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, PCIe 3.0 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x)
- Kingston 16 GB HyperX Beast DDR3 RAM (2×8 GB, dual-channel at 2133MHz, supplied by Kingston)
- VisionTek R9 290X & PowerColor 290X PCS+, 4GB, stock reference clocks (non-throttling, fan allowed to spin to 100%) Uber clocks.
- GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 6GB reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
- Two 2TB Toshiba 7200 rpm HDDs
- EVGA 1000G 1000W power supply unit
- Cooler Master 2.0 Seidon240 CPU water cooler, 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
- AMD Catalyst WHQL 15.7 and 15.7.1 for the 290X; Catalyst 15.7.1 and 15.4.1 Beta for 290X CrossFire. High Quality, all optimizations off, use application settings except for Vsync, off.
- Nvidia GeForce 353.62 WHQL drivers for the GTX 980 Ti High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display.
- AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied; 16xAF forced in control panels for Crysis.
- All results show average, minimum and maximum 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 very latest versions at the time of publication.
Here are the settings we always use in AMD’s Catalyst Control Center for our default benching.
- Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
- Heaven 4.0
- Kite Demo, Unreal Engine 4
- 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) (including PhysX on vs off)
- Battlefield 4
- ArmA 3
- Batman: Arkham Origins
- Sniper Elite 3
- GRID: Autosport
- Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor
- Alien Isolation
- Assassin’s Creed Unity
- Civilization Beyond Earth
- Far Cry 4
- Dragon’s Age: Inquisition
- Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
- The Crew
- Total War: Attila
- Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
- Grand Theft Auto V
- the Witcher 3 (including HairWorks, On vs Off)
- Batman: Arkham Knight
If you missed the changes with the older drivers, look at AMD’s release highlights regarding the Catalyst 15.7 WHQL drivers which can be found in our performance analysis.
Release Notes Highlights for Catalyst 15.7.1 Beta
The release notes and download links for Catalyst 15.7.1 WHQL drivers can be found here for Windows 8.1. The 15.7 WHQL drivers brought some improvements for the R9 200 series in specific games, new and improved CrossFire profiles, and they bring new features worth checking out that are also in 15.7.1 Beta.
- Virtual Super Resolution (VSR)
- Frame Rate Target Control™ (FRTC)
- Performance Optimizations versus AMD Catalyst™ Omega
- AMD FreeSync™ and AMD CrossFire™ Support
- AMD CrossFire™ Profile Enhancements …
Let’s head to the chart to compare the driver progress from the 15.7 WHQL Catalyst drivers for the 290X, to the new beta 15.7.1 driver since we tested them the last time.