As part of a regular feature for BabelTechReviews, this evaluation is comparing the performance of 34 benchmarks with the GeForce WHQL 347.52 driver released last week, versus the last GeForce WHQL 347.09 drivers that we tested for the GTX 980 and the GeForce 347.25 drivers that we used previously for our GALAX GTX 970 EXOC review.   We are also going to briefly look at Evolve and at Total War: Attila, BTR’s latest two benchmarks.

This driver performance analysis features Nvidia’s top two Maxwell cards although we plan to regularly test Kepler also in upcoming evaluations.  We want to at least document the performance changes of this driver set even though we are only testing two video cards.  We are going to give you the performance results of the GTX 980 at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1600. This driver mini performance evaluation will give a natural comparison between the performance improvements since Nvidia’s last WHQL driver set and also of an intermediate driver.

We are going to test GeForce WHQL 347.52 using our current benchmark suite of 32 games plus 2 synthetic benchmarks. Our testing platform is Windows 7 64-bit, using an Intel Core i7-4790K at 4.00GHz with turbo to 4.4GHz for all cores, ASUS’ Z97E motherboard, and 16GB of Kingston “Beast” HyperX RAM at 2133MHz. The settings and hardware are identical except for the drivers being tested.

At GTX 760 and above, we test at higher settings and resolutions generally than we test midrange and lower-end cards.  Although all of our games are now tested at two resolutions: 2560×1600 and 1920×1080 at 60Hz, and we use DX11/10/10.1 whenever possible with a very strong emphasis on the latest DX11 games.

Total War: Attila

attilaTotal War: Attila is the latest full game in the Total War series immediately picking up where Rome II left off.  It is even more demanding than Rome II although the Total War series is known for optimizing performance with patches.  Since it was released just after midnight this morning, we have had little more than a brief experience with the benchmark and changing some of the settings.

Extreme has given way to Max Quality, and 4xAA is now an option along with MLAA.  It looks great but needs to play at 1920×1080 to max everything out on a GTX 980 or GTX 970.  Playing at 2560×1600 is a slideshow unless settings are lowered.

Evolve

Evolve 2015-02-16 19-10-13-78Evolve is an asymmetric warfare game pitting one player as a evolving and growing monster against 4 human hunters, in a mostly multiplayer game, that is also surprisingly fun when it is played in single player using bots.

Evolve uses the latest CryEngine version for its excellent graphics and all of its features haven’t even been enabled yet!  We were able to play the game to find a representative benchmark of the single player game that is accurately repeatable.

Last week, Nvidia’s Brian Burke wrote a blog on Evolve which will also point you in the right direction for optimizing it.  Of course, the GeForce Experience will accurately and automatically give you one-click setting optimization that requires little to no fine tuning.

Let’s get right to the test configuration, the driver release notes, and then the results.