It’s time for another mega benchmark and the subject of today's GPU onslaught is Resident Evil 2. A classic survival horror game developed and published by Capcom that it’s also a remake of the original Resident Evil 2 released for the PlayStation way back in 1998.

The game has been built upon Capcom’s RE Engine, which was originally built for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, but has since been used for Devil May Cry 5 as well. Fun fact: the "RE" stands for the first two letters of the engine's full name, "Reach for the moon." Told you it was fun.

Before the RE Engine, Resident Evil titles used the MT Framework engine. This includes 2012’s Resident Evil 6. The RE Engine is much improved and offers a variety of new graphical methods such as dynamic shadows, shadow cache, subsurface scatters and FXAA + TAA. The updated rendering techniques include HDR, a VR specific mode, the ability to output 4K resolution, among others.

With those technical details out of the way, let’s get to it. We won't be reviewing the actual gameplay here, but here's a handy review roundup on how it plays. What we will show you here is how a massive range of graphics cards perform in this title, so you know what you’ll need for playable performance at 1080p, 1440p and 4K using the max graphics quality preset. We’ll also run additional testing with a mid-range preset at 1080p to see what you can get away with.

Resident Evil 2 supports both DirectX 11 and 12, however we’ve used the older DX11 API for all the testing because as usual DX12 is a complete and utter mess, plagued by low frame rates and constant stuttering. GeForce RTX cards along with AMD’s Vega models were both over 30% faster when using DX11.

For the test we’re recording a 60 second pass in the Police station. From the initial checkpoint we walk up the left staircase, the back down the opposite side and under the roller door, the test ends during a cutscene. For the bulk of the testing the "Max" preset has been used which recommends 14 GBs of VRAM which is pretty insane and seems a tad exaggerated given the RTX 2080 Ti only saw an allocation peak of 8GBs when gaming at 4K. That’s still very high relative to other titles, but not close to the suggested requirements.

When using the "Balanced" profile we re-tested some of the newer graphics cards along with much older GPUs. This preset suggests VRAM usage to hit 2.4 GB which is much more manageable for the lower-end cards. As for drivers, we’ve tested with AMD’s Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.1.2 driver and Nvidia’s GeForce Game Ready 417.71 driver...

Benchmarks

Starting with 1080p, here we have all the current and previous generation GPUs. Technically we have 3 generations from Nvidia now, but the point is we have a lot of squashed blue bars so let’s stretch this out and discuss the results as we scroll down to the dreaded unplayable zone.

Even with the maximum quality preset enabled the RTX 2080 Ti blitzed this test spitting out an incredible 217 fps on average with a 1% low of 181 fps and a 0.1% low of 133 fps. The Pascal Titan X, GTX 1080 Ti and RTX 2080 all provided very similar results, needless to say they enabled extremely playable performance.

Then we see a reasonably large step down to the RTX 2070 and Vega 64, at least when looking at the average frame rate. It should be noted that Vega 56 does incredibly well, beating not only the GTX 1080 but also the new RTX 2060. It slippped behind ever so slightly for the 0.1% result, but was just ahead for the 1% low and average frame rate.

From this point on AMD does very well... The RX 590 was able to match the GTX 1070 and this placed it on par with the GTX 980 Ti. Then we see the RX 580 smashing the GTX 1060 6GB by a convincing 26% margin, placing them on a category apart in this title.

AMD's previous-gen Fury range didn’t fare as well, and this is down to that limited 4GB VRAM buffer, rendering them unplayable. It was interesting to see the 4GB versions of the RX 580 and 570 fairing much better though. We’re putting this down to memory optimizations for the GCN 4th gen architecture.

Moving down further, we see the GTX 980, GTX 1060 6GB and Radeon R9 390 all producing similar performance at around 70 fps. Then to our surprise, the 3GB 1060 was able to provide playable performance, given its limited VRAM buffer size, and in particular given what we saw from the 4GB AMD cards. I was expecting a Powerpoint presentation here but it was playable. Surely, the 0.1% low performance suffered but the experience wasn’t overly choppy. A similar experience was seen with the GTX 970 and once we drop below that the experience really started to suffer.

Increasing the resolution to 1440p sees quite a few GPU models fall below the 60 fps barrier. Many of the entry level GPUs were too slow to get here, so they’ve been dropped from the chart.

