Test Results: Full HD To Ultra HD
Higher Resolutions Just Destroy Frame Rates
We used the highest quality settings for testing to gauge the performance hit due to increased memory requirements. But even graphics cards like AMD's Radeon R9 380X run smoothly at 2560x1440, so long as you're willing to toggle some of the game's eye candy off. The same is true for AMD's Radeon R7 360 at 1920x1080 and low detail settings, where the entry-level board manages more than 30 FPS. Granted, the result is neither smooth nor pretty. It's nice to have the option, though.
We rounded all results to the next full frame per second. Between the online nature of the game and the AI competitors, the results just aren't precise enough for more than that.
At Full HD, Nvidia's GeForce graphics cards tend to do a bit better than AMD's. However, the older Radeon R9 390X does inch out the GeForce GTX 980. So, too, does the Radeon R9 390, beating Nvidia's GeForce GTX 970.
At higher resolutions, Need for Speed’s graphics memory requirements skyrocket. Memory should be both plentiful and fast to keep up. This plays right into the hands of AMD's Fiji-based boards. The Radeon Fury X even inches out Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan X.
The older Kepler-based cards, which kept up well enough at 1920x1080, can't compete any longer due to their lack of memory.
At Ultra HD, the older Grenada-based cards with their seemingly overkill memory configurations have their chance to shine. AMD's Radeon R9 390X almost catches up with the Fury X and beats the Fury Nitro by a large margin.
Nvidia's GeForce Titan X is saved by its massive 12GB of GDDR5, pulling ahead of the two 8GB competitors. The Fiji-based products lose the advantage they held at 2560x1440 due to their 4GB of memory.
The other Nvidia graphics cards can't compete; GeForce GTX 970, in particular, falls off in the rankings.
Even after reducing detail settings significantly, the minimum performance level needed to play Need for Speed at Ultra HD comes from a Radeon R9 Nano or GeForce GTX 980. Even then, those cards struggle mightily. Everything below simply cannot handle the game at 3840x2160.