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Rage 2 system requirements, benchmarks, and performance analysis – PC Gamer

“I think I see the problem with your PC’s hardware…”

Rage 2 is out, delivering fast-paced run-and-gun action with vehicular combat—read our Rage 2 review if you want to know more about the game. I’m here to talk about performance, and there’s plenty to cover. I’ve tested Rage 2 on my usual full suite of graphics cards and CPUs—26 GPUs and 8 CPUs to be precise. I’ll also discuss the system requirements, all the settings, and other major features.

Rage 2 can run well on midrange hardware, but budget GPUs in particular are going to struggle. I wouldn’t plan on maximum image quality at 1080p unless you have at least a GTX 1070 or better. For budget cards like a GTX 1050 or RX 560 (or older GTX 760 and R9 370), you’ll probably want to drop the resolution or use resolution scaling to stay closer to 60fps.

And speaking of framerates, you’ll definitely want to stay above 30fps in Rage 2, because the game engine appears to tie everything to framerate at some level—high framerates aren’t an issue, but drop below 30fps and things start to slow down. You walk, run, drive, reload, etc. at a slower rate (though thankfully, it affects enemies as well). 20-30fps feels sluggish, while 10-15fps literally crawls. Since this is a singleplayer game it’s not the end of the world, but I dropped any GPUs from testing at higher settings as soon as they dropped below 30.

A word on our sponsor

As our partner for these detailed performance analyses, MSI provided the hardware we needed to test Rage 2 on a bunch of different AMD and Nvidia GPUs, multiple CPUs, and several laptops—see below for the full details, along with our Performance Analysis 101 article. Thanks, MSI!

Rage 2 does tick most of the important features—the biggest omission being any form of multiplayer. Okay, I guess there’s a sort of “revenge my death” option, but there’s no traditional co-op or other modes. Full support for all resolutions and aspect ratios is present, and unlike the original Rage, there’s no framerate cap, vsync can be disabled, the FOV range is pretty massive, and controllers and keymapping support are present along with a photo mode.

Mods are still a bit of a question mark—there’s no support right now, but there was a comment made a few months ago about how id Software recognizes the importance of mods so maybe it will appear in the future. But Rage saw no mod support either, so don’t count on it.

Rage 2 system requirements

The official Rage 2 system requirements are pretty reasonable, though no mention is made of target performance. Here’s what Bethesda gives as the minimum and recommended hardware:

Minimum

  • OS: Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 (64-Bit versions)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-3570 or AMD Ryzen 3 1300X 
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 780 3GB or AMD R9 280 3GB
  • Storage: 50 GB available space

Recommended

  • OS: Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 (64-Bit versions)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4770 or AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1070 8GB or AMD Vega 56 8GB
  • Storage: 50 GB available space

Considering the importance of staying above 30fps, I have to assume the ‘minimum’ specs are for 1080p low at around 45fps—or perhaps 720p at 60fps or more. The recommended specs meanwhile look like they’ll do 1080p ultra at 60fps or more, or 1440p ultra at 45-50fps. I don’t test 700-series or R9 200-series GPUs anymore, but those should be roughly at the level of the GTX 1050 and RX 560. 

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Rage 2 GeForce GTX 1060 6GB performance

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Rage 2 settings overview

Rage 2 provides a decent selection of graphics settings to play with, along with four global presets. However, the high and ultra presets are nearly identical—ultra just bumps up the geometry details (level of detail, basically) one notch, with a negligible 1-2 percent dip in performance. So I’ve skipped additional testing at 1080p high. More noteworthy is that even at minimum quality, performance only improves by around 50 percent. Despite having 14 advanced settings to tweak, most do very little for performance or image quality. Here’s the full rundown.

Graphics Preset: Your one stop shop to tweak all of the other settings, and a good place to start. Low-end hardware will need to stick with the low setting and possibly drop the resolution and/or enable resolution scaling. Midrange cards should handle the medium preset just fine, while higher performance cards can use the ultra preset. Low quality runs about 50 percent faster than ultra quality, medium quality runs about 20-25 percent faster, and high quality is virtually the same (1-2 percent faster) as ultra quality.

