DOTA 2 Reborn Hardware Performance Benchmark

dota2reborn-logo2DOTA 2 got its major update with Reborn which is powered by the Source 2 Engine. New interface, new ways to communicate, new ways to play with Custom Games, are among the major changes of the game. Several graphical settings were also added, like Normal Maps and High Quality Dashboard.

The engine improves physics and cloth systems and supports OpenGL natively. It is also capable of (according to Valve) driving modern machines to their limits and can take advantage of available CPU Cores, 64-Bit operating systems, and memory, while still being playable on older hardware. Our first DOTA 2 benchmarks showed that DOTA 2 is playable even on lower-end hardware. Now we test DOTA 2 Reborn and see how it performs on different kind of systems.

Test System and Requirements

Test SystemMinimum Requirements
ProcessorIntel i5-3470 3.GHz Quad-core (3.4 – 3.6 GHz Boost)Intel dual core or AMD at 2.8 GHz
Memory2GB, 4GB, 8GB DDR3 1600MHz4 GB RAM
Video CardAMD Radeon HD 7750 1GB DDR5
nVidia GeForce 9600GT 512MB DDR3
Intel HD 2500
ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600
nVidia GeForce 8600/9600GT
Video DriverAMD Catalyst 15.9 Beta nVidia
Forceware 341.81 WHQL
Intel HD 2500 Graphics 15.33
Operating System / DirectXWindows 7 SP1 64-bit,Windows 10 64-bit,
Linux Ubuntu 15.10 64-bit
Windows 7, DirectX 9.0c

Valve didn’t released a new system requirement for the Reborn / Source 2 engine so we used the previous requirements here; and that’s we will try to find out what could its minimum system requirements. We will also test it on Linux Ubuntu since the new engine supports OpenGL natively.

Benchmarking Procedure

For benchmarking the individual settings, we used Intel i5-3470 with boost on, AMD HD7750, and Kingston 8GB DDR3 1600MHz. For the rest of the tests, we switched between AMD R9 270 and GeForce 9600GT because the AMD HD 7750 died along the way, so take a closer look at each graph. We also set “fps_max 500” at the console to remove the 120fps limit even with Vsync off.

Our benchmark sequence is 90 seconds long from a replay using FRAPS to get the frames per second.

Unfortunately, we can’t use our previous benchmarking replay and compare the results because replays are not compatible with different engines – that is Source 1 and 2.

Settings and Benchmarks

Anti Aliasing

Anti-Aliasing - On
Anti-Aliasing - On
Anti-Aliasing - Off
Anti-Aliasing - Off
Anti-Aliasing - On
Anti-Aliasing - On
Anti-Aliasing - Off
Anti-Aliasing - Off
  • Anti-Aliasing - On
  • Anti-Aliasing - Off
  • Anti-Aliasing - On
  • Anti-Aliasing - Off

Anti-aliasing on DOTA 2 works like FXAA, it removes the jaggies by blurring the edges.

Benchmark: Off – 142 fps, On – 139 fps

Specular and Light Blooms

Specular Off Light Off
Specular Off Light Off
Specular On Light Off
Specular On Light Off
Specular Off Light On
Specular Off Light On
Specular On Light On
Specular On Light On
  • Specular Off Light Off
  • Specular On Light Off
  • Specular Off Light On
  • Specular On Light On

Specular adds lighting near the objects with lights. The ground color and lights change when specular is turned on. Light and blooms add additional glow around objects, but can barely be seen.

Benchmarks:

  • Off – 142 fps On – 135 fps (Specular)
  • Off – 142 fps On – 138 fps (Specular Light and Bloom)

Water Quality

Water Off
Water Off
Water On
Water On
  • Water Off
  • Water On

With High-Quality Water set to On, you can see the objects and creatures underneath, and produce reflections of the objects above it.

Benchmark: Off – 142fps, On – 139 fps

Atmospheric Fog

Atmospheric Fog - On
Atmospheric Fog - On
Atmospheric Fog - Off
Atmospheric Fog - Off
  • Atmospheric Fog - On
  • Atmospheric Fog - Off

Based on our previous DOTA 2 benchmarks, atmospheric fog adds cloud shadows and it also moves. But here in Reborn, it doesn’t produce the same result – no difference whether you turn it off or on.

