a street for just under 15 seconds.

Despite the short length of the clip, the benchmark delivers relatively consistent results. In our experience, the amount of resources needed to compute this passage is above average, but we are not talking about anything extreme. During some scenes, the game runs a little slower, during other scenes, considerably faster. More than 30 fps should be adequate for a decent gaming experience.

Results

The game's hardware demands are neither shockingly high nor especially low. For minimum details and a resolution of 720p, you will need at least a low-end graphics card around the level of the HD Graphics 4000/4600 or Radeon HD 7660G. Typical all-round GPUs however, like the GeForce GT 630M, can also handle 1366x768 pixels and the normal preset.

High details and 4x MSAA scream for a GPU from the upper middle class or the lower high-end segment, like the GeForce GTX 660M. You can only experience the full effect of the explosive graphics with a top model card. 1920x1080 pixels, ultra details and 8x MSAA can only be fluidly displayed with a GeForce GTX 675MX or higher. We did not observe any significant bugs during our testing; the graphics appear to be well developed.

You are forgetting AMD's high-end team? We have not included our results from the Radeon HD 7970M or HD 8970M because both GPUs were unnaturally lethargic both with the WHOL driver 13.4 and the Catalyst 13.8 Beta2 (30-50 fps). Considering the flawless desktop results (compare the Radeon HD 7770 and HD 7970), we are guessing the Enduro graphics switching is at fault.

Benchmark Table: Saints Row IV
Benchmark Table: Saints Row IV
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Verdict

Saints Row IV is suited both to those who enjoy a good destruction game and to anyone who has an affinity for dark humor and allusions to pop culture. The graphics quality is nothing to ooh and aah at, but it does its job. Thanks to the good range of settings options, the game is playable on a wide range of notebooks. Owners of extremely weak GPUs (Intel HD Graphics 3000 or lower) are the only ones who will have to go without this title.

Test Systems

Our four 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)
  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670MX, GTX 675MX, GTX 680M, Radeon HD 7970M & HD Graphics 4000)
  • Xesia M501 (Core i7-2630QM, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 630M & HD Graphics 3000)

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

GPU drivers used: Nvidia 326.80 Beta, AMD 13.8 Beta2, Intel 9.17.10.3223 and/or 9.18.10.3165.

Left to right: Schenker Xesia M501, M503, XMG P502 & W503
Left to right: Schenker Xesia M501, M503, XMG P502 & W503

Overview

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AMD Radeon HD 6990M Crossfire
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AMD Radeon HD 6320
AMD Radeon HD 6970M
NVIDIA Quadro K1000M
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AMD Radeon Pro WX 3100
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AMD Radeon HD 7480D
19.3
17.2
10
4.9
AMD Radeon HD 7450M
NVIDIA GeForce G 107M
NVIDIA Quadro K3000M
NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400
NVIDIA GeForce GT 420M
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NVIDIA GeForce GT 415M
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AMD Radeon 530
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AMD Radeon HD 6450 GDDR5
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AMD FirePro W5130M
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NVIDIA Quadro FX 350M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
81.3
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58
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10.4
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82
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11.7
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AMD Radeon HD 7400G
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11.3
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5.2
3.5
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85.4
72.4
69.3
67.4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
72
60.5
55.35n2
43.75n2
NVIDIA Quadro FX Go 1000
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
73.15n2
64.5n2
58n3
53.1n3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M SLI
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74.4
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AMD Radeon HD 6790
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AMD Radeon R2 (Stoney Ridge)
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NVIDIA Quadro FX 570M
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AMD Radeon HD 6950M
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
Intel HD Graphics 500
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AMD Radeon 520
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(-) * 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 - 634 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, 2013-08-29 (Update: 2021-05-18)