Notebookcheck

Thief Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 03/09/2014

Treading quietly. The underrepresented stealth-adventure genre gets a fresh wind with the new Thief game. This article will not cover whether the series-reboot attains to the quality of its predecessor. Instead, we will investigate how much performance the title demands of a variety of hardware components. Will owners of weaker notebooks be able to enjoy this game?

For the original German article, see here.

Graphics

Like many new releases, Thief is based on a highly modified version of the Unreal Engine 3. Although the developers implemented a ton of new, hot features (parallax occlusion mapping, tessellation, etc.), in some ways the graphics are lacking. While the lighting, shadows and many of the surface structures meet today's standards, other elements (faces, for example) seem a little outdated. Despite several weaknesses, however, overall the graphics quality falls somewhere between solid and good. Most stealth fans will be satisfied here.

In terms of atmosphere, there is little to critique. With the exception of a few dreary passages, the game world fits together coherently. The aura is sometimes reminiscent of the 2012 release of Dishonored. Thanks to the protagonist's visible arms and legs, the player gets a thrilling sense of being "in" the game.

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

We would like to give special recognition to Nixxes, who took care of the PC version of this game. The Dutch company has already drawn attention to themselves in the past for how well they port software across platforms (ex. Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution and Deus Ex: Human Revolution). They are not known necessarily for their graphics conversion itself, but more for their commitment to promoting ease of use and implementing a wide range of settings options (much better than a console port).

The user-friendly graphics menu, which is accessible even outside of the game, reveals a variety of options. Firstly, there is a "Display" tab with settings for resolution, picture mode, frame rate, vertical sychronization and the optional 3D mode. But there are even more options under the "Graphics" tab. Along with the FXAA anti-aliasing mode, Thief also supports the high-class SSAA. The five presets ("Very Low" to "Very High") prove to be very practical and allow the user to change the overall graphics quality quickly and easily. We used these presets in our tests.

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

We also applaud the developers for the integrated benchmark as well. The sequence, which lasts about a minute, shows a city street lined with dozens of passers-by and sparkling with effects. Graphically, this sequence is quite demanding (see video). As far as we can tell from the time we spent in the game itself, inside the campaign the game generally runs more smoothly. Bearing that in mind, our benchmark result of about 25 fps suggests that the title runs at a reasonably playable speed. It is a shame, however, that the numbers do not quite remain constant. As we repeated the test, the results tended to vary by a few fps (especially the minimum fps).

In contrast to other titles like Total War: Rome II, the visuals can only be scaled back to a limited extent. Pro: Even at low settings, Thief does not look ugly. Con: Because there are no giant improvements in performance when the graphics quality is reduced, weaker systems will quickly reach their limits. Independent of all this, the engine is well-developed. In our benchmark test, we only ran into one serious problem (an incorrect start with the Radeon R9 280X). When we ran the title on Intel GPUs, some textures were wrong, loaded too late or did not load at all, but it is possible that the problem had to do with the driver and not the game itself.

Results

From the perspective of a notebook user, the title's hardware demands are not exactly low. While mid-class GPUs, like the GeForce GT 740M, can still run the game fluidly on the "Very Low" preset (~30 fps), the popular HD Graphics 4000 and 4600 Intel chips only manage about 20 fps in the integrated benchmark. At that frame rate, the game is just barely playable, but it will not be much fun.

For 1366 x 768 pixels and the "Normal" preset, you will need at least an upper middle class graphics card. The GeForce GT 750M is the first card to run the game at these settings with over 25 fps. If you want to play Thief at high settings, you will need nothing less than a bona fide high-end GPU. Even at a moderate resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, the game will only run smoothly on a GeForce GTX 660M or higher. Only owners of expensive gaming notebooks will be able to enjoy the game's graphics in their full splendor. Only top models, like the GeForce GTX 770M or the Radeon HD 8970M, do well at 1920 x 1080 pixels and the "Very High" preset.

Maximum details...
Maximum details...
...with full anti-aliasing...
...with full anti-aliasing...
...and high texture filtering
...and high texture filtering

Because Thief is part of the Gaming Evolved program, it is not surprising that AMD graphics cards tend to achieve better results than their Nvidia counterparts. Need an example? The Radeon R9 280X desktop model comes in substantially ahead of the GeForce GTX 660 Ti in the "Ultra" setting, even though the Nvidia GPU almost never runs more slowly than the AMD card in other games.

