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2016 Hardware Benchmark - DCS World 1.5.x


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changelog:

9. Feb 6th 2016: Added CPU architecture results and findings.

8. Jan 16th 2016: Added simulated VR resolution results and findings.

7. Jan 10th 2016: Added GTX 960 and R9 295X2 results.

6. Jan 7th 2016: Added GTX 780 and Fury X GPU results.

5. Jan 4th 2016: Added multi-monitor high-FOV results and findings.

4. Jan 3rd 2016: Added most of the FHD, WQHD and 4K resolution GPU results

3. Jan 2nd 2016: Added first FHD resolution GPU results

2. Jan 1st 2016: Added display resolution impact on the FPS

1. Dec 31st 2015: Initial publish

aj0Sngf.jpg

 

1. Introduction

Hello everybody, my name is Niko and I'm an avid DCS fan since the first LOMAC release. Professionally I am an R&D Chief over at
(EKWB), a Slovenian liquid cooling gear manufacturer. My current hobbies are mountaineering, alpine climbing and still - to some extent - extreme overclocking and benchmarking. In my best days (early 2010s) I used to be top 20 worldwide in the Hwbot extreme overclocking league and top 10 in the hardware master league.

 

I'm not participating much in the extreme OC anymore but the benchmarking and tweaking spirit is still well present. Instead of extreme overclocking I am now enjoying exploring, learning and building 24/7 stable price/performance and performance/watt setups. Dry and warm winter this year allows me to spend more time data mining as the winter climbing season is still not here.

2. The purpose of this thread

I would like to present you some data mining I have been doing whilst preparing my computer for the simpit I am building. I have an access to plethora of GPUs and system platforms as well and I intend to exploit this for the benefit of the DCS community.

 

My goal is to show the bottleneck effect of components (GPU, CPU, RAM) on the performance of the DCS 1.5.x (currently 1.5.2).

 

At the end of the day I hope this thread will be a good buying/upgrading guide for the DCS community. Nothing is more frustrating than buying HW upgrades which yield no performance gain...

3. What is to be tested?

This test will focus on the following:

NnFO3n0.png

1.
impact on FPS

2.
impact on FPS (using Intel Haswell-E)

3.
impact on FPS

 

Ee6aTyY.png

4.
impact on FPS (using Intel Haswell-E and DDR4)

 

ZalXymG.png

5.
impact on FPS (using Radeon R9 Nano)

6.
gaming performance analysis (using GeForce GTX Titan X)

7.
gaming performance analysis (using GeForce GTX 960 and -980 Ti)

8.
impact on FPS

Open the 'spoiler' below for explanation:

 

ghtVNWO.jpg

 

 

:prop: Hint: If you do not know exactly what kind of hardware is inside your computer I recommend you to get CPUID CPU-Z and TechPowerUp GPU-Z - a must-have tools for any PC user.

 

The following CPU platforms will be tested, preferably at various clockspeeds:

- AMD Phenom II X4 955 (Deneb 45nm - 4c/4t)

- AMD FX-4100 (Zambezi 32nm - 2M/4t)

- AMD FX-8350 (Vishera 32nm - 4M/8t)

- AMD FM2+ A10-7700K (Steamroller 28nm - 2M/4t)

- Intel Core i5 750 (Lynnfield 40nm - 4c/4t)

- Intel Core i5 3570K (Ivy Bridge 22nm - 4c/4t)

- Intel Core i5 4670K (Haswell 22nm - 4c/4t)

- Intel Core i7 5775C (Broadwell 14nm - 4c/8t)

- Intel Core i7 5820K (Haswell-E 22nm - 6c/12t)

- Intel Core i5 6600K (Skylake 14nm - 4c/4t)

 

The following DRAM settings will be tested:

- DDR4-2133 CL15 15-15-36 1T (representing low cost memory kit)

- DDR4-2400 CL16 17-17-40 1T (representing most common value memory kit)

- DDR4-2800 CL16 18-18-39 1T (representing gaming oriented memory kit)

- DDR4-3200 CL16-18-18-36 1T (reprensenting enthusiast oriented memory kit)

 

The following GPUs will be tested:

- Nvidia GeForce GTX 580

- Nvidia GeForce GTX 780

- Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti

- Nvidia GeForce GTX 960

- Nvidia GeForce GTX 970

- Nvidia GeForce GTX 980

- Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti

- AMD Radeon R9 270X

- AMD Radeon R9 280X

- AMD Radeon R9 290X/390X

- AMD Radeon R9 295X2

- AMD Radeon R9 Nano

- AMD Radeon R9 Fury X

 

4. Testing methodology explained

- The performance is tested using using DCS: Flaming Cliffs 3 by running a pre-recorded F-15C flight (replay) on a fixed graphics settings

- Pre-recorded F-15C flight is a F-15C quick mission - it consists of BVR with 4 enemy airplanes, merge with remaining MiG-23 and close-combat dogfight (guns and missiles) with MiG-23 until the end of the track.