Benchmark: Off – 142 fps, On – 140 fps

Shadows

Shadows - High
Shadows - High
Shadows - Medium
Shadows - Medium
Shadows - Low
Shadows - Low
  • Shadows - High
  • Shadows - Medium
  • Shadows - Low

On High setting, the trees, characters, towers, and almost everything has shadows. Setting it to medium, only characters (heroes, creeps) left with shadows, shadows on trees and towers were removed. On Low setting, all shadows are removed.

Benchmark: Low – 142 fps, Medium – 137 fps, High – 132 fps

Animate Portrait

The animate portrait setting will only animate the portrait. Turning it off the portrait is steady like a picture.

Benchmark: Off – 142 fps, On – 134 fps

Additive Light Pass

Additive Lightpass - On
Additive Lightpass - On
Additive Lightpass - Off
Additive Lightpass - Off
  • Additive Lightpass - On
  • Additive Lightpass - Off

This setting adds light pass on creatures (heroes, courier), making them look shinier.

Benchmark: Off – 142 fps, On – 130 fps

World Lighting

World Lighting - Off
World Lighting - Off
World Lighting - On
World Lighting - On
  • World Lighting - Off
  • World Lighting - On

Adds lighting to the light-producing objects, like towers and light posts.

Benchmark: Off – 142 fps, On – 136 fps

Ambient Occlusion

Ambient Occlusion - Off
Ambient Occlusion - Off
Ambient Occlusion - On
Ambient Occlusion - On
Ambient Occlusion - Off
Ambient Occlusion - Off
Ambient Occlusion - On
Ambient Occlusion - On
  • Ambient Occlusion - Off
  • Ambient Occlusion - On
  • Ambient Occlusion - Off
  • Ambient Occlusion - On

Ambient occlusion adds “self-shadow” on objects. The shadow is visible on corners making the surroundings a little darker.

Benchmark: Off – 142 fps, On – 137 fps

Normal Maps

Normal Maps - Off
Normal Maps - Off
Normal Maps - On
Normal Maps - On
Normal Maps - Off
Normal Maps - Off
Normal Maps - On
Normal Maps - On
  • Normal Maps - Off
  • Normal Maps - On
  • Normal Maps - Off
  • Normal Maps - On

Normal mapping in DOTA 2 works like Tessellation in other games. It adds bumps and details on surfaces and objects like tree trunks and stones.

Benchmark: Off – 142 fps, On – 139 fps

High Quality Dashboard

High Quality Dashboard - Off
High Quality Dashboard - Off
High Quality Dashboard - On
High Quality Dashboard - On
  • High Quality Dashboard - Off
  • High Quality Dashboard - On

Adds additional effects like shadows and background animations on your dashboard. The effect is not visible in-game.

Benchmark: Off – 142 fps, On – 138 fps

Textures

Texture - Low
Texture - Low
Texture - Medium
Texture - Medium
Texture - High
Texture - High
Texture - Low
Texture - Low
Texture - Medium
Texture - Medium
Texture - High
Texture - High
  • Texture - Low
  • Texture - Medium
  • Texture - High
  • Texture - Low
  • Texture - Medium
  • Texture - High

Texture Quality controls the look of surfaces, leaves, grasses, and almost everything. Setting it to high makes the textures sharper and more detailed.

Benchmark: Off – 142 fps, Medium – 141 fps, High – 137 fps

Render Quality

Render Quality - 40%
Render Quality - 40%
Render Quality - 70%
Render Quality - 70%
Render Quality - 100%
Render Quality - 100%
  • Render Quality - 40%
  • Render Quality - 70%
  • Render Quality - 100%

Render Quality controls the overall look of the game – from the ground, grasses, all the way up to lighting.

Benchmark: 40% – 142 fps, 70% – 135 fps, 100% – 134 fps

Ambient Creatures

Ambient Creatures - Off
Ambient Creatures - Off
Ambient Creatures - On
Ambient Creatures - On
  • Ambient Creatures - Off
  • Ambient Creatures - On

Adds additional small creatures like butterflies, squirrels, birds, fishes underwater, and bats on dark places.

Benchmark: Off – 142 fps, On – 137 fps

Benchmark Results

INDIV-benchmark-b

After benchmarking all settings, we see that Additive Light Pass is the most taxing setting when turned on, diminishing 12 fps. The next most taxing setting is Shadow Quality at high, diminishing 10 fps. Game Render Quality at 100% and Animate Portrait settings diminished 8 fps.