Additionally, strong GPUs prove that Thief can be limited by the processor. If you only look at the "Very Low" preset, there is hardly a difference between many of the high-end models (with identical CPUs). In the next few weeks, a patch should be released to give Thief support for AMD's Mantle technology. Future results will only be comparable to a limited extent.

Note: As we unfortunately only noticed after we finished our benchmark tests, the game runs faster by a few percentage points when "Exclusive Fullscreen" is activated.

Thief
    1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x     1366x768 High Preset AA:FXAA & Low SS AF:4x     1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX     1024x768 Very Low Preset
Radeon R9 280X, 3770K
Desktop-PC
53.4 fps ∼41%
65.6 fps ∼31%
67.4 fps ∼30%
69.4 fps ∼31%
GeForce GTX 680, 2600K, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
Desktop GTX 680, Intel Core i7-2600K
49.3 (min: 22.4) fps ∼38%
69.3 (min: 35) fps ∼32%
71.8 (min: 48) fps ∼32%
75.5 (min: 49) fps ∼34%
GeForce GTX 660 Ti, 3770K
Desktop-PC
40.9 fps ∼32%
64.8 fps ∼30%
66.7 fps ∼29%
72.5 fps ∼33%
GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
40.2 fps ∼31%
56.5 fps ∼26%
56.7 fps ∼25%
58.7 fps ∼26%
Radeon HD 8970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
35.9 fps ∼28%
49.9 fps ∼23%
50.9 fps ∼22%
55.1 fps ∼25%
Radeon HD 7970M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
33.5 fps ∼26%
44.6 fps ∼21%
45.3 fps ∼20%
49.5 fps ∼22%
GeForce GTX 680M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
31.3 fps ∼24%
51 fps ∼24%
54 fps ∼24%
56.3 fps ∼25%
GeForce GTX 770M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
26.6 fps ∼21%
46.8 fps ∼22%
51.3 fps ∼23%
57.1 fps ∼26%
GeForce GTX 675MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
23.4 fps ∼18%
41 fps ∼19%
46.6 fps ∼20%
55 fps ∼25%
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
19.1 fps ∼15%
37 fps ∼17%
43.1 fps ∼19%
58.2 fps ∼26%
GeForce GTX 670MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
18.5 fps ∼14%
34.4 fps ∼16%
39.7 fps ∼17%
54.6 fps ∼25%
GeForce GTX 660M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
13 fps ∼10%
26.4 fps ∼12%
30.7 fps ∼13%
46 fps ∼21%
GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
10.5 fps ∼8%
21.5 fps ∼10%
25.7 fps ∼11%
40 fps ∼18%
Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4750HQ, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180B3
Schenker S413
7.4 (min: 1) fps ∼6%
16 (min: 0.9) fps ∼7%
20.4 (min: 8.4) fps ∼9%
30.7 (min: 21) fps ∼14%
GeForce GT 740M, 4200M
HP Envy 15-j011sg
6.6 fps ∼5%
13.9 fps ∼6%
17.5 fps ∼8%
29 fps ∼13%
HD Graphics 4600, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
4.8 fps ∼4%
9.9 fps ∼5%
12.2 fps ∼5%
21.3 fps ∼10%
HD Graphics 4000, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
4.3 fps ∼3%
8.8 fps ∼4%
10.9 fps ∼5%
19 fps ∼9%

Test Systems

Three of our test systems 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 & HD Graphics 4600)
  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, 8 GB DDR3, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670MX, GTX 675MX, GTX 680M, Radeon HD 7970M & HD Graphics 4000)

The 64-bit edition of Windows 7 is installed on each of these notebooks. We thank Micron for the 480 GB Crucial M500.

Another test device is courtesy of Nvidia:

  • HP Envy 15-j011sg (Core i5-4200M, 12 GB DDR3, GeForce GT 740M & HD Graphics 4600)

Intel provided us with the following notebook:

  • Schenker S413 (Intel Core i7-4750HQ, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 GT3) 

GPU drivers used: Nvidia 334.89, AMD 14.2 Beta 1.3, Intel 10.18.10.3412

Benchmark results from changing notebooks (possibly with other drivers) to follow.

