Notebookcheck

The Division Notebook Benchmarks

Florian Glaser (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 03/17/2016

Trendsetter? "The Division" combines both action and role-playing elements into a thrilling online / multiplayer experience. Does the game's technology make the competition look old as well?

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For the original German article, see here.

Graphics

Ubisoft's release of Tom Clancy's The Division is an ambitious undertaking, which successfully combines aspects from various game genres. While the gunfights remind us of cover-based shooter games like Gears of War, behind the scenes there's a distinct RPG influence as well, which makes this game a rather unique experience. The gloomy scene with the destroyed houses feels rather fresh and not at all over-used.

From a graphics perspectives, the PC version delights across the board. The biggest highlight is - in our opinion - the sheer number of incorporated details. Outdoors as well as inside, the respective surroundings are bursting with decorative elements, be it debris or home furnishings. Other titles almost seem generic and bland in comparison. The lighting, the shadows, and the details of the characters are great as well. An extensive wide-angle view, which augments the atmosphere, rounds out the package. The game generally lacks undefined textures and cheap effects, although the flames could look a little better (see Far Cry Primal, for example).

The Division
The Division
The Division
The Division
The Division
The Division

Another plus is the inherent flexibility. The PC game spoils its users with an extensive graphics menu, which includes several presets and dozens of individual options including explanations.  

Ubisoft uses a no-holds-barred approach and applies a variety of modern techniques like parallax mapping, ambient occlusion, contact shadows, sub-surface scattering, and volumetric fog. The creators also make use of temporal anti-aliasing and FXAA, respectively SMAA post-processing.

The Division
The Division
The Division
The Division
The Division
The Division

Users who love to tinker with the settings will be happy to know that most changes don't require a restart of the game. As a matter of fact: to enjoy the game in its full glory, tweaking is almost a necessity. Even the ultra preset doesn't automatically set all sliders to their maximum. Some of the effects (for example the shadow option HFTS) are restricted to Nvidia GPUs or at least optimized for them.  

The ultra setting is visually very impressive, although the differences between it and the high preset aren't that extensive. Medium settings do lower the graphic quality a little, minimum details have a more severe impact. The result is never ugly, however.

The version available right now is pretty solid overall. Since this is a huge and very complex game, we wouldn't have been surprised at all had there been more problems. Still, we encountered some issues during our review, which we think Ubisoft needs to address:

  • When changing the resolution, The Devision sometimes crashes or is prone to errors (wrong scaling, graphics bugs). 4K only ran only flawlessly on our desktop. 
  • Switching between menus and starting the game can sometimes result in a black display, which at times can be corrected by pressing Alt + Tab or activating window-mode (Alt + Enter). The same is actually true for point 1 as well.
  • At this time, connection drops happen, which is particularly annoying since the game requires a permanent online connection. The game then either returns the user to the main menu or dumps him/her on the desktop.
  • Quite a few of the menus aren't exactly intuitive and seem to be designed for gamepads. The standard key assignment is also not ideal ("vault" requires the use of the Ctrl key instead of the space bar). 
  • The load times don't seem to depend on the type of hard drive and fluctuate wildly. Depending on the system, it can take a few seconds or several minutes.
  • On notebooks equipped with graphics switching, we sometimes encountered warning messages telling us that the system didn't meet the requirements - but the game still ran without a hitch.
  • It sometimes seems to take forever before any setting changes are applied. The game appears to be frozen when that happens.
  • Depending on the situation, the frame rate can fluctuate severely. Inside, the performance is frequently much better than outside. This makes it hard to recommend a GPU.
  • On rare occasions, we encountered issues at the lowest settings when using an Intel Iris 6100 GPU with the current driver.

Some of the bugs above can possibly be attributed to the graphics driver. For our Nvidia systems we used  ForceWare 364.47 - a driver which Nvidia withdrew shortly thereafter because of some other issues and replaced it with ForceWare 364.51 

Benchmark

Thanks to the integrated benchmark, users can gauge the performance of the currently applied settings. The sequence lasts 1.5 minutes and consists of a camera sweep through several streets. Even though the frame rate doesn't correspond exactly to the real action (the game is slightly more demanding), we decided to use this sequence. First of all, we intend to use The Devision as a base for our notebook tests, so comparability and ease of use take precedence over bona fide results. Secondly, it's impossible to turn off the day/night cycle, which in turn would influence the results negatively. 

