Gaming Performance - Civilization VI

The Civilization series of turn-based strategy games is very popular. For such games, the frame rate is not necessarily an important factor in the gaming experience. However, with Civilization VI, Firaxis has cranked up the visual fidelity to make the game more attractive. As a result, the game can be taxing on the GPU as well as the CPU, particularly in the DirectX 12 mode.

As part of our gaming system reviews, we run the built-in benchmark at two different resolutions (1080p and 2160p), and with two different quality settings (medium and ultra).

Civilization VI (DirectX 12) Performance

The relative performance numbers across all tested resolutions and quality settings are as expected, with the Hades Canyon NUC managing to comfortably be better than the Skull Canyon NUC with its integrated graphics, but, unable to match the systems equipped with GTX 1060 and better GPUs. That said, users should be able to comfortably play the game at 1080p with medium quality settings in the Hades Canyon NUC.

The differences between the two quality settings are summarized in the table below.

Civilization VI (DX12) - Evaluated Quality Settings
Aspect Medium Ultra
MSAA Sample Count 4x 8x
Shadow Map Resolution 4096 x 4096 8192 x 8192
Ambient Occlusion Depth Map Resolution 1024 x 1024 2048 x 2048
Ambient Occlusion Render Texture Resolution 1024 x 1024 2048 x 2048
Terrain Synthesis Detail Level Low Resolution Full Resolution
Terrain Quality Level 3 4
Low Quality Terrain and Water Shaders Yes No
Screen-Space Reflection Passes 2 4
Video Effects Detail Level Low High
Clutter Detail Level Not a Lot A Lot
Ambient Occlusion Disabled Enabled
Leader Rendering Quality Level 1 3
Motion Blur for Leaders Disabled Enabled
Futuremark VRMark Gaming Performance - Dota 2


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  • Vorl - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    Ok, this one seems a bit overpriced for the "meh" performance it gives.

    Where is the review for the ASRock deskmini z370 that is one of the systems it's compared against? that one is a lot cheaper and seems more powerful in most cases. I tried to search for it, and couldn't find it on your site.

    Also, Why run these comparisons with "special" benchmarks? These are more or less full PCs just in smaller form factors. Some of these even have full GPUs.

    I mean if you are going to benchmark them up to 2160p, then why not just treat them like any other system?
  • kragles - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    The ASRock system is not cheaper. The system does not come with a CPU, ram, wifi module, or storage. Once those things are added it is the same price as, or more expansive than, the Hades Canyon. They are basically the same spec wise if you add a $200 CPU (bringing the price w/cpu to $1000 for each). The "as configured" price on this list is incorrect as there is no way they added 16gb ram, an 8700, storage, and a wifi module for $250 Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    Thanks for the eagle eyes :) I had missed the CPU cost ($302) for the DeskMini system. The pricing is now updated to $800 (barebones) / $1350 (as configured, No OS).

    Btw, the system does come with a Wi-Fi module.
  • Vorl - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    $999 (Barebones)
    *** $1617 (with SSD, and RAM, as configured / No OS) ***

    $800 (barebones)
    *** $1350 (as configured, No OS) ***

    This means it has the CPU/Memory/WiFi/SSD.

    They updated the price on the ASRock, it was 1000ish, now it's 1350, but still, it's cheaper with better performance.
  • thestryker - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    It is not cheaper with better performance. Hades Canyon you're buying Memory/Storage, and Asrock you're buying CPU/Memory/Storage. If you look at the test systems the Hades Canyon is using ddr4 3200 vs 2400, and it also has dual storage (which includes $200+ optane).

    In reality if the Memory and Storage were equal the Asrock as configured would be about $100 more than the Hades Canyon (only $200 difference in base price, but the CPU used is about $300).
  • Wheaties88 - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    The ASRock also has an Optane drive in addition to the 512GB SSD as well as faster, more expensive memory. Reply
  • Wheaties88 - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    Scratch that I mean the NUC Reply
  • III-V - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    This isn't a "performance buy," it's a "form factor buy." Reply
  • Daekwan17 - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    These systems are not overpriced at all. In fact they deliver quite satisfactory performance at a noise level and price point that is better than almost anything else on the market. Like most Intel NUC owners I dont game much (have a PS4 & Xbone for that), but I still what the smallest form factor pc possible with some decent graphic capability. I've looked into building my own NUC and once you factor in the cost for a 8th gen i7 CPU, low profile cooler, motherboard, ram, small factor case, small factor power supply, custom cabling, wifi, bluetooth, etc you are easily at $800. Probably closer to $1000.

    But here is where the NUC wins. It is guaranteed to be smaller, quieter and better engineered to be a small factor PC than anything you can custom build. Because it was designed from the ground up to be just that. Most NUC's even come with VESA mounting kits as people generally mount them to the back of a monitor and you have a computer that is out of sight but visually and aurally. You cant see it, cant hear it even though its right there.

    Finally the resale value is fantastic. I'm talking Apple Macbook fantastic resale value.. where you use it for 3 years and sell it used for almost what you paid new! I've used a NUC with a 5th gen i3 for three years.. paid $190 for it on sale.. sold it a month ago for $140 on ebay. I have no doubt the last PC you bought you sold at a much bigger lost than $40 after three years of use. In the meantime Im waiting for Ebay to run another 15% off coupon and I will pick up these for around $850 and use it for right about 3 years. At which point I have no doubt I will be able to sell atleast $750, maybe more. Meaning again I will pay very little to use it 3 or so years.. until its time to move onto something else. I've just check the price on the previous version (NUC6i7KYK) which had MSRP of $649 two years ago.. and is selling for OVER $500 used all day long on Ebay.

    As far as what do I use it for. HTPC is the name of the game. I need this drive my big screen projector which is what makes it small size and noise level so valuable. Combine that with 2 HDMI ports, 2 ethernet ports, Thunderbolt3 and various ports all over the machine and I can connect anything I desire without buying additional cards or needing free slots. Good luck getting Thunderbolt3 working on something like the deskmini z370, from what I can tell its impossible.
  • Sailor23M - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    I agree with Daekwan17, I bought a new Skull Canyon last year on sale from Newegg. Its mounted behind my monitor for a clean look. Its really fast for everthing I need it for which is mostly office work with large excel files and data sets. Its like having a souped up AIO machine with all the benefits of upgrading and double the ports. Plus Intel’s support for these NUCs has been pretty good as well.

    I am not impressed by the $999 price tag as I believe the sweet spot for NUCs is between $500-$750, for $999 + display + SSD/RAM/OS I can buy a very well equipped laptop like a MS Surface

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