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Total War: Three Kingdoms Laptop and Desktop Benchmarks

Daniel Puschina, 👁 Klaus Hinum, Klaus Hinum (translated by Alex Alderson), 07/25/2019

Great battles, high demands. Total War: Three Kingdoms pits you as one of twelve legendary warlords to unite a torn China under a new dynasty during an era of three empires. Do not underestimate the system requirements though, as the game’s graphically intensive battles push even the most powerful GPUs to their limits in UHD on the ultra preset.

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Total War: Three Kingdoms allows graphics settings to be changed quickly and often without restarting the game. We were able to change the resolution, details and display quality creates without a restart, which is something we wish that we saw more of in modern triple-A titles.

Creative Assembly has separated the graphics settings into two tiers, the first of which contains options for adjusting the resolution and switching between four presets. You can also set a custom profile should you not like the low, medium, high or ultra-presets. You can check what settings the presets have changed by switching to the Advanced tab, which contains 24 settings. Not all affect the visual representation of the game though, with there also being options to turn mutilations on or off, and the size of blood spots among others.

General graphics settings
General graphics settings
Advanced graphics settings
Advanced graphics settings

We have included screenshots of the four presets below to demonstrate their visual differences, with shadows, foliage, army size, anti-aliasing and more varying significantly from the low to ultra preset. Presets do not affect the texture quality though, so you must adjust this separately. Naturally, you can change the graphics settings to your preferences.

Low quality: HD (1,280 x 720)
Low quality: HD (1,280 x 720)
Medium quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Medium quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
High quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
High quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Ultra quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Ultra quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Low quality: HD (1,280x720)
Low quality: HD (1,280x720)
Medium quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Medium quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
High quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
High quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Ultra quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Ultra quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Low quality: HD (1,280x720)
Low quality: HD (1,280x720)
Medium quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Medium quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
High quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
High quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Ultra quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Ultra quality: FHD (1,920 x 1,080)

Adjusting shadows, anti-aliasing, army size, and details have noticeable effects on large battles. Creative Assembly has also included FXAA and TAA anti-aliasing too, while texture filter can be adjusted from trilinear to 16x anisotropic.

No antialiasing and no anisotropic filtering (FHD)
No antialiasing and no anisotropic filtering (FHD)
FXAA, 8x Anisotropic Filtering (FHD)
FXAA, 8x Anisotropic Filtering (FHD)
TAA, 16x Anisotropic Filtering (FHD)
TAA, 16x Anisotropic Filtering (FHD)

Benchmark

Creative Assembly and Sega have included a built-in benchmark, which can be started in-game via the graphics menu. There is a benchmark summary too, a screenshot of which we have included below, that displays any changes in framerates during the 93-second benchmark. It also gives you the average, minimum and maximum FPS, although it only displays the latter two at the end of the benchmark. We found the ability to adjust the resolution and graphics settings without having to restart the game particularly useful here as it allowed us to find the optimal settings for our various systems quickly.

Results

HD (1,280 x 720)

Sega states that Total War: Three Kingdoms needs at least an Intel UHD Graphics 620 to play the game smoothly at 1,280 x 720 on the low preset. However, even the HD Graphics 630 only averages 38 FPS and dips to a minimum of 32 FPS, which we would not call smooth. Interestingly, the HD Graphics 630 averages almost 30% more than the NVIDIA GeForce 920M, despite the latter being a dedicated GPU. We suspect that the CPU is a bottleneck here, with the GeForce 920M being paired with a Celeron 2970M processor, a much slower CPU than the Core i7 7700HQ in our HD Graphics 630 test system. Overall, we would recommend at least a GeForce 940M for playing Total War: Three Kingdoms at these settings.