From left to right: Schenker M503, XMG P502 & W503
From left to right: Schenker M503, XMG P502 & W503
HP Envy 15-j011sg
HP Envy 15-j011sg

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Thief
 Thief (2014)
low
1024x768
Very Low Preset
med.
1366x768
Normal Preset
FXAA
high
1366x768
High Preset
4xAF FXAA & Low SSAA
ultra
1920x1080
Very High Preset
8xAF FXAA & High SSAA
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
1157
 14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
117.1
115
103.44
103.215
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
70.8
94.24
 22NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
101.6
98.6
98
81.152
 24NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
123.92
1202
116.83
84.45
 26AMD Radeon R9 390X
87.3
86.7
86.9
72.6
 31NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
89.67
70.724
 34NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
98.2
96.3
97.8
76.8
 38NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
131
126.9
121.6
73
 39NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
117.2
112
107.6
66.84
 48AMD Radeon R9 290X
63
70
743
643
 55NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
101.84
95.35
93.4518
62.119
 58AMD Radeon R9 280X
69.4
67.4
65.6
53.4
 59AMD Radeon R9 380
87.3
77.8
76.5
54.6
 60NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
108.6
100.9
91
50.6
 61NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
71.752
81.84
78.154
50.35
 64NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
815
78.758
77.321
47.821
 67NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
75.5
71.8
69.3
49.3
 72AMD Radeon R9 M295X
51.2
52.7
51.3
32.2
Pos      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 76NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
74.24
67.75
69.211
42.813
 80AMD Radeon R7 370
77.8
71.6
68.2
40.2
 82NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
62.63
62.33
595
40.35
 83NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
101.9
89.2
78.4
40.4
 86NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
72.5
66.7
64.8
40.9
 87NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
97.7
75.5
67.3
39.2
 88NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
58.7
56.7
56.5
40.2
 94NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
89.85
76.356
65.556
34.856
 96NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
54.12
50.552
48.23
31.93
 97AMD Radeon R9 M290X
51.1
48
45.3
34
 98AMD Radeon HD 8970M
55.1
50.9
49.9
35.9
 103AMD Radeon RX 460 (Laptop)
24.7
 104NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
56.3
54
51
31.3
 106AMD Radeon R9 M390
93
72
63
32.952
 108AMD Radeon HD 7970M
49.5
45.3
44.6
33.5
 112NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
73.213
62.7520
53.6536
27.936
 113NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
91.9
63.2
53.4
27.6
 114AMD Radeon RX 550 (Laptop)
65.2
58.3
55.1
29
 122NVIDIA GeForce MX150
79.2
51.9
44.1
23.2
 127NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
57.1
51.3
46.8
26.6
Pos      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 130NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
58.47
50.49
43.8514
2414
 136NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
55
46.6
41
23.4
 138NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
64.15
49.458
40.78
19.57
 141AMD Radeon R9 M385X
25
19.5
22.8
19.2
 142NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
46.458
37.6510
33.711
18.111
 145AMD Radeon R9 M280X
24
16.7
22.3
13.8
 151NVIDIA GeForce 945M
71
44.7
37
18.5
 152NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
58.2
43.1
37
19.1
 159Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580
43.8
30.1
25
12.4
 177AMD Radeon R9 M370X
53.7
35.5
31.6
17.2
 178NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
54.6
39.7
34.4
18.5
 181AMD Radeon R9 M275
26.8
22.6
19.3
10.5
 183NVIDIA Maxwell GPU Surface Book (940M, GDDR5)
45.6
28.2
22.3
9.4
 201NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
46
30.7
26.4
13
 202NVIDIA GeForce 845M
31.3
20.1
17.3
8.3
 203AMD Radeon HD 8850M
27.1
22.5
19.7
11.5
 205AMD Radeon R9 M265X
41.42
29.44
25.354
12.84
 215NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
40
25.7
21.5
10.5
 219NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
44.256
27.056
205
11.24
 221*AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
45.9
14
Pos      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 222NVIDIA GeForce 940M
38.25
24.156
