Game Ready 430.39 Driver Performance Analysis featuring the RTX 2070 using 40 Games 

As a regular BabelTechReviews’ feature, this driver performance analysis will showcase the performance of the RTX 2070 Founders Edition (FE) with 40 PC games using the latest GeForce Game Ready 430.39 Driver which released earlier this weekWe will compare these drivers versus 419.67.

We document the performance changes of the current Game Ready 430.39 Driver on Windows 10 at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440 resolutions using the latest games including Anthem, Devil May Cry 5 and The Division 2.  We replaced Battlefield 1 with Overwatch and dropped The Division 1, The Crew 2, and Hitman from last month’s benching suite.

Our testing platform is a recent install of Windows 10 64-bit Home Edition, and we are using a Core i7-8700K which turbos all 6 cores to 4.8GHz, an EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard, and 16GB of HyperX DDR4 3333MHz. The games tested, settings, and hardware are identical except for the drivers being compared.

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • Intel Core i7-8700K (HyperThreading and Turbo boost are on to 4.8GHz for all cores; Coffee Lake DX11 CPU graphics).
  • EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard (Intel Z370 chipset, latest BIOS, PCIe 3.0/3.1 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x), supplied by EVGA
  • HyperX 16GB DDR4 (2×8 GB, dual channel at 3333 MHz), supplied by HyperX
  • RTX 2070 Founders Edition 8GB, at Founders Edition clocks, on loan from NVIDIA
  • 480 GB Team Group SSD
  • 1.92 TB San Disk enterprise class SSD
  • 2 TB Micron 1100 SSD
  • Seasonic 850W Gold Focus power supply unit
  • EVGA CLC 280mm CPU water cooler, supplied by EVGA
  • EVGA Nu Audio stereo PCIe sound card, on loan from EVGA
  • Edifier R1280T active desktop speakers
  • Grado SR60e headphones
  • EVGA DG-77, mid-tower case supplied by EVGA
  • Monoprice Crystal Pro 4K

Test Configuration – Software

  • Nvidia GeForce 430.39 and 419.67 WHQL drivers.
  • VSync is forced off.
  • AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified
  • Gaming results show average frame rates in bold including minimum frame rates shown on the chart next to the averages in a smaller italics font.
  • Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
  • Windows 10 64-bit Home edition. All DX11 titles were run under DX11 render paths.  DX12 titles are generally run under the DX12 render path unless performance is lower than with DX11.  Three games use the Vulkan API.
  • Latest DirectX
  • All 40 games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication.
  • MSI Afterburner, latest beta.
  • OCAT, latest version
  • Fraps, latest version

40 PC Game benchmark suite & 3 synthetic tests

Synthetic

  • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
  • Time Spy DX12
  • Superposition

DX11 Games

  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • The Witcher 3
  • Fallout 4
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Overwatch
  • For Honor
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Prey
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Project CARS 2
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Total War: Warhammer II
  • Destiny 2
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Far Cry 5
  • F1 2018
  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  • Hitman 2
  • Just Cause 4
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Anthem
  • Devil May Cry 5

DX12 Games

  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
  • Deus Ex Mankind Divided
  • Gears of War 4
  • Civilization VI
  • Sniper Elite 4
  • Forza 7
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Battlefield V
  • Metro Exodus
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

Vulkan Games

  • DOOM
  • Wolfenstein: The New Colossus 
  • Strange Brigade

NVIDIA Control Panel settings

Here are the NVIDIA Control Panel settings.

We used MSI’s Afterburner to set the RTX 2070 FE’s highest Power and Temperature targets.  By setting the Power Limits and Temperature limits to maximum, itcan maintain their maximum clocks without throttling.

Game Ready GeForce 430.39 WHQL Drivers

This latest GeForce Game Ready 430.39 driver was released on Monday (4/22/18) primarily for the newly released GTX 1650.  It is also from a new branch of GeForce drivers which adds support for Windows 10’s May update including variable rate shading, and we are especially interested to see if there are performance improvements.  This new driver is also supposed to provide the best experience for GeForce gamers who play Anthem with SLI, and it is the best driver for Mortal Kombat 11 and for Strange Brigade.

The download links for the latest GeForce 430.39 drivers can be found starting here.  The release notes can be found here as a downloadable pdf file The included highlights below are quoted from NVIDIA’s website.

Game Ready Drivers provide the best possible gaming experience for all major new releases, including Virtual Reality 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 is included for the best gameplay on day-1.

Game Ready
Provides the optimal gaming experience for Mortal Kombat 11, Anthem, and Strange Brigade

Gaming Technology
Includes support GeForce GTX 1650 desktop, and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1650 notebook GPUs.
Adds support for seven new G-SYNC compatible monitors
Adds support for Windows 10 May 2019 Update (including Variable Rate Shading)

Let’s head to the charts to compare the driver performance changes from the GeForce 419.67 drivers to the latest 430.39 Game Ready Drivers.

The Summary Chart

Below are the summary charts of 40 games and 3 synthetic tests used to compare the performance changes for the RTX 2070 from the 419.67 GeForce drivers to the most recent 430.39 drivers.  The highest settings are always chosen and the settings are listed on the charts.  The benches were run at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440.  Open each chart in a separate window or tab for best viewing.

Most results show average framerates and higher is better. Minimum framerates are next to the averages in italics and in a slightly smaller font.  A few games benched with OCAT show average framerates but the minimums are expressed by the 99th percentile frametime in ms where lower numbers are better.

The first column shows the RTX 2070’s performance with the latest 430.39 driver and columns two represents the 419.67 driver’s performance.  Wins between the two sets of drivers are shown in yellow text.  If both sets of results are equal, they are both shown in colored text. 

After yesterday’s morning patch, Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s official benchmark crashed without reporting results after running it.  From what we understand from other benchmarker’s reports, this appears to be system-dependent, but it is most likely a bug caused by the patch as it affects both sets of drivers.  We used OCAT to benchmark only the first scene of the official benchmark and have posted our results as usual.

We are rather surprised to see some more notable increases in performance using 430.39 over 419.67 with Grand Theft Auto V, Hitman 2, Battlefield V, Just Cause 4, and Forza 7, so we benched them multiple times switching between driver sets each time using the clean installation option.  We noted just one large decrease with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice at 1920×1080 that we also verified.  The largest performance increase that we found was as NVIDIA’s release notes indicated with Strange Brigade on the Vulkan API.

Let’s head to our conclusion.

Conclusion

We would recommend upgrading to the latest Game Ready 430.39 driver from any older driver set because there are generally stability or performance advantages for the newer games, depending on which game you are playing.  We found the latest drivers to be stable and relatively bug-free overall.

Generally we mostly see incremental changes from one driver set to the other.  Some of these performance changes may be influenced more by game patches than by drivers except with the games we mentioned specifically.  However, these 430.39 drivers are certainly worth trying, especially for Strange Brigade, and if you have a SLI-equipped PC and want to maximize Anthem framerates.

Next up, we are returning to VR, and we also have a Team Group DDR4 3600MHz kit coming for review.

Happy gaming!