Total War: Three Kingdoms
    1280x720 Low (incl textures)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop), 7740X
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
249 (min: 157) fps ∼56%
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop), 7740X
i7-7740X Asus X299 Prime
204 (min: 120) fps ∼46%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop), 7740X
MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
153 (min: 128) fps ∼35%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7700HQ
MSI GL62M 7RD-077
152 (min: 104) fps ∼34%
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH, 8809G
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
149 (min: 99) fps ∼34%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop), 7740X
Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 2GB
143 (min: 122) fps ∼32%
AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop), 7740X
XFX RX-460P4DFG5 Double Dissipation 4 GB, Asus X299 Prime
120 (min: 105) fps ∼27%
AMD Radeon Pro 560X, 8850H
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
105 (min: 92) fps ∼24%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
MSI PX60 6QD
101.4 (min: 69) fps ∼23%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
79.9 (min: 36) fps ∼18%
NVIDIA GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
MSI GP62 2QD
55.8 (min: 46) fps ∼13%
Intel HD Graphics 630, 7700HQ
MSI GL62M 7RD-077
38.2 (min: 32) fps ∼9%
NVIDIA GeForce 920M, 2970M
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
29.4 (min: 24) fps ∼7%
AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop), A10-7850K
A10-7850K Asus A88-XM-PLUS
28 (min: 25) fps ∼6%
Intel HD Graphics 615, 7Y75
Eve-Tech Eve V i7
21.7 (min: 18) fps ∼5%
Intel Iris Graphics 6100, 5557U
Intel NUC5i7RYH
20.8 fps ∼5%
Intel HD Graphics 6000, 5250U
Intel NUC5i5RYK
18.4 (min: 15) fps ∼4%
Intel HD Graphics 5500, 5010U
Intel NUC5i3RYK
18.3 (min: 15) fps ∼4%
Intel UHD Graphics 605, N5000
Topjoy Falcon
6.5 fps ∼1%

FHD (1,920 x 1,080)

You will need to step up to a GeForce GTX 1050 if you want to play the game in 1080p at the medium preset on a laptop though, as the GeForce 940M averages a lowly 16.6 FPS. Something like the GeForce GTX 965M will offer around 36 FPS, but this will not be a particularly enjoyable gaming experience.

The GeForce GTX 1050 averages a playable 31 FPS on the high preset, although it dips as low as 13 FPS, which will look choppy. The Radeon RX 480 is powerful enough to play the game at decent FPS, but we would recommend at least a GeForce GTX 1070 Ti for consistent 60 FPS gaming. Likewise, only a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or better will maintain at least 60 FPS on the ultra preset.

Total War: Three Kingdoms
    1920x1080 Ultra (incl textures)     1920x1080 High (incl textures)     1920x1080 Medium (incl textures)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop), 7740X
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
85.4 (min: 65) fps ∼60%
109 (min: 73) fps ∼74%
151 (min: 100) fps ∼68%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti (Desktop), 7740X
i7-7740X Asus X299 Prime
63.4 (min: 56) fps ∼44%
86.6 (min: 71) fps ∼59%
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop), 7740X
i7-7740X Asus X299 Prime
34.4 (min: 30) fps ∼24%
48.4 (min: 41) fps ∼33%
76 (min: 63) fps ∼34%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7700HQ
MSI GL62M 7RD-077
20.5 (min: 9) fps ∼14%
31 (min: 13) fps ∼21%
56.2 (min: 48) fps ∼25%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
16.3 (min: 13) fps ∼11%
22.8 (min: 17) fps ∼16%
36.6 (min: 28) fps ∼16%
AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop), 7740X
XFX RX-460P4DFG5 Double Dissipation 4 GB, Asus X299 Prime
15.8 (min: 14) fps ∼11%
21.6 (min: 18) fps ∼15%
34.7 (min: 28) fps ∼16%
NVIDIA GeForce 940M, 5700HQ
MSI GP62 2QD
9.1 (min: 8) fps ∼6%
16.6 (min: 14) fps ∼7%
NVIDIA GeForce 920M, 2970M
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
7.9 (min: 6) fps ∼4%
Intel HD Graphics 615, 7Y75
Eve-Tech Eve V i7
6.5 (min: 5) fps ∼3%

QHD (2,560 x 1,440) & UHD (3,840 x 2,160)

The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti can handle the game in QHD on the ultra preset too, but you will need a Titan or RTX 20 GPU for playing Total War: Three Kingdoms in 4K, as the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti can only average 30.6 FPS. Currently, only RTX 20 series laptop GPUs can play the game in QHD on the ultra preset too.