As expected the RTX 2080 Ti has no issue at 1440p and the same is true for the non-Ti model along with the GTX 1080 Ti and Titan X. It’s also interesting to note that the GTX 1080 Ti’s slightly larger VRAM buffer didn’t give it an advantage over the RTX 2080 despite the game allocating around 7 - 7.5GB/s of memory at 1440p, basically placing the 2080 right on the edge here.

While the game was often allocating more than 6GB of video memory, the RTX 2060 had no issues keeping up and as was the case at 1080p, remained just 11% slower than the RTX 2070 at 1440p.

AMD’s Vega GPUs do very well again. Vega 64 hung in there with the RTX 2070, while Vega 56 topped the GTX 1080 and RTX 2060, at least for the average frame rate. Frame time performance was slightly down, but nothing too alarming.

The RX 590 was able to keep pace with the GTX 1070 again, while the RX 580 was 26% faster than the GTX 1060 6GB. Older Fury GPUs continued to struggle due to its limited 4GB VRAM buffer, though GCN 4th gen models with only 4GB of memory fared better again.

The GTX 1060 6GB was right on the edge for playable performance, while older Maxwell GPUs, the GTX 980 and 970 were unable to deliver playable performance at 1440p with visual settings maxed out.

At 4K resolution we have fewer survivors. The RTX 2080 Ti was capable of providing smooth playable performance. What we got from the RTX 2080, GTX 1080 Ti and Titan X was also very nice. The RTX 2070 and Vega 64 weren’t fast enough, though you could likely reduce a few settings and get them up to an acceptable level of performance. Beyond that, you’re better off gaming at 1440p.

Taking It Down a Notch

Wrapping up the testing, we grabbed a few mid-range graphics cards as well as some older bangers. Loaded up what’s called the "Balanced" preset at 1080p and ran a few more tests. This boosted the performance of the Radeon RX 570 by almost 30%.

The truly huge gains were seen with the 2GB and 3GB cards. The GTX 1050 for example saw over an 80% performance boost with the balanced preset.

The balanced preset suggests 2.4 GB of VRAM will be used, though that seems like an aggressive estimate as the 2GB models worked just fine.

For 60 fps on average, something like the Radeon HD 7950 will do. From Nvidia you will require a GTX 780 Ti or GTX 970, so the requirements are steeper with the older GeForce cards. Older models such as the R9 270X or GTX 960 did enable a playable experience at 1080p using this preset, so not a bad deal there really.

We noted issues with GeForce 600 & 700 series cards, basically any models based on the Kepler architecture. We specifically say Kepler because the GTX 750 Ti worked without issue and that's one of the few GeForce 700 series model not to use that architecture, instead it’s a Maxwell GPU. While the game did load up with a Kepler-based GPU, the game was very dark and unplayable, which would suggest it's a driver-related issue with the game's lighting. We're sure if GeForce 600/700 owners make enough noise Nvidia will address the bug.

Wrap Up

For those of you targeting 1080p gameplay with all the bells and whistles, you’ll want a graphics card with at least 4GB of memory, though ideally 6GB+ is the way to go. From the newer GPUs you’ll want at least a 6GB GTX 1060 or GTX 980 from Nvidia or an RX 570/R9 390 from AMD.

As it's often the case, the RX 570 4GB represented exceptional value, but for the max preset you will want to ensure you get an 8GB version. And while you're already there maybe just get an 8GB RX 580. The 8GB RX 580 was the pound for pound champ at 1080p.

For those gaming at 1440p there are a few good options. Vega 56 is certainly one of them, as is the new RTX 2060. That said if you’ve got a Pascal GTX 1070, 1070 Ti or 1080 then you’ll have no issues playing Resident Evil 2 at 1440p.

As for 4K, no surprises here. You’ll ideally want an RTX 2080 Ti, but if your not drowning in coin then the GTX 1080 Ti or RTX 2080 will get the job done. Of course, you can always tweak the quality settings for better performance and tomorrow Tim will be doing just that on a HUB video, so that’ll be worth checking out.

Resident Evil 2 looks great. Tell you the truth, it looks quite amazing. If you’re into survival horror games then I’m confident you’ll enjoy it. Steam's user reviews are overwhelmingly positive, so it looks like we have one of those rare titles that delivers. We’ll be adding this one to our full time roster of games that we benchmark with and it even looks like it might be a decent CPU benchmark as well, though we'll need to play it more to see where the demanding sections are. If you enjoyed this feature, please share it, and let us know what future game releases you would like us to benchmark.

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