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Wrap Up: What do you need hardware-wise?
Normally after spending a few days benchmarking a new game I can't wait to actually play it. With Dragon Age: Inquisition, I'll be happy to put it behind me for a while. There's clearly something wrong with the game, presumably DRM-related. I have never encountered the problems described earlier with other EA/Origin titles such as Titanfall.
The only thing keeping me sane while I tried to get into Dragon Age: Inquisition was the fact that I wasn't alone – not that it was comforting to know paying customers were enduring the same misery. Other players experiencing the issue have flocked to the answers.ea.com forums, with some threads so long you could sew an anti-EA t-shirt.
As always, it's loyal customers who lose with aggressive anti-piracy measures. Pirates don't care, either because their copy comes with less strings attached or simply because they will play something else they were never going to pay for. This subject has been beaten to death, but that's all the more reason for us to be disappointed in EA.
Getting back to the results... gamers who want to play at 1920x1200 or 1080p with everything maxed will need a pretty serious graphics setup as even the GTX 980 fell short of 60fps, while you can write off more affordable cards such as the R9 270 and GTX 660.
Ideally, you'll want at least an R9 270X/R9 285 or GTX 680/770. It was interesting to find that while the GTX 770 averaged just 38fps at 1920x1200, the aging HD 7970 carried on with 40fps. Also, if you can believe it, the GTX 780 was upstaged by the HD 7970 GHz and R9 280X.
We found that Dragon Age: Inquisition was predominantly GPU-limited when using 'realistic' quality settings. Playing at 1920x1200 on ultra-quality we found that the AMD FX range was able to deliver the same performance as Intel's Core i5 and Core i7.
However, if you reduce the quality to 'unrealistic' levels and remove the GPU bottleneck caused by the GTX 980, then the AMD processors do get stomped by Intel's Core i5 and i7s. This might only be an issue for those gaming with multiple GPUs.
As expected, the GTX 980 is the fastest single-GPU card in Dragon Age: Inquisition, though the R9 290X isn't far behind, while the best value option for playing this release seems to be the R9 290 as it matched the pricier GTX 780 Ti and GTX 970.
Until the next one, you can check out more PC gaming benchmark tests here, including GTA V, Far Cry 4, Battlefield Hardline, Evolve and more.