- Different GPUs are tested using the same pre-recorded flight at three different resolutions: FHD, WQHD and 4K

- Fraps software will log a session FPS for a total duration of the benchmark run (finite time)

- Every test setup is equipped with adequate (16GB) quantity of system DRAM to prevent disk swapping

- Each system runs Windows 10 Pro x64 and the latest graphics card drivers

- We are not solely focusing on minimum-, maximum- and average FPS but also the percentage of time FPS dipped under certain threshold

 

Image quality as tested (4K):

tJwEDiml.jpg

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

200_s.gif

smartass.gif What have we learned so far (tl;dr):

Compiled list of lessions learned:

1. If budget allows - get a fast (overclockable) quad-core CPU! Yes, DCS scales great up to 4 cores!

2. Overclock your CPU: Frequency is the king! Most of the GPU performance will be CPU frequency bound.

3. Skylake rocks this game, the 6700K or alternatively 6600K is the best choice at the moment. Get the lowest bin Core i5 CPU and overclock it via BCLK on a supported Z170 motherboard if budget it tight!

4. Faster memory yields noticable performance gains, especially in the minimum FPS range

5. Flying in 4K on PC: On AMD R9 series - make sure to use DisplayPort (DP) 1.2 for 4K@60Hz - do not use HDMI as HDMI 1.4 isn't cutting it (only 30Hz refresh rate). On NVIDIA GTX 9xx series use either DP1.2 or HDMI (supports HDMI 2.0).

6. Flying in 4K on TV: AMD is currently not a good choice for 'cheap' TV 4K. The problem is that these R9 200/300/Fury/Nano cards can only put out 4K@30Hz over HDMI 1.4. The only way to get 4K@60Hz on current gen AMD is to use DisplayPort (DP) video outputs, which works great - 4K PC monitors with DP video inputs are readily available, however DP 4K TVs are not. If your 4K TV only supports HDMI it's better if you get NVIDIA. Alternatively you can purchase DP 1.2 to HDMI 2.0 adapter which bypasses all of the aforementioned issues. At the time of writing (Jan 2016) the cheapest 55" 4K@60Hz TVs with DP video inputs are still 8-10x more expensive than their HDMI 2.0 counterparts.

7. Overclocking of the GPUs tested yield noticable gains starting with WQHD resolution. Lower performance GPUs than the ones tested (e.g. GTX 750) will benefit from GPU overclocking even in low resolutions.

8. It is safe to say GTX 960 is currently the price/performance king for playing DCS at WQHD (2560x1440) while GTX 970 is the P/P king for playing FCS in 4K. For playing DCS at FHD resolution an AMD Radeon R7 370 (basically only about 10-15% slower than R9 270X) or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 will be great. If money is tight consider higher-end last gen GPUs.

9. CrossFireX work and scales nicely but seem to cause micro-stuttering. The latter can be remedied by setting MODEL VISIBILITY to off (however I haven't found that function in settings as of version 1.5.2).

10. Multi-monitor WALL setup - with 'regular' FOV (field-of-view, e.g. "1 Monitor" preset within the game settings) - performs equally good as the single-monitor setup at comparable (total) resolution. Therefore it's possible to build a cheap large, high-resolution screen out of smaller panels.

11. Multi-monitor BOX setup - with high FOV (field-of-view, e.g. "3 Monitor" preset within the game settings) - heavily taxes the FPS, regardless of your graphics card, most likely because of the DCS 1.5 engine limitation. A workaround is to set the MEDIUM graphics preset to enjoy high FPS.

12. VR setup (2160x120 - "Stereo" mode) is - despite the low resolution - very demanding on this game and one needs to resort to lowering quality settings in order to achieve 75FPS+. A high end and a low end GPU perform pretty exactly the same, a sign of engine bottleneck.

Edited by tiborrr
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5. Testing results

 

5.1. CPU core count impact on FPS

The purpose of this test is to test out the impact of the CPU core count on the general FPS performance. The core count tested covers most of the currently available CPUs. Single core performance is added for reference.

HW setup configuration for this test:

- CPU: Intel Core i7 5820K @ 4GHz core / 3.3GHz uncore

- MB: ASRock X99E-ITX/ac

- RAM: 2x8GB DDR4-3200 C16 18-18-36 1T

- GPU: AMD Radeon R9 Nano (+25% power target)

- Drive: 2x 256GB Crucial BX100 @ RAID0

- OS: Windows 10 Pro x64

- Cooling: EKWB custom loop liquid cooling (GPU, CPU)

 

Game settings:

 

Y81qQHr.jpg

 

 

Results:

NLLyJnY.png

 

RUfcN9z.png

 

cdMH3rr.png

 

CPU core count impact result analysis:

- Please allow for +/- 2% result accuracy. The overlapping graphs peak/dips are always a good sign of a reliable data aquisition.

- CPU core count effect lessens after 4 cores. It appears the performance peak is reached when utilizing 4 cores. Utilizing more than 4 cores gains to further performance boost

- Average time for the simulation when FPS is lower than 60, varies greatly even though the average FPS appears to be high for smooth gameplay when running the game on a single thread (core).

5.2. CPU core frequency impact on FPS

The purpose of this test is to test out the impact of the CPU core frequency on the general FPS performance. The frequencies tested range from 2.5- to 4.5GHz, which should cover the sprectrum from the higher-end notebooks to decently overclocked desktop CPU.

HW setup configuration for this test:

- CPU: Intel Core i7 5820K @ 2.5-4.5GHz core / 3.0-3.3GHz uncore

- MB: ASRock X99E-ITX/ac

- RAM: 2x8GB DDR4-3200 C16 18-18-36 1T

- GPU: AMD Radeon R9 Nano (+25% power target)

- Drive: 2x 256GB Crucial BX100 @ RAID0

- OS: Windows 10 Pro x64

- Cooling: EKWB custom loop liquid cooling (GPU, CPU)

 

Game settings:

 

Y81qQHr.jpg

 

 

Results:

GGxFBp6.png

 

O6FsC1c.png

 

2QpdQWQ.png

 

CPU Frequency Impact result analysis:

- Please allow for +/- 2% result accuracy. The overlapping graphs peak/dips are always a good sign of a reliable data aquisition.

