It’s been at least six months since BTR compared the Fury X versus the GTX 980 Ti and versus the GTX 1070. It will be interesting to see if there have been any major changes since then. Has Nvidia neglected Maxwell in favor of Pascal? This evaluation will revisit 25 games from our last Fury X versus GTX 980 Ti evaluation and we will also include the GTX 1070. We will use the same games that we benched then, and we will again compare them using the latest drivers, plus we will add 11 newer games including Watch Dogs 2.
Both the GTX 980 Ti and the Fury X launched at $650 and have been natural competitors. However, just over six months ago, Nvidia released the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070, and both new cards beat the GTX 980 Ti and also beat the Fury X. Today the Fury X and the GTX 980 Ti are often discounted below $400 which is about where the GTX 1070 is priced, although the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 are now bundled with Watch Dogs 2.
Our game benchmark suite has changed in the past six months as we always strive to update our tested games to include the latest and most popular titles at the time of writing. Since then, we have also upgraded from Devil’s Canyon i7-4790K at 4.4GHz to Skylake i7-6700K at 4.4GHz, but we found almost no performance difference between the two platforms.
We mainly want to see how these formerly flagship GPUs stand now in relation to each other by playing the latest games with updated drivers at demanding settings that we usually bench at as well as by replicating the test conditions of our last Fury X vs. GTX 980 vs. GTX 1070 evaluation as well as we can at 3840×2160, 2560×1440, and at 1920×1080.
We will be interested to see how the Fury X stands up to the latest games with its 4GB of vRAM, and if the GTX 1070 is pulling further away from the GTX 980 Ti. Watch Dogs 2 is vRAM intensive and its recommended specs are pretty steep.
Watch Dogs 2 was released a couple of days ago and we are playing the game now. However, we were able to get a consistent preliminary benchmark. Nvidia’s GameWorks has allowed the Watch Dogs 2 devs to implement additional features into this game, several of which can be used in AMD cards:
- Ansel is a new way to capture in-game photography beyond taking simple screen shots. Ansel allows a GeForce gamer to compose shots from any location allowed by the dev, use post-process filters, capture HDR images, and share screenshots in 360 degrees via a smartphone, PC, or VR headset. Ansel is expected to be added to Watch Dogs 2 in a GeForce driver update.
- Percentage Closer Soft Shadows (PCSS) are a good way for devs to add more realistic soft shadows to their games. Imitating real life, PCSS shadows progressively soften as the distance from the casting object increases. A further benefit of PCSS are the addition of high-quality shadow filtering techniques that reduce the prominence of shadow aliasing. We use PCSS in benching our 3 cards since Nvidia’s Hybrid Frustum Traced Shadows (HTTS) – a hybrid of Frustum Traced hard shadows and PCSS filtering for the soft shadows – are only available to Nvidia Pascal video cards.
- HBAO+ adds more realistic Ambient Occlusion shadowing around objects and surfaces with better visuals and less of a performance hit compared with older real-time AO methods. We also use HBAO+ for benching our 3 cards.
- TXAA is an anti-aliasing technique which reduces temporal aliasing (crawling and flickering with the camera in motion) at the expense of blurring the images slightly with a cinematic look overall. TXAA combines high-quality MSAA, post processes, and Nvidia-designed temporal filters. However, in benching our 3 cards, we use SMAA.
Let’s check out the FuryX versus the GTX 980 Ti and versus the GTX 1070 performance after we look over our test configuration on the next page.
Test Configuration – Hardware
- Intel Core i7-6700K (reference 4.0GHz, HyperThreading and Turbo boost is on to 4.4GHz; DX11 CPU graphics).
- ASRock Z7170M OC Formula motherboard (Intel Z7170 chipset, latest BIOS, PCIe 3.0/3.1 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x)
- HyperX 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, dual channel at 3333MHz), supplied by Kingston
- 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)
- XFX Fury X, 4GB HBM, reference clocks.
- GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 8GB reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
- GeForce GTX 1070 8GB, Founders Edition at reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
- Two 2TB Toshiba 7200 rpm HDDs for each platform
- EVGA 1000G 1000W power supply unit
- Thermaltake Water2.0, supplied by Thermaltake
- 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’s GeForce WHQL 375.86 drivers used for the GTX 980 Ti and the GTX 1070 cards except for the latest GeForce WHQL 376.06 driver for Watch Dogs 2. Older drivers compared 368.22 for the GTX 980 Ti and 368.19 for the GTX 1070 launch. High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display.
- AMD Crimson Software latest 16.11.5 hotfix and older 16.5.3 drivers were used for benching the Fury X.
- VSync is off in the control panel.
- AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied
- All results show average frame rates including minimum frame rates shown in italics on the chart below the averages.
- Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
- Windows 10 64-bit Home edition, all DX11 titles were run under DX11 render paths. Our DX12 titles are run under the DX12 render path. Latest DirectX
- All games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication.
- AMD WattMan was used to set Fury X power +50%.
- MSI’s Afterburner, latest beta, was used for Nvidia cards for setting power/temp limit to maximum.
- Firestrike – Ultra & Extreme
- Time Spy DX12
- Crysis 3
- GRiD Autosport
- Metro: Last Light Redux (2014)
- Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor
- Alien Isolation
- Dragon’s Age: Inquisition
- Dying Light
- Total War Attila
- Grand Theft Auto V
- the Witcher 3
- The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
- Batman: Arkham Origins
- Mad Max
- Fallout 4
- Star Wars Battlefront
- Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
- Just Cause 3
- Rainbow Six Siege
- DiRT Rally
- Far Cry Primal
- Tom Clancy’s The Division
- DOOM – Open GL and Vulkan APIs
- Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
- Deus Ex Mankind Divided
- Shadow Warrior 2
- Battlefield 1
- Call of Duty Infinite Warfare
- Titanfall 2
- Watch Dogs 2
- Ashes of the Singularity
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Total War: Warhammer
- Deus Ex Mankind Divided
- Gears of War 4
- Civilization VI
Nvidia Control Panel settings:
AMD Crimson Control Center Settings:
Let’s head to the performance charts to see how the GTX 980 Ti compares with XFX Fury X, and with the GTX 1070 now and 6 months ago.
Performance summary charts
Here are the summary charts of 36 games and 2 synthetic tests. The highest settings are always chosen and it is DX11 or DX12 with the settings at ultra or maxed except for DOOM which show both Vulkan and OpenGL results (different areas were benchmarked with each API). Specific settings are listed on the main performance chart.
The benches were run at 1920×1080, 2560×1440, and at 3840×2160. All results, except for Firestrike and Time Spy, 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. “X” means the benchmark was not run as many new games have been added in the past 6 months to BTR’s benchmarking suite.
The first two columns are devoted to the Fury X results with the latest drivers being used in Column 1 and the May drivers compared in Column 2. The GTX 980 Ti results are given in the center two columns with Column 3 using the November drivers and Column 4 using older May drivers. The last two columns show the GTX 1070 results with Column 5 showing the new drivers and Column 6 giving the performance results with the launch drivers.
Please open the charts in separate windows or tabs for better viewing.
Our chart provides a lot of information across 36 games and 2 synthetics. What we can take away from the results generally is that the GTX 1070 is still the fastest single GPU video card of the three cards with the GTX 980 Ti in second place.
Overall, the GTX 980 Ti is still significantly faster than the Fury X in the majority of our games although the Fury X has been able to gain a little ground – 7 additional benches out of the 75 we originally tested are now in the Fury X’ favor – although it is still bested by the GTX 980 Ti overall. We don’t see the GTX 980 Ti losing any ground in the older games to the GTX 1070, although the newer card pulls further ahead in some of the newest games.
We continue to see good optimizations being made for the GTX 980 Ti although they appear smaller than for the GTX 1070. And as AMD’s flagship, we see AMD’s driver team continue to optimize it, making good on their progress to manage its limited 4GB of vRAM rather well. The games where Fury X had issues at 4K – especially with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and GTA V – are now playing much better now than they were 6 months ago.
Titanfall 2 and to a lesser extent, Watch Dogs 2, appear to be currently problematic for the Fury X at the highest resolution possibly due to the extreme settings and its limited vRAM, and we look for later driver updates to probably address this. Fury X still leads even over the GTX 1070 in AMD-sponsored games like Hitman, Deus Ex Mankind Divided, and Total War Warhammer, and also in DOOM on the Vulkan API; but the vast majority of our 36 tested games favor the GTX 980 Ti and especially the GTX 1070.
Let’s head for our conclusion.
The GTX 1070 is the fastest of the three cards we have tested here using our maxed-out 36 game benchmark suite. In second place is the GTX 980 Ti followed by the Fury X. Nothing has really changed over the past 6 months although the Fury X has managed to gain a little ground on the GTX 980 Ti in 7 individual benchmarks out of the 75 we originally tested. We have no trouble giving our highest recommendation to the GTX 1070 especially now that it is bundled with Watch Dogs 2. And if overclocking is taken into consideration, both the GTX 980 Ti and the GTX 1070 run away from the Fury X which has proved to be a poor overclocker.
If you currently game on an older generation video card, you will do yourself a big favor by upgrading. The move to a GTX 1070 will give you better visuals on the DX11 and DX12 pathways. And if you are looking for the highest current gaming performance in the $400 price range, the GTX 1070 is the fastest of the 3 tested cards.
Stay tuned, there is a lot coming from us at BTR. We are planning a contest this month with prizes supplied by Kingston!
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