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Open Forum: The first 5 games you use to test a new graphics card

By Julio Franco
Jul 8, 2016
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  1. First, you spend too much on a new graphics card. Then, you fire up your chewiest, toughest PC games and make them beg for mercy. For one brief moment, your exorbitant purchase feels completely reasonable.

    Last week I bought a new top-of-the-line GTX 1080, a purchase I rationalized by telling myself I should get it now while I could still re-sell my last graphics card (a 980Ti) for enough to somewhat offset the expense. Also I just wanted one. (Read TechSpot's and Kotaku's review)

    Any time I install a new PC component, particularly a new GPU, I have a short list of games that I check out first. Which games have been giving me trouble? Which will best justify my purchase? How high can I get the little frame-rate counter in the corner of the screen to climb?

    1. The Witcher 3

    Of course I had to play The Witcher 3 first. Not only is it one of my favorite games, it’s one of the best-looking games I’ve got. It already ran fine in 1440p, but I wanted it to run finer. And it does; oh, it does. I would say that Geralt is like 10% more ruggedly handsome than he was. I’m not quite sure how to benchmark that.

    2. Rise of the Tomb Raider

    At its best, RotTR is as pretty as anything else I have installed. Also a game that gave my last video card a run for its money. I’ve beaten it twice (!!) which seems like more hours than I’d expected to spend playing it, so I fired it up just long enough to run around the Geothermal Valley and determine that I do indeed get a good frame-rate. Onward!

    3. Hitman

    There’s always that one game, isn’t there? The one game that still doesn’t run well, and you assume it’s that the game isn’t well optimized but you can never be quite sure. I really like the new Hitman, but it has never run very well for me. I’ve tried everything (seriously, everything) and I cannot keep it above 60fps.

    Guess what? I still can’t keep it above 60fps on my GTX 1080. (I know it’s a CPU hog, but if a 4.4Ghz i7 can’t keep up, something’s off.) If you’re bummed out about your Hitman performance and are worried that your PC is the problem, don’t be. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that this game is simply poorly optimized. And if you’re lucky enough to have a PC that can run the game perfectly, well, good for you.

    4. Crysis 3

    Ah, Crysis 3. A game I’ve never really cared for, but keep around specifically to throw under the wheels of new graphics cards. I don’t really need to play for very long, I just want to look at Psycho’s beautiful, pockmarked face, then to go choke out some dumb CELL agents. This game is showing its age in some respects, but my 980Ti actually had a little trouble with it at 1440p. It’s gratifying to see a new GPU chew it up and spit it out. Maybe my next card will run it in 4k.

    5. Elite: Dangerous (VR)

    This is a new one for me; in the past I might’ve put Arkham Knight or Just Cause 3 here. But now that I’m actually actively playing VR games, I want to be sure they’re running nice and smooth. Elite: Dangerous is generally really good in VR, but my PC has always had trouble keeping it at 90fps. Until now, I guess. The 1080 is finally able to play this game at the VR frame-rate John Carmack intended, and it looks very fine, indeed.

    And there they are, the first five games I used to test out this latest GPU. Everyone has their own first games they play on new hardware — surely some of you still break out the original Crysis for old times’ sake? Share yours below.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. darkzelda

    darkzelda TS Addict Posts: 251   +86

    If I'd buy a new graphics card now, sure The Witcher 3 would be the first one, followed by Crysis 3, Total War: Attila, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Metro: Last Light.
     
  3. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 494   +126

    As long as it can handle Minesweeper, we good
     
    noel24, cartera, CortyDK and 5 others like this.
  4. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 899   +15

    The Witcher 3: Max out everything, and find some monster nest where you will be attacked from all directions on top of grass surroundings. Anyway the B&W DLC sure has a way to make you appreciate the graphic, there is a specific quest where Geralt will bring an artist to a spot where he will be drawn.

    Project CARS: One if not the best looking car sims available. Max out everything, play in a track with plenty of opponents in rain at dawn with the lights on. I know the rain effect is certainly not the best, but it taxes the GPU a little bit. Because it is a racing sim, the slightest stutter will immediately annoy you, so I'm sure it is suitable for testing.
     
  5. Tgard

    Tgard TS Enthusiast Posts: 59   +12

    I would see if Quake3Demo will now run at 12,000 FPS! Kidding, I jest (no I actually do run that just to get a kick out of it). I would fire up Batman:AK and see if that freakin' batmobile would finally run with all the candy turned on. Then Skyrim of course where I was invulnerable and taking on a pack of 8-10 fire breathing Dragons at one time and with at least a few villagers there to really tax it. Some Laura Croft: Rise of the Tomb Raider. Then I would probably overclock it a bit and do it all again.
     
