Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided DX12 Performance Review

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has received official DX12 support in the retail release. We will take the newest AMD and NVIDIA video cards and compare DX12 versus DX11 performance. We will also pit AMD versus NVIDIA in DX11 and DX12 and find out how it all compares in the latest version of this game.

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Summary

In today’s evaluation we set out to evaluate the new DX12 API support in the game Deus Ex: Mankind Divided which was released one month ago in the game. At the time of launch this game only supported DX11, but shortly thereafter beta support for DX12 came with a patch. Since that patch further development was made on the DX12 front until October, when DX12 support finally was released to the retail version of the game for everyone to use.

We waited until the official release to start testing DX12. We even gave it some more time, by waiting a full month after the official release with more patches being released in the interim. We have given this game, and video card drivers, time to mature. A typical gamer would not wait this long for a new exciting game to play. Gamer’s want to play games they are interested in on day one of being launched. Therefore, DX12 support coming so late after the launch, really loses its value.

However, we gave it our best, and tested this game among seven video cards today from the high-end to the low-end between AMD and NVIDIA. We used the latest game version out today, and the absolute latest video card drivers out today. This is as good as it gets in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided in terms of performance.

DX12 versus DX11

Let’s get straight to the main point of this article, we wanted to know if DX12 provides a real gameplay advantage, and how much, on each video card. Our questions were answered, but the result was not what we expected given the amount of time DX12 support was in beta, and how much time it’s been officially released.

The simple answer is DX12 provides no performance advantage in this game from top-to-bottom, from high-end to low-end, from high resolution to low resolution. In fact, DX12 can be detrimental to performance, depending on your GPU.

NVIDIA GPUs

We found that NVIDIA GPUs take a large hit to the gut in this game running DX12. Performance is so diminished under DX12 it makes settings that were playable at DX11 not playable in DX12. It drastically changes the performance profile and positioning of each NVIDIA GPU. This happened with the GeForce GTX 1080, GeForce GTX 1070, GeForce GTX 1060 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. It happened at 4K, 1440p and 1080p.

We even ran a few extra tests (not shown here) trying to see if fast cards like the GeForce GTX 1080 running at super low settings at 1080p would result in something different. However, nothing was different. It doesn’t matter if you are intensely GPU bound, or if you try to ease the burden and run at low settings, no matter what NVIDIA GPUs suffer under DX12 in this game by a large degree.

AMD GPUs

AMD GPUs performed better, but had their own mysterious results. On the good side of things AMD GPUs did not experience the large degree of performance degradation the NVIDIA GPUs did. However, the bad side is they ultimately still also lost performance as well under DX12, just not as much.

Every video card from the AMD Radeon RX 480, to AMD Radeon RX 470 to AMD Radeon RX 460 was slower in DX12. The gap seemed to widen as we moved down in resolution. At the top, 1440p, the gap was close. However, at 1080p, and with slower video cards, the gap widened between DX12 and DX11.

DX12 Trends

We were more-so surprised at the fact that none of the AMD cards performed faster in DX12 in this game. AMD Polaris GPU architecture has been known to perform well in previously tested DX12 games compared to the competition. None of the cards were having it though. It didn’t matter if we were extremely GPU bound, or we lightened up on settings, we never experienced DX12 actually being faster.

Past trends have shown other games where NVIDIA GPUs have also lost a good deal of performance moving to DX12 versus DX11. While AMD GPUs have generally been received well as handling DX12 better. We are certainly starting to see some trends, even here, with the AMD GPUs taking less of a hit with DX12 than NVIDIA GPUs do.

Overall though, DX12 has got itself off to a rocky (or rotten?wink start. Other than benchmarking software DX12 has so far been a bit of a lame duck in gaming performance. It has very unpredictable behavior, poor performance, and not offered an improved gameplay experience, yet. We say yet, because maybe one day things will change? At any rate, we’ve got a couple more games lined up to take a look at DX12 performance right now that should be interesting. Let’s see if these trends continue or not.

Performance

When you put the competing video cards together, there were interesting results to be had as well. Between the GeForce GTX 1060 and Radeon RX 480 in DX11 we found that the AMD Radeon RX 480 pulls ahead slightly in performance in this game. The result was 6% though, so overclocking either video card would swing the result around to that cards side. It’s really close. Still, that is good news to see AMD pulling ahead in DX11 in a demanding game like this.

When we switch over both cards to DX12, well, the NVIDIA GPU cards lose a lot of framerates. That allows the AMD GPUs to pull ahead, but only because NVIDIA GPUs are losing so much performance in DX12. Except at the low-end, no matter DX11 or DX12 the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti continues to dominate the AMD Radeon RX 460.

The real champ we found seems to be the AMD Radeon RX 470. Compared to the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and Radeon RX 460 the Radeon RX 470’s gameplay experience is miles ahead. It has a large leap in performance with that card. There’s a smaller gap between the Radeon RX 470 and Radeon RX 480. If you want the best at 1080p though, the AMD Radeon RX 480 is going to deliver that for you. Just keep everything in DX11 and you’ll be alright.


The Bottom Line

The moral of the story here, from our findings is run this game in DX11, look past DX12 for now. DX12 provides no performance benefit at this time according to our testing. DX12 also offers no visual differences. DX12 also consumes more VRAM. The only potential benefit would have been performance, but apparently DX12 cannot provide that in this game. Whether you are running AMD, or NVIDIA, stick with DX11 in this game and you’ll be a happy camper.

If you are looking for affordable video cards that also provide a fun gaming experience we have to look toward the AMD Radeon RX 470 and AMD Radeon RX 480 for 1080p. There are great deals on AMD Radeon RX 470’s right now, with lower pricing, and rebates a Radeon RX 470 could be just what you need for 1080p in this game. If you are looking upwards toward 1440p, a GeForce GTX 1070 is going to offer you a great compromise of performance and price. If you want the smoothest experience at 1440p with maximum settings, the GeForce GTX 1080 can provide that. If you game at 4K, one GeForce GTX 1080 is not going to be enough, you will need more GPU performance.

We will continue to use this game for testing because besides DX12 support this game is graphically demanding anyway in DX11. It supports many advanced and forward looking 3D graphical effects in games, and proves to us it is a good test of GPU performance as it scales very well across the GPUs. We just have to stick to DX11 in it, for now. Perhaps one day it might be better in DX12, this game is still being actively tweaked with patch updates. Until then, get to gaming, with the latest game patches and video card drivers this is a stable and fun game, and performance has never been as good as it is right now.

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