Codemasters' latest iteration of their F1 series doesn't hit store shelves until the middle of next month. But we've been given access to a preview build of the game, and it's running really nicely so far.
F1 2016 is running on the latest version of Codies' EGO Engine. It's a more modern version of what was used in Dirt Rally last year, and the British developers had a talk at GDC this year about the extra bells and whistles they'd be bringing to the table with DirectX 12.
The game's local distributor, Bandai Namco, sent over a preview key a few days ago and I've been happily running the game through its paces. And while the performance should improve by the time F1 2016 and game-ready drivers are finally released, it's already running really nicely.
Here's the specifications for the benchmarking machine used:
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K @ 4.0GHz RAM: 16GB Corsair Dominator DDR3-RAM @ 1600 Mhz GPU: MSI R9 390X Gaming 8GB Monitor: LG 27UD88 Ultra Wide HD PSU: Corsair HX850i 850W HDD: Samsung 850 EVO 1TB SSD Motherboard: ASUS Z97I-PLUS Mini-ITX (Intel Z97) Keyboard: Corsair K70 Mechanical Keyboard (Cherry MX Red Switches) Mouse: ZOWIE FK2 Headphones: Audio Technica ATH-M50x
Special thanks to LG for sending in the 27UD88 so I can do 4K testing from my desk — it's much appreciated.
All tests below were conducted over three runs, using the Ultra High preset, SMAA and 4x anistropic filtering, as can be seen below:
Main thing to stress here is that these tests were conducted with a preview build of the game. With that in mind, I would expect this to be the absolute minimum performance you could expect once F1 2016 launches, and it should be expected that performance will improve slightly once the game is released. I've been told AMD and NVIDIA are both working on game-ready drivers for release, although their timing may vary.
F1 2016's in-built benchmark, much like previous years, is a single lap with a full grid. This year's hot lap runs around Melbourne, which makes me feel all nice and patriotic.
One more note: if you're wondering where the Radeon RX 480 is from this list, we had to give our sample card back to AMD. Hopefully we get that back soon, but for now keep in mind that the RX 480 largely comes in a few frames beneath the R9 390X.
The 1080p benchmarks make you think that F1 2016 will bring PCs to their knees at 1440p and 4K, but the game scales surprisingly well. It's also good to see the GTX 1060 holding steady above 60fps on the highest preset in fairly intensive conditions (lots of traffic, lots of rain).
There's not much of a difference between the 1080p and 1440p benchmarks, although the GTX 1060 and R9 390X start to struggle here. The RX 480 wouldn't fare any better than either of those cards, so if you want to play at this resolution you're going to have to do so on the Medium or High presets.
It's here where the preview nature of the code begins to rear its head, although seeing the R9 390X keep its head just above the 30fps waterline is admirable. You really want a silky smooth 60fps experience, if not higher, for F1 games — there's hardly enough time to react in tense moments as is without having to battle the frame rate as well.
For added fun, I decided to drop the graphics preset down to High and gave GIGABYTE's GTX 1080 another run through its paces. The benchmark came back with an average of just under 60fps, which is great to see. I'd expect that to be above the magic 60fps mark when F1 2016 is fully optimised for release. It should also have no troubles returning higher frame rates when there aren't half a million puddles and splash effects on the track.
F1 2016 is due out on PC, PS4 and XB1 on August 19, although Steam says the game unlocks on August 20 — so probably the morning of August 21 for Australians on Steam.