Notebookcheck

Thief Benchmarked

Florian Glaser, Tanja Hinum (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?

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Thief

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shadows and many of the surface structures meet today's standards, other elements (faces, for example) seem a little outdated.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.

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 ∼38%
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 ∼35%
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 ∼29%
64.8 fps ∼30%
66.7 fps ∼29%
72.5 fps ∼33%
GeForce GTX 780M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
40.2 fps ∼28%
56.5 fps ∼26%
56.7 fps ∼25%
58.7 fps ∼26%
Radeon HD 8970M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
35.9 fps ∼25%
49.9 fps ∼23%
50.9 fps ∼22%
55.1 fps ∼25%
Radeon HD 7970M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
33.5 fps ∼24%
44.6 fps ∼21%
45.3 fps ∼20%
49.5 fps ∼22%
GeForce GTX 680M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
31.3 fps ∼22%
51 fps ∼24%
54 fps ∼24%
56.3 fps ∼25%
GeForce GTX 770M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
26.6 fps ∼19%
46.8 fps ∼22%
51.3 fps ∼23%
57.1 fps ∼26%
GeForce GTX 675MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
23.4 fps ∼16%
41 fps ∼19%
46.6 fps ∼20%
55 fps ∼25%
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700MQ
Schenker W503
19.1 fps ∼13%
37 fps ∼17%
43.1 fps ∼19%
58.2 fps ∼26%
GeForce GTX 670MX, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
18.5 fps ∼13%
34.4 fps ∼16%
39.7 fps ∼17%
54.6 fps ∼25%
GeForce GTX 660M, 3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
13 fps ∼9%
26.4 fps ∼12%
30.7 fps ∼13%
46 fps ∼21%
GeForce GT 750M, 4702MQ
Schenker M503
10.5 fps ∼7%
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 ∼5%
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 ∼3%
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

