DOOM Eternal has dropped just at the right time, with coronavirus COVID-19 forcing more people than ever before forced to stay at home. It's the best time to forget about the world for a little while and sink your teeth into id Software's incredible new first-person shooter.
The game may have been delayed from its original release of 11/22/19, with id Software delaying it a month from release until 20/3/20 -- and it has been well worth it.
DOOM Eternal is the first game out of the doors of id Software to be powered by the latest id Tech 7 engine, and it pays off. It's one of the best-looking games on the market, but it is optimized for a slew of graphics cards that I am slowly going through testing.
But for now, I thought I would do the most exciting thing first -- running the latest and greatest game (in this case, DOOM Eternal) at the most intense resolution a PC gamer can use: 8K. Yeah, 8K -- which means we're talking about 7680 x 4320, and it will bring any PC and graphics card to its knees.
Hell, you can't even run 8K with a graphics card that has less than 8GB of RAM -- which means most graphics cards are out of the equation instantly. This reduces the graphics cards you can buy for DOOM Eternal at 8K to just a few.
Graphics Cards Used
- NVIDIA TITAN RTX (24GB GDDR6)
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (11GB GDDR6)
- AMD Radeon VII (16GB HBM2)
I had DOOM Eternal cranked all the way up to 7680 x 4320 -- or 8K -- and forgot that I had my GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER graphics card installed. It has just 8GB of memory, and rejected the 8K resolution from even being applied.
Once I had installed the flagship GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, benchmarking of DOOM Eternal at 8K could begin. I first did some graphics setting tweaks, to see how much VRAM you will need on DOOM Eternal's graphical presets.
id Tech 7 Engine
DOOM Eternal is the first game powered by the new id Tech 7 engine, which has seen developer id Software move solely into the arms of the Vulkan API -- versus DOOM (2016) that had both OpenGL 4.5 and Vulkan API options.
8K VRAM consumption:
- Low - 6.9GB
- Medium - 7.4GB
- High - 8GB
- Ultra - 9.2GB
- Nightmare - 10.2GB
- Ultra Nightmare - 10.7GB
Even on Low detail, DOOM Eternal requires a huge 6.9GB of VRAM at 8K -- not much more for Medium at 7.4GB, and then you will just barely run High as it needs 8GB of framebuffer. But man, Ultra requires 9.2GB of VRAM while Nightmare requires 10.2GB -- but it is the Ultra Nightmare setting that demands 10.7GB of VRAM. Devilishly good.
id Tech 7 Improvements Over id Tech 6
- 1 million fewer lines of code mostly due to the removal of the OpenGL render-engine
- Unified HDR lighting and shadowing
- Full HDR-support on PS4, PS4 PRO, XB1S, XB1X and PC
- Multi PBR material compositing, blending, and painting
- Increased texture fidelity and geometric detail due to removal of MegaTexture pipeline, used since id Tech 4
- Enhanced global illumination quality
- Majorly improved particle system as more particles are running on the GPU, which allows for bigger explosions, more atmospheric volumetrics and more vibrant particle effects
- The framerate limit has been upped to 1000 FPS. Was 200 FPS in id Tech 6
- Rewrote the jobs-system to use all available CPU-cores more efficiently
- Improved post-processing effects, more detailed anti-aliasing and improved motion blur
- Support for gameplay areas twice the size of those in id Tech 6
Benchmarks - 8K (7680 x 4320)
DOOM Eternal Benchmarked @ 8K (7680 x 4320)
This is what you're here for, so I'm about to deliver. DOOM Eternal is one of the hardest games on a graphics card in quite a while, so even getting it to run at 7680 x 4320 -- or 8K -- was next to impossible. I could only test 3 of my graphics cards: the AMD Radeon VII, and both NVIDIA's flagship $2499 TITAN RTX and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards.
This is because of the VRAM requirements of DOOM Eternal, which require more than the 8GB of VRAM on most graphics cards. The TITAN RTX has no issues with 24GB of GDDR6, the Radeon VII with 16GB of HBM2, and the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti with 11GB.
For the purposes of my DOOM Eternal benchmarking, I ran around in a level for 60 seconds or so capturing the frame rates. Because it's running at 8K, I decided to run it at Medium and Ultra Nightmare presets.
8K - Ultra Nightmare
8K - Medium
Ultra Nightmare: I knew coming into benchmarking DOOM Eternal at 8K that it wouldn't be easy, and I didn't think I'd breach 30FPS and was right. DOOM Eternal on the system-crushing Ultra Nightmare graphics preset reduces NVIDIA's ridiculously high-end $2499 graphics card in the TITAN RTX to just 25FPS average.
NVIDIA has the second-best graphics card for DOOM Eternal at 7680 x 4320, with the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti coming in with 25FPS average -- 3FPS less than the TITAN RTX. It might not sound like much, but when we're talking 22FPS to 25FPS, that is a helluva lot. I might add that DOOM Eternal felt smoother on the TITAN RTX over the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti -- so while 22-25FPS in just numbers doesn't seem like a lot, it felt smoother on the TITAN RTX.
Medium: Even with the graphics preset on Medium, the $2499 graphics card in the NVIDIA TITAN RTX couldn't even muster 30FPS average. I hit 29FPS average, with 24FPS minimum -- a much better result than the Ultra Nightmare preset. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is closer here with 27FPS average, but the TITAN RTX still felt smoother to play on.
DOOM Eternal crushes AMD and its flagship Radeon VII, even with its 16GB of ultra-fast HBM2 memory, with the Vega 20-powered graphics card achieving just 21FPS average in comparison. It'll be interesting to see what an RDNA2 / Navi 2X-based graphics card can do in DOOM Eternal when those cards drop later this year.
Test System Specs
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K @ 5GHz (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Predator DDR4-2933 (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: 1TB Toshiba OCZ RD400 NVMe M.2 (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: 512GB Toshiba OCZ RD400 NVMe M.2 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: InWin 1065W
- Case: InWin X-Frame
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Not Even The Devil Can Run DOOM Eternal @ 8K
Nope... not even the devil himself can play DOOM Eternal at 8K -- 7680 x 4320 is just too hard on GPUs in 2020.
DOOM Eternal at 8K is something I'll continue to revisit with each new high-end graphics card that is released, which will include NVIDIA's next-gen Ampere GPU architecture and the GeForce RTX 3000 series graphics cards, as well as AMD's new RDNA 2 / Navi 2X graphics cards later this year.
8K is not easy, and it is something I'll be covering more this year as we ramp up into the next-gen Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles being released.
There is a ton of misinformation out there that these next-gen consoles will somehow run games at 8K, yet here I am with some of the fastest components money can buy -- and even a $2499 graphics card in NVIDIA's TITAN RTX struggles to hit 30FPS in DOOM Eternal at 8K.
I think we'll see next-gne consoles play some games at 8K, but you won't be playing next-gen AAA titles at 8K on a console. Maybe with the use of the cloud or something... maybe. I think we might see older games upscaled to 8K if you've got the display chops (an 8K TV) to handle it, but AAA games in 8K?
Low to Medium detail maybe? Even still, a $2499 graphics card in the TITAN RTX can't even muster 30FPS at 8K. My journey with DOOM Eternal at 8K will journey, I just wish there was some easy multi-GPU compatibility.