Final Fantasy 14 on Intel and AMD integrated graphics
Last year I've tested FF14 on AMD integrated graphics and now I've managed to put Ryzen 4800U against Intel i7-1165G7. There is a quite large stock of cheap existing or refreshed laptops with such chips so the question is - can they run Final Fantasy XIV decently? Lets find out ;)
Intel Tiger Lake (11-th gen) and Alder Lake (12-th gen) use Intel Xe graphics. i7 have 96 execution units while i5 have 80 EU (with some differences here and there so check specific variant). AMD has Ryzen 4000 and 5000 mobile chips with Vega 8 and Vega 7 integrated graphics (Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 9). There are lower tier processors like i3 or Ryzen 3 that have way more cut down iGPU and CPU and those I'm not comparing or testing here (not really worth it).
Mentioned Tiger Lake and Ryzen 4000/5000 based laptops start in Europe at around 450 EUR and reach like 850 EUR or more for more premium and slick models. Alder Lake laptops will be above that while having same iGPU and only partially better CPU side (depending wherever it’s a U or P model).
AMD also has Ryzen 6000 mobile series with Radeon 680M integrated graphics that offers up to twice the performance of Vega 8. Same with Apple with M1 and M2 laptops and desktops. Apple chips offer better performance than old AMD and Intel mobile solutions but at a higher price. Note that FF14 does not have a native Apple silicon version so there is a performance cost to that when running on Apple M1 and M2 devices versus what a native version of the game could achieve.
Right now Ryzen 6800U (or H/HS) with Radeon 680M integrated graphics and LPDDR5 6400MT/s is hard to come by. There is few Lenovo and Asus models and realistically they start at 1000-1400 EUR. Same for GPD and Aya Neo handhelds. Same with Apple - if you go with 16GB of RAM (which I strongly recommend) you can get Mac Mini from 1000 EUR and laptops for even more.
From pure price to performance ratio right now Intel and older AMD platforms make sense if you need a budget laptop
right now - they are priced below entry level gaming laptops and usually are smaller and lighter. If you would want more performance and can accept a 1,8-2+ kg laptop then there is a lot of laptops with entry level Nvidia or AMD graphics. If you want portability and specific productivity values of macOS or gaming handhelds with Ryzen 6000 then you will have to pay way more per frame and possibly deal with FF14 on macOS and Apple silicon. With time 6800U models should go down in price, especially when next generation launches on top of it.
Valves Steam Deck is based on a custom AMD chip. It performance is between old 4000/5000 and current 6000 series. As Valve makes money from their Steam shop the device is very well priced. Other handhelds like GPD or OnePlayer, Aya Neo have to be priced much higher. Steam Deck runs SteamOS which is Linux based. Some users launched FF14 on it via Wine and Lutris but note that Linux is not officially supported by Square Enix so there can be patches where suddenly something breaks or the game may not be stable etc.
At CES show in January 2023 AMD will reveal their next mobile lineup with even better iGPU based on RDNA 3 architecture. It will be way better than 680M but just like 680M AMD will pretty much position it at premium thin and light devices. It will likely have to be paired with soldered LPDDR5 RAM for max performance - which in some cases could reach RTX 3050 or higher levels.
Intel will rapidly grow it integrated graphics but it's unclear when it will launch. Arrow Lake with large graphics tile is planned for end of 2023 / beginning of 2024. This will be a tile design similar to AMD chiplet design. Small integrated graphics becomes a big tile capable of entry level dGPU performance. If you like premium gaming handhelds or premium thin and light laptops both platforms should deliver.
For this benchmark I've used three devices listed below. The tests were done on 1080p resolution. The game and the Endwalker benchmark was set to
standard laptop preset (lowest possible). Data was collected with MSI Afterburner. FF14 was at patch 6.2.
- Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05: Ryzen 4800U, Vega 8. SoC power usage: 24,6W
- HP 15-dw3000ni: i7-1165G7, Intel Xe graphics 96EU. SoC power usage: 17,2W
- Mac Mini: M1, 16GB RAM, 8 core GPU
As you can see the Intel i7-1165G7 in the HP laptop is better than then Ryzen 4800U in the Lenovo laptop. And this is true for average FPS as well as 1% low FPS (much lower 1% FPS implies stuttering or less fluid animations as the average FPS would suggest).
Kholusia benchmarks test how the game performs in modern zones and without people slowing the frametimes down. Limsa and Gridania benchmarks are done at the aetheryte where large quantity of players puts a different load on the game and usually hammers the performance.
Endwalker benchmark also gives the win to Intel but as you can see - the score depends on other factors as well:
For some reason the results on Windows 11 are slightly lower than on Windows 10. On top of that you can see that there is a significant difference between two kits of RAM the 1165G7 was tested with.
For DDR4 laptops (Ryzen 4000, 5000, Tiger Lake, some Alder Lake) there is one parameter that can give or take 10-20% of iGPU or dGPU laptop performance. Single rank x16 memory kits have much lower bandwidth than x8 kits which affects system performance by a lot. You can read more on notebookcheck. You can see what type of memory you have on it label. 2x4GB laptop DDR4 will pretty much always be x16 while 2x8GB can be either so it's worth checking.
I don't have x16 16GB RAM kit so I had to compare x16 8GB versus x8 16GB which is a two variable equation:
FF14 isn't that demanding on RAM and easily fits on 8GB systems, yet in Kolusia the performance difference is large. Gridania and more so Limsa Lominsa aetherytes are limited by the sheer amount of people there (and the assets are older/lighter vs modern zones quite likely).
Cheap AMD or Intel base laptops with iGPUs I just tested can handle FF14 although with rather basic 30 FPS performance range. For better performance either those newer iGPUs would be needed or entry level gaming laptops with dGPUs.
If you want a handheld or some premium laptop then those can deliver better performance but at a high premium tax - so if you need for more than just gaming then it may be an option. In other cases it would be good to look for something with a decent entry level dGPU. And early 2023 will bring newer mobile chips as well.
In case of laptops with iGPU only the performance you can get can also vary greatly even within the same CPU models. This is related to power limit set for the laptop. Some ultra thin laptops will run CPUs at lower power limit which means lower performance. I would recommend checking detailed reviews of a model you want to pick to see if there are no problems with the performance.