QHD, ultra preset
QHD, ultra preset
UHD, preset
UHD, preset
Total War: Three Kingdoms
    3840x2160 Ultra (incl textures)     2560x1440 Ultra (incl textures)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop), 7740X
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
30.6 (min: 26) fps ∼62%
59 (min: 51) fps ∼61%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti (Desktop), 7740X
i7-7740X Asus X299 Prime
20.3 (min: 17) fps ∼41%
41.2 (min: 36) fps ∼42%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ
Asus Zephyrus GX501
18.9 (min: 16) fps ∼39%
38 (min: 23) fps ∼39%
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop), 7740X
i7-7740X Asus X299 Prime
11.5 (min: 9) fps ∼23%
22.8 (min: 20) fps ∼24%
AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop), 7740X
XFX RX-460P4DFG5 Double Dissipation 4 GB, Asus X299 Prime
4.2 (min: 3) fps ∼9%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ
MSI GE72 965M Ti
10.2 (min: 8) fps ∼11%

Please note:

Gaming tests are often time-consuming and are hampered by activation or installation limits. Hence, we can currently only provide some of the benchmarks for Total War: Three Kingdoms. We shall update this article with more GPUs in the coming days and weeks.

Overview

Show Restrictions
      Model
Total War: Three Kingdoms
 Total War: Three Kingdoms (2019)
low
1280x720
Low (incl textures)
med.
1920x1080
Medium (incl textures)
high
1920x1080
High (incl textures)
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra (incl textures)
QHD
2560x1440
Ultra (incl textures)
4K
3840x2160
Ultra (incl textures)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (Desktop)
96.3
81.1
43.8
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super
91.2
66.6
34.1
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Desktop)
283.5n2
151
109
84.1n2
59
30.6
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
224.8
126.1
88.8
65.5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
94.4
67.4
44.3
22
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti (Desktop)
86.6
63.4
41.2
20.3
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Laptop)
249.8
113
73.4
53.7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
55.5
38
18.9
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (Laptop)
202.9
101.5
63.9
46.1
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
176.75n2
84.8n2
55.9n2
41.35n2
AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
204
76
48.4
34.4
22.8
11.5
AMD Radeon RX 5500M
134
69.1
48.7
35.8
19.4
6.9
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (Laptop)
164.5n3
63.9n3
38.9n3
26.1n3
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH
149
49.4
29.8
19.8
12.7
5.4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)
153
51.4
31.5
21.4
12.8
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop)
143
43.3
22.5
15
6.3
1
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop)
152
56.2
31
20.5
AMD Radeon RX 460 (Desktop)
120
34.7
21.6
15.8
4.2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
79.9
36.6
22.8
16.3
10.2
      Model
Total War: Three Kingdoms
lowmed.highultraQHD4K
AMD Radeon Pro 560X
105
30.2
19.1
13.6
AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200
55.5
15.3
9.9
4
NVIDIA GeForce MX250
71.2
19.8
9.9
6.2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
101.4
31.2
19.1
13.2
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
63.3
13.1
AMD Radeon RX Vega 10
55.2
16.2
10.4
NVIDIA GeForce MX230
64.35n2
17.9n2
8.45n2
5n2
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
35.8n2
10.2n2
6.35n2
4.4
NVIDIA GeForce 940M
55.8
16.6
9.1
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
56.7
18.5
10.5
AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
28
NVIDIA GeForce 930M
36.1
NVIDIA GeForce 920M
29.4
7.9
Intel UHD Graphics 630
43.2
12.4
Intel HD Graphics 630
38.2
11.2
6.4
AMD Radeon R5 (Bristol Ridge)
12.8
Intel UHD Graphics 620
33.2
8
4.9
3.3
AMD Radeon R5 M255
23.4
Intel Iris Graphics 6100
20.8
Intel HD Graphics 6000
18.4
      Model
Total War: Three Kingdoms
lowmed.highultraQHD4K
Intel HD Graphics 4600
15.9
Intel HD Graphics 5500
16.9n2
Intel UHD Graphics 615
15.2
Intel HD Graphics 615
21.7
6.5
Intel HD Graphics 4400
10.3
Intel HD Graphics 610
20.1
5.7
Intel UHD Graphics 605
8.7n2
AMD Radeon R4 (Stoney Ridge)
11.8
AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
7.6
Intel UHD Graphics 600
9.8
(-) * 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.