The integrated benchmark isn't perfect. When we cross-checked the fps indicated on the left with the tool Fraps, we noticed that the average values indicated at the end were often much too high - subjectively, we also knew that something was amiss. This is probably a bug. Since the minimum fps are not displayed either, we decided to ignore the benchmark results and to use Fraps instead. Since the performance fluctuates greatly, the hardware needs to be up to par for the demanding scenes. Between 35-40 fps, the game likely will run stutter-free.

Results

Not surprisingly, the third-person game requires a lot of GPU power. The Division doesn't run smoothly on entry-level graphics card like the HD Graphics 4600 or GeForce GT 740M at all - no matter at what settings. For a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and the low preset, the system in question needs to be equipped with a mid-range graphics card. Even the GeForce GT 750M and the 940M(X) have some problems here (~30 fps). 1366 x 768 pixel and medium details require at least a GeForce GTX 850M or GTX 950M.  

A resolution of 1920 x 1080 require a true gaming laptop. The medium preset requires a GeForce GTX 960M or GTX 870M, the high preset needs the 2016-edition of the GTX 965M. We recommend a GeForce GTX 980M for the highest settings. For notebooks, 3840 x 2160 pixels are more or less out of the question. Even a desktop-specific GTX 980 failed to produce acceptable results at 4K with the details set to high.

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

The conclusion after considering all benchmark results: the demands on the hardware are unquestionably high. The overall quality is very good though, which in turn lessens the hardware requirements somewhat. The processor plays a secondary role at best - even on the Intel platforms, the bottleneck remained the GPU (we will add AMD benchmark results at a later time).

