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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  • iwod - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Intel has 10nm and 7nm by 2020 / 2021. Core Count is basically a solved problem, limited only by price.

    What we need is a substantial breakthrough in single thread performance. May be there are new material that could bring us 10+Ghz. But those aren't even on the 5 years roadmap.
  • mapesdhs - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    That's more down to better sw tech, which alas lags way behind. It needs skills that are largely not taught in current educational establishments.
  • wolfemane - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Under Handbrake testing, just above the first graph you state:
    "Low Quality/Resolution H264: He we transcode a 640x266 H264 rip of a 2 hour film, and change the encoding from Main profile to High profile, using the very-fast preset."

    I think you mean to say "HERE we transcode..."

    Great article overall. Thank you!
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Thanks, corrected :)
  • wolfemane - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    I wish your team would finally add in an edit button to comments! :)

    On the last graph ENCODING: Handbrake HEVC (4k) you don't list the 1800x, but it is present in the previous two graphs @ LQ and HQ. Was there an issue with the 1800x preventing 4k testing? Quite interested in it's results if you have them.
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    When I first did the HEVC testing for the Ryzen 7 review, there was a slight issue in it running and halfway through I had to change the script because the automation sometimes dropped a result (like the 1800X which I didn't notice until I was 2-3 CPUs down the line). I need to put the 1800X back on anyway for AGESA 1006, which will be in an upcoming article.
  • IanHagen - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    One thing that caught my eye for a while is how compile tests using GCC or clang show much better results on Ryzen compared to using Microsoft's VS compiler. Phoronix tests clearly shows that. Thus, I cannot really believe yet on Ian's recurring explanation of Ryzen suffering from its victim L3 cache. After all, the 1800X beats the 7700K by a sizable margin when compiling the Linux kernel.

    Isn't Ryzen relatively poor performance compiling Chromium due to idiosyncrasies of the VS compiler?
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    The VS compiler seems to love L3 cache, then. The 1800X does have 2x threads and 2x cores over the 7700K, accounting for the difference. We saw a -17% drop going from SKL-S with its fully inclusive L3 to SKL-SP with a victim L3, clock for clock.

    Chromium was the best candidate for a scripted, consistent compile workflow I could roll into our new suite (and runs on Windows). Always open for suggestions that come with an ELI5.
  • ddriver - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    So we are married to chromium, because it only compiles with msvc on windows?

    Or maybe because it is a shitty implementation that for some reason stacks well with intel's offerings?

    Pardon my ignorance, I've only been a multi-platform software developer for 8 years, but people who compile stuff a lot usually don't compile chromium all day.

    I'd say go GCC or Clang, because those are quality community drive open source compilers that target a variety of platforms, unlike msvc. I mean if you really want to illustrate the usefulness of CPUs for software developers, which at this point is rather doubtful...
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Again, find me something I can rope into my benchmark suite with an ELI5 guide and I try and find time to look into it. The Chromium test took the best part of 2-3 days to get in a position where it was scripted and repeatable and fit with our workflow - any other options I examined weren't even close. I'm not a computer programmer by day either, hence the ELI5 - just years old knowledge of using Commodore BASIC, batch files, and some C/C++/CUDA in VS.

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