Test Systems

Device Graphics Card Processor RAM OS
Desktop PC I MSI GeForce RTX 2080 (8 GB GDDR6)
MSI GeForce RTX 2070 (8 GB GDDR6)
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 (6 GB GDDR6)
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 (8 GB GDDR5X)
MSI GeForce GTX 1070 (8 GB GDDR5)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB GDDR5)
Intel Core i9-9900K 4 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
Desktop PC II NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11 GB GDDR5X)
ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Ti (6 GB GDDR5)
XFX Radeon R9 Fury (4 GB HBM)
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X (4 GB GDDR5)
Sapphire Radeon R9 280X (3GB GDDR5)
MSI Radeon R7 370 (2 GB GDDR5)
Intel Core i7-7740X 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
Desktop PC III AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (8 GB HBM2)
XFX AMD Radeon RX 590 (8 GB GDDR5)
Sapphire AMD Radeon RX 580 (8 GB GDDR5)
NVIDIA Titan X (Pascal) (12 GB GDDR5X)
Zotac NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 (2GB GDDR5)
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
Desktop PC IV NVIDIA Titan RTX (24 GB GDDR6) AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X 4 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GT76 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (8 GB GDDR6) Intel Core i9-9900K 2 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
MSI GP65 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (8 GB GDDR6) Intel Core i7-9750H 2 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
MSI GE65 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (6 GB GDDR6) Intel Core i7-9750H 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
MSI GP65 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (6 GB GDDR6) Intel Core i7-9750H 2 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GP75 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (4 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-9750H 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
Alienware 17 R4 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8 GB GDDR5X) Intel Core i7-7820HK 2 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
ASUS G752VS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (8 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-6820HK 2 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64 Bit
MSI GT62VR NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-6820HK 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
MSI GE72 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (2GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2 x 4 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
ASUS GL753VD NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (4 GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-7700HQ 1 x 16 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
MSI GL62 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (2GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2 x 4 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
MSI GE72 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M (2GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-6700HQ 1 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
MSI PE60 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M (2GB GDDR5) Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2 x 4 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
MSI CX72 NVIDIA GeForce 940MX (2GB DDR3) Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
MSI GP62 NVIDIA GeForce 940M (2GB DDR3) Intel Core i7-5700HQ 1 x 8 GB DDR3 Windows 10 64-bit
MSI CX61 NVIDIA GeForce 920M (2GB DDR3) Intel Celeron 2970M 1 x 8 GB DDR3 Windows 10 64-bit
Honor MagicBook AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 AMD Ryzen 5 2500U 1 x 8 GB DDR4 Windows 10 64-bit
4K Monitor NVIDIA drivers AMD drivers
2 x ASUS PB287Q, Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB ForceWare Adrenalin
static version load dynamic
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Total War: Three Kingdoms Laptop and Desktop Benchmarks
Daniel Puschina, 2019-07-25 (Update: 2019-07-26)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor - @aldersonaj
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.