The Summary Chart
Below is the summary chart of 29 games and 2 synthetic tests. The highest settings are always chosen and it is DX11 when there is a choice (except for Ashes of the Singularity alpha benchmark which is always run in DX12), and the settings are ultra. Specific in-game settings are listed on the Main Performance chart.
The benches are run at 1920×1080, 2560×1440, and 3840×2160. All results, except for Firestrike, show average framerates and higher is always better. In-game settings are fully maxed out and they are identically high or ultra across all platforms. “NA” means the game would not run at the settings chosen, and an *asterisk means that there were issues with running the benchmark, usually visual artifacting.
As usual, we note mostly incremental improvements with the latest drivers, but this time, they are overwhelmingly generally positive. The only small negatives included the DX12 Alpha Benchmark of Ashes of the Singularity which got three large patches recently. Also, Ubisoft’s The Crew got a mega 7GB patch when they released their new major DLC, Wild Run, which made the game much better-looking and more responsive for driving, but it is also far more demanding now.
We note some great performance improvements with the 290X using AMD’s new Crimson Software 15.11.1 beta hotfix driver over the older Catalyst 15.11 non-Crimson driver in many games. Generally, the differences have been just incremental benchmarking “noise”, and well within the benching margin of error. However, our Fury X, and especially our 290X, mostly got some large performance gains with Crimson Software’s 15.11.1 hotfix beta over earlier Catalyst drivers. There is one notable failure with the new AAA game – Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. However, with Wolfenstein: The New Blood, there was significant improvement to the visuals and to performance except at 4K.
The Big Picture once reserved for video card reviews has been expanded to feature all of our competing cards on recent drivers. We are beginning with the GTX 980 Ti versus the Fury X, the GTX 980 versus the R9 390X OC, the GTX 970 OC versus the R9 290X, and for added information, 290X CrossFire and GTX 980 SLI results. The Nvidia cards are tested on the last driver set – GeForce WHQL 359.00 – as shown on the top and bottom lines of the Big Picture.
The Big Picture
So far, we would highly recommend upgrading to the latest Crimson Software Catalyst 15.11.1 hotfix beta driver from any previous Catalyst driver because there are generally advantages that are sometimes quite significant, depending on the game you are playing.
For many games in our benching suite, Catalyst 15.11.1 hotfix may bring significant improvement to the 290X over even slightly older drivers. And for the Fury X, the benefits generally outweigh the negatives as you can now unlock the Fury X voltage with Sapphire’s TriXX.
Stay tuned, next up we are planning a GeForce 359.06 WHQL driver performance evaluation featuring Just Cause 3 and Rainbow Six: Siege. And we shall add them to our benching suite for our next driver performance evaluation.
In the meantime, join BTR’s Community for great tech discussions and also feel free to comment on this Performance Analysis in the comments section below.