The football season is in full swing and that can only mean one thing: the arrival of FIFA 15. This year's an extra special one for PC gamers though, because at last FIFA is moving to the new and enhanced Ignite Engine, meaning the beautiful game has never looked better. Greatly enhanced player models, fully rendered 3D crowds, and more realistic animations are the highlights here in what looks to be the complete football package.

A new engine means new demands on hardware though, and FIFA 15 is no different. The system requirements for FIFA 15 raised a few eyebrows when we revealed them earlier this year, so we know many of you are itching to see how FIFA 15 performs. For this benchmark we're going to be using the trust Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB, an AMD FX-4100 processor, and just 4GB of RAM. This is just above the minimum requirements for FIFA 15 and should provide a good test of its optimisation.

FIFA 15 Demo Graphics Options And Settings Screen

As you can see this is just about the worst level of customisation. Ever. Whether this is just for the demo or not we don't know, but the FIFA 15 settings screens offers the absolute minimum of graphics options. Resolution can be switched here along with toggling windowed or full screen mode, while rendering quality can be set to Low or High, MSAA (multisample antialiasing) can be off or set to 2x or 4x, while the frame rate can be locked to 30FPS, 60FPS, or no limit. During our time benchmarking we didn't enoucnter any problems with unlocking the FPS so this seems the way to go.

The display configurations must be tweaked before booting up the FIFA 15 demo, so you'll have to quit out of the game entirely if you want to change any settings. Thankfully booting the game is mercifully quick but it would have been nice to at least have a few graphical options available to tweak in-game.

FIFA 15 GeForce GTX 650 Benchmarks 

Right, on to those all-important benchmarks. Our options were limited with the graphics settings above, so we played through matches on three different resolutions; 1280 x 720 (720p), 1600 x 900 (900p), and 1920 x 1080 (1080p). At each resolution we tested it at Low settings with no antialiasing, at High settings with 2x MSAA, and finally on High settings with 4x MSAA.

Benchmarks for FIFA 15 performed on AMD FX 4100 with 4GB RAM and Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 2GB graphics card 

 

Considering this rig scrapes in at just above the minimum system requirements for FIFA 15 we weren't expecting results like this. The frame rate in FIFA 15 was near flawless even on High settings at 1080p resolution and with 4x MSAA. Anything other this average well over 60 frames per second, and FIFA 15 was very playable throughout, despite having practically the minimum memory and GPU requirements possible. This means there's plenty of hope for those hoping to play with underpowered rigs, so we'll be sure to test the AMD Radeon 6670 soon to see how that handles it. As it is FIFA 15 looks immensely well optimised and the transition to the Ignite Engine looks to have gone pretty smoothly indeed. 

A couple of things to note though are that FIFA 15 did occasionally stutter at High settings despite the high frame rate, and the FPS dipped when the ball was in the lower half of the screen by around 10-20%. For example on 1080p/High/4xMSAA it would drop to roughly 48 frames per second because the camera pans back and there is more on screen. The opposites true when the ball's on the far side of the pitch, where the frame rate will jump up. 

FIFA 15 FX-4100 CPU And 4GB RAM Game Performance

Despite the extremely impressive frame rates throughout the FIFA 15 demo, there were numerous moments where the game stuttered on higher resolutions and settings. This wasn't just relegate to a few occasions either, this was happening at least once per match and the stutter was long enough to have some serious consequences for the scoreline. To get some idea of what may be causing this I grabbed a screenshot of the CPU and memory usage. 

FIFA 15 demands a minimum of 4GB of RAM, but as you can see taking from this snapshot at the highest settings, it remains pretty solid at 2.3GB physical memory usage. We're sure you'll be able to get away with 3GB of RAM, and possibly even 2GB at the lower settings. It's the processor requirements where it really takes its toll though, with the usage often tipping over 90% when the ball was in the lower half of the pitch. This might go some way to explain the occasional hitches although it could be an issue with the demo rather than the final product. 

FIFA 15 Graphics Comparison Screens

FIFA 15 Low Graphics Settings 

FIFA 15 High Graphics Settings 

Due to the camera's distance from the field of play the actual difference in visual quality is pretty minimal. The finer details added such as player likenesses and some pretty snazzy grass effects aren't all that noticeable up on high, so FIFA 15 is still very much more a go on low settings. Get up close though and you can see the difference; everybody looks much more lifelike on high settings in FIFA 15, and even more astonishing is the entire crowd has a comparable level of detail. As you can see in the screen shot with Nasri at the top the crowd quality is quite a bit worse, but it's still a massive step up from FIFA 15's static crowds. 

For further FIFA 15 demo benchmarks be sure to keep an eye out for our tests on our trusty old Radeon 6670, where we can see how a card below minimum requirements handles FIFA 15.