- Performance of the DCS still greatly rely on the CPU frequency and scales almost linearly.

- Overclocking proves beneficial and seems to be the great choice to enhance performance of the system w/o additional costs (providing that your cooling system can handle it)

- 2.5GHz 'underclock' simulates a higher-end mobile CPU performance (i.e. Haswell or Skylake QH CPU).

 

5.3 CPU architecture impact on the FPS:

The purpose of this test is to test out the impact of the different CPU architecture on the general FPS performance. I have selected the FHD resolution as a starting point, which is in my books considered a 'low' resolution. CPU tests are always done on 'low' resolutions to exclude the possible GPU bottleneck.

 

This was one of the most time consuming tests which I don't want to repeat ever again.

 

I hadn't had the chance to test FX 8350 yet, but hopefully I will be able to do so in the upcoming weeks. I guess it will do around ~ 65FPS on average.

Test systems:

- CPU: (as listed before)

- MB:

  • Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7
  • Gigabyte F2A88XN Wifi
  • ASUS ROG Maximus IV Gene-Z
  • ASRock Z77-Extreme4
  • ASUS ROG Maximus VII Gene
  • MSI B150 Gaming Night Elf
  • ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme

- RAM:

  • 4x4GB DDR3-2133 C10 12-12-28 1T @ 1.35V
  • 2x8GB DDR4-2800 CL15 16-16-34 1T
  • 2x8GB DDR4-2133 CL15 15-15-31 2T

- GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming 4G

- Drive: 128GB Crucial BX100

- OS: Windows 10 Pro x64

- Cooling: factory cooling on CPU; factory cooling on GPUs

- Monitor: Dell 2713HM

- Drivers: Nvidia 361.43

Game settings (expect for the resolution which is 1920x1080 FHD):

Y81qQHr.jpg

 

Final results are as following:

S61ObAj.png

 

imHqwAa.png

 

GPU Architecture Impact result analysis:

- Please allow for +/- 2% result accuracy. The overlapping graphs peak/dips are always a good sign of a reliable data aquisition.

- Please note that Core i5 6600 setup was running on a non-overclockable B150 motherboard, thus memory ran at DDR4-2133 CL15 15-15-31 2T. Just by running it on a Z170 motherboard and cranking up the memory speed we would see up to 10FPS boost.

- Please note that Core i7 6700K setup was running using DDR4-2800 CL15 16-16-34 1T memory settings.

- Core i7 6700K stock clock is 4GHz, hence the same results for non-OC and OC test

- Broadwell with it's 128MB L4 seem to offer nice boost compared to Haswell. When set to 4GHz (which this sample did with factory voltage) it even surpases Skylake.

 

5.4. DRAM frequency impact on FPS

The purpose of this test is to test out the impact of the DRAM frequency on the general FPS performance. The frequencies tested ranged from DDR4-2133 to -3200, which should cover the majority of available memory kits.

HW setup configuration for this test:

- CPU: Intel Core i7 5820K @ 4.0GHz core / 3.3GHz uncore

- MB: ASRock X99E-ITX/ac

- RAM: 2x8GB DDR4 (2133 - 3200)

- GPU: AMD Radeon R9 Nano (+25% power target)

- Drive: 2x 256GB Crucial BX100 @ RAID0

- OS: Windows 10 Pro x64

- Cooling: EKWB custom loop liquid cooling (GPU, CPU)

 

Game settings:

 

Y81qQHr.jpg

 

 

Results:

 

3by5X7v.png

 

5tfqUqu.png

 

PltNt2V.png

DRAM Frequency Impact result analysis:

- Please allow for +/- 2% result accuracy. The overlapping graphs peak/dips are always a good sign of a reliable data aquisition.

- DRAM frequency has a bigger impact on performance than anticipated but still far less than CPU core count or - more importantly - CPU frequency.

- A somewhat big performance gain is obtained when choosing DDR4-2400 memory over DDR4-2133.

- Faster memory (or memory overclocking) should always be considered as long as the price of the faster bin is reasonable.

 

5.5. Display resolution impact on FPS

The purpose of this test is to test out the impact of the display resolution on the general FPS performance. The display resolutions tested ranged from FHD to 4K, which should cover the sprectrum from the entry-level PC screens to latest 4K displays. I did a brief study with Radeon R9 Nano on my setup to see if what is to be expected when pushing GPUs to draw 8+ megapixels.

 

HW setup:

- CPU: Intel Core i7 5820K @ 4.0GHz core / 3.3GHz uncore

- MB: ASRock X99E-ITX/ac

- RAM: 2x8GB DDR4-3200 C16 18-18-36 1T

- GPU: AMD Radeon R9 Nano (+25% power target)

- Drive: 2x 256GB Crucial BX100 @ RAID0

- OS: Windows 10 Pro x64

- Cooling: EKWB custom loop liquid cooling (GPU, CPU)

 

HW setup configuration for this test:

- Same as above, just tested out on three different resolutions: 1920x1080 (FHD); 2560x1440 (WQHD); 3840x2160 (UHD a.k.a. 4K).

