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)
  • GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 6GB reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • EVGA GTX 980 Ti, 6GB, at reference clocks, supplied by EVGA
  • GeForce GTX 980, 4GB, reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • GALAX GTX 970 EXOC, GALAX factory clocks, supplied by GALAX
  • 2TB Toshiba 7200 rpm HDD
  • 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 – Hardware

  • Nvidia GeForce 359.00 WHQL drivers and GeForce 358.91 WHQL drivers for the GTX 980 and GTX 980 Ti, including for SLI. We also tested GTX 970 results with 359.00 vs. 355.82. High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display.
  • 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 except as noted.
  • Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
  • Windows 10 64-bit Home edition, all DX11 titles were run under DX11 render paths. Our only DX12 title is run under the DX12 render path. Latest DirectX
  • All games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication.
  • EVGA’s PrecisionX, latest version.

The 29 Game benchmarks & 2 synthetic tests

  • Synthetic
  • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
  • Heaven 4.0
  • DX11
  • STALKER, Call of Pripyat
  • the Secret World
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • Tomb Raider: 2013
  • Crysis 3
  • BioShock: Infinite
  • Metro: Last Light Redux (2014)
  • Battlefield 4
  • Thief
  • Sniper Elite 3
  • GRID: Autosport
  • Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor
  • Alien Isolation
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity
  • Far Cry 4
  • Dragon’s Age: Inquisition
  • The Crew
  • Total War: Attila
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • ProjectCARS
  • the Witcher 3
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • Mad Max
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Fallout 4
  • Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
  • DX12 Games
  • Ashes of the Singularity – Alpha Demo benchmark

Let’s first look at Assassin’s Creed Syndicate performance using the GTX 980 Ti, 980 Ti SLI, GTX 980, and the GALAX GTX 970 EXOC.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is one of the most anticipated games of 2015. It is a huge open world game very much in the style of the earlier Assassin’s Creed games, and it is similar to Unity but set in 1868, London, instead of in Paris. Syndicate will replace Unity in our benching suite as it is far more demanding. It also has much better visuals.ACS 2015-11-27 19-33-45-88As the Unity story has moved from Paris during the French Revolution to the the Industrial Revolution in London of Syndicate, we witness first hand the age of invention, transforming the lives of millions. Opportunities that were created during this period have crowded London into a new commercial age fueled by greed and power.

ACS 2015-11-26 11-17-32-13Unfortunately the common peoples’ lives are little more than legalized slavery, and even children are put to work in sweatshops while the top few rich profit unjustly from their labor. To fight back, the lower class unite in protest by joining gangs and turning to a life in the underworld in their struggle just to survive. Organized gangs with their roots in the Industrial Revolution have continued to this day in the British Isles. Our two assassins join gangs and they side with the poor, so you can experience their story playing as both Evie and as her twin, Jacob.

ACS 2015-11-26 21-56-43-71The same formula used in the Assassin’s Creed games are reused with a twist as you now get to play as either of the twins. Evie specializes in stealth while Jacob is more of a brawler. You get to join and influence factions as you use the gangs to take the power away from the rich, and assassinations of the Templars are still an important part of the story. And as in the rest of the series, you will have a connection to the modern world.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate implements Nvidia GameWorks technologies including Nvidia ShadowWorks – HBAO+ and Advanced Soft Shadows – and TXAA. Advanced Soft Shadows includes multiple shadow techniques such as PCSS (Percentage Closer Soft Shadows) and PCSS Ultra for more realism.

Syndicate looks far more “real” than Unity, but it means that if you want to play this game with settings fully maxed out and with FXAA – you will need at least a GTX 970 at 1920×1080. Do not even think of adding any MSAA with even a GTX 980 Ti unless you lower other settings!

Here are the settings that we used:ACS 2015-11-26 11-12-12-94ACS 2015-11-26 11-11-56-14Of course, with all of these features set to ultra and maxed out, the game looks spectacular, but it requires a very powerful video card. Here are our results:

ACSGTX 980 Ti SLI appears to be working, but scaling isn’t very good yet as it can only manage 2560×1440 smoothly with everything maxed out except MSAA. As Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is our latest benchmark – replacing Unity – we will follow its progress until the next game in the series.

Let’s head to the release notes and then to our driver performance analysis.

Release Notes Highlights for GeForce 359.00

This is a short list highlighting the fact that Nvidia’s WHQL driver release schedule is continuing to be tied to the release of AAA games.

Prior to a new title launching, our driver team is working up until the last minute to ensure every performance tweak and bug fix possible makes it into the Game Ready driver. As a result, you can be sure you’ll have the best day-1 gaming experience for your favorite new titles.

Game Ready
Learn more about how to get the optimal experience for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate and Overwatch: Beta

GameWorks VR 1.0 Support

Driver support for GameWorks VR 1.0, including Multi-Res shading and Windows 10 support. Learn more at developer.nvidia.com/vr.

For the comprehensive release notes, you will need to download the .pdf

Let’s head to the chart and compare the driver progress with the GTX 970, the GTX 980, the GTX 980 Ti, and with GTX 980 Ti SLI since we tested the last time.