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Show Restrictions
      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
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
91.5n2
 10NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
115n7
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
117.1
115
103.4n4
103.2n15
 21NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
70.8
94.2n4
 26NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
101.6
98.6
98
81.15n2
 28NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop)
123.9n2
120n2
116.8n3
84.4n5
 30AMD Radeon R9 390X
87.3
86.7
86.9
72.6
 35NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
89.6n7
71n25
 39NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
98.2
96.3
97.8
76.8
 42NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
131
126.9
121.6
73
 43NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
117.2
112
107.6
66.8n4
 52AMD Radeon R9 290X
63
70
74n3
64n3
 59NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
101.8n4
95.3n5
93.45n18
62.1n19
 60AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH
120.7
109.8
107.1
62.6
 62AMD Radeon R9 280X
69.4
67.4
65.6
53.4
 63AMD Radeon R9 380
87.3
77.8
76.5
54.6
 64NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
108.6
100.9
91
50.6
 65NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
71.75n2
81.8n4
78.15n4
50.3n5
 70NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
81n5
78.75n8
77.3n21
47.8n21
      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 73NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
75.5
71.8
69.3
49.3
 77AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL / 870
78.8
72.6
41.1
 78AMD Radeon Pro WX Vega M GL
68.6
67.1
64.3
42.7
 80AMD Radeon R9 M295X
51.2
52.7
51.3
32.2
 84NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
74.2n4
67.7n5
69.2n11
42.8n13
 88AMD Radeon R7 370
77.8
71.6
68.2
40.2
 90NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
62.6n3
62.3n3
59n5
40.3n5
 91NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
101.9
89.2
78.4
40.4
 93NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
72.5
66.7
64.8
40.9
 94NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
97.7
75.5
67.3
39.2
 95NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
58.7
56.7
56.5
40.2
 102NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
89.8n5
76.35n6
65.55n6
34.85n6
 104AMD Radeon RX 560 (Laptop)
38.3
35.4
34.5
30.6
 106NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
54.1n2
50.55n2
48.2n3
31.9n3
 107AMD Radeon R9 M290X
51.1
48
45.3
34
 108AMD Radeon HD 8970M
55.1
50.9
49.9
35.9
 113AMD Radeon RX 460 (Laptop)
24.7
 114NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
56.3
54
51
31.3
 116AMD Radeon R9 M390
93
72
63
32.95n2
 118AMD Radeon HD 7970M
49.5
45.3
44.6
33.5
      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 123NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
73.2n13
62.75n20
53.65n36
27.9n36
 124NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
91.9
63.2
53.4
27.6
 125AMD Radeon RX 550 (Laptop)
65.2
58.3
55.1
29
 135NVIDIA GeForce MX150
59.5n4
35.9n4
31.55n4
17.9n4
 139NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
57.1
51.3
46.8
26.6
 142NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
58.4n7
50.4n9
43.85n14
24n14
 148NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
55
46.6
41
23.4
 150NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
64.1n5
49.45n8
40.7n8
19.5n7
 153AMD Radeon R9 M385X
25
19.5
22.8
19.2
 154NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
46.45n8
37.65n10
33.7n11
18.1n11
 157AMD Radeon R9 M280X
24
16.7
22.3
13.8
 163NVIDIA GeForce 945M
71
44.7
37
18.5
 164NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
58.2
43.1
37
19.1
 170*AMD Radeon RX Vega 10
35n2
9.85n2
 172Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580
43.8
30.1
25
12.4
 190AMD Radeon R9 M370X
53.7
35.5
31.6
17.2
 191NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
54.6
39.7
34.4
18.5
 194AMD Radeon R9 M275
26.8
22.6
19.3
10.5
 196NVIDIA Maxwell GPU Surface Book (940M, GDDR5)
45.6
28.2
22.3
9.4
 214NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
46
30.7
26.4
13
      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 215NVIDIA GeForce 845M
31.3
20.1
17.3
8.3
 216AMD Radeon HD 8850M
27.1
22.5
19.7
11.5
 218AMD Radeon R9 M265X
41.4n2
29.4n4
25.35n4
12.8n4
 228NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
40
25.7
21.5
10.5
 231NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
44.25n6
