Vulkan in Rainbow Six Siege Tested – A major boost for modern graphics cards

Vulkan in Rainbow Six Siege Tested - A major boost for modern graphics cards

Vulkan in Rainbow Six: Siege Tested – A major boost for modern graphics cards

Rainbow Six: Sieve has been one of Ubisoft’s many success stories within this console generation, and frequent updates have helped to keep player online long after the game’s 2015 release date. 

With update 4.3, PC gamers have been given the opportunity to try out Rainbow Six: Siege with the Khronos Group’s Vulkan API, which adds several new features to the game and promises increased performance across a wide range of PC hardware. 

In this article, we will be looking at Rainbow Six; Siege’s performance across a wide range of graphics cards, including models from AMD’s Polaris, Vega and RDNA architectures as well as Nvidia’s Pascal and Turing lineups. This testing will help us tell you which API is the fastest, Siege’s classic DirectX 11 version of Ubisoft’s new Vulkan API implementation. 

More information about that Rainbox Six: Siege’s use of Vulkan is detailed here. 

GPU drivers

When testing Rainbow Six: Siege’s latest PC update, we opted to use the newest drivers from both the Radeon and Geforce camps. These drivers are AMD’s Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 20.1.4 driver as well as Nvidia’s Geforce 441.87 driver.

Testing Methodology

OC3D is a website that is dedicated to PC hardware, so you better believe that we test every game on a wide range of hardware configurations. This commitment to variety means that we will be using both Intel and AMD based testbeds as well as a range of GPU offerings from both Nvidia and Radeon. 

Our primary test system uses Intel’s X99 platform, containing an Intel Core i7 6850K at a fixed clock speed of 4GHz. This testbed will use 32GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR4 memory and will be powered and cooled by an HX1200i PSU and an H110i AIO liquid cooler respectively, with everything sitting inside a Corsair 460X chassis. In this system, we are using an ASUS Strix X99 motherboard.

The system below will be used to conduct the majority of our game testing. This system will be used in this review unless otherwise stated.


Game Test Rig

Intel i7 6850K @4.0 GHz
ASUS X99 Strix
Corsair Vengeance LP 4x8GB DDR4 3200MHz
Corsair HX1200i
Corsair H110i GT
Windows 10 x64 “May 2019” Update



1080p Performance – The Power of Vulkan

At 1080p, we can see that the impact of Vulkan is mostly positive, though some graphics architectures clearly benefit more from the change than others. 

With this in mind, we will discuss the performance impact of Vulkan on an architecture-by-architecture basis. 

AMD – Polaris, Vega and Navi/RDNA

Radeon graphics cards see the largest benefit from Rainbow Six: Siege’s Vulkan update, with all tested graphics cards seeing a significant boost to both the game’s 99th percentile and average framerates throughout out testing. With AMD, Vulkan is a must use API when playing Rainbow Six: Siege. 

This makes sense given Siege’s heavy use of Asynchronous Compute on consoles, a feature which has been used to great effect to get more performance out of AMD components in other PC games. 

Nvidia – Pascal 

Using the Vulkan API didn’t yield any notable benefits in Rainbow Six: Siege, with framerates appearing almost identical across both APIs. Minimum framerates were slightly lower with Vulkan, but average framerates were slightly higher. 

Nvidia – Turing

Unlike Pascal, Nvidia’s RTX and GTX Turing graphics cards were able to achieve significant boosts to game performance when playing Rainbow Six: Siege on PC, offering notable boosts to both average and minimum framerates. 

Looking at Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Ti, our guess is that the graphics card is CPU limited, or otherwise performance constrained. This makes sense given the game’s incredibly high framerates. Perhaps a higher-end processor would enable us to achieve higher framerates with this graphics card. 

Vulkan in Rainbow Six Siege Tested - A major boost for modern graphics cards  

Other pages

– 1440p Testing
– 4K Testing
– Conclusion