Notebookcheck

The Witcher 3 Notebook Benchmarks

Florian Glaser (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 05/27/2015

Heavyweight. The third part of the fantasy saga based on the sorcerer Geralt is now in front of us. The story and graphics of the game promises to eclipse the RPG competition. However, we are more interested in the game performance on notebooks. What system is needed for what settings?

The Witcher 3 Logo

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For the original German article, see here.

Engine

Alleged graphics downgrades aside: With maximum details, the PC version of “The Witcher 3” looks great. The draw-distance and textures look great, but the greatest strength lies in the amazing details in this 3rd person RPG. Compared to other RPGs, the objects in “The Witcher 3” come alive with intricate details. The thick vegetation is impressive, but the quality of trees and bushes fluctuates heavily due to the (slightly) exaggerated representation of the weather.

The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3

The atmospheric day and night cycle dips the environment in a dynamic light. The Polish studio, CD Project RED, has chosen a suboptimal color scheme (subjective) and we would have preferred lower saturation. However, the engine leaves little room for complaint and runs well, apart from the occasional object popping in and out of vision. According to modern standards, the game is medium-sized (~25 GB) and offers an extensive options menu. CD Project splits the graphics settings into two menus.

The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3

While the Post Processing menu contains all the options for effects and graphics improvements, like Motion Blur, Bloom and Anti-Aliasing (apparently only FXAA is used), the Graphics Menu offers options for the resolution, the picture and more detail and quality settings. The vertical synchronization and FPS limit were turned off for the test. The engine deserves praise for its presets. A single click allows the user to adjust the overall game quality in 3 or 4 steps. With the exception of the environment coverage (SSAO instead of HBAO+), all settings are turned on with the maximum preset.

The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3

Although the Nvidia HairWorks feature (hair simulation) is available on the AMD and Intel systems, we recommend only Nvidia users to enable this. In the Radeon R9 290X test, the frames dropped at maximum settings by about 40%, from 50 to a poor 29 fps. The Nvidia competitor, GeForce GTX 980, ran just 20% slower with active HairWorks (44 instead 55 fps). In general, AMD GPUs suffer a lot more (Project Cars says hello). As can be witnessed from desktop GPU, the Radeon R9 280X, is positioned below the technically slower GeForce GTX 970M.

The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3

Let us go back to the graphics menu: the user does not have to restart “The Witcher 3” as the settings are applied directly applied while fine-tuning. We truly appreciate the ability to skip the cut sequences and the relatively short load times (even on a HDD). We deduct some points for the somewhat cluttered interface for mouse and keyboard use. We used the GOG version with the Day One patch (v1.02) for our test. Steam and Origin also offer this game.

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

Benchmark

We picked a benchmark sequence that included dense vegetation outdoors. After Geralt finishes the tutorial and successfully wins a small fight against a few monsters, the player receives a horse. As shown in the video below, we follow our partner Vesemir through an incredible landscape bathed in afternoon light. We head to Ross following a path up a mountain and, on the way, pass the ruins of a burnt village. The benchmark sequence ends after 55 seconds when we reach the wooden bridge.

Results

The results make it clear that “The Witcher 3” has very high requirements. Even at low settings, the graphics of the game are quite good, which means that the user will require at least a powerful middle-class GPU. In fact, the GeForce GT 750M, which performs well in most games at normal to high settings, could offer a mere 27 fps at a resolution of 1024x768 pixels and the Low preset.

Cheaper models, like the GeForce GT 740M, are overburdened by “The Witcher 3”. The same is true for the Intel IGPs (Integrated Graphics Processors). Neither the HD Graphics 4600 nor the Iris Pro 5200 can run the game fluidly. Stronger GPUs, like the GeForce GTX 850M or the GTX 860M, can manage a resolution of 1366x768 pixels and the Medium preset.