 

Results:

 

3KAcPbn.png

 

PTLk46p.png

 

FylW4Ch.png

 

Display Resolution Impact result analysis:

- Please allow for +/- 2% result accuracy. The overlapping graphs peak/dips are always a good sign of a reliable data aquisition.

- Somewhat expected result for a high-end GPU, the R9 Nano (and alikes) really start to shine only at higher resolution. It is an total overkill for the FHD. This GPU (and alikes) is strong enough to drive single 4K monitor resolution with ease.

Edited by tiborrr
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5.6 Multi-monitor gaming performance analysis:

The purpose of this test is to test out the impact of the multi-monitor high FOV display setup on the general FPS performance. As for the multi monitor setup I did try it out (3x FHD = 5760x1080) and was surprises how demanding this is, despide lower megapixel count (6.2MPix vs. 8.3MPix) compared to 4K. Very large FOV, which is caused with "3 Monitor" option literally drops performance to the floor.

 

"1 Monitor" (WALL) option works perfectly and within expectations - it performs equally good as the single-monitor setup at comparable (total) resolution

 

sEQDjWQl.jpg

 

UKaUmzel.jpg

My findings were:

- GTX 780 Ti, GTX 970 and GTX 980 Ti: they all perform pretty much exactly the same - around 38FPS (9FPS min ; 66FPS max)

- There must be a bottleneck somewhere... Not sure if it's CPU bound, GPU arch bound or DCS engine limitation.

- I tried further overclocking the CPU but didn't get much better, maybe 2.5 FPS better on average (in the from 38FPS to ~ 40FPS)

- Doesn't appear to be CPU bound, at least not frequency wise. Has to be DCS engine limitation or simply GPUs cannot cope with number of polys on the screen

- I tried GPU overclocking but also only did *maybe* 1-2FPS better on average

- I observed GPU video ram usage - on 4K it never goes above 2.8GB with general preset at High.

- I tried lowering Trees Visibility, Lowering Preload Radius, Disabling shadows and HDR: No real improvement, altogether maybe 4-5 FPS better performance on average.

- I tried "3 Monitor" option then on a single 4K resolution screen (8.3MPix image) and results we're better - around 45 FPS average (10FPS min ; 94FPS max) - but most likely due to smaller FOV. I was getting frustrated by then...

 

Then came the big revelation - the power draw of a system with an overclocked (1400MHz GPU Titan X) used to be up to 380W throughtout the majority of the benchmark. With 4K "3 Monitor" and everything on HIGH settings it only reaches this value for a very short period of time, otherwise it's somewhere between 230-260W. But... When main quality PRESET is set to MEDIUM the power draw is constantly over 300W and average FPS goes sky high instantly! On LOW preset the power draw never drops below 320W. This means the GPU is being starved.

 

rBEkuwU.png

 

I strongly believe there is something with the DCS 1.5 engine not being able to feed the GPU in time when running 3 screens in high FOV ("3 Monitors" profile) WALL mode. pilotfly.gif

 

Bottom line with high-FOV "3 Monitor preset" multi-monitor setup (BOX): It's playable at butter smooth FPSs for sure however one needs to set general quality PRESET to MEDIUM or LOW!

 

Bottom line with "1 Monitor preset" multi-monitor setup (WALL): Such setup performs equally good as the single-monitor setup at comparable (total) resolution. Therefore it's possible to build a cheap large, high-resolution screen out of smaller panels.

5.7 VR resolution gaming performance analysis:

The purpose of this test is to test out the impact of the running stereo "VR" 2160x1200 resolution display setup (thus simulating Oculus Rift VR headset) on the general FPS performance. The performance hit is not as obvious as on the "3 Monitor" High FOV display setup but still big enough to conclude the DCS engine is starving the cards. A 4K resolution results (HIGH preset) is added to the chart for reference.

 

HW setup:

- CPU: Intel Core i7 5775C @ 4GHz core / 3.3GHz uncore

- MB: ASUS ROG Maximus VII Gene

- RAM: 4x4GB DDR3-2133 C10 12-12-28 1T @ 1.35V

- GPU: GTX 960 and GTX 980 Ti

- Drive: 128GB Crucial BX100

- OS: Windows 10 Pro x64

- Cooling: EK-XLC Predator 240 - liquid cooled CPU; factory cooling on GPUs

- Monitor: Dell 2713HM

- Drivers: Nvidia 361.43

Image settings as tested (2160x1200 "Stereo" mode):

31xVw4Kl.jpg

 

Results:

ksVQnWc.png

 

Simulated VR resolution performance analysis:

- Ironically enough, GTX 960 (a 200€ card) here performs identically to the GTX 980 Ti (a 650€ card) which further points to an obvious bottleneck, which is most likely not hardware related. Since the GPUs are pushing a mere ~ 2.6MPix image here (compared to ~ 8.3MPix at 4K), both GPUs more than suffice for the workload.

- In order to maintain higher FPS the same tricks apply as when running "3 Monitor" High FOV setup. Drop the preset to either MEDIUM or LOW.

- Just like before, the GPUs are starving pretty much for the majority of the time when image quality is set to HIGH preset. The only time GPUs run at peak performance is when the view is facing towards the sky or clouds (no ground objects needs to be drawn).

- I have also tested custom HIGH preset (only Visibility set to LOW and Trees set to MINIMUM) trying to show the effect of number of polygons/objects on the FPS.

- Doesn't appear to be CPU nor GPU bound. Has to be DCS engine limitation or simply GPUs cannot cope with number of polys on the screen.

