Rise Of The Tomb Raider Benchmarked on NVIDIA and AMD Video Cards

Rise of the Tomb Raider PC Box Art Lara Croft is back on the PC thanks to the highly anticipated release of Rise of the Tomb Raider. The latest game title is yet another reboot for the 20-year-old Tomb Raider franchise with new puzzles, locations and breath taking graphics. The 2013 Tomb Raider reboot focused on Lara Croft's origins and this game is set one year after the events of Tomb Raider. Lara Croft is struggling to explain her experience of the supernatural on Yamatai. Looking for answers, she follows her late father's research and heads to the lost city of Kitezh in Siberia to see if she can figure out the answers to immortality. https://youtu.be/hTnGjpfwSdc We are really interested in Rise of the Tomb Raider as NVIDIA is currently doing a limited time promotion where you can get the game title for free if you purchase a GeForce GTX 970 or faster desktop graphics card. NVIDIA didn't forget about notebook fans either as you can get the game for free if you purchase a notebook with a GeForce GTX 970M or above GPU. Why only a GeForce GTX 970 or higher? Rise of the Tomb Raider Suggested Video Card NVIDIA, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics teamed up for some internal testing and found that to get 60 FPS at 1920 x 1080 you'll need a GeForce GTX 970 with the high-detail graphics preset. That feels pretty extreme, so we wanted to take a look ourselves! Rise of the Tomb Raider PC We wanted to bring you this article last week, but AMD was later than we expected with Crimson 16.1.1 Hotfix drivers that had needed performance tweaks and optimizations for Rise of the Tomb Raider. AMD continues to tell us that they are working on getting game day drivers out like NVIDIA, but they just can't seem to get it down and are usually fashionably late. Let's move along and see what we our own benchmarking tells us on six different AMD Radeon R9 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 series video cards.

The PC Benchmarking Test System

Before we look at the Rise of the Tomb Raider performance numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.  There has been some concern of people testing a cold card versus a hot card, but we've always done out testing 'hot' since the site started back more than a decade ago. Video Cards & Drivers used for testing: test system

Intel X79/LGA2011 Platform

The Intel X79 platform that we used to test the all of the video cards was running the ASUS P9X79-E WS motherboard with BIOS 1704 that came out on 05/08/2015. We went with the Intel Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E processor to power this platform as it is PCIe 3.0 certified, so all graphics cards are tested with PCI Express Gen 3 enabled. The Kingston HyperX 10th Anniversary 16GB 2400MHz quad channel memory kit was set to XMP Profile #2. This profile defaults to 2133MHz with 1.65v and 11-13-13-30 2T memory timings. The OCZ Vertex 460 240GB SSD was run with latest firmware available. A Corsair AX860i digital power supply provides clean power to the system and is also silent as the fan hardly ever spins up. This is critical to our testing as it lowers the ambient noise level of the room and gives us more accurate sound measurements. Test System Settings Here are the exact hardware components that we are using on our test system:
The Intel X79 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor Intel Core i7-4960X
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79-E WS
Memory
16GB Kingston 2133MHz
Video Card Various
Solid-State Drive OCZ Vertex 460 240GB
Cooling Intel TS13X (Asetek)
Power Supply Corsair AX860i
Operating System Windows 10 64-bit
Monitor Sharp PN-K321 32" 4K
  Now we can look at the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark results!

Benchmarks and Conclusion

Rise of the Tomb Raider Rise of the Tomb Raider is a third-person action-adventure video game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. It is the sequel to the 2013 video game Tomb Raider, which was itself, the second reboot to its series. It was released for Microsoft Windows in January 2016. Players control Lara Croft through various environments, battling enemies, and completing puzzle platforming sections, while using improvised weapons and gadgets in order to progress through the story. Rise of the Tomb Raider Settings Rise of the Tomb Raider GPU Settings Crystal Dynamics used a proprietary game engine called 'Foundation' for Rise of the Tomb Raider and it is able to create some pretty nice looking graphics. We tested Rise of the Tomb Raider with the Very High preset, but then changed the ambient occlusion setting from HBAO+ (an NVIDIA developed feature) to 'ON' to have as fair of a match up as we could. We also disabled VSync. Once we had the graphics and display settings figured out we used FRAPS to manually benchmark a section of the Siberian Wilderness that is about 10% into the game for a couple minutes. Rise of the Tomb Raider does not have a built-in benchmark, so this is one of the only ways you can benchmark this particular game title. Rise of the Tomb Raider 1080P PC Benchmarks 1080P Benchmark Results: For those running Full HD 1080P displays the good news is that all higher-end desktop graphics cards are able to play Rise of the Tomb Raider with 60 FPS averages. The GeForce GTX 970 and Radeon R9 390 still dip down into the low 50 FPS range at times, but the performance on the cards is more than acceptable as we played from the start of the game (Mountain Peak) to the Soviet Installation on the Radeon R9 390 without any major performance issues that we noticed. If you can afford higher-end card than a GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon R9 390 you should be able to stay above 60 FPS at all times. Update 11:30am CT 2/4/2016 - We've spent the morning benchmark all the cards over again at 1920x1080 based on the feedback from the readers in the comment section. Thanks for the feedback and enjoy! Rise of the Tomb Raider 1440P PC Benchmarks 1440P Benchmark Results: We were pretty shocked to see that only the factory overclocked GeForce GTX 980 Ti was the only video card that could average over 60 FPS at 2560 x 1440! This game title is very tough on video cards and a stock AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 were averaging in the 50's with the lows dropping down into the 40's. NVIDIA is giving away this game title for those buying a GeForce GTX 970 or higher video card it now we know why! The Zotac GeForce GTX 970 AMP! Omega was barely able to average 40 FPS at this popular resolution. Rise of the Tomb Raider 4K Benchmarks 4K Ultra HD Benchmark Results: Rise of the Tomb Raider showed the mighty NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti who was boss as we averaged just 41.5 FPS on that particular card. That was about 10 FPS higher on the min/avg/max frame rate than AMD's flagship single-GPU Radeon R9 Fury X graphics card. If you plan on playing on a 4K Ultra HD monitor you'll certainly want a high-end video card like the GeForce GTX 980 Ti or a Titan X! Final thoughts:  Rise of the Tomb Raider looks fantastic and it one of the more visually stunning games that has come out in the past six months or so. The graphics are pretty mind-blowing and that is great to look at, but it really taxes your systems graphics card. We tested with 'Very High' presets with VSync and NVIDIA's HBAO+ disabled and found that you really need as much GPU as you can afford if you want to get the incredible graphics that the game title offers. We disabled the HBAO+ ambient occlusion method to keep things fair between the cards, but NVIDIA owners will likely want to keep it enabled as it really does look great. You can turn off Pure Hair under the graphics settings for a ~7-8% performance boost on both AMD and NVIDIA powered video cards, but who really wants to do that to Lara? If you want to play Rise of the Tomb Raider with the eye candy cranked up be sure to prepare yourself as this is one of the few game titles that you need a GeForce GTX 980 Ti for at 1440P or higher resolutions to get a good gaming experience!