    Odium likes this.
  6. SirChocula

    SirChocula TS Booster Posts: 71   +50

    Overwatch for me. I'd love to see it run at 144fps + since I got a 144hz monitor.
     
  7. McMurdeR

    McMurdeR TS Rookie

    I don't bother doing that anymore, l just keep playing what been playing. It's nice to know you can handle Crysis 3 and AoTS at full detail 60fps, but at the end of the day they're only average games at best, so who cares?

    I occasionally put off playing some games until after my upgrade, especially the ones that are known to be demanding. Witcher 3 for example, I only bought it the same day I ordered my new 1080.
     
    BSim500, darkzelda and madboyv1 like this.
  8. Thannos

    Thannos TS Member

    I'm waiting for the 1080 Ti to come out before I decide to upgrade from my 780 Ti, and the newest game list I use is Rise of the Tomb Raider, Witcher 3, DOOM, Crysis 3, Alien: Isolation.
     
  9. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Addict Posts: 227   +88

    DOOM, Witcher3, Metro:last light, Dark Souls 3, Far Cry Primal.
     
  10. EClyde

    EClyde TS Guru Posts: 705   +177

    I don't "test out" a new card with any specific game. I buy a new card to play a game that is more then the card I had can handle
     
    mrtraver likes this.
  11. liammac002

    liammac002 TS Rookie

    My HD 6450 destroys these games lel
     
  12. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 707   +168

    Crysis 3, The Division, Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light, Battlefield 4, Battlefront and BioShock Infinite.
     
  13. MynnyD

    MynnyD TS Rookie

    Runs crappy on AMD (Project Cars) -> the AMD drivers are not optimized
    Runs crappy on Nvidia (Hitman) -> the game is not optimized

    who needs single standard anyway? :)
     
  14. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,646   +520

    The new Hitman runs great on my 970, better than on my friends AMD hardware at least... On the AMD GPU he gets all kinds of broken light shafts everywhere and we both commented on the AMD promo banner during start up because of this. For me I get no such broken lighting effects, runs maxed out with no issues, even in DX12 as I've posted somewhere else it uses all 4GB of VRAM vs in DX11 it only uses 3.5GB
     
    Fluffmeister likes this.
  15. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,630   +431

    I test the games I bought the card for after reading at least 3-4 reviews that include them.
     
  16. poohbear

    poohbear TS Addict Posts: 104   +62

    I'd add a total war game to the list. Preferably TW Warhammer as that thing is gorgeous yet demanding.
     
  17. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,167   +573

    I know that his post was pro AMD but I don't think anecdotal evidence is going to offset a game that is obviously AMD optimized. Pick your battles.
     
  18. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 1,950   +161

    1. Chivalry Medieval Warfare

    2. Road Redemption

    3. Ark Survival

    4. Metro last light or whatever is newest.

    5. Google fu for the most demanding game. Last time it was Bio Shock Infinite.
     
  19. MynnyD

    MynnyD TS Rookie

    It was, but I would not want it the other way. Both companies make great cards :)
     
  20. mcborge

    mcborge TS Maniac Posts: 202   +118

    With the card I have now it was doom, crysis 3, rise of the tomb raider, the witcher 3, gta 5.
     
  21. DaveBG

    DaveBG TS Addict Posts: 226   +72

    GTA 5 , Fallout 4
     
  22. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,660   +767

    Pong .... that's enough
     
  23. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus TS Evangelist Posts: 1,654   +308

    Game desired => game reviews researched => game purchased => game run and experienced => issues identified => solutions developed => card capabilities assessed => replacement card reviews researched => card purchased

    I do not buy equipment, I buy solutions. I'm currently playing Skyrim on an ATI Radeon HD 5770.
     
  24. Blkfx1

    Blkfx1 TS Evangelist Posts: 851   +201

    I don't typically "test" my graphics cards. I leave that to websites like Techspot. With that said, I often boot up 3Dmark to make sure I'm getting all the performance I'd expect from the GPU.
     
  25. ZypheREvolved

    ZypheREvolved TS Rookie

    In 2017 there will be just one important game to test a card and that is Star Citizen.

    Get yourself into the community planned and run event called Operation Pitchfork. Thousands of players in one large event. That event will push everything any of us have when on extreme graphics settings.
     

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