The Division
    3840x2160 High Preset AF:8x     1920x1080 Ultra Preset AF:16x     1920x1080 High Preset AF:8x     1920x1080 Medium Preset AF:4x     1366x768 Medium Preset AF:4x     1920x1080 Low Preset AF:1x     1280x720 Low Preset AF:1x
AMD Radeon R9 Fury, 4790K
XFX Radeon R9 Fury Pro
34.5 (min: 19) fps ∼46%
61 (min: 37) fps ∼47%
76.2 (min: 41) fps ∼48%
123 (min: 78) fps ∼48%
150 (min: 94) fps ∼54%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 6700K
Desktop PC
27.7 (min: 10) fps ∼37%
57.7 (min: 32) fps ∼44%
72.7 (min: 40) fps ∼45%
93.8 (min: 62) fps ∼49%
143 (min: 102) fps ∼56%
185 (min: 146) fps ∼66%
AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4790K
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC
29.9 (min: 13) fps ∼39%
50.7 (min: 32) fps ∼39%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
42.1 (min: 23) fps ∼32%
54 (min: 27) fps ∼34%
69.7 (min: 46) fps ∼37%
104 (min: 82) fps ∼41%
136 (min: 109) fps ∼49%
AMD Radeon R9 280X, 4790K
Asus Z97 Deluxe Desktop i7-4790K, R9 280X
22.5 (min: 9) fps ∼30%
39.7 (min: 27) fps ∼31%
47.6 (min: 27) fps ∼30%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
33 (min: 17) fps ∼25%
42.4 (min: 25) fps ∼27%
55.4 (min: 36) fps ∼29%
84.7 (min: 58) fps ∼33%
114 (min: 78) fps ∼41%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950, 6700K
Desktop PC
12.9 (min: 5) fps ∼17%
27.3 (min: 13) fps ∼21%
35.4 (min: 18) fps ∼22%
46.7 (min: 30) fps ∼25%
74.1 (min: 52) fps ∼29%
102 (min: 66) fps ∼36%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
12.9 (min: 4) fps ∼17%
26.9 (min: 17) fps ∼21%
35.8 (min: 16) fps ∼22%
46.2 (min: 32) fps ∼24%
73 (min: 55) fps ∼29%
59 (min: 39) fps ∼23%
99 (min: 79) fps ∼35%
AMD Radeon R7 370, 4790K
MSI Gaming R7 370 2GB
13.8 (min: 5) fps ∼18%
28.3 (min: 18) fps ∼22%
35.3 (min: 16) fps ∼22%
45.7 (min: 30) fps ∼24%
71 (min: 48) fps ∼28%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
24.8 (min: 12) fps ∼19%
30.1 (min: 13) fps ∼19%
41.7 (min: 26) fps ∼22%
70.6 (min: 50) fps ∼28%
97.2 (min: 76) fps ∼35%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
21.8 (min: 10) fps ∼17%
29.8 (min: 17) fps ∼19%
39.3 (min: 25) fps ∼21%
60.4 (min: 42) fps ∼24%
82.7 (min: 62) fps ∼30%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
19.3 (min: 11) fps ∼15%
25.7 (min: 11) fps ∼16%
34.2 (min: 24) fps ∼18%
53.8 (min: 36) fps ∼21%
72.9 (min: 54) fps ∼26%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
15.7 (min: 11) fps ∼12%
22.2 (min: 11) fps ∼14%
30.1 (min: 23) fps ∼16%
46.9 (min: 35) fps ∼18%
65 (min: 49) fps ∼23%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, 4340M
Schenker M504
14.5 (min: 8) fps ∼11%
19.3 (min: 9) fps ∼12%
25.7 (min: 17) fps ∼14%
40.5 (min: 28) fps ∼16%
54.6 (min: 41) fps ∼20%
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, 6700HQ
MSI CX72 6QD
24 fps ∼9%
32 fps ∼11%
NVIDIA GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
MSI GP62 2QD
7.6 (min: 4) fps ∼6%
10.1 (min: 5) fps ∼6%
13.3 (min: 10) fps ∼7%
28.7 (min: 21) fps ∼11%
31.2 (min: 23) fps ∼11%
AMD Radeon R9 M280X, FX-7600P
Asus N551ZU-CN007H
17.4 (min: 8) fps ∼6%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
9.6 (min: 4) fps ∼6%
12.8 (min: 9) fps ∼7%
21.6 (min: 14) fps ∼9%
29.6 (min: 23) fps ∼11%
NVIDIA GeForce 920M, 2970M
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
16.7 (min: 11) fps ∼7%
23.8 (min: 16) fps ∼9%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, 4200M
HP Envy 15-j011sg
7 (min: 2) fps ∼4%
15.3 (min: 11) fps ∼6%
22.8 (min: 18) fps ∼8%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, 4200M
MSI CX61-i572M
13.2 fps ∼5%
Intel HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
9.3 (min: 6) fps ∼4%
14 (min: 9) fps ∼5%