Postprocessing I
Postprocessing I
Postprocessing II
Postprocessing II
Graphics I
Graphics I
Graphics II
Graphics II

High details and a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels are only possible once you have a GeForce GTX 880M or higher. The maximum settings (FHD, HairWorks On) are only somewhat possible with the top Nvidia GPU, the GeForce GTX 980M. At a 4K resolution (3840x2160 pixels), all mobile GPUs are too weak for High or Ultra presets. In fact, expensive desktop GPUs, like the Radeon R9 290X, are hard pushed to deliver a fluid fps.

The Witcher 3” does not seem to have high CPU requirements. In our test, we found the graphics card to be the bottleneck on systems equipped with Intel processors and Hyperthreading technology. Note: CD Project will soon release additional patches to improve the graphics and performance of the game. Future results may not be directly comparable.

The Witcher 3
    3840x2160 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)     1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)     1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)     1366x768 Medium Graphics & Postprocessing     1024x768 Low Graphics & Postprocessing
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 3770K
Desktop-PC
32.1 (min: 27) fps ∼37%
44.4 (min: 36) fps ∼39%
83.8 (min: 70) fps ∼47%
139.8 (min: 120) fps ∼62%
200.1 (min: 167) fps ∼62%
AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4790K
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC
28.4 (min: 22) fps ∼33%
29 (min: 25) fps ∼25%
75 (min: 64) fps ∼42%
123 (min: 87) fps ∼55%
179 (min: 160) fps ∼56%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
22.8 (min: 19) fps ∼26%
32.6 (min: 25) fps ∼28%
61.4 (min: 43) fps ∼35%
102.2 (min: 79) fps ∼45%
168.4 (min: 143) fps ∼52%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960, E3-1230 v3
MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 4G Desktop-PC
27.7 (min: 21) fps ∼24%
49.8 (min: 40) fps ∼28%
86.6 (min: 74) fps ∼38%
142.8 (min: 121) fps ∼44%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
17.6 (min: 15) fps ∼20%
25.8 (min: 19) fps ∼22%
47.8 (min: 39) fps ∼27%
84.3 (min: 65) fps ∼37%
137.7 (min: 112) fps ∼43%
AMD Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
20.2 (min: 17) fps ∼18%
47.6 (min: 41) fps ∼27%
76.4 (min: 66) fps ∼34%
114.4 (min: 101) fps ∼36%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
18.7 (min: 14) fps ∼16%
34.2 (min: 26) fps ∼19%
58.4 (min: 51) fps ∼26%
94.4 (min: 83) fps ∼29%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
15.4 (min: 12) fps ∼13%
27.7 (min: 23) fps ∼16%
47.4 (min: 41) fps ∼21%
77.7 (min: 70) fps ∼24%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
9.7 (min: 7) fps ∼11%
13.7 (min: 11) fps ∼12%
27.1 (min: 21) fps ∼15%
49 (min: 42) fps ∼22%
80.6 (min: 72) fps ∼25%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
11.7 (min: 9) fps ∼10%
19.9 (min: 15) fps ∼11%
35.9 (min: 29) fps ∼16%
57.3 (min: 50) fps ∼18%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, 4340M
Schenker M504
11.3 (min: 9) fps ∼10%
20.9 (min: 17) fps ∼12%
38.4 (min: 32) fps ∼17%
63.9 (min: 37) fps ∼20%
AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop), A10-7850K
A10-7850K Asus A88-XM-PLUS
5.5 (min: 4) fps ∼5%
10.3 (min: 7) fps ∼6%
20.2 (min: 17) fps ∼9%
30.9 (min: 26) fps ∼10%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
5.3 (min: 3) fps ∼5%
9.3 (min: 7) fps ∼5%
16.4 (min: 14) fps ∼7%
27 (min: 23) fps ∼8%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, 4200M
HP Envy 15-j011sg
4 (min: 2) fps ∼3%
6.9 (min: 5) fps ∼4%
12.1 (min: 10) fps ∼5%
20.6 (min: 18) fps ∼6%
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ
Schenker S413
20.5 (min: 12) fps ∼6%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, 2637M
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
19.8 (min: 16) fps ∼6%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, 4200M
MSI CX61-i572M
5.1 fps ∼3%
9 fps ∼4%
14.7 fps ∼5%
AMD Radeon HD 8650G, A10-5750M
Pumori Test Platform (A10-5750M)
15.6 (min: 12) fps ∼5%
Intel Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
14.1 (min: 5) fps ∼4%
Intel HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W504
8.4 (min: 4) fps ∼4%
13.1 (min: 10) fps ∼4%
NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M, 3720QM
Asus N56VM
12.1 (min: 7) fps ∼4%

