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The Division 2 Benchmarked: 20 Graphics Cards Tested

The Division 2 Benchmarked: 20 Graphics Cards Tested

We test out The Division 2 on an Intel Core i9-9900K and 20 graphics cards at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. How do they stack up?

@anthony256
Published Tue, Mar 26 2019 8:00 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Sep 24 2019 12:28 AM CDT

Introduction & 20 Graphics Cards Tested

The Division 2 is the latest release in the franchise as an online open-world third-person shooter RPG, and has some of the best graphics you can witness on the PC right now. Ubisoft worked with Massive Entertainment on the game, with help from various other game studios in the development of the game throughout the years.

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VIEW GALLERY - 26 IMAGES

I thought it was a great opportunity for me to test the game and run it through its paces on Intel's latest Core i9-9900K processor and 20 graphics cards at three different resolutions: 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1440, and 3840 x 2160. I didn't just test the game at Ultra graphics, but rather at all graphics settings: Low, Medium, High, and Ultra. The game scales in graphics quality incredibly well as you move through the detail settings, as does the quality of the graphics as you get to 4K. It looks incredible.

20 Graphics Cards Tested

This is one of the biggest tests I've done in years, with 20 graphics cards tested across 3 different resolutions and 4 different visual settings. As for the cards tested, we have:

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • NVIDIA TITAN Xp
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
  • MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti LIGHTNING Z
  • AMD Radeon RX 570
  • AMD Radeon RX 580
  • AMD Radeon RX 590
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
  • AMD Radeon VII
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Tom Clancy's The Division 2 - PlayStation 4 Standard Edition

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* Prices last scanned on 9/22/2020 at 2:28 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

PC System Requirements

Minimum - 1080p 30 FPS

  • OS: Windows 7 | 8 | 10
  • CPU: AMD FX-6350 | Intel Core I5-2500K
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • GPU: AMD Radeon R9 270 | NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670
  • VRAM: 2 GB
  • DIRECT X: DirectX 11 | 12

Recommended - 1080p 60 FPS

  • OS: Windows 7 | 8 | 10
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1500X | Intel Core I7-4790
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • GPU: AMD RX 480 | NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
  • VRAM: 4 GB
  • DIRECT X: DirectX 11 | 12

High - 1440p 60 FPS

  • OS: Windows 7 | 8 | 10
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 | Intel Core I7-6700K
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • GPU: AMD RX Vega 56 | NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
  • VRAM: 8 GB
  • DIRECT X: DirectX 11 | 12

Elite - 4K 60 FPS

  • OS: Windows 7 | 8 | 10
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X | Intel Core I9-7900X
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • GPU: AMD Radeon VII | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 TI
  • VRAM: 11 GB
  • DIRECT X: DirectX 11 | 12

PC Specific Features & Snowdrop Engine

PC Features Overview

The PC version is the ultimate way to play The Division 2, with Massive and Ubisoft providing some gorgeous graphics as well as PC-specific features. This includes a totally uncapped frame rate, 4K and HDR support (uncapped display resolution, so it even works on my 8K monitor). We also have full UI and HUD customization, multi-screen and widescreen support, and variable refresh rate support.

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This doesn't include the plethora of visual sliders and adjustments you can make to the graphics settings of The Division 2, of which there are many. Like, really, a lot.

Snowdrop Engine

Massive Entertainment used a modified version of its in-house Snowdrop engine with some of the best graphics I've seen in a game yet when it is cranked up to Ultra settings at 4K. I was playing it on a Dell UP3218K monitor with a native 8K resolution and even with The Division 2 bumped down to 'just 4K' (I get to say that playing on an 8K display, haha) it looked absolutely sublime.

The game was originally shown off with an incredible teaser trailer that showed off the then-next-gen Snowdrop engine, and while the customized version of Snowdrop looks amazing in The Division 2, it's still a far cry from what was shown off over 5 years ago in 2013.

The Snowdrop Engine focuses on dynamic global illumination, impressive procedural destruction, amazing detail and beautiful visual effects. With the graphics set all the way to Ultra, you will NOT be disappointed in what The Division 2 has to offer in the graphics department.

Image Quality Settings & Test System Specs

Image Quality Settings

I ran all four stock graphics presets which start at Low, and work through to Medium, High and Ultra. At first I was running just the Ultra test but the benchmark scores were coming out so well I thought I'd run them all, to give us a good look at the difference in performance at all of the presets. There are some surprising results for AMD and its Radeon RX 500, RX Vega and Radeon VII graphics cards, too.

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Each of the four graphics presets were run at each resolution: 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. We'll be adding in some 3440x1440 and 8K testing soon, with our first tests looking at just those three mainstream resolutions.