5.8 GPU architecture impact on the FPS:

Spent a ton of time trying to get 4K VSR on a R9 280/290/390 (CGN) family (since I'm testing on a 2560px monitor using NV DSR / AMD VSR for 4K emulation). The problem is these cards can only put out 4K@30Hz over HDMI 1.4.

 

AMD is currently not a good choice for 'cheap' TV 4K. The problem is that these R9 200/300/Fury/Nano cards can only put out 4K@30Hz over HDMI 1.4. The only way to get 4K@60Hz on current gen AMD is to use DisplayPort (DP) video outputs, which works great - 4K PC monitors with DP video inputs are readily available, however DP 4K TVs are not. If your 4K TV only supports HDMI it's better if you get NVIDIA. Alternatively you can purchase DP 1.2 to HDMI 2.0 adapter which bypasses all of the aforementioned issues. At the time of writing (Jan 2016) the cheapest 55" 4K@60Hz TVs with DP video inputs are still 8-10x more expensive than their HDMI 2.0 counterparts.

Test system:

- CPU: Intel Core i7 5775C @ 4GHz core / 3.3GHz uncore

- MB: ASUS ROG Maximus VII Gene

- RAM: 4x4GB DDR3-2133 C10 12-12-28 1T @ 1.35V

- GPU: (various)

- Drive: 128GB Crucial BX100

- OS: Windows 10 Pro x64

- Cooling: EK-XLC Predator 240 - liquid cooled CPU; factory cooling on GPUs

- Monitor: Dell 2713HM

- Drivers: Nvidia 361.43 / AMD Crimson 15.12

 

ek-predator_240_box_art_800.jpg

 

Final results are as following:

Eq4jNv2.png

 

xZTxHxt.png

 

qOJlWkW.png

 

GPU Architecture Impact result analysis:

- Please allow for +/- 2% result accuracy. The overlapping graphs peak/dips are always a good sign of a reliable data aquisition.

- Currently all the tested GPUs are powerful enough to drive FHD resolution. At FHD resolution most of the NVIDIA GPUs seem to be CPU bound (as shown by almost identical max and min values).

- All of the tested GPUs, including the old GTX 580, are still proving to show adequate performance at WQHD (2540x1440) resolution by maintaining minimum FPS above 30. Smooth gameplay at this resolution starts with R9 280X (HD 7970). All of the tested NVIDIA GPUs are still pretty much CPU bound as the results between the GPUs are close to nill.

- Only at 4K the difference in GPU power starts to show - currently, the most powerful GTX 980 Ti and Titan X are in the league of their own while GTX 780 Ti still holds ground against the new GTX 970.

- Generally, NVIDIA cards offer higher minimum- and lower max FPS

- CrossFireX seem to cause micro-stuttering which can be remedied by setting MODEL VISIBILITY to off (however I haven't found that function in settings as of version 1.5.2)

Edited by tiborrr
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This is quite comprehensive. Very nice work :)

Hi Brisse,

 

thanks man, I will be updating this thread in the upcoming days.

 

?? Images tests results?

Sorry, this is HW benchmark, we're assuming all GPUs and CPU platforms provide the same image quality.

 

P.S.: thread updated with CPU and DRAM frequency scaling :pilotfly:

 

Best Regards,

Niko

Edited by tiborrr
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Happy New Year to everybody! :)

 

I have added test: 5.5. Display resolution impact on FPS to the 2nd post of this thread:

 

5.5. Display resolution impact on FPS

The purpose of this test is to test out the impact of the display resolution on the general FPS performance. The display resolutions tested ranged from FHD to 4K, which should cover the sprectrum from the entry-level PC screens to latest 4K displays. I did a brief study with Radeon R9 Nano on my setup to see if what is to be expected when pushing GPUs to draw 8+ megapixels.

 

HW setup:

- CPU: Intel Core i7 5820K @ 4.0GHz core / 3.3GHz uncore

- MB: ASRock X99E-ITX/ac

- RAM: 2x8GB DDR4-3200 C16 18-18-36 1T

- GPU: AMD Radeon R9 Nano (+25% power target)

- Drive: 2x 256GB Crucial BX100 @ RAID0

- OS: Windows 10 Pro x64

- Cooling: EKWB custom loop liquid cooling (GPU, CPU)

 

HW setup configuration for this test:

- Same as above, just tested out on three different resolutions: 1920x1080 (FHD); 2560x1440 (WQHD); 3840x2160 (UHD a.k.a. 4K).

 

Results:

 

3KAcPbn.png

 

PTLk46p.png

 

FylW4Ch.png

 

Display Resolution Impact result analysis:

- Please allow for +/- 2% result accuracy. The overlapping graphs peak/dips are always a good sign of a reliable data aquisition.

- Somewhat expected result for a high-end GPU, the R9 Nano (and alikes) really start to shine only at higher resolution. It is an total overkill for the FHD. This GPU (and alikes) is strong enough to drive single 4K monitor resolution with ease.

 

 

Best Regards,

Niko :joystick:

Edited by tiborrr
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Nice work thanks:)

Thanks Cibit. I'm trying to get this GTX 750 card here working (doesn't want to post no matter what). Hopefully I can add a Radeon R9 280X (HD 7970) and -R9 270X as well if those cards in my drawers still run like they should:

 

5H6xij2.jpg

 

Luckily with Win8/10 changing out GPUs is even less of a time consuming task :pilotfly:

 

Best Regards,

Niko

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Great work sir! Very comprehensive and detailed. +1

BRRRT!

