Ubisoft The Crew NVIDIA Gaming Performance Benchmarked
Developed by Ivory Tower, The Crew is Ubisoft's latest game and is an open but persistent environment for races that take place across the United States. You play as Alex Taylor, an elite driver that goes to prison after being framed for murder. When the FBI offers you a chance at redemption and a way to put the real criminals into prison you get back on the road.
Using realistic vehicles you get to drive some of the hottest cars and modify them to your specific skill set. The Crew is played all online, either solo or with up to eight friends for races or other events.
We were able to get access to The Crew when it was released on December 2nd, 2014 and decided to do a little performance testing with a NVIDIA based video card. The Crew does not support AMD's Mantle, however NVIDIA has included it in their latest driver to provide support for MFAA, which we covered here
There is no built in benchmark utility in The Crew, so we will be using FRAPS to evaluate the performance. One thing that should be noted, is that from the BETA builds, we knew The Crew was frame locked to 30FPS, but could be changed in the configuration file to allow up to 60FPS. Ubisoft took this under consideration and made it much easier to change the maximum FPS to 60FPS. Unfortunately, there is no option to allow the user to turn off the FPS limiter to allow the user to get the FPS they want. Keeping that in mind, this is a FPS Limit, you can't go above 60FPS, but you can go below.
During the testing phase, we will be testing at 3840x2160, and 1920x1080. For the video options, we will use the pre-configured "Ultra" graphics quality, but change the Anti-Aliasing in each test to see if NVIDIA's MFAA makes a difference. We will get to the testing after we take a quick look at the test system.
The Test System
Before starting up The Crew and checking out its performance, let's take a quick look at the test system. The test system is running an Intel i5-4690K processor on a Gigabyte Z97M Gaming-5 motherboard, pushing the processor to 4.4GHz. The Windows 8.1 operating system was installed on a Samsung Evo 750GB SSD. For the memory, 16GB Kingston HyperX Blu DDR3 was installed. To keep the system cool, a Corsair H105 liquid cooler was installed. The video card used in the performance testing is an eVGA GTX 970 SC ACX 2.0 with the GeForce 344.75 WHQL drivers, which enable MFAA for select titles.
Intel Z97 Test Platform:
This is what CPU-Z tells us about the test system.
Here is a quick look at the test system we'll be doing the testing on.
Time to check out the game and see how it performs.
Ubisoft's The Crew Benchmark Performance
While performance testing is usually done under a controlled environment, with The Crew being an always online persistent environment things will change that are out of our control. The number of players in the area, time, and the AI controlled items. Getting a 100% identical performance test without a built-in benchmark will be difficult. We have chosen a long road in Detroit to drive from one end to the other down the middle of the road, and will do that at the top speed of the vehicle without crashing.
The Crew 3840x2160 (4K Ultra HD) Gaming Performance:
If we tried to run The Crew on a GTX 970 at 3840x2160 with 8x MSAA, it was unplayable. We were able make it playable with a simple change to the Anti-Aliasing, setting it to 4x TXAA, which is one step below 8x MSAA. There is some graphic differences, and the FPS were still a little low, we could have changed it to 4x MSAA, and received 30FPS, but that doesn't show much for performance, if both tests are set to 30FPS. So we opted to increase the graphics quality a little and stick with the lower FPS to show what MFAA can do for performance. With a simple switch in the NVIDIA control panel, MFAA provided 14% boost in FPS. Which is hard to beat with a simple driver update.
The Crew 1920x1080 (1080P) Gaming Performance
Running the game at 1920 x 1080, if we allowed the game to choose the optimal settings, it would run at 60FPS without any issues. We maxed the graphics quality and was still able to get close to 60FPS with MFAA enabled. Without MFAA, we received 42.7FPS, which makes it a very playable game.
While a couple of Ubisoft's latest games have had issues with graphics and CPU utilization, The Crew ran without issues in our limited game time. Even when trying to push the game to it's maximum at 4K, all graphics rendered without any issues, it just had poor frameate. As for CPU utilization, it was below 50% across all four cores on the Intel i5-4690K running with Ultra graphics at the 4K resolution, and 4x TXAA.
One additional note on gaming performance, originally we were going to test The Crew at 2560 x 1440 as well, however any graphics setting we chose, it continued to run at 30FPS even though the FPS Limit was set to 60FPS.
1920 x 1080p Graphics Quality
During our time testing The Crew, we took several screenshots to take a look at the quality. Here is one of t he screenshots taken at 1920 x 1080, at Ultra quality with 4x MSAA.
We took the same screen shot after activating MFAA within the NVIDIA drivers, and ther is some differences. Not only do we get the performance difference that we can see below, but there is a slight difference in the quality of graphics. If you take a look at the stop light pole, that is the best place to see the difference in AA methods.
With The Crew being released on December 2nd, 2014, we immediately began some testing. During our time doing performance testing, we did not encounter any graphic issues, regardless of the graphic settings; during primetime gaming it did take a few minutes to log into the game (which Ubisoft is working to resolve). The Crew is a beautiful looking game, with some of the best looking cars made today. If the size of Detroit is any indication, there are hundreds of hours of game time included in The Crew. Using the latest drivers, GeForce 344.75 WHQL, NVIDIA's MFAA shows an improvement of 14% in 4K resolution in the FPS, however you have to have a Maxwell based video card to take advantage of that.