For the benchmarks, I've split the charts into two: Ultra/High Presets and Medium/Low Presets, then you'll see the changes between the detail settings clearer, versus it all shoved in your face at once with four presets and 20 graphics cards.

Test System Setup

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K cooled by Corsair H150i PRO RGB

Motherboard: GIGABYTE AORUS Z390 AORUS PRO

RAM: 32GB Kingston Hyper-X RGB DDR4-3200 RAM

SSDs: OCZ 1TB + 512GB NVMe M.2 SSDs

PSU: Corsair AX860i

Chassis: InWin X-Frame 2.0

Benchmarks - 1080p

Benchmarks - 1080p @ Ultra/High Presets

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Benchmarks - 1080p @ Medium/Low Presets

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Benchmarks - 1440p

Benchmarks - 1440p @ Ultra/High Presets

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Benchmarks - 1440p @ Medium/Low Presets

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Benchmarks - 4K

Benchmarks - 4K @ Ultra/High Presets

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Benchmarks - 4K @ Medium/Low Presets

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Performance Thoughts

4K - Ultra/High Presets

You're going to need a seriously beefy PC to run The Division 2 maxed out at 4K, with even the custom MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti LIGHTNING Z hitting 59FPS average in our benchmark run. NVIDIA's own GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition is 5FPS behind at 54FPS, but surprisingly AMD's new Radeon VII forges ahead of the RTX 2080 with 51FPS average, just 3FPS lower than the RTX 2080 Ti FE.

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You're not going to have a good time at 4K Ultra settings on any other card, as you really want to be hitting 60FPS to be enjoyting yourself. I played through the game with a custom RTX 2080 Ti at 4K Ultra and I was enjoying The Division 2, even though I wasn't getting over 60FPS average. Dropping a few details down (as you can see with our High preset results) and you're getting over 60FPS, closer to over 70FPS with the custom MSI RTX 2080 Ti LIGHTNING Z card.

Dropping the details in The Division 2 down to High and we see the RTX 2080 coming up and offering 58FPS average, while the Radeon VII sails ahead to 65FPS average, just 1FPS lower than the RTX 2080 Ti. Interesting change in results there by dropping detail, something you'll see more of with AMD once you go deeper into the results.

4K - Medium/Low Presets

The Division 2 still looks great at Medium detail, but it does look a lot of its visual flair from the High/Ultra settings, but the performance improvement is significant. AMD beats out NVIDIA with the Radeon VII reaching 83FPS average versus 80FPS on the RTX 2080 Ti FE, while the overclocked MSI card beats them both with 87FPS.

Hitting 60FPS begins at around the RTX 2070/GTX 1080 Ti and RX Vega 64 level, while the 30FPS mark is easily maintained by the GTX 1660, RX 570 and above. Even the lower-end GTX 1060 can spit out 27FPS average at 4K with Medium graphics.

The interesting change here is that when lowered down to Low graphics, The Division 2 runs at 146FPS on the Radeon VII, beating out the RTX 2080 Ti by a huge 20FPS. I re-ran this test multiple times, even after compiling these charts to make sure I had the correct data, and I did. The Radeon series of graphics cards just really stretch their legs in The Division 2 at lower settings.

1440p - Ultra/High Presets

There is a huge range of 2560 x 1440 monitors with native 120-144Hz refresh rates that represent the perfect sweet spot between resolution and refresh rate, as 4K 120/144Hz panels are still too expensive right now. 1440p at 120/144FPS is a great position to be in with a new graphics card, and The Division 2 can be run at 1440p and close to 100FPS average on the latest cards, but that's it.

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Surprisingly, AMD's new Radeon VII stands out from the crowd with 92FPS beating out the RTX 2080 Ti FE and its 88FPS, while an overclocked RTX 2080 Ti manages to keep up with the Radeon VII. The Radeon RX Vega 56, GTX 1080 Ti and everything including the RTX 2070 and above it, all run The Division 2 at 1440p Ultra settings at over 60FPS.

Dropping the details down to High and we have close to 120FPS average from the Radeon VII, which is not too damn bad at all. NVIDIA's own GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE performs well with 107FPS, but ultimately loses to the Radeon VII. The RTX 2080 slides in at 95FPS, while the Radeon Vega 64 beats out the RTX 2070 by close to 10% and even the GTX 1080 Ti by 4FPS average.

1440p - Medium/Low Presets

This is where the charts begin to get interesting... Medium and Low settings provide a much deeper insight into AMD kicking ass for whatever reason at Low detail settings in The Division 2. We're looking at a huge 152FPS average on the Radeon VII at 1440p Medium settings, compared to just 128FPS average from the RTX 2080 Ti in comparison. This is a big deal, considering the Radeon VII is much cheaper.