19.85
9.754
 223NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
46.9
27.5
21.5
10
 226AMD Radeon R9 M375
27
22.7
19.4
 229AMD Radeon R7 M370
27.22
19.62
17.52
10.62
 233NVIDIA GeForce 840M
33.815
23.214
18.6514
9.112
 235NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
27.9
19.9
17.1
9.5
 238*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
14.152
11.32
10.152
 239AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
33.2
22
17.5
8.3
 240Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
33.42
21.352
16.62
3.72
 241AMD Radeon R7 384 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
33.42
20.752
15.852
8.22
 242NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
25.952
15.92
12.82
6.6
 244NVIDIA GeForce 930M
37.552
24.252
19.052
 245*Intel Iris Graphics 550
25.4
21.1
10
 247NVIDIA GeForce 830M
29.7
19.9
16.3
 251Intel Iris Graphics 540
23.3
15.7
13.7
 257NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
25.1
14.7
11.9
 259NVIDIA GeForce 825M
26.2
15.5
12.4
 268AMD Radeon R7 M260X
21.8
15.8
12
7.7
 271NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
25.32
15.252
12.352
6.3
 275AMD Radeon HD 8750M
21
14.8
11.1
Pos      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 277AMD Radeon R7 M270
28.12
192
16.22
8.52
 278AMD Radeon R7 M265
15.43
12.93
123
3.4
 282NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
24.8
19.2
14.6
7.2
 283AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
143
11.83
103
52
 284AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
15.82
14.352
10.82
6.6
 289AMD Radeon R7 M360
20.83
143
12.43
7.73
 291NVIDIA GeForce 920M
253
14.93
14.62
5.952
 301AMD Radeon R7 M260
18.54
15.454
13.33
7.12
 302AMD Radeon R7 M340
20.3
 309Intel HD Graphics 530
27.12
15.42
12.652
6.352
 313Intel UHD Graphics 620
19.552
11.42
 314Intel HD Graphics 620
21.0512
12.311
11.49
57
 315AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
14.552
102
8.752
5.252
 327AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri)
12.154
6.352
5.052
3.6
 346Intel HD Graphics 5600
27.7
15.9
12.7
6.1
 352AMD Radeon HD 8670M
19.3
12.3
9.8
 372AMD Radeon HD 8650G
16.752
13
10.4
5.5
 380AMD Radeon R5 M335
20
12.8
10.4
5.2
 381AMD Radeon R5 M330
19.12
12.32
10.2
5.1
 383AMD Radeon R5 M255
21.552
17.2
14.1
7.3
Pos      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 386NVIDIA GeForce 820M
20.33
13.23
11.13
 388Intel HD Graphics 520
24.39
14.29
11.73
 389Intel Iris Graphics 6100
18.852
13.452
11.152
5.552
 390NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
21.3
13
10.7
 393AMD Radeon R5 M240
13.3
11.8
10.3
 395AMD Radeon R5 M230
15.62
10.252
8.152
3.82
 402Intel HD Graphics 6000
18
12
 405Intel Iris Graphics 5100
16.83
11.43
9.83
5.1
 407*AMD Radeon HD 8610G
9.2
6.3
 410Intel HD Graphics 4600
15.558
9.28
7.56
4.8
 412Intel HD Graphics 5500
15.222
9.820
7.719
3.814
 417*Intel HD Graphics 615
13.9
9.2
 419AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri)
9.9
6.8
5.7
 423AMD Radeon HD 7660G
15.6
12.9
10.2
5
 426Intel HD Graphics 5000
13.352
9.052
7.6
3.9
 442AMD Radeon HD 8550G
18.7
12
 451AMD Radeon HD 8470D
16.4
 458Intel HD Graphics 515
15.152
8.42
7.5
 459Intel HD Graphics 4400
12.920
7.919
6.3516
3.458
 490Intel HD Graphics 5300
9.44
5.44
4.354
2.12
Pos      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 492*Intel HD Graphics 505
7.152
4.652
3.5
 501Intel HD Graphics 4000
19
10.9
8.8
4.3
 506*AMD Radeon R4 (Kaveri)
6.4
4.9
4.2
 509AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
8.72
5.82
3.62
 510AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
8.9
5.7
4.2
0.7
 511AMD Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema)
9.6
7
5.8
 513Intel HD Graphics 4200
12.52
6.22
5.8
 522AMD Radeon HD 8450G
10.33
7.43
8
4.3
 526AMD Radeon HD 8400
10.4
 538AMD Radeon HD 8350G
10.1
7.6
 539AMD Radeon HD 8330
9.152
4.552
4.5
 572Intel HD Graphics (Haswell)
10.1
5.7
 595AMD Radeon HD 8280
7.8
 629AMD Radeon HD 8210
2.2
 633Intel HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge)
5.9
3.6
 673Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
4.12
3.3
* Smaller values are better. / * 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
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.
123Uncertain – 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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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Thief Benchmarked
Florian Glaser, 2014-03- 9 (Update: 2014-03- 9)