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From today, Shadow of the Tomb Raider supports raytracing and DLSS. We have benchmarked all Nvidia RTX graphics cards with and without raytracing and DLSS.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the second raytracing game
Since Nvidia released the new Turing graphics cards at Gamescom 2018, many have been waiting mainly for the games, which will then also master the new main feature called raytracing. RTX buyers had to be patient until the first game with raytracing effects came onto the market. It was Battlefield 5, but little has happened since then. Further games remained only announcements or came without Raytracing on the market. It was the same with Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
However, that has changed today. With a 138.5 Megabyte update via Steam Raytracing and DLSS were activated for the game. From now on it is possible to calculate the shadows by raytracing in the steps Medium, High and Ultra. DLSS replaces the anti-aliasing options and is available for WQHD and UHD. Since this is the first patch, errors can still occur, which is why a rollback via a beta patch on Steam is also possible, which deactivates the settings.
Benchmarks with all RTX graphics cards
To celebrate the day, we of course didn’t miss the opportunity to test the options and make a comparison with the benchmark function integrated into the game. Since we happen to have models of all RTX graphics cards in the house, we’ve tested all four raytracing-capable series.
Note: This test is for initial performance assessment of Shadow of the Tomb Raider raytracing and DLSS effects only. We deliberately didn’t look at the image quality and graphical differences between the gaming experience without DLSS and raytracing compared to enabled DLSS or raytracing. This is purely a comparison of the FPS.
The test system
Our proven system with the Intel Core i7-7700K was used as test system. It sits on a MSI Z270 Gaming M7, which is equipped with 32 gigabytes Ballistix Elite DDR4-3000 RAM. The OS is installed on a WD Black NVMe SSD, the game on another SanDisk Ultra SSD. As driver the current Nvidia driver 419.35 WHQL was used, Windows 10 is up to date (1809).
Three custom designs and a Founders Edition directly from Nvidia were used as graphic cards:
- Inno3D GeForce RTX 2080 Ti iChill Black Edition
- Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 AMP
- Zotac GeForce RTX 2070 AMP Extreme
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition
All graphics cards are overclocked models, some of which even reach the peak values of custom designs. Therefore, we have completely dispensed with tests with overclocked graphics cards.
The game settings
We have used our benchmark standard for the settings. All options are turned upwards as far as possible. Only anti-aliasing is set to SMAAT2x instead of SMAAT4x, on UHD resolution we have completely deactivated anti-aliasing. Also V-Sync was deactivated for the test to avoid creating a FPS cap. For comparability, we have also tested the “small” graphics cards, namely RTX 2060 and RTX 2070, on UHD as well.
In order to get an accurate picture of the tested effects, we have tested all raytracing levels in each resolution individually. With DLSS enabled, we repeated these tests again and also created a benchmark without raytracing enabled to complete the overall picture. DLSS was only enabled under WQHD and UHD because the Full HD option could not always be enabled.
Interestingly, we discovered in our tests that the DLSS option could also be activated on Full HD with the RTX 2060 and RTX 2070. The picture was very bad and there were no better framerates, so it’s more like a bug.
RTX 2080 Ti: UHD runs (almost) on Ultra
The RTX 2080 Ti is the high-end of the Turing series. When raytracing started with Battlefield 5, however, the prophecies of doom became big, as the game only broke the 60 FPS mark even on Full HD and activated raytracing effects. Although much has been improved by patches, 60 FPS on UHD still doesn’t really exist.
However, with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, especially in combination with DLSS, the performance is already good on UHD. Our Inno3D GeForce RTX 2080 Ti iChill Black Edition barely achieves the 60 FPS with activated DLSS and the raytracing settings “High” or “Ultra”. Without DLSS, however, even the “medium” level does not reach the 60 FPS mark. DLSS increases the FPS with activated raytracing by 35 percent in the medium setting, 37 percent in the high setting and 39 percent in the ultra setting. Without activated raytracing, DLSS increases FPS by 28 percent.
In WQHD, however, the increase in performance is not as extreme. In the lowest case, the FPS rise by 9 percent, in the highest by 18 percent. With over 60 FPS all variants are playable on WQHD, without DLSS only the deactivation of raytracing can deliver over 100 FPS.
RTX 2080: WQHD is also no problem on Ultra
The same picture as with the RTX 2080 Ti is also apparent with the RTX 2080 with regard to the differences due to the different settings. On UHD, DLSS even raises the RTX 2080 above the 60 FPS mark, but with raytracing it gets tight. WQHD is therefore rather the area of the RTX 2080, and here the graphics card also shines with ultra raytracing details. With 62 FPS the game should run smoothly. But without DLSS the fun is over again. The RTX 2080 only reaches more than 60 FPS in the middle setting. Full HD is of course no problem for the graphics card. Here the middle setting without DLSS even reaches over 100 FPS.
RTX 2070: Sometimes also on WQHD
The performance of the RTX 2070 is already further down compared to the higher models. The fundamental increase through DLSS is also apparent here again. On WQHD, however, the sweet spot is the medium setting. Without DLSS the graphics card hardly reaches 40 FPS, with DLSS only the mid 50s. If you’re overclocking, you could also achieve over 60 FPS, but since we’ve tested the fastest out-of-the-box-RTX 2070, there isn’t much potential left. You have to do without DLSS on Full HD, but raytracing also runs on Ultra with over 60 FPS.
RTX 2060: with DLSS but without raytracing even WQHD possible
Let’s get to the smallest RTX graphics card. The RTX 2060 has been described by many as unnecessary because it simply wouldn’t have any real power left for raytracing. This is also partly evident in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. In WQHD, the graphics card is already struggling with the 60 FPS without raytracing. But the activated DLSS feature even saves them over the magic limit. Otherwise, the RTX 2060 is more suitable for Full HD. But here it only does its job with medium raytracing details. The High and Ultra settings both deliver 50 or less FPS.
Conclusion: Finally Raytracing on 4K with 60 FPS!
When the Turing generation was introduced, Nvidia fans first cheered and then panicked. On the one hand because of the prices, on the other hand mainly because the new raytracing feature throwed them back into the age of full HD gaming, even with a RTX 2080 Ti. After some time of development there is nothing left of it. Shadow of the Tomb Raider also runs on the RTX 2080 Ti on UHD resolution with high or ultra ray tracing details, but just on 60 FPS. The remaining Turing graphics cards can also contribute their share at lower resolutions and often reach the magic limit of 60 FPS, depending on the level of detail. With Shadow of the Tomb Raider raytracing has definitely become a bit better and more interesting.