Hell, there's less performance gap between the RX Vega 64 and the RTX 2080 Ti than there is between the RTX 2080 Ti and Radeon VII, that's how well the Radeon VII does at Medium/Low settings against NVIDIA's best cards in The Division 2.

But look at those Low preset results: AMD kicking serious ass across the board, with the Radeon VII pushing a huge 244FPS average compared to the RTX 2080 Ti with 182FPS. You will see some interesting results from the Radeon RX Vega 56 and RX Vega 64 as well, with 173FPS and 189FPS respectively. Even the Radeon RX 590 stands out at Low detail, even when compared to higher-end GeForce offerings.

1080p - Ultra/High Presets

AMD has control of the lower resolutions in The Division 2 on the Radeon VII with 132FPS average beating out the 121FPS average of the RTX 2080 Ti. Radeon RX Vega 64 sits literally neck and neck with the GTX 1080 Ti at 102FPS, with the new RTX 2080 only beating them out by 1FPS at 103FPS average.

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All cards in our benchmark suite (which consist of 20 cards remember!!) can achieve over 60FPS at 1080p Ultra settings apart from the GTX 1060 and GTX 1660. This is a great acheivement, because it means you can enjoy great looking graphics at over 60FPS on the PC with even a modest RX 570 or even the older GTX 980 Ti.

1080p - Medium/Low Presets

AMD wins in an even bigger way at 1080p with Medium and Low settings, with all Radeon cards sticking out so much it required hours and hours of re-testing a bunch of cards to make sure I was looking at the right results.

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We're looking at a huge 215FPS at 1080p Medium detail, beating the pants off of the RTX 2080 Ti and its 164FPS. Speaking of 164FPS average, that's what the Radeon RX Vega 64 spits out at 1080p Medium... yeah, RX Vega 64 provides identical results at 1080p Medium as the RTX 2080 Ti. I didn't think I'd be writing that today.

Even the RX Vega 56 is showing some good form here with 152FPS average, beating out the RTX 2080, and GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards. Hell, the RX 590 is doing 212FPS and the RX 580 is pushing 192FPS. You can see them stand out big time in our benchmark charts. Impressive stuff for Medium/Low detail users who want to push 200FPS+ at 1080p on a 240Hz display.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. 20 graphics cards. 70-80 hours of benchmarking, re-benchmarking, and writing this article. That doesn't include the 20 hours or so I've put into the game to experience The Division 2 at 4K Ultra graphics to write about it. I didn't want to benchmark and do this deep dive into performance across 20 graphics cards without playing it, right? It turns out that it kicks serious ass, and is definitely worth your attention.

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The Division 2 is one of the best looking games I've come across, and I'm a major critic of graphics. We've seen such a low focus on the PC versions of big releases that when a company like Ubisoft, notorious for watering down its games--and hell, even the original Division was watered down. I was a major critic of it back then, and can safely say Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment massively stepped up (pun not intended, but it works well here) for The Division 2.

It scales incredibly well with most graphics cards, so that even an older-gen GeForce GTX 980 Ti still provides you with 1080p 60FPS+ at Ultra settings. You can't complain about that at all. Pumping up to 1440p and 4K at Ultra/High settings you're going to want the best graphics card you can get if you want to maintain or exceed 60FPS.

But it's worth it. The world of The Division 2 is rich with detail and substance, every nook and cranny has been crafted beautifully by the good people of Massive Entertainment. The lighting, particle, and weather effects are some of the best I've seen so far. I was constantly saying "holy sh*t" and "OMG look at this environment" every time I logged into The Division 2.

Now the performance of The Division 2 is out of the way, you should definitely go and check it out, it has been a blast in my time playing with it and I'm only barely scratching the surface of what the gmae has to offer from its PvP mode in the Dark Zone.

All we need now is faster graphics cards to handle 4K 120FPS... I don't think we'll see The Division 2 running at 4K 120FPS on Ultra settings this year, or heck, even 2020. Still, there is always hope! The Division 2 would look INSANE on a huge 65-inch 4K 120Hz BFGD TV from NVIDIA, but even their latest GeForce RTX 2080 Ti can't run it at 4K 60FPS on Ultra settings.

Maybe I should try get the TITAN RTX to play with? ;)

Bonus: Gorgeous 4K Ultra Screenshots

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Buy at Amazon

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 - PlayStation 4 Standard Edition

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$17.98$17.99$14.69
* Prices last scanned on 9/22/2020 at 2:28 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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