The least demanding settings are Atmospheric Fog and Texture Quality at medium, diminishing only 2 and 1 fps, respectively.

Through these results, I built my own Custom Preset, turning off settings that eat up a lot of fps and settings that can be barely seen when turned on.

Presets

All Low / OffPreset 1
Fastest
Preset 2Preset 3Preset 4
Best Looking
Custom
Anti-AliasingOffOffOffOnOnOff
SpecularOffOffOffOnOnOff
Specular and Light BloomsOffOffOffOnOnOff
High Quality WaterOffOffOffOffOnOn
Atmospheric FogOffOffOnOnOnOff
Animate PortraitOffOffOnOnOnOff
Additive Light PassOffOffOnOnOnOff
World LightingOffOffOnOnOnOn
Ambient OcclusionOffOffOffOnOnOff
Ambient CreaturesOffOffOffOffOnOff
High Quality DashboardOffOffOffOnOnOff
Normal MapsOffOffOffOnOnOn
Render Quality40%67%89%100%100%100%
Shadow QualityLowLowHighHighHighMedium
Texture QualityLowLowMediumHighHighHigh

While benchmarking the presets with different video cards, I noticed that each video card has different presets, even changing the resolution will change the settings of the presets.

Preset 1 - 1366x768
Preset 1 - 1366x768
Preset 1 - 1600x900
Preset 1 - 1600x900
Preset 1 - 1920x1080
Preset 1 - 1920x1080
Preset 2 - 1366x768
Preset 2 - 1366x768
Preset 2 - 1600x900
Preset 2 - 1600x900
Preset 2 - 1920x1080
Preset 2 - 1920x1080
  • Preset 1 - 1366x768
  • Preset 1 - 1600x900
  • Preset 1 - 1920x1080
  • Preset 2 - 1366x768
  • Preset 2 - 1600x900
  • Preset 2 - 1920x1080
All Low / Off
All Low / Off
Preset 1 - Fastest
Preset 1 - Fastest
Preset 2
Preset 2
Preset 3
Preset 3
Preset 4
Preset 4
Custom
Custom
  • All Low / Off
  • Preset 1 - Fastest
  • Preset 2
  • Preset 3
  • Preset 4
  • Custom

Turning off all of the graphical details makes DOTA 2 looks like a 15-year old game. Setting it to Preset 1 makes the objects and creatures a little sharper. Preset 2 adds shadows and better rendering. Preset 3 adds lighting and ambient occlusion and creatures. The difference between Preset 3 and 4 can be barely seen. The only difference we can see is the lighting on well. Our custom preset is a lot better than preset 1, but preset 2 is a little better with shadows. But if you look closely, Preset 2 is a little blurred, because of lower rendering quality.

preset-performance

Performance-wise, you would want to set the graphics to Preset 2 or to our Custom preset. If you have a high-end PC, Preset 3 and 4 are your presets if you want to see DOTA 2 in full details.

Video Card Performance

The game utilizes the full processing power of the AMD R9 270 when set to Preset 3 and 4. With all settings at low and off, together with Preset 1, it only utilizes 32% and 34% of the GPU, while Preset 2 and our custom preset stays at the middle with 55% and 65% utilization. This shows that DOTA 2 Reborn (Source 2 engine) is GPU dependent, meaning it can use all the processing power of the video when all settings are turned on.

Meanwhile, the game is not that demanding when it comes to video memory. At Preset 3 and 4, it only uses 500MB and 520MB. This means that having 1GB of video memory is very well sufficient. Let’s see if having only 512 MB of video memory can deliver a playable experience at presets 3 and 4.

GPU-perf-1920

At 1920×1080 resolution, the AMD HD7750 and R9 270 are both playable on all presets, but the R9 270 is less affected with higher presets, from 142 fps with all settings turned off down to 107 fps at preset 4, about 25% penalty, while the HD 7750 took about 65% penalty, from 142 fps with all settings turned off down to 49 fps at preset 4. The 9600GT is playable on all presets except presets 3 and 4, delivering only 25 fps each.

Here we see that having just 512MB of video memory cannot deliver playable experience, at least at 1920×1080 resolution. Lastly, the Intel HD2500 is playable with all settings turned off delivering 58 fps and at Preset 1 with 47 fps. You might want to play at preset 1 as the graphics with all low/off settings looks really ugly. Other than the two presets, other presets are unplayable with Intel HD2500.

