Zombie Army 4: Dead War PC Performance Review and Optimisation Guide

Introduction - Testing Methodology and GPU Drivers

Zombie Army 4: Dead Wars PC Performance Review and Optimisation Guide

Zombie Army 4: Dead Wars - Introduction

Many PC enthusiasts will have heard of Rebellion Games, the creators of the Sniper Elite series, the Zombie Army series, Alien VS Predator and Strange Brigade.

Hardware enthusiasts will know that many of these titles include build-in benchmarks, making them their titles popular for performance comparisons, a factor which has been helped by Rebellion's adaption of modern APIs like Mantle, DirectX 12 and Vulkan. Yes, Mantle is a dead API at this point, but its remnants are still seen today within the Khronos Group's Vulkan API. 

With Zombie Army 4: Dead War, Rebellion is returning to one of its most popular IPs with an updated engine, new gameplay mechanics and a crazy backstory. 

Zombie Army 4 does feature a singleplayer mode, but the meat of this game is best enjoyed with friends in online co-op, where players can work together to overcome the zombie hordes, and marvel at the madness that is Zombie Army 4's storyline. 

In this article, we will be looking at Zombie Army 4's PC performance using both the game's DirectX 12 and Vulkan API options and give a PC gamers a rundown on how to get the best performance out of their PC hardware in this title. 

Denuvo Woes

Our testing for Zombie Army 4: Dead Wars was delayed due to DRM related issues. After a specific number of hardware changes, we were locked out of our retail copy of Zombie Army 4 for 24 hours. This shortcoming will not impact ordinary consumers, but it prevented us from completing our work in a timely manner. 

We used a retail copy of Zombie Army 4: Dead Wars to conduct our testing. Rebellion Games should note that their use of Denuvo caused this review to be delayed, and because of this, we will need to reconsider testing their future titles if they continue to use this form of DRM. Denuvo reduces the usefulness of PC titles with integrated benchmarks, and as such we currently have no plans to use this game for future GPU reviews. 

 
Contents


- PC System Requirements and Graphical Settings - DX12 and Vulkan?
- Graphics Settings Comparisons - Low, Medium, High and Ultra
- CPU Testing - Will the ZOmbie Army Kill your CPU?
- Performance Scaling - All GPUs Tested
- Resolution Scaling - The best way to get higher framerates?
- 1080p Performance
- 1440p Performance
- 4K Performance
- Conclusion

GPU drivers

When testing Zombie Army 4: Dead War's PC version, we opted to use the newest drivers from both the Radeon and Geforce camps. These drivers are AMD's Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 20.2.1 driver as well as Nvidia's Geforce 442.19 driver.

Testing Methodology

OC3D is a website that is dedicated to PC hardware, so you better believe that we test every game on a wide range of hardware configurations. This commitment to variety means that we will be using both Intel and AMD based testbeds as well as a range of GPU offerings from both Nvidia and Radeon. 

Our primary test system uses Intel's X99 platform, containing an Intel Core i7 6850K at a fixed clock speed of 4GHz. This testbed will use 32GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR4 memory and will be powered and cooled by an HX1200i PSU and an H110i AIO liquid cooler respectively, with everything sitting inside a Corsair 460X chassis. In this system, we are using an ASUS Strix X99 motherboard.

The system below will be used to conduct the majority of our game testing. This system will be used in this review unless otherwise stated.

 


Game Test Rig

Intel i7 6850K @4.0 GHz
ASUS X99 Strix
Corsair Vengeance LP 4x8GB DDR4 3200MHz
Corsair HX1200i
Corsair H110i GT
Windows 10 x64 "May 2019" Update

 

GPU Selection

No gaming test suite would be complete without a large selection of GPUs. At OC3D out current test suite covers Nvidia's RTX 20-series and GTX 10-series alongside AMD's RX Vega and RX 500 series graphics cards.

Starting with Metro Exodus, we began testing new PC games with Nvidia's latest RTX series of graphics cards. In our testing, we currently use the mid-range RTX 2060 and uber high-end RTX 2080 Ti entering our graphics card lineup. In time we hope to have a Radeon RX 5700 graphics card for RTX 2060 VS RX 5700 comparisons. We have also added Nvidia's new GTX 1660 Super to our testing lineup. 