 

My PC:

 

--Intel Core i5-4570--EVGA GTX 970 SSC @ 1560mHz Core and 2000mHz Memory--2x4GB Kingston HyperX Blu DDR3 @ 2133mHz CAS 9--MSI Z87-G41 PC Mate--480GB Sandisk Ultra II, 1TB Seagate SSHD--Fractal Design Define R5 Windowed--

 

Peripherals:

 

Track IR 4--Logitech Extreme 3D Pro--Corsair K70 Cherry MX Blue--Alienware TactX Mouse--

 

A huge car and aviation enthusiast, gun nut and computer nerd! :)

 

FC3, P-51D, A-10C, MiG-21Bis, M2000C and F/A-18C!

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Hello guys!

 

More updates - I have started with GPU architecture testing. Found two GPUs aren't working (GTX 750, GTX 650 Ti).

 

Spent a ton of time trying to get 4K VSR on a R9 280/290/390 (CGN) family (since I'm testing on a 2560px monitor using NV DSR / AMD VSR for 4K emulation). The problem is these cards can only put out 4K@30Hz over HDMI 1.4.

 

AMD is currently not a good choice for 'cheap' TV 4K. The problem is that these R9 200/300/Fury/Nano cards can only put out 4K@30Hz over HDMI 1.4. The only way to get 4K@60Hz on current gen AMD is to use DisplayPort (DP) video outputs, which works great - 4K PC monitors with DP video inputs are readily available, however DP 4K TVs are not. If your 4K TV only supports HDMI it's better if you get NVIDIA. Alternatively you can purchase DP 1.2 to HDMI 2.0 adapter which bypasses all of the aforementioned issues. At the time of writing (Jan 2016) the cheapest 55" 4K@60Hz TVs with DP video inputs are still 8-10x more expensive than their HDMI 2.0 counterparts.

 

 

 

5.6 GPU architecture impact on the FPS:

 

Test system:

- CPU: Intel Core i7 5775C @ 4GHz core / 3.3GHz uncore

- MB: ASUS ROG Maximus VII Gene

- RAM: 4x4GB DDR3-2133 C10 12-12-28 1T @ 1.35V

- GPU: (various)

- Drive: 128GB Crucial BX100

- OS: Windows 10 Pro x64

- Cooling: EK-XLC Predator 240 - liquid cooled CPU; factory cooling on GPUs

- Monitor: Dell 2713HM

- Drivers: Nvidia 361.43 / AMD Crimson 15.12

 

Results so far after half of the GPUs tested:

 

eXH3NL5.png

 

GPU Architecture Impact result analysis:

- Please allow for +/- 2% result accuracy. The overlapping graphs peak/dips are always a good sign of a reliable data aquisition.

- Currently all the tested GPUs are powerful enough to drive FHD resolution, GTX 970 leads the pack showing higher minimum FPS than the rest of the contenders

- Generally, NVIDIA cards offer higher minimum- and lower max FPS

Edited by tiborrr
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Hello, Sorry for the layout, It is my first post and cannot figure out why I'm unable to use new lines. Thanks a lot, I'm getting new PC gear ready for playing DCS again and are using your information for wat to buy. Are you using the DisplayPort for 4K resolution? Specs of Gigabyte GV-R939G1 GAMING-8GD mentions 4K@60Hz on the DisplayPort. Dual Link DVI: 2560 x 1600 @60Hz DisplayPort: 4096 x 2160 @60Hz HDMI: 4096 x 2160 @24Hz, 3840×2160 @30 Hz Specs of Gigabyte GV-N970IXOC-4GD are: Dual Link DVI: 2560 x 1600 @60Hz DisplayPort: 4096 x 2160 @60Hz HDMI: 3840 x 2160 @60Hz / 4096 x 2160 @24Hz Can you mention which graphic card you are using for the test?

Edited by grefte
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Hello, Sorry for the layout, It is my first post and cannot figure out why I'm unable to use new lines. Thanks a lot, I'm getting new PC gear ready for playing DCS again and are using your information for wat to buy. Are you using the DisplayPort for 4K resolution? Specs of Gigabyte GV-R939G1 GAMING-8GD mentions 4K@60Hz on the DisplayPort. Dual Link DVI: 2560 x 1600 @60Hz DisplayPort: 4096 x 2160 @60Hz HDMI: 4096 x 2160 @24Hz, 3840×2160 @30 Hz Specs of Gigabyte GV-N970IXOC-4GD are: Dual Link DVI: 2560 x 1600 @60Hz DisplayPort: 4096 x 2160 @60Hz HDMI: 3840 x 2160 @60Hz / 4096 x 2160 @24Hz Can you mention which graphic card you are using for the test?

Hello grefte,

 

just to clarify: AMD card have DisplayPort (DP) output working at 4K@60Hz, but not HDMI (since it's an older 1.4 implementation). So - if you are using AMD for 4K, make sure you get a 4K monitor with DisplayPort (DP).

 

Either R9 390X or GTX 970 will do the job at 4K just fine and both are good choice as long as the price is about the same.

 

However, GTX 970 has higher overclocking potential than 390X and draws substantially less power. I have managed to overclock mine to 1492MHz GPU without adjusting any voltage and such card scores about 78FPS average at 4K resolution in my benchmark.

 

For comparison: R9 Nano did 67FPS @ 100% Power Limit; 71FPS @ 125% Power Limit).