GPU-perf-1366

At 1366×768 resolution, performance hits are lesser with the AMD HD7750 and R9 270. The 9600GT is now playable on Presets 3 and 4 with 41fps each, but the Intel HD2500 is still only playable at Preset 1 and with all settings low/off.

Take a look at HD 7750 and 9600GT on Preset 2 and Custom preset. At 1920×1080, Preset 2 has higher fps than custom preset, on both cards. But with lower resolution, the custom preset is now faster than Preset 2 on both cards. This is because DOTA 2 presets changes its settings with different resolutions and video cards.

Graphics API Performance

Valve adds native OpenGL support for DOTA 2 Reborn using the Source 2 engine. The game can also run on DirectX 11 API, but the default is still DirectX 9. To be able to run DOTA 2 on OpenGL, you need to download the OpenGL support for Windows update. Then add “-gl” to launch options. To run on DirectX 11, add “-DX11” instead of “gl”. You don’t need to add anything to run on DirectX 9 as it is the default API.

API-perf

Remember we ran these benchmarks on Windows 10, and DX9 mode was the fastest with 107 fps, followed by DX11 with 90 fps, and OpenGL being the slowest with 56 fps. Having a DX11 card doesn’t guarantee a faster performance using DX11 API, at least at this game.

Operating System Performance

OS-perf

Windows 10 and Windows 7 benchmarked with default API DX9 while Linux Ubuntu 15.10 on OpenGL. Only 1 fps difference between Windows 7 (110 fps) and 10 (111 fps) at Preset 4 while only 64 fps on Ubuntu 15.10. Using our custom preset, the difference between Windows 7 and 10 went up to 3 fps (135 and 132 fps) while Ubuntu went up to 80 fps. This shows that Windows / DirectX has superior performance over Linux / OpenGL, about 45% faster. It is still playable on Ubuntu though.

CPU Performance

With 4 cores, the utilization is 68%, 92% with 2 cores, and 100% with 1 core. Judging by these numbers, you can say that DOTA 2 can’t maximize the full power of a quad-core. But when you look at the graphs, utilization across 4 cores are well distributed, meaning it uses all of the cores. Looking at the performance benchmark, DOTA 2 is more sensitive in terms of clock speed than the number of cores – you get more fps with a higher clock.

The high-speed dual-core beats the low-speed quad-core. 3.2 and 3.6 GHz were 90 and 94 fps respectively, while the 2.0 GHz quad-core is only 86 fps. Having a single core CPU is still playable, showing the scalability of the Source 2 engine.

Memory Performance

DOTA 2 used 1.98 GB (Private Bytes) and 2.72 GB with the operating system and other software. This shows that you should have more 2 GB of RAM but the benchmark shows that you can. 115 fps with 2GB, 118 with 4GB, and 119 fps with 8GB – minimal improvements in single-channel mode. But with 6GB at dual-channel, the performance went up to 127 fps – 8 fps faster than with 8GB at single channel. With this game, having large RAM doesn’t necessarily mean better. All RAM were used at 800MHz.

Performance with Minimum Requirements and Lower

I got curious if having the minimum system could play DOTA 2 well. I imitated the minimum system requirements by disabling 2 cores out of the 4 cores of i5 and downclock it to 2.8 GHz. Luckily I have GeForce 9600GT which is exactly the minimum video card required along with GeForce 8600GT, though I believe that the 9600GT is way faster than 8600GT.

system-perf-minimum

Our own minimum system is very much playable on all presets at 1366×768, with 41 fps on Presets 3 and 4, and above 60 fps for the rest of the presets including custom settings. At 1920×1080 resolution, Presets 3 and 4 dropped below 30 fps with 24 fps each. The rest of the presets are above 60 fps except for custom settings with 56 fps.

For what I understand about the “Minimum Requirements”, it is the least system that you will be able to “play the game only with minimum settings”. Based on our benchmarks, the minimum system requirement is too powerful with all the settings turned off, even at 1920×1080 resolution. I got curious again about what could be the real minimum requirements so I decided to test the game with less powerful components.

