Test Configuration & Driver Release Notes

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • Intel Core i7-4790K (reference 4.0GHz, HyperThreading and Turbo boost is on to 4.4GHz; DX11 CPU graphics), supplied by Intel.
  • ASUS Z97-E motherboard (Intel Z97 chipset, latest BIOS, PCOe 3.0 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x)
  • Kingston 16 GB HyperX Beast DDR3 RAM (2×8 GB, dual-channel at 2133MHz, supplied by Kingston)
  • GeForce GTX 980, 4GB reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • PowerColor R9 290X PCS+, 3GB at reference speeds and clocks.
  • Two 2TB Toshiba 7200 rpm HDDs
  • EVGA 1000G 1000W power supply unit
  • Cooler Master 2.0 Seidon, supplied by Cooler Master
  • Onboard Realtek Audio
  • Genius SP-D150 speakers, supplied by Genius
  • Thermaltake Overseer RX-I full tower case, supplied by Thermaltake
  • ASUS 12X Blu-ray writer
  • Monoprice Crystal Pro 4K


Test Configuration – Software

  • WHQL Omega Catalyst driver and 15.4.1 Beta drivers.  High Quality; all optimizations off, use Application settings.
  • Nvidia GeForce 350.12 WHQL drivers for the GTX 980. High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display.
  • VSync is off in the control panels.
  • AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied; 16xAF forced in control panel for Crysis.
  • All results show average frame rates except as noted.
  • Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
  • Windows 8.1 64, all DX10 titles were run under DX10 render paths; DX11 titles under DX11 render paths.  Latest DirectX
  • All games are patched to their latest versions

The 33 Game benchmarks & 2 synthetic tests

  • Synthetic
  • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
  • Heaven 4.0
  • DX9
  • The Witcher 2
  • DX10
  • Crysis
  • DX11
  • STALKER, Call of Pripyat
  • Max Payne 3
  • the Secret World
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • Tomb Raider: 2013
  • Crysis 3
  • BioShock: Infinite
  • Metro: Last Light Redux (2014)
  • Battlefield 4
  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist
  • ArmA 3
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • Thief
  • Sniper Elite 3
  • Watch_Dogs
  • GRID: Autosport
  • Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor
  • Alien Isolation
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity
  • Civilization Beyond Earth
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Far Cry 4
  • Dragon’s Age: Inquisition
  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
  • The Crew
  • Evolve
  • Total War: Attila
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  • Project CARS

Since GTA V is a new benchmark for BTR,  the settings we use are completely maxed-out Ultra (including Grass), with every setting on and at highest, except for 2xMSAA Reflections and “Softest Shadows”.  We use FXAA but no MSAA.  Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is more demanding than earlier Wolfenstein games, but requires that testing take place below the engine’s 60 fps cap so we use completely maxed out ultra settings with 8xMSAA.  And for ProjectCARS, we use the most demanding settings, including High AA and Ultra SMAA.

Lets look at AMD’s release highlights regarding the Catalyst 15.4 driver before we head to performance testing.  Please also see the Catalyst 15.4.1 Release Notes and you can choose your download from the links provided by AMD.

Release Notes Highlights for Catalyst 15.4 Beta

This is a really short list highlighting the fact that AMD’s Beta Catalyst 15.4 beta driver was especially released for GTA V.  And 15.4.1 appears to just be a bug fix for FreeSync

AMD Catalyst™ 15.4 Beta for Windows® – Grand Theft Auto V Optimized

This release enables peak driver performance optimization for AMD Radeon™ graphics users in Grand Theft Auto V.

This article provides information on the latest posting of the AMD Catalyst™ Software Suite, AMD Catalyst™ 15.4 Beta.

This particular software suite updates the AMD Catalyst Display Driver and the AMD Catalyst Control Center. This unified driver has been updated, and is designed to provide enhanced performance and reliability.

Package Contents

The AMD Catalyst™ Software Suite, AMD Catalyst™ 15.4 Beta contains the following:

  • AMD Catalyst™ Display Driver version 14.502.1014

The AMD Catalyst™ 15.4 Beta Driver can be downloaded from the following links:

Let’s head to the charts and compare the driver progress from the Omega WHQL Catalyst driver to 15.4.1 Beta, and with the GTX 980 since we tested them last time.