Resolution Scale: Rage 2 supports dynamic resolution scaling, and you can set a minimum percentage (from 10-100 percent) along with a target framerate of 20-240fps. Just because you set a target doesn’t mean you’ll hit it, however—on a midrange RX 580, I put in a target of 240fps and a minimum scale of 10. The result was 115fps, and it looked extremely blocky and ugly. I generally leave resolution scaling alone and just go with a fixed resolution, but you can play around with it if you want.

Motion Blur: Applies a blur effect to objects that are in motion, and if you prefer no motion blur you gain about 2 percent better performance.

Chromatic Aberration: A post-process color banding effect applied near the screen edges, disabling this gives a negligible 1-2 percent performance increase.

Anisotropic Terrain Filtering: Enables a higher quality filtering mode on terrain, and turning this off improves performance about 1 percent.

Geometric Details: Controls object pop-in for some elements and enables higher quality models. While level of detail scaling normally has a larger impact on performance and visuals in other games, in Rage 2 setting this to low only improves performance by 2 percent.

Global Illumination: This is supposed to improve the overall lighting quality, typically meaning indirect lighting, though it doesn’t appear to actual do much. It’s definitely not doing anything like ray traced GI, or even SSRTGI. Turning this off only improves performance by 1 percent.

Depth of Field: Applies a blur effect to distant objects, mostly in cutscenes or when aiming down a gun. Disabling this improved performance by 1 percent (though it might make a bigger difference in the specific cases mentioned).

SSAO: The biggest single item for improving performance, turning down SSAO (screen space ambient occlusion) also tends to cause a very noticeable drop in image quality. Disabling SSAO completely improves performance by 10-15 percent, but you can gain 7-10 percent and still get close to the same image quality with the low SSAO setting.

Anti-Aliasing: Smooths out any jaggies along polygon edges. Rage 2 offers FXAA (slight improvement for almost no performance hit), TAA (temporal AA), or FXAA+TAA for the ‘best’ overall quality. Disabling AA completely improves performance by 5 percent, but I’d suggest FXAA (alone) as a better compromise if you’re trying to improve performance a bit, as otherwise jaggies are very visible.

Player Self-Shadow: The players arms and weapons cast shadows on themselves. In practice, I don’t really notice this at all, so you can disable it and gain 2-3 percent performance if you want.

Dynamic Reflections: Enables screen space reflections, for stuff like puddles. Since there aren’t very many puddles in the wasteland, it doesn’t matter much—disabling improves performance by 2-5 percent (depending on your GPU).

Shadow Resolution: Oddly, higher settings give sharper shadows, and in some ways the soft shadows at the low/medium setting look better. I measured a 5 percent improvement on Nvidia GPUs, but a much larger 11 percent improvement on AMD. Consider turning this down.

Shadowed Lights: Controls the number of lights that can cast shadows at the same time. Performance improved by 4 percent on AMD, but only 2 percent on Nvidia.

Shading Quality: Choose between low or high “light and shading quality and complexity.” Low improves performance by 1 percent and looks mostly the same in my opinion.

Soft Particles: Smooths the edges of particles used on some effects (smoke, fire/explosions, etc.), with a 0-1 percent improvement to performance.

Altogether, that’s 14 potential settings, but only a few that cause more than a minor change in performance. I should note that the AMD GPU I checked seemed to show more potential for improvements from the various settings than the Nvidia GPU, at least in a few areas. Which is a bit odd, since it has more VRAM so things like shadow quality in theory would be affected less. Regardless, other cards may show larger differences than what I measured.

This is only about half of the graphics cards I tested.

MSI provided all the graphics hardware for testing Rage 2, including the latest GeForce GTX and RTX cards. All of the GPUs come with modest factory overclocks, which in most cases improve performance by around 5 percent over the reference models.

My primary testbed uses the MSI Z390 MEG Godlike motherboard with an overclocked Core i7-8700K processor and 16GB of DDR4-3200 CL14 memory from G.Skill. I’ve also run additional tests on other Intel CPUs, including a stock Core i9-9900K, Core i5-8400, and Core i3-8100. AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2600X processors (also at stock) use the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC, while the Ryzen 5 2400G is tested in an MSI B350I Pro AC (because the M7 lacks video outputs). All AMD CPUs also used DDR4-3200 CL14 RAM. The game is run from a Samsung 860 Evo 4TB SATA SSD on desktops, and from the NVMe OS drive on the laptops.


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