Dark Souls 3 Benchmarks & Comparisons

Dark Souls 3 Artwork

This week, we saw the release of the much anticipated Dark Souls 3 title. The game runs capped at 60 frames per second on the PC and it features fairly modest initial system requirements. However many users have reported frequent crashes using certain GPUs, with a Steam crashes thread reaching over 140 pages full of posts stating failures[1].

To play Dark souls 3, you’ll need at least the following system specifications:

  • Windows 7 SP1 (64-Bit) or above
  • AMD A8-3870 or Intel Core i3-2100
  • 8GB of Ram
  • Capable DX11 GPU such as an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 465 or Radeon HD 6870
  • 50GB of Available Space

Visually, the game looks relatively different when comparing low and high graphical settings.

Dark Souls 3 at Low Graphical Settings
Dark Souls 3 at Low Graphical Settings – Image taken from wccftech.com
Dark Souls 3 at the Maximum Graphical Settings
Dark Souls 3 at the Maximum Graphical Settings – Image taken from wccftech.com

As you can see, detail such as foliage and shadows are increased and textures are sharper as you’d expect. But what effect does this have on graphics performance, will you be able to run it at 1440p, or even 4K?

Benchmarking Dark Souls 3

The benchmarks provided here are taken from wccftech.com. The game is locked at 60 frames per second so faster cards could not be used to accurately test performance at 1080p. First up is Dark souls 3 running at 1080p on an XFX R9 380 XXX OC and EVGA GTX 960 SSC.

This shows a clear win for AMD, with the R9 380 taking the lead with higher minimum framerates and a marginal increase of 4% in average framerate. We suspect the R9 380s’s 256-bit Memory Bus is to be praised for the higher minimum framerates, where nVidia’s GTX 960 manages just half of the theoretical bandwidth likely causing the lower minimum framerates. This is a trend we see often with AMD, their cards often providing ample memory bandwidth even on budget configurations.

Playing at 2560 x 1440

This resolution is favoured among power users, as to many, 4K is still not ripe for the market and 2560×1440 hitting that sweet spot for bigger, higher resolution displays past the 24″ mark. In this benchmark, wccftech compared performance against an array of cards at the resolution.

In this example we can see that cards such as the 980Ti and R9 Fury X were most certainly held back by the game’s 60 FPS lock. At these settings, the R9 380 and GTX 960 show similar performance, not much to be surprised by here.

Playing at 3840×2160

This is the resolution that will cause the most stress for the range of video cards tested, gaming at 4K requires a significant amount of graphical horsepower and puts a huge strain on the memory subsystems of graphics cards, making cheaper cards such as the GTX 960 entirely unsuitable for 4K as it’s comparatively feeble 128-bit bus will hold it back at resolutions like this, as such, they were removed from this test.

At this resolution we see all cards struggle to play the title smoothly, whilst this is at the highest settings – even nVidia’s GTX 980 Ti met an average of 43.3 frames per second, graphical settings will need to be reduced to play this title comfortably at this resolution. The pleasant surprise here however is that the R9 Nano does well to match the GTX 980, a card some £50 more on average in price.


It would appear Dark Souls 3 is a title that favors the current generation of AMD graphics cards, with the R9 380 posing as a more attractive card for the game at lower resolutions and the R9 Nano punching high above it’s weight at Ultra HD resolutions. Many thanks to wccftech.com for providing these numbers.

Sources: [1] http://steamcommunity.com/app/374320/discussions/0/365163686079892761/
[2] http://wccftech.com/dark-souls-3-gpu-performance-amd-wins-midrange-nvidia-takes-high/

About justmiff 32 Articles
I am a developer and tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience working with a variety software stacks to create everything from websites to video games.

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