Civilization 6

First up in our CPU gaming tests is Civilization 6. Originally penned by Sid Meier and his team, the Civ series of turn-based strategy games are a cult classic, and many an excuse for an all-nighter trying to get Gandhi to declare war on you due to an integer overflow. Truth be told I never actually played the first version, but every edition from the second to the sixth, including the fourth as voiced by the late Leonard Nimoy, it a game that is easy to pick up, but hard to master.

Benchmarking Civilization has always been somewhat of an oxymoron – for a turn based strategy game, the frame rate is not necessarily the important thing here and even in the right mood, something as low as 5 frames per second can be enough. With Civilization 6 however, Firaxis went hardcore on visual fidelity, trying to pull you into the game. As a result, Civilization can taxing on graphics and CPUs as we crank up the details, especially in DirectX 12.

Perhaps a more poignant benchmark would be during the late game, when in the older versions of Civilization it could take 20 minutes to cycle around the AI players before the human regained control. The new version of Civilization has an integrated ‘AI Benchmark’, although it is not currently part of our benchmark portfolio yet, due to technical reasons which we are trying to solve. Instead, we run the graphics test, which provides an example of a mid-game setup at our settings.

At both 1920x1080 and 4K resolutions, we run the same settings. Civilization 6 has sliders for MSAA, Performance Impact and Memory Impact. The latter two refer to detail and texture size respectively, and are rated between 0 (lowest) to 5 (extreme). We run our Civ6 benchmark in position four for performance (ultra) and 0 on memory, with MSAA set to 2x.

For reviews where we include 8K and 16K benchmarks (Civ6 allows us to benchmark extreme resolutions on any monitor) on our GTX 1080, we run the 8K tests similar to the 4K tests, but the 16K tests are set to the lowest option for Performance.

For all our results, we show the average frame rate at 1080p first. Mouse over the other graphs underneath to see 99th percentile frame rates and 'Time Under' graphs, as well as results for other resolutions. All of our benchmark results can also be found in our benchmark engine, Bench.

MSI GTX 1080 Gaming 8G Performance



ASUS GTX 1060 Strix 6GB Performance



Sapphire R9 Fury 4GB Performance



Sapphire RX 480 8GB Performance



Civilization 6 Conclusion

In all our testing scenarios, AMD wins at 1080p with minor margins on the frame rates but considerable gains in the time under analysis. Intel pushes ahead in almost all of the 4K results, except with the time under analysis at 4K using an R9 Fury, perhaps indicating that AMD is offering a steadier range in its frame rate, despite the average being lower.

Benchmarking Performance: CPU Legacy Tests Gaming Performance: Ashes of the Singularity Escalation (1080p, 4K)
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  • Spoelie - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    On the first page, I assume the green highlight in the processor charts signifies an advantage for that side. Why are the cores/threads rows in the Ryzen side not highlighted? Or is 8/16 not better than 4/8?
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Derp. Fixed.
  • Gothmoth - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    intel must really push money into anandtech. :) so many interesting things to report about and they spend time on a niche product.....
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    This has been in the works for a while because our CPU failed. I work on the CPU stuff - other editors work on other things ;) If you've got an idea, reach out to us. I can never guarantee anything (I've got 10+ ideas that I don't have time to do) but if it's interesting we'll see what we can do. Plus it helps us direct what other content we should be doing.
  • halcyon - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    This is an amazing amount of benchmarking with many options. thank you. Must have been a lot of work :-)
    The obvious idea is this:

    Gaming (modern CPU limited and most played games) & Productive work (rendering, encoding, 4K video work, R/statistics/Matlab)

    Test those under 4c/8t and 8c/16t CPUs both from AMD and Intel - all at most common non-esoteric overlock levels (+/-10%).

    This is what many of your readers want:

    How much does c. 5Ghz 4c/8t do vs 4.x Ghz 8c/16t when taken to it's everyday stable extreme, in modern games / productivity.

    The web is already full of benchmarks at stock speed. Or overclocked Ryzen R 7 against stock Intel, or OC intel against overclocked Ryzen - and the game/app selections are not very varied.

    The result is a simple graph that plots the (assumed) linear trend in performance/price and shows any deviations below/above the linear trend.

    Of course, if you already have the Coffee lake 6c/12t sample, just skip the 4c/8t and go with 6c/12t vs 8c/16 comparision.

    Thanks for all the hard work throughout all these years!
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    "so many interesting things to report about and they spend time on a niche product....."

    What can we say? CPUs have been our favorite subject for the last 20 years.=)
  • user_5447 - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    "For 2017, Intel is steering the ship in a slightly different direction, and launching the latest microarchitecture on the HEDT platform."

    Skylake-S, Kaby Lake-S and Kaby Lake-X share the same microarchitecture, right?
    Then Skylake-X is newer microarchitecture than Kaby Lake-X (changes to L2 and L3 caches, AVX-512).
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Correct me if I'm wrong: SKL-SP cores are derived from SKL-S, and 14nm. KBL-S/X are 14+, and shares most of its design with SKL-S, and the main changes are power related. Underneath there's no real performance (except Speed Shift v2), but Intel classifies Kaby Lake as its latest non-AVX512 IPC microarchitecture.
  • user_5447 - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Kaby Lake-S has some errata fixes compared to Skylake-S. AFAIK, this is the only change to the CPU core (besides the Speed Shift v2, if it even involved hardware changes).
    David Kanter says Skylake-X/EP is 14+ nm
  • extide - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - link

    I have a buddy who works in the fabs -- SKL-X is still on plain 14nm

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