The Crew Performance Video Card Review

The Crew is a new racing game that takes place in a massively multiplayer open-world environment like no other game. It supports some NVIDIA GameWorks technologies, and we will see how it performs on no less than eight different video card combinations to gauge real world gaming performance across the board.


The Crew is a new open-world, massively multiplayer, racing game released December 2nd, 2014. This game was developed by Ivory Tower and Ubisoft Reflections, a subsidiary of Ubisoft. The game was published by Ubisoft. The game currently holds a Metascore of 73 and a user score of 6.7.

On the developer's webpage this game is described as being developed for next-gen consoles and high-end PC:

"We are proud to announce our brand new project: THE CREW, a community-based action-driving game set in a massive open-world, developed for next-gen consoles and high-end PC, in partnership with Ubisoft Entertainment."

We will talk about that very topic in our conclusion because we have a very strong opinion on that statement after playing this game.

The Crew is on NVIDIA's Pick your Path current game bundle. If you buy a GeForce GTX 980 or GeForce GTX 970 video card you can chose a free Ubisoft game, either The Crew, Far Cry 4 or Assassin's Creed: Unity.

Our goals today are to look at performance and evaluate if it is worthy to add to our gaming suite for evaluating video cards, or not.

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The Graphics

This game uses a custom, in-house game engine called Babel. This game engine has not been used in any other game yet and surely one of the reasons we wanted to cover this title.

The developers of The Crew have embraced NVIDIA's GameWork's (more info here) technologies to implement into this game. However, only a couple of NVIDIA's suite of tools are used here to improve the graphics.

The two primary NVIDIA GameWorks features are ShadowWorks for HBAO+ ambient occlusion support and NVIDIA TXAA. NVIDIA's GameWork's technologies include a whole bunch more graphic possibilities, but this game makes use of the bare minimum.

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HBAO+ - This game uses ShadowWorks to support NVIDIA's HBAO+ ambient occlusion method. This is a more precise, and optimized way to perform ambient occlusion and looks better compared to standard SSAO methods. This game actually supports two SSAO methods, SSAO and SSAO+ in addition to HBAO+.

However, HBAO+ will only work on NVIDIA GPUs in this game. AMD GPUs like the AMD Radeon R9 290X an 290 will not be able to use HBAO+, it doesn't even show up in the graphics settings. This is odd because we know HBAO+ itself is vendor agnostic. Far Cry 4 allows you to run it both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs with no issues. Therefore, the developers have artificially locked out HBAO+ to AMD GPU users, which we do not like at all.

TXAA - TXAA support is in this game, but only barely. It only supports 4X TXAA, there is not a 2X TXAA option. In fact, there is only a 4X MSAA and 8X MSAA option in addition to FXAA. For some reason, the developers do not support 2X MSAA or 2X TXAA, and we do not understand why, it is quite odd.

The rest of the in-game quality settings are discussed on the next page.

Test Setup

We are using our standard review setup as shown here. For all video cards tested we are using the latest drivers. AMD GPU video cards are using Catalyst 14.12 WHQL Omega driver. NVIDIA GPUs are using GeForce 344.75 WHQL.