Test Systems

Four of our test models originate from Schenker Technologies (mysn.de):

  • W504 (Core i7-4700MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 860M, GTX 870M, GTX 880M, GTX 970M, GTX 980M)
  • A505 (Core i7-4720HQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 960M)
  • M504 (Core i5-4340M, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 850M)
  • M503 (Core i7-4702MQ, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 750M)

We use Windows 7 64-bit on these notebooks (Win 8.1 @XMG A505).

Nvidia provides three of our test models:

Intel provides one test model:

  • Schenker S413 (Core i7-4750HQ, 8 GB DDR3, Iris Pro Graphics 5200)

The desktop PCs use CPUs/APUs from Intel and AMD, SSDs from Micron, Intel and Samsung, motherboards from Intel and Asus and graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD. The 4K monitor we use is an Asus PB287Q (our review).

GPU drivers: Nvidia 352.86, AMD 15.4 Beta, Intel 10.18.14.4170

Overview

Show Restrictions
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Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
 The Witcher 3 (2015)
low
1024x768
Low Graphics & Postprocessing
med.
1366x768
Medium Graphics & Postprocessing
high
1920x1080
High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
4k
3840x2160
High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop)
27411
9811
72
 2NVIDIA Titan X Pascal
269.8
225.6
159.7
89.5
68.1
 3NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 SLI (Laptop)
177
115
87.2
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop)
169
92.22
74.6
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
82
55.752
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
270.8
197.5
1393
74.25
50.74
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI (Laptop)
270.3
203.4
131.9
74
51.2
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Desktop)
123
63.52
444
 9NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
2033
161.44
102.710
5817
385
 11NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
59.3
44
 13AMD Radeon R9 Fury
207
146
91
45.5
35.9
 14AMD Radeon R9 Nano
47
35
 15NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
213.552
146.92
84.92
45.62
28.652
 16NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
221.452
147.42
83.52
44.052
30.12
 19AMD Radeon R9 390X
183.5
130.9
76
40.8
29.1
 20NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
205.1
144.7
84.8
47.6
28.4
 21NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop)
223
149
81.4
44.4
29
 23AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
78
43.9
27.2
 25NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
171.556
118.15
66.6516
37.821
25.34
Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
lowmed.highultra4k
 27NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
146.2
81.2
42.52
29.1
 30AMD Radeon RX 470 (Desktop)
126.9
69.9
40.252
 35AMD Radeon R9 290X
179
123
75
29
28.4
 42NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
172.43
101.84
61.39
33.29
22.052
 43NVIDIA Quadro M5000M
155
123
67
38
 44AMD Radeon R9 280X
114.4
76.4
47.6
20.2
 45AMD Radeon R9 380
144.3
89.6
51.3
29.9
18.5
 46NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
142.8
86.6
49.8
27.7
 47NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
110.92
86.23
46.75
26.26
17.6
 48NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
49.4
27.5
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
137.75
84.37
45.29
25.89
162
 52NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
115.32
72.352
41.82
22.452
15.752
 57AMD Radeon R9 M295X
94.3
62.5
36.7
17.1
14
 59NVIDIA Quadro M3000M
122.7
73.852
41.652
22.32
14.1
 60NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop)
131
77.9
43.7
24.1
15.3
 61NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
116.354
66.95
36.96
21.16
 62AMD FirePro W7170M
97
72
31
23
 64AMD Radeon R7 370
84.96
61.25
35.04
22.36