Overview

Show Restrictions
<
Pos      Model                                     The Division
 The Division (2016)
low
1280x720
Low Preset
1xAF
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
4xAF
high
1920x1080
High Preset
8xAF
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset
16xAF
4k
3840x2160
High Preset
8xAF
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop)
280
254
160
130
65
 2NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
218.7
205
148.5
122.2
52.4
 3NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 SLI (Laptop)
135.52
1232
72.92
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Desktop)
200.7
170
131.8
117.7
66.4
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop)
128
113
67.4
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
98.52
49.852
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
258.8
201.6
122.43
97.23
49.43
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti (Desktop)
94.6
45.6
 9*NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
108.52
85.43
41.652
 10NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI (Laptop)
226
189.9
126.5
100.6
55.1
 12NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
83.32
41.352
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
97.054
77.954
373
 15NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
240
173
96
76
39.8
 16NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
88.6
72
33.6
 19AMD Radeon R9 Fury
150
123
76.2
61
34.5
 20AMD Radeon R9 Nano
64
34.2
 21NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
185
143
72.7
57.7
27.7
 22AMD Radeon RX 580 (Desktop)
188.3
143.8
83.3
63.3
33.1
 23NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
227.7
156.2
83
64.6
33.3
Pos      Model                                     The Division
lowmed.highultra4k
 28NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
161.3
129.4
71.9
54.9
26.2
 29NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
227
148
75.1
59.6
28.2
 32AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
57.5
28.4
 33*AMD Radeon RX 580 (Laptop)
135
116
70.9
54.7
26.2
 34NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
200.952
133.52
645
51.36
25.552
 35*NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
127
61.9
48.8
22.1
 37NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
191.1
138.1
72
55.252
27
 40AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
134.152
72.72
53.33
27.2
 45AMD Radeon R9 290X
50.7
29.9
 49AMD Radeon HD 8970M Crossfire
100.5
83.5
31.8
24.6
 52NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
141.83
106.73
553
42.33
20.6
 54AMD Radeon R9 280X
47.6
39.7
22.5
 56NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
122.6
91.7
45
33.9
16.6
 57NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
43.82
34.92
16.6
 59NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
115.64
87.654
42.94
33.24
 62NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
144.6
91.8
46.3
34.9
16.9
 70NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop)
39.2
30.3
14.1
 71NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
70
33.2
25.4
 74AMD Radeon R7 370
71
35.3
28.3
13.8
 76NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
97.2
70.6
30.1
24.8
Pos      Model                                     The Division
lowmed.highultra4k
 77NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
102
74.1
35.4
27.3
12.9
 84AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
78
36.5
27.9
12.8
 88NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
116.554
74.94
35.14
26.654
12.652
 90NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
82.7
60.4
29.8
21.8
 92AMD Radeon HD 8970M
82.6
54.1
29.8
24.8
 104AMD Radeon Pro 460
102.8
28.9
22.3
 106NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
70.53
52.63
253
18.93
 113NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 (Desktop)
78.152
47.552
11.852
8.32
6.852
 114NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (Laptop GT 1030)
70.12
44.952
21.22
16.42
 119*AMD Radeon Pro 555
88
24.8
 120*AMD Radeon Pro 455
88
25.2
18.5
 123NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
65
46.9
22.2
15.7
 131*AMD Radeon Pro 450
77
21.6
15.8
 132NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
54.523
39.573
18.923
14.213
 135NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
54.6
40.5
19.3
14.5
 138AMD Radeon R9 M280X
17.4
 207NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
29.6
21.6
9.6
 209*NVIDIA Quadro M520
52.2
31.8
14.8
11.2
 211NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
40.23
243
11.252
10.4
 214NVIDIA GeForce 940M
33.62
25.52
10.1
7.6
Pos      Model                                     The Division
lowmed.highultra4k
 218AMD Radeon R7 M445
32.4
24.5
9.6
6.7
 229*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
17.4
10.6
 233NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
22.8
15.3
 235NVIDIA GeForce 930M
34.5
21.3
 236*Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650
30
 237*Intel Iris Graphics 550
32.4
23.1
 240*NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
29.4
18.2
 243Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
24.9
 244Intel Iris Graphics 540
24.82
12.9
 276AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
12
9.9
 277*AMD Radeon R7 M460
29.9
16.3
7.2
 280AMD Radeon R7 M360
22.052
8.55
3.55
5.3
 283NVIDIA GeForce 920M
23.8
16.7
 286AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
23.3
15.1
7.1
 287AMD Radeon R7 M440
23.1
15.6
6.2
 296Intel UHD Graphics 630
27.1
 297Intel HD Graphics 630
24.4
14.6
 299Intel HD Graphics 530
17.1
 303AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
19.6
11.5
 304AMD Radeon R5 (Stoney Ridge)
18.2
11.3
Pos      Model                                     The Division
lowmed.highultra4k
 305*Intel UHD Graphics 620
20.8
 306*Intel HD Graphics 620
20.2
10.7
 307AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
13.72
8.22
 338Intel HD Graphics 5600
17.4
 364AMD Radeon HD 8650G
13.4
 373AMD Radeon R5 M330
20.52
13.752
 375AMD Radeon R5 M255
25.8
15
6.7
 377NVIDIA GeForce 910M
19.6
11.5
5.6
3.1
 379Intel HD Graphics 520
20.452
11.4
5
3.7
 380Intel Iris Graphics 6100
19.1
 381NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
13.2