27.05n6
20n5
11.2n4
 234AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
35.55n2
9.95n2
 235NVIDIA GeForce 940M
38.2n5
24.15n6
19.8n5
9.75n4
 236NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
46.9
27.5
21.5
10
 240AMD Radeon R9 M375
27
22.7
19.4
 244AMD Radeon R7 M370
27.2n2
19.6n2
17.5n2
10.6n2
 248NVIDIA GeForce 840M
33.8n15
23.2n14
18.65n14
9.1n12
 250NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
27.9
19.9
17.1
9.5
 253AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
33.2
22
17.5
8.3
 254Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
33.4n2
21.35n2
16.6n2
3.7n2
 255AMD Radeon R7 384 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
33.4n2
20.75n2
15.85n2
8.2n2
 256NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
25.95n2
15.9n2
12.8n2
6.6
 258NVIDIA GeForce 930M
37.55n2
24.25n2
19.05n2
 259Intel Iris Graphics 550
25.4
21.1
10
 261NVIDIA GeForce 830M
29.7
19.9
16.3
 265Intel Iris Graphics 540
23.3
15.7
13.7
      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 272NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
25.1
14.7
11.9
 274NVIDIA GeForce 825M
26.2
15.5
12.4
 283AMD Radeon R7 M260X
21.8
15.8
12
7.7
 286NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
25.3n2
15.25n2
12.35n2
6.3
 290AMD Radeon HD 8750M
21
14.8
11.1
 292AMD Radeon R7 M270
28.1n2
19n2
16.2n2
8.5n2
 293AMD Radeon R7 M265
15.4n3
12.9n3
12n3
3.4
 297*AMD Radeon R7 (Bristol Ridge)
14.15n2
11.3n2
10.15n2
 298NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
24.8
19.2
14.6
7.2
 299AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
14n3
11.8n3
10n3
5n2
 300AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
15.8n2
14.35n2
10.8n2
6.6
 305AMD Radeon R7 M360
20.8n3
14n3
12.4n3
7.7n3
 307NVIDIA GeForce 920M
25n3
14.9n3
14.6n2
5.95n2
 317AMD Radeon R7 M260
18.5n4
15.45n4
13.3n3
7.1n2
 318AMD Radeon R7 M340
20.3
 325Intel HD Graphics 530
27.1n2
15.4n2
12.65n2
6.35n2
 329Intel UHD Graphics 620
22.85n6
11.95n6
12.1n3
7.1
 330Intel HD Graphics 620
21.05n12
12.3n11
11.4n9
5n7
 331AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
14.55n2
10n2
8.75n2
5.25n2
 343AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri)
12.15n4
6.35n2
5.05n2
3.6
      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 362Intel HD Graphics 5600
27.7
15.9
12.7
6.1
 368AMD Radeon HD 8670M
19.3
12.3
9.8
 388AMD Radeon HD 8650G
16.75n2
13
10.4
5.5
 396AMD Radeon R5 M335
20
12.8
10.4
5.2
 397AMD Radeon R5 M330
19.1n2
12.3n2
10.2
5.1
 399AMD Radeon R5 M255
21.55n2
17.2
14.1
7.3
 402NVIDIA GeForce 820M
20.3n3
13.2n3
11.1n3
 404Intel HD Graphics 520
24.3n9
14.2n9
11.7n3
 405Intel Iris Graphics 6100
18.85n2
13.45n2
11.15n2
5.55n2
 406NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
21.3
13
10.7
 409AMD Radeon R5 M240
13.3
11.8
10.3
 411AMD Radeon R5 M230
15.6n2
10.25n2
8.15n2
3.8n2
 419Intel HD Graphics 6000
18
12
 422Intel Iris Graphics 5100
16.8n3
11.4n3
9.8n3
5.1
 424*AMD Radeon HD 8610G
9.2
6.3
 427Intel HD Graphics 4600
15.55n8
9.2n8
7.5n6
4.8
 429Intel HD Graphics 5500
15.2n22
9.8n20
7.7n19
3.8n14
 439*Intel HD Graphics 615
13.9
9.2
 441AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri)
9.9
6.8
5.7
 445AMD Radeon HD 7660G
15.6
12.9
10.2
5
      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 448Intel HD Graphics 5000
13.35n2
9.05n2
7.6
3.9
 464AMD Radeon HD 8550G
18.7
12
 473AMD Radeon HD 8470D
16.4
 480Intel HD Graphics 515
15.15n2
8.4n2
7.5
 481Intel HD Graphics 4400
12.9n20
7.9n19
6.35n16
3.45n8
 512Intel HD Graphics 5300
9.4n4
5.4n4
4.35n4
2.1n2
 514*Intel HD Graphics 505
7.15n2
4.65n2
3.5
 523Intel HD Graphics 4000
19
10.9
8.8
4.3
 528*AMD Radeon R4 (Kaveri)
6.4
4.9
4.2
 531AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
8.7n2
5.8n2
3.6n2
 532AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
8.9
5.7
4.2
0.7
 533AMD Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema)
9.6
7
5.8
 535Intel HD Graphics 4200
12.5n2
6.2n2
5.8
 544AMD Radeon HD 8450G
10.3n3
7.4n3
8
4.3
 548AMD Radeon HD 8400
10.4
 561AMD Radeon HD 8350G
10.1
7.6
 562AMD Radeon HD 8330
9.15n2
4.55n2
4.5
 584Intel HD Graphics 405 (Braswell)
6
 595Intel HD Graphics (Haswell)
10.1
5.7
 619AMD Radeon HD 8280
7.8
      Model                                     Thief
lowmed.highultra
 653AMD Radeon HD 8210
2.2
 657Intel HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge)
5.9
3.6
 698Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
4.1n2
3.3
(-) * 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
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)