 66NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
94.4
58.4
34.2
18.7
 67NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
120.4
71.9
38
20.5
12.7
Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
lowmed.highultra4k
 71NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
34.7
17.3
 72NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
70.8
44
25
13.5
9.6
 73NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX
72
43.6
26.4
14.2
 74AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
37
23
12
 77AMD Radeon HD 7870
63.5
36.3
20.3
 78NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
104.754
63.34
31.35
17.95
13.1
 79NVIDIA Quadro M2200
116.6
68.4
37.8
20.3
 80NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
77.7
47.4
27.7
15.4
 82AMD Radeon HD 8970M
81.9
53.6
30.9
17.7
 92*AMD Radeon R9 M390
82
31.1
17.8
11.5
 93AMD Radeon Pro 460
83.3
28.9
17.4
 95NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
80.67
50.711
2411
14.211
9.52
 100NVIDIA Quadro M1200
29
 102NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 (Desktop)
68.7
41.5
21.1
11.8
 104NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
75.956
47.058
22.58
13.68
8.72
 107*AMD Radeon Pro 455
69.5
24.6
14.2
 110NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
57.3
35.9
19.9
11.7
 118*AMD Radeon Pro 450
40.9
20.3
 119NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
58.056
36.17
18.96
10.954
 121AMD Radeon R9 M385X
53.6
44.4
21.8
Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
lowmed.highultra4k
 122NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
63.9
38.4
20.9
11.3
 123NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
56.72
37.252
18.92
10.92
7.352
 124*NVIDIA Quadro M620
53.86
32.83
18.62
10
 125AMD Radeon R9 M280X
40.1
31.6
16
8.5
 130NVIDIA GeForce 945M
51.9
30.6
17
9.3
 153NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
40.3
23.5
13.8
7.2
5.1
 154*AMD FirePro W5170M
31
14.8
 155AMD Radeon R9 M370X
40.7
25.9
14.9
7.8
 162AMD FirePro W5130M
31
21
10
 172NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
26
18
9
 187AMD FirePro W4100
25
17
7
 192NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
27
16.4
9.3
5.3
 195NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
34.111
20.511
11.19
5.54
 196NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
19.7
11.8
6.7
3.7
 197NVIDIA GeForce 940M
31.45
18.85
10.25
5.93
 198NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
28.552
19.152
9.12
 200AMD Radeon R9 M375
9.8
 203AMD Radeon R7 M445
30.8
18.2
9.6
4.7
 205AMD Radeon R7 M370
27.6
18
9.5
5.7
 206*NVIDIA Quadro M600M
43
26.2
14.2
7.6
Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
lowmed.highultra4k
 209NVIDIA GeForce 840M
28.42
17.82
8.752
6.152
 214*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
14
9.2
 215AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
30.9
20.2
10.3
5.5
 216Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
20.5
 218NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
20.6
12.1
6.9
4
 219NVIDIA GeForce 930M
26.52
16.7
9
6.9
 221*Intel Iris Graphics 550
20.62
14.12
7.8
 222NVIDIA GeForce 830M
24.5
15
7.3
5.9
 223*NVIDIA GeForce 920MX
22.1
13.6
 225Intel Iris Graphics 540
18.754
123
 226*NVIDIA Quadro M500M
29.752
18.42
10.052
 251AMD Radeon R7 M265
22.9
15.9
8.8
 255NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
19.8
 256AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
23.3
15.9
8.4
 257AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
19.63
12.93
6.83
 258*AMD Radeon R7 M460
20.7
13.4
6.7
 261AMD Radeon R7 M360
19.32
12.62
6.52
 263*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
18.1
11.9
6.2
 266AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
23.22
14.72
7.4
 267AMD Radeon R7 M440
21.32
13.652
7.12
Pos      Model                                     The Witcher 3
lowmed.highultra4k
 273AMD Radeon R7 M340
18.3
13
6.7
3.9
 274NVIDIA GeForce 920M