Video memory usage - Final Words & Conclusion
Graphics memory (VRAM) usage
How much graphics memory does the game utilize versus your monitor resolution. Well, lets have a look at the chart below. The game offers the option to adjust the overall quality in one go, even mid-game you can change settings and resolutions without the need for a restart.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is reasonably demanding in is graphics memory with the best IQ settings. We'll take two 4GB cards. You will notice that up-to Full HD 3 GB is recommended, mind you that the 2GB cards played fine though. At a QHD resolution of 2560x1440 a 4GB card is recommended and at Ultra HD a 4GB card or better is something you will need. The game will eat away what you can throw at it.
Now If you run out of memory, typically that is not per se an issue as games simply cache a lot stuff that isn't immediately used/adressed. Worst case scenario is that it starts swapping from the HDD/SSD. If that happens, lower AA or if really bad, drop from Very high to towards high quality mode, watch your free graphics card memory rise. The benefit here is that there's less cached and loaded (shaders/textures/etc) from your (hopefully) SSD. The graphics card memory utilization was rather different for AMD vs. Nvidia cards. AMD definitely seems to eat more of it.
So this is my sweet GFX test corner. The upper right screen is the Ultra HD panel. To the right the test bench - in the middle white chassis the FCAT system - to the left where you see no signal, that's the FCAT recording output.
It is time to conclude this article. We had a great time testing the game. Square Enix made a title that certainly does not disappoint, honestly Rise of the Tomb Raider is very enjoyable to play and nice to the eyes. Overall Rise of the Tomb Raider offers fairly solid performance albeit future patches and driver updates always will enhance a thing or two in quality, stability and obviously performance. Albeit being a console port, the game shows a nice, and allow me to say proper graphics experience on the PC platform onder the condition that you can run it at High or Very High image quality settings.
As explained: the game is VERY WEIRD in the sense that in scenes your FPS can be say 30 on average and then when you pan to the right all of the sudden is jumps up to 65 FPS. This happens throughout the game and makes it a challenge to properly test the graphics cards. This is alone is the sole reason why we miss internal scripted benchmarks so much these days. None-the less we tried to focus a bit more on the stringent segments, thus the review reflects the lower average FPS ranges.
Game-play wise nothing is very new, you either hate or like the puzzles with linear storyline I guess, but that is personal. It is very nice game as the combination of a story-line and missions combined with this visual experience definitely make this a worthwhile game. With pretty good quality settings most modern age graphics card will do fine with the game. As always, up-to Full HD at 1920x1080/1200 a modern age ~3GB graphics card should be fairly sufficient, perhaps you would need high IQ settings though. Once you pass that Full HD resolution 4GB or better is recommended if you want eye-watering quality. So I'll be harsh in my recommendation here, up-to 1080p a GeForce GTX970 or a Radeon R9 290/390 would be a pretty nice match in terms of value for money versus image quality and your perf. For 2560x1440 at Very High quality settings a good starting card would be the GeForce GTX 980 or Radeon R9 NANO / Fury series.
Note: this article is work in progress. This week I'll try to add some Multi-GPU scaling as well as some extra perf tests in-between the four in-game configurable quality modes. But guys, if you like the genre, this is a great game and a pretty impressive port, go for it.
Hilbert out, peace.
Handy stuff at the end