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.

All of our benchmark results can also be found in our benchmark engine, Bench.

MSI GTX 1080 Gaming 8G Performance


1080p

4K

8K
 
16K
 

ASUS GTX 1060 Strix 6G Performance


1080p

4K

Sapphire Nitro R9 Fury 4G Performance


1080p

4K

Sapphire Nitro RX 480 8G Performance


1080p

4K

On the whole, the Threadripper CPUs perform as well as Ryzen does on most of the tests, although the Time Under analysis always seems to look worse for Threadripper.

Benchmarking Performance: CPU Legacy Tests CPU Gaming Performance: Ashes of the Singularity Escalation (1080p, 4K)
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  • mapesdhs - Friday, August 11, 2017 - link

    And consoles are on the verge of moving to many-cores main CPUs. The inevitable dev change will spill over into PC gaming. Reply
  • RoboJ1M - Friday, August 11, 2017 - link

    On the verge?
    All major consoles have had a greater core count than consumer CPUs, not to mention complex memory architectures, since, what, 2005?
    One suspects the PC market has been benefiting from this for quite some time.
    Reply
  • RoboJ1M - Friday, August 11, 2017 - link

    Specifically, the 360 had 3 general purpose CPU cores
    And the PS3 had one general purpose CPU core and 7 short pipeline coprocessors that could only read and write to their caches. They had to be fed by the CPU core.
    The 360 had unified program and graphics ram (still not common on PC!)
    As well as it's large high speed cache.
    The PS3 had septate program and video ram.
    The Xbox one and PS4 were super boring pcs in boxes. But they did have 8 core CPUs. The x1x is interesting. It's got unified ram that runs at ludicrous speed. Sadly it will only be used for running games in 1800p to 2160p at 30 to 60 FPS :(
    Reply
  • mlambert890 - Saturday, August 12, 2017 - link

    Why do people constantly assume this is purely time/market economics?

    Not everything can *be* parallelized. Do people really not get that? It isn't just developers targeting a market. There are tasks that *can't be parallelized* because of the practical reality of dependencies. Executing ahead and out of order can only go so far before you have an inverse effect. Everyone could have 40 core CPUs... It doesn't mean that *gaming workloads* will be able to scale out that well.

    The work that lends itself best to parallelization is the rendering pipeline and that's already entirely on the GPU (which is already massively parallel)
    Reply
  • Magichands8 - Thursday, August 10, 2017 - link

    I think what AMD did here though is fantastic. In my mind, creating a switch to change modes vastly adds to the value of the chip. I can now maximize performance based upon workload and software profile and that brings me closer to having the best of both worlds from one CPU. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Sunday, August 13, 2017 - link

    @ rtho782

    I agree it is a mess, and also, it is not AMDs fault.

    I've have a 14c/28t Broadwell chip for over a year now, and I cannot launch Tomb Raider with HT on, nor GTA5. But most s/w is indifferent to the amount of cores presented to them, it would seem to me.
    Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, August 10, 2017 - link

    Great review but the word "traditional" is used heavily. Given the short lifespan of computer parts and the nature of consumer electronics, I'd suggest that there isn't enough time or emotional attachment to establish a tradition of any sort. Motherboards sockets and market segments, for instance, might be better described in other ways unless it's becoming traditional in the review business to call older product designs traditional. :) Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, August 14, 2017 - link

    Oh man, but we'll still gnash our teeth at our broken tech traditions! Reply
  • lefty2 - Thursday, August 10, 2017 - link

    It's pretty useless measuring power alone. You need to measure efficiency (performance /watt).
    So yeah, a 16 core CPU draws more power than a 10 core, but it also probably doing a lot more work.
    Reply
  • Diji1 - Thursday, August 10, 2017 - link

    Er why don't you just do it yourself, they've already given you the numbers. Reply

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