F1 2018 PC Performance Review
Published: 27th August 2018 | Source: OC3D Internal Testing | Price: |
As a whole, F1 2018 is a solid offering, delivering gameplay that will satisfy users of standard gamepads and those heavy-duty setups with steering wheels, pedals and other accessories. When compared to other PC racing sims, one downside of F1 2018 is its lack of VR support, a feature that is supported by most other major racing sims like Project Cars and Assetto Corsa. While this isn't a major concern for non-VR users, it is worth noting that racing sims can provide some of the best VR gaming experiences available, making its absence from a high-profile racing franchise noteworthy.
Graphically, F1 2018 can look stunning in some areas and plain in others, benefiting greatly from wet terrain and dynamic weather effects. In ideal racing conditions, things can appear unimpressive in some tracks, especially if you decide to stop and look at the scenery. Thankfully, things are a lot better in motion, when tyres are generating smoke and water is getting sprayed onto the surface of vehicles in wet conditions. F1 2018 looks its best in heavy rain, as colours blur into the water droplets that block your view and dynamic reflections allow the world to appear more vibrant than before. Scenes with human characters like after-race interviews look much better than previous series entries, but they remain far below what is seen on other games. Even so, human interaction isn't the primary focus of the F1 series, making their appearance nothing to worry about.
Moving through the game's graphical settings, our advice is to avoid running the game below F1 2018's medium preset if possible, as this is where the game's visual start taking a significant dip in quality. Moving past Medium delivers its own set of graphical upgrades, but offer nowhere near as big of a leap as the jump from Low to Medium. As we have shown on page 12, even low-end graphics cards like our R9 380 and GTX 960 can achieve great performance at 1080p medium settings.
On the CPU-side, we expected F1 2018 to be extremely demanding, given the game's recommendation of an Intel 6-core i5 8600K or an AMD Ryzen 5 2600X, both of which released during the past year. In our testing, we found that even our 4GB dual-core Quad-thread setup was able to offer steady 60+ FPS framerates, discovering that the game is likely to be more clock speed limited than core count limited. Our recommendation for this game is to use a powerful quad-core, or better, processor that has a high core clock speed. Thankfully, strong quad-cores are readily available today thanks to AMD's Ryzen processor lineup and Intel's modern Coffee Lake quad-core i3 products.
Radeon graphics cards appear to be more CPU limited than Geforce users, though a steady 60+ framerate remains easily achievable for both graphics card providers.
When comparing Radeon and Geforce graphics cards, the first thing that needs to be discussed is the fact that F1 2018 offers different default graphics options for each brand, opting to use HBAO+ for Geforce cards on its Ultra High preset while Radeon graphics cards use ASSAO. We discussed this option on page 6, which has a few screenshot comparisons and some performance data.
The long and short of it is that Codemasters had created dedicated options for both Radeon and Nvidia users, both of which are designed to have a minimal impact of either brand while offering similar levels of graphical detail. HBAO+ has a lesser performance impact on Geforce hardware while the opposite is true for AMD, allowing Codemasters to provide improved Ambient Occlusion quality for both brands while maintaining high performance levels on both.
At 1440p we found that our RX 580 Strix and GTX 1060 Strix graphics cards were able to offer stable 60+FPS framerates while using the game's high preset, even while running on the game's demanding Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit under heavy rain conditions, presenting a lot more lighting and reflections than other tracks.
F1 2018 is an extremely scalable release, offering players plenty of graphical options to boos the title's performance on PC, making steady 60FPS framerates reasonably easy to achieve using today's gaming hardware. The use of optimised graphical presets for both Radeon and Geforce users showcase a commitment to both GPU brands, ensuring the best performance on each set of graphics cards. This is rare on modern PC titles, especially given the similar levels of graphical detail that AO options like ASSAO and HBAO+ provide.
One of the strangest things about F1 2018 is its 1080p and 1440p performance, with both resolutions providing remarkably similar performance levels on both our high-end graphics cards lineup, suggesting some form of CPU limitation, which appears to be based on single-threaded performance based on out core scaling tests on page 8. Perhaps this game could be a fine addition to our CPU gaming test suite?
Codemasters has done a great job with the PC release of F1 2018, offerings extremely scalable graphical options while also maintaining high-performance levels on both Radeon and Geforce graphics cards. The only shortcoming for this game its difficulty achieving 100+ FPS framerates on our hardware setup, which may annoy fans of 120Hz racing, though that won't be a concern for most PC gamers. Perhaps future iterations of the F1 series can work on improving the game's CPU performance.
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