Radeon RX 5700 Series - Navi (RDNA)

- Powercolor Radeon RX 5700 XT Red Devil 
- Powercolor Radeon RX 5700 Red Devil

PowerColor Red Devil RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT LE Cooler

Geforce RTX 20-Series


- Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
- Nvidia RTX 2060 Founders Edition

Geforce GTX 16-Series

- Palit GTX 1660 SUPER StormX OC

nVidia RTX 2080 and RTX 2080Ti ReviewnVidia RTX 2060 Review


Geforce GTX 10-series

- Nvidia GTX 1080 Founders Edition
- Nvidia GTX 1070 Founders Edition
- ASUS GTX 1060 Strix Gaming OC

 

No Man's Sky PC Performance ReviewFar Cry 5 PC Performance Review

AMD RX Vega Series

- AMD RX Vega 56

AMD RX 500 Series

- AMD RX 580 Strix OC  

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Most Recent Comments

10-02-2020, 15:28:39

NeverBackDown
Happy to see the nonbiased performance in this game. Just 2 modern APIs being used to the best degree possible and showing the barely different performance levels of competing cards.

It's also worth noting how Vulkan appears to be superior. The recent R6 Siege switch to Vulkan with Ubisoft stating better CPU performance, and having this game perform generally better with Vulkan, may actually be the fact that Vulkan is just simply faster right now overall. Plus it's also multi-platform. Seems like a no brainer currently(that is unless you want Ray Tracing).Quote

10-02-2020, 15:37:09

WYP
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
Happy to see the nonbiased performance in this game. Just 2 modern APIs being used to the best degree possible and showing the barely different performance levels of competing cards.

It's also worth noting how Vulkan appears to be superior. The recent R6 Siege switch to Vulkan with Ubisoft stating better CPU performance, and having this game perform generally better with Vulkan, may actually be the fact that Vulkan is just simply faster right now overall. Plus it's also multi-platform. Seems like a no brainer currently(that is unless you want Ray Tracing).
The Khronos groups have done a great job improving Vulkan's feature set. That said, they need to figure out how to deliver a DXR equivalent. Right now raytracing is only available using Nvidia's extensions with Vulkan. However, I hear that talks are in progress for Microsoft and Khronos to help create a more universal standard, likely by having Khronos use a similar approach to Microsoft.

Khronos has made Vulkan a lot easier to develop for with recent iterations, so it will be interesting to see how things evolve. Right now, DX12 will have an advantage in the near-term if raytracing starts to see wider adoption.Quote

10-02-2020, 19:37:32

NeverBackDown
While you aren't wrong, i'd argue RayTracing is less important than raw performance. Ray Tracing is a looooong way from being a standard feature. So i'd take the performance benefit, rather than massive performance penalties for an unequal graphical uplift.

And technically with the wrapper, Vulkan created to help port DX12 code over to Vulkan natively, you could in theory use the RT libraries already. Though I can guarantee it'd be more complicated without the official support to build more off of the ported code.

I don't doubt they are collaborating on a RT library. It's a complicated feature and reducing the effort for developers is key for them using it anyway. Leads to better implementations, shorter development time, and less money spent. Win-Win-Win for everyone. Though again I am definitely glad you are hearing of a collaboration. I would be thrilled for that!Quote

11-02-2020, 05:50:06

WYP
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
While you aren't wrong, i'd argue RayTracing is less important than raw performance. Ray Tracing is a looooong way from being a standard feature. So i'd take the performance benefit, rather than massive performance penalties for an unequal graphical uplift.

And technically with the wrapper, Vulkan created to help port DX12 code over to Vulkan natively, you could in theory use the RT libraries already. Though I can guarantee it'd be more complicated without the official support to build more off of the ported code.

I don't doubt they are collaborating on a RT library. It's a complicated feature and reducing the effort for developers is key for them using it anyway. Leads to better implementations, shorter development time, and less money spent. Win-Win-Win for everyone. Though again I am definitely glad you are hearing of a collaboration. I would be thrilled for that!
Aye, but I'm talking a 3-4 year timeframe. IIRC, Vulkan 1.2 supports HLSL at up to shader model 6.3, which falls short of DXR. Shader Model 6.3 adds support for DXR.

Vulkan's lack of official raytracing support is why only one Vulkan game supports RTX, and it was delivered very late. Wolfenstein: Youngblood. This could also be a reason why id software decided to drop raytracing for DOOM Eternal, or a contributing factor at the very least.

I think the conversation is gonna change very quickly with regards to raytracing. By the end of this year, two consoles and both AMD and Nvidia will support it.

Another factor that's worth noting is that today's RTX series will always be Nvidia's worst-performing raytracing accelerated graphics cards. Future architectures will enhance raytracing capabilities (which will decrease their performance overhead) and increase their normal shading performance.

I believe that Khronos will discuss Vulkan raytracing at GDC, but it will be a while before it becomes a full part of Vulkan (likely with Vulkan 1.3).Quote
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