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.
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.
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 1920×1080 based on the feedback from the readers in the comment section. Thanks for the feedback and enjoy!
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.
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!
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!