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Fable Legends performance at 1920x1080
The Legends benchmark is simple enough to use. You can run a test with one of three pre-baked options. The first option uses the game's "ultra" quality settings at 1080p. The second uses "ultra" at 3840x2160. The third choice is meant for integrated graphics solutions; it drops down to the "low" quality settings at 1280x720.

The demo spits out tons of data in a big CSV file, and blessedly, the time to render each frame is included. Naturally, I've run the test on a bunch of cards and have provided the frame time data below. You can click through the buttons to see a plot taken from one of the three test instances we ran for each card. We'll start with the ultra-quality results at 1920x1080.

Browse through all of the plots above and you'll notice something unusual: all of the cards produce the same number of frames, regardless of how fast or slow they are. That's not what you'd generally get out of a game, but the Legends benchmark works like an old Quake timedemo. It produces the same set of frames on each card, and the run time varies by performance. That means the benchmark is pretty much completely deterministic, which is nice.

The next thing you'll notice is that some of the cards have quite a few more big frame-time spikes than others. The worst offenders are the GeForce GTX 950 and 960 and the Radeon R9 285. All three of those cards have something in common: only 2GB of video memory onboard. Although by most measures the Radeon R7 370 has the slowest GPU in this test, its 4GB of memory allows it to avoid some of those spikes.

The GeForce GTX 980 Ti is far and away the fastest card here in terms of FPS averages. The 980 Ti's lead is a little larger we've seen in the past, probably due to the fact that we're testing with an Asus Strix card that's quite a bit faster than the reference design. We reviewed a bunch of 980 Ti cards here, and the Strix was our top pick.

The 980 Ti comes back to the pack a little with our 99th-percentile frame time metric, which can be something of an equalizer. The GTX 980 is fast generally, but it does struggle with a portion of the frames it renders, like all of the cards do.

The frame time curves illustrate what happens with the most difficult frames to render.

All of the highest-end Radeons and GeForces look pretty strong here. Each of them struggle slightly with the most demanding one to two percent of frames, but the tail of each curve barely rises above 33 milliseconds—which translates to 30 FPS. Not bad.

These "time spent beyond X" graphs are meant to show "badness," those instances where animation may be less than fluid—or at least less than perfect. The 50-ms threshold is the most notable one, since it corresponds to a 20-FPS average. We figure if you're not rendering any faster than 20 FPS, even for a moment, then the user is likely to perceive a slowdown. 33 ms correlates to 30 FPS or a 30Hz refresh rate. Go beyond that with vsync on, and you're into the bad voodoo of quantization slowdowns. 16.7 ms correlates to 60 FPS, that golden mark that we'd like to achieve (or surpass) for each and every frame, and 8.3 ms is a relatively new addition that equates to 120Hz, for those with fast gaming displays.

As you can see, only the four slowest cards here spend any time beyond the 50-ms threshold, which means the rest of the GPUs are doing a pretty good job at pumping out some prime-quality eye candy without many slowdowns. Click to the 33-ms threshold, and you'll see a similar picture, too. Unfortunately, a perfect 60 FPS is elusive for even the top GPUs, as the 16.7-ms results illustrate.

Now that we have all of the data before us, I have a couple of impressions to offer. First, although the GeForce cards look solid generally, the Hawaii-based Radeons from AMD perform especially well here. The R9 390X outdoes the pricier GeForce GTX 980, and the Radeon R9 390 beats out the GTX 970.

There is a big caveat to remember, though. In power consumption tests, our GPU test rig pulled 449W at the wall socket when equipped with an R9 390X, versus 282W with a GTX 980. The delta between the R9 390 and GTX 970 was similar, at 121W.

That said, the R9 390 and 390X look pretty darned good next to R9 Fury and Fury X, too. The two Fury cards are only marginally quicker than their Hawaii-based siblings. Perhaps the picture will change at a higher resolution?