Dragon Age: Inquisition GPU & CPU Performance Review

By Julio Franco ยท 66 replies
Nov 24, 2014
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  1. Dragon Age: Inquisition has been built with Frostbite 3, the same game engine used by Battlefield 4 except BioWare also integrated a vegetation engine called 'Speed Tree' that has been used in many games and movies, from Avatar to Star Trek.

    The result is a stunning world that scales surprisingly well on older gear, with the game having been designed for consoles as well as PCs. Folks with high-end rigs can look forward to higher resolutions along with better textures, lighting and characters models.

    As always, we used the latest AMD and Nvidia drivers for testing, which included 25 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from both companies covering all prices.

    Read the complete article.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2015
  2. Sgt Bilko

    Sgt Bilko TS Rookie

    Why no FX-9370 or FX-9590?

    I get the FX-8350 was overclocked to 4.5Ghz but the FX-9590 is faster again out of the box and would have been interesting to see the results :)
  3. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    I feel like this goes without saying but okay here we go, we don't have an FX-9000 series processor. AMD doesn't have samples.

    That said given the results we provided with the FX processors we did test the review isn't exactly begging for an out of the box overclocked FX.
  4. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Thanks for another comprehensive review Steve. You seem to have undergone the benchmarking equivalent of the Labours of Hercules.
    Are you familiar with the phrase "Some people are never satisfied"?
    Steve benchmarked seventeen different processors. Do you have any idea how much work that entails?
    The FX-8350 shows a whole 3 frames per second difference in a 1 GHz range from 3.5 to 4.5, how much of an improvement do you think is likely from an extra 200MHz (9370) or 500MHz (9590) ?
    amstech and Steve like this.
  5. Sgt Bilko

    Sgt Bilko TS Rookie

    Thanks for the reply, It was just curiosity and I guessed the reason you didn't include them is because you didn't feel the need or didn't have one.

    And thank you for taking the time to piece this all together :)

    Jeez, get out of bed on the wrong side?

    I was curious about why they were not in there and I got my answer, No need to jump down someone's throat about it.

    and yes I know how much work is required to benchmark that many different pieces of hardware, I'm rather surprised it was done so quickly and am grateful for it.
    Steve likes this.
  6. Cryio

    Cryio TS Addict Posts: 207   +62

    By this benchmark I think it goes without saying that a R9 290 and an FX 8320 are the best bang for the buck for maxing out this game with breaking the bank.

    Question: Wasn't DA:I supposed to support Mantle as well? That would put AMD GPUs and CPUs in an even better position.
  7. Sgt Bilko

    Sgt Bilko TS Rookie

    It does, I've been running Mantle on my rig and it's working great so far, game is beautiful and very fun to play :)
    Cryio likes this.
  8. Cryio

    Cryio TS Addict Posts: 207   +62

    This Black Friday I saw a discounted 290 going for 66% of the price of a 780 and the performance is obviously better than a 780 Ti/970. Best discount ever.
  9. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    Since the game is primarily GPU dependent Mantle has little to offer in the way of extra performance. The only way you will see gains is if you pair a high-end AMD GPU with a low-end AMD CPU.
  10. First of all, thanks to Julio and Techspot for this article. The DRM issue would have drove me crazy. I specifically waited for this article before making a purchase decision. The idea is to get a 970 GTX (AMD is not an option due to driver issues on Linux in multi-monitor setups) to achieve 60+FPS on 1920x1200 for smooth and tearing-free fun. After reading the article I know the 970 GTX won't deliver that with Ultra+2xMSAA settings. So I'm wondering if anyone could tell me or point me to some info about how the graphic quality goes down by reducing Ultra to High and how that impacts the FPS.
    Steve likes this.
  11. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    You are welcome. If you don't get pointed in the right direction for some quality comparisons I will upload some images tomorrow for you.
  12. Cryio

    Cryio TS Addict Posts: 207   +62

    Could you guys in the future test on the more common resolutions please?

    I see more people with 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 (or maybe even just downsampling) than with 1920x1200 and 2560x1600.