 

More results to follow in the afternoon! :joystick:

 

Best Regards,

Niko

Edited by tiborrr
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Hello grefte,

 

just to clarify: AMD card have DisplayPort (DP) output working at 4K@60Hz, but not HDMI (since it's an older 1.4 implementation). So - if you are using AMD for 4K, make sure you get a 4K monitor with DisplayPort (DP).

 

Either R9 390X or GTX 970 will do the job at 4K just fine and both are good choice as long as the price is about the same.

 

However, GTX 970 has higher overclocking potential than 390X and draws substantially less power. I have managed to overclock mine to 1492MHz GPU without adjusting any voltage and such card scores about 78FPS average at 4K resolution in my benchmark.

 

For comparison: R9 Nano did 67FPS @ 100% Power Limit; 71FPS @ 125% Power Limit).

 

More results to follow in the afternoon! :joystick:

 

Best Regards,

Niko

 

Thanks for the explanation. It makes sense to go for NVIDIA.

I'm very curious for the results of the other NVIDIA cards.

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You can get HDMI2.0 from current AMD cards using a reasonably priced adapter now. This is a fairly recent development so I guess most people don't know about it yet :)

 

http://www.club-3d.com/index.php/products/reader.en/product/displayport-12-to-hdmi-20-uhd-active-adapter.html

 

With the extra price of the adapter considered, you might as well choose Nvidia to begin with though, if you require HDMI2.0, but for those who already has an AMD card and need to expand it with HDMI2.0 functionality, this is a reasonable option.

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Very useful Post, Book marked for sure!

HP pro Reverb.

Current settings:

Windows VR setting: IPD is 64.5mm, High image quality, 90Hz refresh rate.

Steam: VR SS set to 100%, motionReprojectionMode set to "motionreproduction" and Locked in at 45 Hz display,

DCS: Pixel Density 1.0, Forced IPD at 55 (perceived world size), 2 X MSAA, 0 X SSAA.

My real IPD is 64.5mm. Prescription VROptition lenses installed.

VR Driver system:

I9-9900KS 5Ghz CPU. XI Hero motherboard and 2080ti graphics card, 32 gigs Ram 3

[code][code][code][code]

[/code][/code][/code][/code]200 Hz. No OC at the mo.

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Im surprised the R9 Nano is slower than the 390x/970! Isnt it basically a downclocked FuryX?

 

Yes, it's a down-clocked FuryX. It is similar architecture to the R9 290/390 series, but much larger, which means it's has more parallel compute power. Think of it as a 4 core CPU (290/390) versus a 6 core CPU (Fury) with slower clocks than the 4 core. It seems DCS appreciates the higher clocks more than the amount of stream processors.

 

And yes, Fury has HBM, but the 290 and 390 never suffered from memory bandwidth to begin with, so HBM doesn't really do much in this case. It easily shows when one tries to over-clock the memory on a 290/390. It over-clocks a lot but there's no significant performance gain, which means the memory bandwidth is already good enough to begin with.

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Thank you all for warm reception! :pilotfly:

 

Im surprised the R9 Nano is slower than the 390x/970! Isnt it basically a downclocked FuryX?

The R9 Nano is indeed a great GPU and I love it for it. However it has 0 overclocking potential and the GPU cannot sustain 1GHz clockspeed at any given load - it will underclock all the way down to 800MHz or even less in order to stay within the ~ 175W TDP. Unlike R9 Nano, the R9 390X and GTX 970 run at pretty much maxed out frequencies as the thermal (not power) limit is not reached yet (also, the GTX 970 is the MSI variant with higher than reference clocks). This is true for the R9 Nano unless you unlock 'power limit' -once you do (e.g. +25%), the power draw increases by ~ 50W. The additional compute units of R9 Fury GPU seem to be starved somehow as they offer only minor performance increase over 290X/390X. Basically the R9 Nano offers the performance of the R9 290X/390X at half the power. It's a 4K card and this is where it starts to shine. @Brisse gives good explanation on this topic as well.

 

You can get HDMI2.0 from current AMD cards using a reasonably priced adapter now. This is a fairly recent development so I guess most people don't know about it yet :)

 

http://www.club-3d.com/index.php/products/reader.en/product/displayport-12-to-hdmi-20-uhd-active-adapter.html

 

With the extra price of the adapter considered, you might as well choose Nvidia to begin with though, if you require HDMI2.0, but for those who already has an AMD card and need to expand it with HDMI2.0 functionality, this is a reasonable option.

Yes, this is exactly what I was talking about in my earlier post: "DP to HDMI 2.0 cable adapter is suppose to come out any day now but..."

 

It's indeed a function worth mentioned, hence I have reworded the tl;dr lessions learned section in my 1st post:

 

:smartass: What have we learned so far (tl;dr):

Compiled list of lessions learned:

1. If budget allows - get a fast (overclockable) quad-core CPU! Yes, DCS scales great up to 4 cores!

2. Overclock your CPU: Frequency is the king!

3. Faster memory yields noticable performance gains, especially in the minimum FPS range

4. Flying in 4K on PC: On AMD R9 series - make sure to use DisplayPort (DP) 1.2 for 4K@60Hz - do not use HDMI as HDMI 1.4 isn't cutting it (only 30Hz refresh rate). On NVIDIA GTX 9xx series use either DP1.2 or HDMI (supports HDMI 2.0).