I downclocked the processor to 2.4 GHz and used its integrated graphics. We still used 4GB of RAM, but it is now sharing 1GB to the integrated graphics that makes it 3 GB RAM + 1GB video memory.

system-perf-lowerminimum

Now we are seeing a “realistic” set of minimum requirements. The game is only playable at Preset 1 and with all the settings turned off, both at 1920×1080 and 1366×768 resolutions. Higher presets and custom settings dropped below 30 fps, which is too slow for this kind of game. So don’t be afraid if you only have integrated graphics, but you can only play at preset 1 with it. We already addressed this to our first Dota 2 benchmark and I don’t know if the developers adjusted the requirements on DOTA 2 Reborn / Source 2 engine.

6.86 Update

The 6.86 update adds an ultra shadow setting. Ultra shadow further enhances the shadows of creatures, structures, and the environment.

Shadows - High
Shadows - High
Shadows - Ultra
Shadows - Ultra
Preset 4 - High Shadows
Preset 4 - High Shadows
Preset 4 - Ultra Shadows
Preset 4 - Ultra Shadows
  • Shadows - High
  • Shadows - Ultra
  • Preset 4 - High Shadows
  • Preset 4 - Ultra Shadows

6.86-shadow-perf

Though ultra shadow setting produces visible enhancements by sharpening the shadows, the performance also dropped by 14 fps, from 123 fps with shadows set on high to 109 fps.

Summary

The GOOD – DOTA 2 Reborn is still playable with lower-end systems and the best looking MOBA when all graphical settings are maxed out.

The BAD – Though there are no official system requirements yet, DOTA 2 Reborn / Source 2 Engine is more demanding than the previous version of DOTA 2 and Source Engine. Either you turn off or on all of the graphical settings, DOTA 2 Reborn has lower fps than the previous DOTA 2.

dota2reborn-vs-dota2-perf

And if you looked at the previous system requirement, it might mislead you. We did the tests and the results show you can play DOTA 2 with system lower than the required system.

If we are to build the minimum system requirement, it would be like this:

  • CPU – Dual-core CPU at 2.4GHz
  • Video Card – Intel HD Graphics
  • RAM – 2GB if you have discrete graphics, 3 GB or more if you have integrated graphics

DOTA 2 is already the best looking MOBA, and it even looked better with Reborn and Source 2 engine while still playable on lower systems. The best part is if you want to play with maximum graphical settings, you don’t need to have a high-end system, like i7 + GeForce Titan or AMD R9 390X. A high-speed dual-core processor and a midrange video card like AMD HD7750 are sufficient to give playable experience. I have to congratulate the developers for this kind of achievement and I believe they can further improve the game since this is their first release of its new Source 2 engine.

13 Comments
  1. what setting should i use ?
    my spec
    intel core i3 4170, RAM Ripjaws 8Gb 1600Mhz, HDD 1Tb, Zotac GTx 960 2Gb Amp, w7 64bit

  2. i have a4-4020 3.2ghz and 8gb rams 1600mhz, HD6850 sapphire. WHY CANT DOTA 2 reborn only in 32 fps even in lowest settings. 🙁

  3. Im planning on buying a graphics card….my budget is around 4-5kphp…will be playing on 736 reso…
    Cpu:a10-6800k 4.1ghz quadcore
    Ram: 2 x 4GB fury 1866mhz
    I’ll also do dual monitor setup for gaming dota 2 and checking stats..both 736 reso…

    Guys what do you think is the most cost efficient graphics card i can get..im planning on buying it next week. Btw…5kphp is about 130-140$ i think.

  4. Does asus 1 gb ddr 3 work good for dota

  5. Does an intel pentium G4400 3.3Ghz enough with an amd rx 460 GPU for 1080p, max setting, 60fps above?

  6. Hello, I’ve a problem with the resolution on Dota 2, in-game while playing the resolution must be 800×600 or lower, I’ve tried to change resolution of desktop and of dota to by rising it at every resolution available but it doesn’t affect ingame resolution, still 800×600.
    Also I’ve tried editting even the file at cfg folder but doesn’t work.
    Please, if any1 know how to solve this problem or has any idea, leave a reply.
    My pc specs are MB: Gigabyte M57SLI S4, CPU Athlon X2 6400+ 3.2Ghz, 6 GB Ram 800Mhz, VGA: GTX 750 Ti inno3D.

    Thanks a lot for any help 🙂

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