    Also, if possible, try including 4K tests in the future with SLI 980x and CrossFire 290X (since arguably AMD still has the upper hand in 4k performance) and I want too see some valid results to confirm what I suspect to be the performance leader currently at that resolution.
  13. Cryio

    Cryio TS Addict Posts: 207   +62

    Since the game is primarily GPU dependent Mantle has little to offer in the way of extra performance. The only way you will see gains is if you pair a high-end AMD GPU with a low-end AMD CPU.[/QUOTE]

    True, but it would make a massive difference in performance with the variety of AMD CPUs you have here. Try looking more into that too :D. Nvidia claims they can properly flex their muscles in DirectX while AMD claims they can do even better in Mantle. And since they're only a handful of Mantle games so far, why not show to the public what Mantle can actually do? Maybe throw in an FX6300 for reference in Mantle performance.
  14. indiangamer

    indiangamer TS Enthusiast Posts: 57   +9

    I think speedtree is a part of frostbite
    Speedtree's website had battlefield 3 and 4 listed in their games section
  15. Deders

    Deders TS Rookie

    Speedtree has been around and implemented into games long before battlefield.
  16. archOnion

    archOnion TS Rookie

    So an i3 definitely can't run this game? Gamegpu had some i3s in their results and I was planning to get a 4360. This review is saying it won't work so I'm a little confused.
  17. indiangamer

    indiangamer TS Enthusiast Posts: 57   +9

    I meant it is not something additionally used with frostbite 3 for inquisition.
  18. Scorpus

    Scorpus TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,963   +231

    I'll add a couple of things here from my personal experience running Inquisition.

    - If your system can handle it, run it on 2xMSAA (at least) and disable post processing. I find the latter to over-smooth textures
    - Eyefinity support is excellent out of the box
    - With two Radeon R9 290s in Crossfire, I could easily run the game at Ultra settings (2xMSAA, 3x1080p) in DX11 mode at around 40-45 FPS
    - Mantle doesn't work with aspect ratios of 21:9 and above. Seems to be a bug, which means no Mantle + Eyefinity for now.
    - I briefly tested Mantle at 1080p and saw small gains, at best 10 FPS. But I've also heard some people report that DX11 is faster for them, so it seems to vary.
    - The game scales surprisingly well with resolutions, at least on my system: I went from around 75 FPS at 1080p to 40 FPS at 3x1080p. It seems you really see the benefits of Crossfire at higher resolutions.
    - Live rendered cutscenes are capped at 30 FPS
  19. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    Forget 4K with this game!
  20. I have been playing Dragon Age Inquisition at 1440p ultra with an FX 8350 and I just upgraded to an Intel 4790k (not in your benchmark), but I can say for sure at higher resolutions my FX 8350 barely pushed over 30 fps with a GTX 980. When I upgraded to the Intel I was pushing another 10 FPS at least in the benchmark which is about 20fps with regular gameplay as the benchmark is a stress test of sorts.

    I have been an AMD guy for the past ten years or so, but if you are going to play over 1080p, you really should get an Intel if you don't already have one.
  21. FYI, Mantle does work at 21:9
  22. Zeromus2003

    Zeromus2003 TS Rookie

    Love this game, but hate I had to buy it twice.... b/c the crappy programmers had to make the game REQUIRE Quad-Core CPUs. Its ridiculous....there is no reason why this game can't run off two cores. Freaking Far-Cry 4 has pulled the same crap....they programmed it to do all the processing on Core 3 (4th core). Someone already proved that Far Cry 4 runs just fine on two cores. It sounds to me that both Ubisoft and Bioware are either in cahoots with Intel/AMD to force ppl to update to Quad Cores or just lazy programmers!! Btw, I also hear that this Quad Core requirement is total BS b/c DirectX 11 can't span multiple threads across cores!!! Come on Bioware, get with it! Lastly, even Witcher 3 is supposed to work on Dual Core and its by far going to be a better game!!!!!
  23. You forgot the most important graphic in your GPU chart. Minimum Frame Rate!
  24. Filip B

    Filip B TS Enthusiast Posts: 46   +9

    Uhm, In graphics menu there are two AA options I mean post process and multi sampling. I'd like to ask how taxing are these AA on ultra settings? Having two AA seems redundant and a luxury, rather than lowering texture quality this might be the way to go.
    Anyone has tried ultra with/without AA on a single gpu?
  25. This is another game that shows AMD's cards outperforming similarly- or better-specced NVIDIA cards. The other one being Far Cry 4. It's surprising to see a Radeon HD 7950 Boost performing the same as a GeForce GTX 770 at 1920x1200. And take a look at the R9 280X performing the same as a GTX Titan.

    Also, the quad-core CPU requirement seems unfair to me. The Core i3 is a very capable CPU when it comes to gaming. Battlefield 4 has no issues running on a CPU with 2 cores so why is it an issue with Dragon Age: Inquisition?
    Julio Franco likes this.

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