Test Configuration

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)
  • Sapphire Fury X, 4GB HBM, reference clocks
  • VisionTek R9 290X, 4GB, stock reference (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

  • Nvidia GeForce 353.30 WHQL drivers for the reference GTX 980 Ti.  High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display, use application settings except for Vsync, off.
  • AMD WHQL 15.7 for the Fury X and for the 290X. Catalyst 15.15b (15.15.1004) for Fury X and 15.5 Beta for 290X (15.6 Beta used for Batman: AK, Kite Demo, and for the Witcher 3).    High Quality, all optimizations off, use application settings except for Vsync, off.
  • 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.


Here is Nvidia’s Control Panel and the settings that we use:NvCP1NvCP2

The 32 Game benchmarks & 3 synthetic tests

  • Synthetic
  • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
  • Heaven 4.0
  • Kite Demo, Unreal Engine 4
  • 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) (including PhysX on vs off)
  • Battlefield 4
  • 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
  • Far Cry 4
  • Dragon’s Age: Inquisition
  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
  • The Crew
  • Evolve
  • Total War: Attila
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • ProjectCARS
  • the Witcher 3 (including HairWorks, On vs Off)
  • Batman: Arkham Knight

BatmanAK 2015-06-24 19-35-16-54This is the last time that we will use Batman: Arkham Origins as a benchmark.  In its place, we will benchmark Batman: Arkham Knight since it is the latest game in the series.

If you missed the changes with the older drivers, look at AMD’s release highlights regarding the Catalyst 15.5B driver which can be found in our comparison of Catalyst 15.4B with 15.5B.

Release Notes Highlights for Catalyst 15.5 Beta

The release notes and download links for Catalyst 15.7 WHQL drivers can be found here for Windows 8.1.  Unlike the usual short notes, these are more detailed.  The new WHQL drivers promise some improvements for 200 series in specific games, new and improved CrossFire profiles, and they bring new features worth checking out.

  • ​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 Fury X launch drivers and 15.5 Beta drivers for the 290X, to the new WHQL 15.7 driver since we tested them the last time.