Far Cry 5 in many ways is precisely what you’d expect from the franchise—and that includes performance aspects as well. Built using the latest version of the Dunia engine, which was in turn built off CryEngine, it’s not quite as taxing on hardware as a few games I’ve looked at during the past year. That’s not to say anyone and everyone will be running at 60fps, but if you played Far Cry 4 or Far Cry Primal, you should be fine.
The settings are somewhat limited, and scaling of performance is pretty narrow as well. Compared to maximum quality (the ultra preset), turning everything down to low/minimum only nets about a 50 percent boost to framerates. If you can’t hit 30fps at 1080p ultra, low or medium quality might get you there, but 60fps is definitely not happening. Put another way, you’ll need to average around 45fps at 1080p ultra if you want 1080p low to push you above 60fps.
Beyond the graphics settings, which are somewhat limited, resolution is going to have a far greater impact on performance. The game is largely GPU limited, meaning any recent 4-core or better CPU should be sufficient—though the game can definitely make use of additional cores and threads if you’re packing a powerful pair of GPUs.
Wait, a pair? Yes, in a break from recent releases, Far Cry 5 supports both CrossFire and SLI out of the box, and while scaling appears to favor CF a bit (80 percent vs. 60 percent), at least your second GPU won’t be taking a ciesta. That’s good for anyone using a higher resolution display, since going from 1080p to 1440p drops framerates by around 33 percent. 4k meanwhile continues to take its pound of flesh, cutting your 1440p framerate in half.
Performance Analysis Hardware
The good news is that maximum quality settings won’t absolutely pummel older generation hardware. Even at 4k ultra, the game only uses around 4GB of graphics memory, and I’ve found even 2GB cards do well in most cases (though not so much at 1440p or 4k).
There are a few things to note with my current test results. First, I’m running the press release of the game, but all of the testing was done today (Monday), and the code should be very nearly final. Second, while AMD pushed out its Far Cry 5 game ready 18.3.4 drivers (that’s the fourth driver release this month from team red), Nvidia hasn’t published anything explicitly tuned for the game. In speaking with Nvidia, it sounds like we should see new game ready drivers tomorrow, though they’ll mostly focus on fixing bugs rather than performance improvements. AMD’s 18.3.4 drivers are a similar story, as I saw less than a one percent improvement compared to 18.3.1 with an RX 580—CrossFire users probably benefited most.
The third disclaimer is that this is an AMD promoted title, though in place of the normal AMD Gaming Evolved logo, Far Cry 5 shows a splash video with AMD Ryzen | Radeon. I’m not sure how much that matters, but in general games promoted by AMD have received more attention in terms of optimizations and such, and likewise for games promoted for Nvidia.
Those disclaimers aside, let’s hit the benchmarks. Like previous installments in the series, Far Cry 5 includes a built-in benchmarking utility. Some areas of the game are more demanding than the benchmark, other areas less so, but overall it appears to be a fair representation of the level of performance you can expect.
The above gallery has results for all four presets at 1080p, along with 1440p and 4k at ultra settings. I disabled AA and motion blur on the low and medium preset, ran SMAA on the high preset, and used TAA and motion blur with the ultra preset. The performance impact of AA and motion blur combined is typically under five percent.
At 1080p low, which is the minimum quality available without resorting to hacking configuration files, you’ll need at least an R9 390 or GTX 970 or similar to consistently stay above 60fps. That’s in line with the game’s recommended system requirements, while the minimum system requirements are for 30fps at 720p. All of the dedicated GPUs easily beat the minimum requirements, with the exception of the Intel HD 630, which struggles to hit playable framerates (depending on your definition of playable, I suppose) even at 720p low.
Stepping up the quality settings, if you’re willing to play at 30fps, all of the tested GPUs also manage to handle 1080p ultra while still remaining playable. As I mentioned earlier, there’s not a huge jump in performance when you drop the settings from ultra to low, so the only real change in the 60fps target is that the R9 390, GTX 970, and RX 570 4GB all fall right at the threshold at 1080p ultra.
For 1440p ultra, you’ll need at least a GTX 1070 or RX Vega 56 to hit 60fps, and at 4k ultra even the GTX 1080 Ti falls short of that mark–you’d need to run 4k at medium quality, or else add a second GPU (GTX 1070 or above, and RX Vega 56 and above).
It’s worth pointing out AMD’s lead over equivalently priced (at least in theory) GPUs this round. In most games, the GTX 1080 comes out ahead of the Vega 64, but the positions are swapped in Far Cry 5. That holds for all of the tested resolutions and settings, and the same goes for RX 580 8GB vs. GTX 1060 6GB and RX 570 4GB vs. GTX 1060 3GB. At the budget range, the GTX 1050 is effectively tied with the RX 560 4GB, but both cards are only good for sub-60fps.
I’m not finished with CPU testing yet, so I’ll add that for the full performance analysis, but with a fast graphics card like a GTX 1080 Ti, there’s a 10-20 percent gap in performance between an i3-8100 (basically the equivalent of an i5-6500 or i5-7400) and the overclocked i7-8700K. The i7-8700K also shows a slim 4-8 percent lead over the i5-8400 at 1080p. At 1440p and 4k, however, there’s less than a 2 percent difference between the three Intel CPUs I’ve tested. In other words, Far Cry 5 is far more demanding on the GPU side of the equation than on the CPU side of the fence, and only the fastest GPUs (or dual-GPU solutions) will show more than minor differences between CPUs.
I’ll be back with the full deep dive into settings, image quality, multi-GPU, CPU, and notebook testing in the next couple of days, along with the usual video showing real-time framerate comparisons. So far, Far Cry 5 performance is right in line with my results for Far Cry Primal. The world of Montana may be completely different from prehistoric Earth, but the Dunia engine hasn’t changed much.