Metro: Last Light and Conclusions

Metro: Last Light (DirectX 11)


Beneath the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow, in the tunnels of the Metro, the remnants of mankind are besieged by deadly threats from outside – and within.

Mutants stalk the catacombs beneath the desolate surface, and hunt amidst the poisoned skies above. But rather than stand united, the station-cities of the Metro are locked in a struggle for the ultimate power, a doomsday device from the military vaults of D6. A civil war is stirring that could wipe humanity from the face of the earth forever.

As Artyom, burdened by guilt but driven by hope, you hold the key to our survival – the last light in our darkest hour…

Skylake vs. Sandy Bridge: Discrete GPU Showdown - Graphics Cards  1

Skylake vs. Sandy Bridge: Discrete GPU Showdown - Graphics Cards  2

Skylake vs. Sandy Bridge: Discrete GPU Showdown - Graphics Cards  3

Our Settings for Metro: Last Light

At 1080p, Metro: Last Light is the only game that didn't show a difference between the Sandy Bridge and Skylake processor platforms in our testing. There is a small fraction of a difference in terms of frame time consistency, but it's imperceptible.

Huh. Here we see a small 3% advantage for the Skylake system at 2560×1440 and a similar, but very minor, change in frame times.

Even though both resolutions with a single GPU showed little difference between the system using the Core i7-6700K and the system using the 2600K, when we integrated dual GTX 980s in SLI a similar change in experience occurs to what we saw on the previous page. The Skylake-based system is 12% faster in terms of average frame rate and has several areas of much more consistent frame delivery times.


Closing Thoughts

It's not a completely comprehensive test, but the results are consistent enough that I think we can draw some very specific conclusions. First, there is absolutely a gaming performance difference between the Sandy Bridge Core i7-2600K and the Skylake Core i7-6700K. With just a single GPU, and a high end one at that, we saw measured average frame rate differences as well as frame time consistency differences at 1920×1080 in 3 out of 4 our test games. In the newest title of the bunch, Grand Theft Auto V, that gap was 25%! Other games ranged from 7-8%, which isn't enough to warrant a full platform upgrade on its own, but if you have been weighing your options for a while, this might be enough to tip the scales.

As we increased the resolution to 2560×1440, those platform differences were minimized yet again, with the Sandy Bridge and Skylake platforms showing very similar results in terms of average frame rate. There was the occasional advantage for the 6700K in terms of frame times (GTA V) but otherwise I could these two experiences being hard to differentiate between.

For SLI though, that was far from the truth. The pair of GeForce GTX 980 cards running on the Core i7-6700K and Z170 motherboard produced a much better overall gaming experience, even at 2560×1440, than the older Sandy Bridge platform. Both average frame rates and frame times proved this to be the case: if you are a gamer considering or currently running on SLI, then you should really save some cash to make that next upgrade to Haswell or Skylake!

In the end, I definitely found there to be more division between results than I expected going into the testing process. Initially this was going to be just a single page in our standard Skylake review, but I found the differences warranted a separate article on the topic.

Let me know in the comments below what else you think we should test and if you think what we have demonstrated here has convinced you it's time to move up in the world!

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