Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Seen as the holy child of DirectX12, Ashes of the Singularity (AoTS, or just Ashes) has been the first title to actively go explore as many of DirectX12s features as it possibly can. Stardock, the developer behind the Nitrous engine which powers the game, has ensured that the real-time strategy title takes advantage of multiple cores and multiple graphics cards, in as many configurations as possible.

As a real-time strategy title, Ashes is all about responsiveness during both wide open shots but also concentrated battles. With DirectX12 at the helm, the ability to implement more draw calls per second allows the engine to work with substantial unit depth and effects that other RTS titles had to rely on combined draw calls to achieve, making some combined unit structures ultimately very rigid.

Stardock clearly understand the importance of an in-game benchmark, ensuring that such a tool was available and capable from day one, especially with all the additional DX12 features used and being able to characterize how they affected the title for the developer was important. The in-game benchmark performs a four minute fixed seed battle environment with a variety of shots, and outputs a vast amount of data to analyze.

For our benchmark, we run a fixed v2.11 version of the game due to some peculiarities of the splash screen added after the merger with the standalone Escalation expansion, and have an automated tool to call the benchmark on the command line. (Prior to v2.11, the benchmark also supported 8K/16K testing, however v2.11 has odd behavior which nukes this.)

At both 1920x1080 and 4K resolutions, we run the same settings. Ashes has dropdown options for MSAA, Light Quality, Object Quality, Shading Samples, Shadow Quality, Textures, and separate options for the terrain. There are several presents, from Very Low to Extreme: we run our benchmarks at Extreme settings, and take the frame-time output for our average, percentile, and time under analysis.

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


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4K

ASUS GTX 1060 Strix 6GB Performance


1080p

4K

Sapphire R9 Fury 4GB Performance


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4K

Sapphire RX 480 8GB Performance


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4K

Gaming Performance: Civilization 6 (1080p, 4K, 8K, 16K) Gaming Performance: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, 4K)
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  • Gavin Bonshor - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    One of the hardest working men in the industry! :D Reply
  • edlee - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    I dont understand the point of making a $100 cpu without an integrated gpu if you wanted to attract the lower end market, this is really silly mistake. Sort of like intel including an integrated gpu with i7-7700k, it doesnt make sense, 95% of those with a 7700k will buy a gpu, but someone who is looking for a lowend cpu is not going to buy a discrete graphics cards, its just silly Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    It really depends on the use case.

    For example, are there any integrated GPUs that support 3 monitors? I know a lot of them support dual monitors, but haven't come across any that support 3 (although I haven't looked that hard). My work PC is a low-profile desktop running an AMD Athlon-II x4 CPU and an Nvidia 730 GT GPU for tri-monitor setup. Upgrading the CPU/motherboard/RAM to a Ryzen 3 1300X would be a huge upgrade for this system.

    90-odd % of the desktops in the schools here use AMD Athlon-II CPUs (graphics integrated into the chipset), with the rest using Intel Pentium CPUs (graphics integrated into the CPU). And we add Nvidia 210 or 730 GPUs to those that need better multi-monitor support or better 3D performance. Why do we do it that way? Cost. We try to keep the complete desktop system (case, motherboard,
    CPU, at least 2 GB RAM, no storage of any kind) to under $200 CDN (they're diskless Linux stations). We have just shy of 5000 of those in the district right now.

    We've avoided the Bulldozer-based APUs so far as the price/performance just wasn't there compared to the Pentium line (from our suppliers). But the Ryzen 3 looks like a decent upgrade. Will be interesting to see what the prices are like for it from our suppliers this winter/spring. Will also be interesting to see what the GPU side of the Zen-based APUs will be like next year.

    The other important bit is driver support. We are a mostly Linux-using school district, so we tend to use hardware that's at least 2 steps back from the bleeding edge. That way, we get better prices, and better driver support.
    Reply
  • edlee - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    i understand when upgrading from integrated to gpu like you stated in your use case, but from the low end price standpoint, a i3-7100 is cheaper because they dont need to add a gpu like the ryzen 3 needs, so its not competing on a performance standpoint or a price standpoint when you add the price of the cheapest gpu Reply
  • Outlander_04 - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Using an integrated gpu is usually a poor choice. Intels drivers are so dumbed down they are worse than hopeless.
    Factor in that using integrated means less system RAM available as well so performance can be reduced
    Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    Many people may be starting out from the position of knowing that the integrated graphics on any of the Intel CPU's in the test are not good enough for them. If you know that from the start then the argument that AMD doesn't have an IGPU is meaningless. I'm also somewhat interested in seeing overclocking tests with the R3 as that is one thing you just don't get with Intel at this level short of the 7350K. I sort of suspect that an OC'd 1200 could but just as fast or faster than a 1300X (though at only a $20 difference I'm not sure how much it matters).
    Also, in more computationally intense tasks, the 1300x really doesn't do badly against the i5 that costs $53 more so once again, if you don't care about integrated graphics it could be a good choice for some people.

    On the other hand, for someone for whom MS Office, email, and web browsing are their main uses, then something like the i3-7100 suddenly looks very attractive - or even the Pentium G.
    In this segment, AMD really needs to get a Ryzen Based APU on the market. If they did a single CCX, 4 core and used the empty space vacated by the second CCX for a decent IGPU they could definitely have an i3 killer.
    Reply
  • renw0rp - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    I had HP Folio 9470m with core i5-3437U and it was driving 3 * 1920x1200 screens without an issue. And it's ~2013 processor...

    3rd gen of Core processors was the first to support 3 displays. The 2nd gen supported just 2.
    Reply
  • stuartlew - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    AMD Kaveri does three monitors Reply
  • serendip - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Are there motherboards with integrated chipset graphics for Ryzen?

    I understand the good thing about adding a discrete GPU only to PCs that need one but not having an integrated GPU is nuts, for the mass market at least.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    No, but Bristol Ridge launched yesterday, so there are now APUs that use AM4. Reply

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