5. Flying in 4K on TV: AMD is currently not a good choice for 'cheap' TV 4K. The problem is that these R9 200/300/Fury/Nano cards can only put out 4K@30Hz over HDMI 1.4. The only way to get 4K@60Hz on current gen AMD is to use DisplayPort (DP) video outputs, which works great - 4K PC monitors with DP video inputs are readily available, however DP 4K TVs are not. If your 4K TV only supports HDMI it's better if you get NVIDIA. Alternatively you can purchase DP 1.2 to HDMI 2.0 adapter which bypasses all of the aforementioned issues. At the time of writing (Jan 2016) the cheapest 55" 4K@60Hz TVs with DP video inputs are still 8-10x more expensive than their HDMI 2.0 counterparts.

Edited by tiborrr
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Thank you for doing all this research and testing, really appricated! I know how time consuming it can be, so kudos for that! :thumbup:

 

Just as a bit of an input, maybe mark the tl;dr in the first post a bit better. While it is a good read containing a lot of information, a lot of people sure would quickly like to see the results. :smilewink:

Check out my YouTube: xxJohnxx

 

Intel i7 6800k watercooled | ASUS Rampage V Edition 10 | 32 GB RAM | Asus GTX1080 watercooled

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@John: Thank you very much. I have tried to mark the TL;DR section a bit better. :book:

@Rage: Thanks man. I will be testing the 390X/295X2 in 4K later this week when I hook them up to a real 4K DP monitor. Oh, and I will also add Fury X :)

 

Update!

 

Results so far after most of the GPUs tested apart from R9 390X (4K), R9 295X2 (all resolutions) and R9 Fury X (all resolutions)

 

9ARSCH7.png

 

mVfn8gT.png

 

fKMxykc.png

GPU Architecture Impact result analysis:

- Please allow for +/- 2% result accuracy. The overlapping graphs peak/dips are always a good sign of a reliable data aquisition.

- Currently all the tested GPUs are powerful enough to drive FHD resolution. At FHD resolution most of the NVIDIA GPUs seem to be CPU bound (as shown by almost identical max and min values).

- All of the tested GPUs, including the old GTX 580, are still proving to show adequate performance at WQHD (2540x1440) resolution by maintaining minimum FPS above 30. Smooth gameplay at this resolution starts with R9 280X (HD 7970). All of the tested NVIDIA GPUs are still pretty much CPU bound as the results between the GPUs are close to nill.

- Only at 4K the difference in GPU power starts to show - currently, the most powerful GTX 980 Ti and Titan X are in the league of their own while GTX 780 Ti still holds ground against the new GTX 970.

- Generally, NVIDIA cards offer higher minimum- and lower max FPS

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

200_s.gif

smartass.gif What have we learned so far (tl;dr):

Compiled list of lessions learned:

1. If budget allows - get a fast (overclockable) quad-core CPU! Yes, DCS scales great up to 4 cores!

2. Overclock your CPU: Frequency is the king! Most of the GPU performance will be CPU frequency bound.

3. Faster memory yields noticable performance gains, especially in the minimum FPS range

4. Flying in 4K on PC: On AMD R9 series - make sure to use DisplayPort (DP) 1.2 for 4K@60Hz - do not use HDMI as HDMI 1.4 isn't cutting it (only 30Hz refresh rate). On NVIDIA GTX 9xx series use either DP1.2 or HDMI (supports HDMI 2.0).

5. Flying in 4K on TV: AMD is currently not a good choice for 'cheap' TV 4K. The problem is that these R9 200/300/Fury/Nano cards can only put out 4K@30Hz over HDMI 1.4. The only way to get 4K@60Hz on current gen AMD is to use DisplayPort (DP) video outputs, which works great - 4K PC monitors with DP video inputs are readily available, however DP 4K TVs are not. If your 4K TV only supports HDMI it's better if you get NVIDIA. Alternatively you can purchase DP 1.2 to HDMI 2.0 adapter which bypasses all of the aforementioned issues. At the time of writing (Jan 2016) the cheapest 55" 4K@60Hz TVs with DP video inputs are still 8-10x more expensive than their HDMI 2.0 counterparts.

6. Overclocking of the GPUs tested yield noticable gains starting with WQHD resolution. Lower performance GPUs than the ones tested (e.g. GTX 750) will benefit from GPU overclocking even in low resolutions.

7. It is safe to say GTX 970 is currently the price/performance king for playing DCS at WQHD (2560x1440) and 4K. For playing DCS at FHD resolution a R7 370 (basically only about 10-15% slower than R9 270X), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or even -950 will be great. If money is tight consider higher-end last gen GPUs.

Edited by tiborrr
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Thank you so much for this tiborrr! :)

 

I'm in the process of purchasing a new PC, and have been erring about whether to buy now, or wait until the next gen Nvidia cards come out.

 

My main purpose in upgrading is to obtain a quality DCS 4k experience, or, at the very least, WQHD. This testing has been invaluable for me in assisting with this decision. I've been erring because I'm not sure an upgrade is worth it for just WQHD.

 

I know you purists probably cringe at people like me buying pre-builds, but I just can't put the whole thing together myself without screwing something up! I'm looking at getting the following (https://www.pccasegear.com/products/34077), and would be really curious about other opinions on 4k playability (let's assume I also buy a good g-synch etc monitor as well) with a 980Ti. I understand it's a way off being current 1080 smooth, but what luck are others having at 4K? This is a great benchmark for me to come to my own conclusions, but others must be exposing comparable rigs to other DCS scenarios.

 

Sorry to highjack this thread - this is a fantastic forum post by tiborrr, and has really helped me out! Thank you!

 

:thumbup:

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