NBA 2K15 Hardware Performance Tested

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The newest installment of the NBA 2K series, NBA 2K15 fixed the flaws of the 2K14 and improved the overall gameplay as well as the graphics. It brings players closer to real-life action with how they react, shoot, and their movement was like the real players.  Visually, the game has better textures, lighting, reflections, facial expressions, and cloth movement.


Test System & Requirements

 Minimum Requirements Recommended RequirementsTest System
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo E4400 2.0 GHz,
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4000+ 2.1 GHz
Intel Core i7-860 2.8 GHz Quad-Core,
AMD FX-8120 3.1 GHz 8-Core
Intel i5-3470 3.2 GHz Quad-core (3.4 GHz Boost)
Memory2GB RAM4 GB RAM2GB, 4GB, 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
Graphics CardAMD Radeon HD3600 512MB,
nVidia GeForce 8600GT 512MB
AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB,
nVidia GeForce GTX 750Ti 2GB
AMD Radeon R9 270 2GB DDR5,
AMD Radeon HD 7750 1GB DDR5,
nVidia GeForce 9600GT 512MB DDR3,
Intel HD 2500
Driver VersionAMD Catalyst 15.3 Beta,
nVidia Forceware 341.44,
Intel HD 2500 Graphics
Operating System / DirectXWindows 7 32-bit,
DirectX 10.1
Windows 7 64-bit,
DirectX 11
Windows 7 SP1 64-bit,
Windows 8.1 64-bit

The minimum requirements are really low for this generation. The requirements are from 2007-2008 generation of hardware – from processors to video cards. The recommended requirements, on the other hand, require a new generation of video cards with 2GB of video memory. The recommended processors don’t need to be current-gen, requiring only the first generation of Intel Core i7 and an 8-Core AMD FX CPU; but these processors have one thing in common – they both have more than 4 cores or threads.


Benchmarking Procedure

The tests were done with Intel i5-3470 with boost enabled up to 3.4GHz, XFX AMD Radeon R9 270 2GB DDR5, and Kingston 8GB DDR3 1600 Mhz, with every setting set to its highest value at 1920x1080 resolution with v-sync and replays off, and camera mode set to Broadcast Stadium. I used FRAPS to get the frames per second, the benchmark is an offline quick game, and the sequence is 60 seconds long starting right after the jump ball. The game is limited to 120fps even with v-sync off. Results are rounded to whole numbers.

NBA 2K15 Benchmark Sequence


Individual Settings and Benchmark



Anti-aliasing removes the jaggedness of the sideline, corners, and edges of the player’s body and of the shot meter. The hair also looks better with a higher anti-aliasing value. With a maximum value of 8 and 16 for Level and Quality, the FPS number is 68, but turning it down to its lowest value of 1 and 0, the frames per second is 113, almost double of 68. The visual improvement is visible from Level 1 Quality 0 to Level 4 Quality 4. Higher than that is not much of an improvement, but the performance is still diminishing as you go higher.

Recommended Setting: Level 2, Quality 4


Texture Detail Level


Up-close, you will see the improvement on the player’s face – eyebrows, mustache, and the overall textures are finer. On the floor, the baseline and NBA paint are clearer, but improvements on the player itself are not visible. The frames per second are the same across all values. This is the only setting that needs the game to be restarted before it takes effect.

Recommended Setting: High


Player Detail Level


There are no visible improvements or changes across all settings, but the performance dropped on high – from 72 on low and medium to 68 on high.

Recommended Setting: Low


Crowd Detail Level


Crowd Detail Level controls the quantity of crowd audiences – the higher the value, the more audience. The frames per second is only up by 1 on medium, 69 and 68 on high. Setting it to Low, the frames per second is up to 75.

Recommended Setting: Low


Special Effects


Special Effects adds extra lighting and reflections to the game. Turning it off removes the reflection of players and objects on the floor. Turning it off also boosts the performance from 68 to 97 frames per second.

Recommended Setting: Off


Shader Detail Level


Shader Detail, like the Special Effects, adds lighting on the scene; but turning it to low reduced the fps from 68 to 57.

Recommended Setting: High


Aspect Ratio Correction


Aspect Ratio Correction adjusts the image according to the aspect ratio of the monitor to avoid the stretching of the image.


Camera Mode

Camera Mode lets you select different views of the game. I only tested 3 camera modes and each mode has a different performance output.



The game doesn’t have presets on video settings, so I made my own presets, including a custom preset based on my recommended setting.

Antialiasing Level182
Antialiasing Quality0164
Vertical SyncOffOffOff
Aspect Ratio CorrectionOnOnOn
Texture Detail LevelLowHighHigh
Player Detail LevelLowHighLow
Crowd Detail LevelLowHighLow
Special EffectsOffOnOff
Shader Detail LevelLowHighHigh



On the Normal view, differences among presets are not noticeable, except for the reflections on the floor on High preset. Also, you will not notice the difference in the crowd because you are focused on the players. Up close, differences are more noticeable. The hair looks better and the body edges are smoother. Floor paint also looks sharper. On the performance, High preset has 68 frames per second while Low and Custom are both 120, but Custom preset looks better than Low preset.


Video Card Performance


With all settings set to their maximum values, the GPU average was about 98%and video memory reached 1.6 GB, just right for the recommended requirements of 2GB.


GPU Performance: 1080p


At 1920x1080 resolution, the R9 270 showed no problem on the performance with 68 fps on High and 120fps both on Low and Custom which is the cap fps of the game. The HD 7750 is very playable on Low and Custom presets but can’t reach the playable fps of 30 with only 27 fps on High preset. Lastly the 9600GT is only playable on Low preset with 44 fps.


GPU Performance: 768p


Lowering the resolution down to 1366x768, the HD 7750 becomes playable on High with 42fps and the 9600GT is now playable on Custom preset with 31fps, but still not playable on High preset with only 16fps. The Intel HD2500 is not playable even on Low with only 15fps.


CPU Performance


The CPU utilization averaged 55% with 4 cores and 70% with 2 cores. If you have a quad-core CPU, a higher clock speed doesn’t change anything on the performance – the frames per second are the same from 2.0 GHz to 3.4 GHz. But if you have a dual-core CPU, a higher clock means better performance – from 19 fps on 2.0 GHz to 52 fps on 3.6 GHz.


Memory Performance


NBA 2K15 used 1.78 GB of memory and 2.8 GB with the operating system and other software. Increasing RAM doesn’t improve the performance significantly, only 2 fps improvement from 2 GB to 12 GB.


Windows 8 Performance


It doesn’t matter whether you are gaming Windows 7 or Windows 8, both OSs have the same 68 fps on the performance.



With high-quality textures, realistic sweat, muscle tone, cloth movement, collision detection, and facial expressions, NBA 2K15 is by far the best-looking sports game to date. If you have the recommended system, you can set the graphics to the maximum values with no problems and still get very playable performance.

Both a quad-core processor and a high-end video card are very significant factors to improve the game’s performance. If you only have one of them, don’t expect to play with maximum graphics without performance issues – you need both at the same time.  More so if you only have the minimum system. We see it on our tests that the minimum required processor and video card will not give you a playable experience unless you turn down the graphics to a minimum including the resolution.

This game is sensitive to timing, a split second delay will mess up your shooting so as to your overall gaming experience.  If you are wondering what upgrade to you choose from, between the processor and video card for this game, it’s safe to say that a video card upgrade will guarantee you better performance.

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