GeForce 456.38 Driver Performance Analysis

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Game Ready GeForce 456.38 Driver Performance Analysis featuring a Gigabyte GTX 1070 G1 Gaming using 10 Games

This driver performance analysis showcases the performance of a Gigabyte GTX 1070 G1 Gaming with 10 PC games using the latest GeForce 456.38 Game Ready driver. We compare these drivers versus driver 452.06, and we perform all tests on the same game version and the same OS build.

This time, our testing platform is a recent install of Windows 10 64-bit Pro Edition, an i9-9900K with stock clocks, a Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro motherboard, and 32GB of Kingston DDR4 3333MHz. The games tested, settings and hardware are identical except for the drivers we compare.

Before offering the performance data and charts for each different analysis scenario, it’s important to describe both the hardware and software configuration used in our testing as well as our analysis methodology.

Benching Methodology

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • Intel Core i9-9900K (Hyper-Threading/Turbo boost on; stock settings)
  • Gigabyte Z390 AORUS PRO motherboard (Intel Z390 chipset, v.F9 BIOS)
  • Kingston HyperX Predator 32GB DDR4 (2×16GB, dual-channel at 3333 MHz CL16)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming 8GB, stock clocks
  • Samsung 500GB SSD 960 EVO NVMe M.2
  • Seagate 2TB Desktop SSHD SATA 3.1
  • Seagate 2TB FireCuda SATA 3.1
  • Corsair RM750x, 750W 80PLUS Gold power supply unit
  • ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q 27? IPS 2560 x 1440 165Hz 4ms G-Sync Monitor (G-Sync Off, Fixed Refresh Rate On)

Test Configuration – Software

  • NVIDIA GeForce 456.38 and 452.06 drivers; High Quality & prefer maximum performance (on a per-game profile-basis); fixed refresh rate (globally).
  • V-Sync application controlled in the control panel, V-Sync Off in-game.
  • AA and AF as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified.
  • Windows 10 64-bit Pro edition, latest updates v2004, Game Mode, Game DVR & Game Bar features Off.
  • GIGABYTE tools not installed.
  • Latest DirectX
  • All 10 games are patched to their latest versions at the time of publication.
  • 3DMark’s suite and UNIGINE Superposition benchmark, the latest version
  • Basemark GPU benchmark, v1.1
  • CapFrameX (CX), the latest version
  • RivaTuner Statistics Server (RTSS), latest version
  • Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU), latest version; always uninstall old driver using DDU in safe mode, clean & restart.
  • ISLC (Purge Standby List) before each benchmark.

GeForce Driver Suite-related

  • Standard Game Ready drivers are used.
  • The display driver is installed.
  • The latest version of PhysX is installed.

Hybrid & Non-Synthetic Tests-related

  • Single run per test.

Game Benchmarks-related

  • The corresponding built-in benchmark sequence is used.

Frametimes Capture & Analysis tool-related

  • CapFrameX is used for capturing and analyzing the relevant performance numbers obtained from each recorded built-in benchmark sequence.
  • Consecutive runs until detecting 3 valid runs (no outliers) that can be aggregated by CapFrameX using the following method:
    • “Aggregate excluding outliers”
      • Outlier metric: Third, P0.2 (0.2% FPS percentile).
      • Outlier percentage: 3% (the % the FPS of an entry can differ from the median of all entries before counting as an outlier).
  • To compare and value the results and aggregated records in terms of percentages of Gain / Loss, the following thresholds are set to consider a certain % value as significant (not within the margin of error) for our benchmarking purposes:
    • Score/FPS Avg > 3% when valuing hybrid & non-synthetic benchmarks;
    • FPS Avg > 3% when valuing raw performance;
    • P1/P0.2 > 3% when valuing frame time consistency; custom formula

{[(LowPercentileFPS_2 / AvgFPS_2) / (LowPercentileFPS_1 / AvgFPS_1)] – 1} x 100

Benchmark Suite: 10 PC Games, 3 Hybrid & 3 Non-Synthetic Tests

Hybrid Tests (3DMark)

  • Fire Strike Extreme
  • Time Spy

Non-Synthetic Tests

  • Basemark GPU
  • UNIGINE Superposition
  • Neon Noir (Benchmark)

DX11 Games

  • Borderlands 3 (DX11)
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Far Cry 5
  • Ghost Recon Breakpoint (DX11)
  • Neon Noir (Loop Mode)

DX12 Games

  • Borderlands 3 (DX12)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Metro: Exodus (DX12)
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (DX12)

Vulkan Games

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint (VK)
  • Strange Brigade (VK)
  • Wolfenstein Youngblood

NVIDIA Control Panel settings

Here are the global NVIDIA Control Panel settings:

Nvidia Control Panel – Global 3D Settings.

Both ‘High Quality’ value for texture filtering-quality setting and ‘Prefer maximum performance’ for power management mode are set on a per-game or program profile-basis via Manage 3D Settings > Program settings tab.

GeForce 456.38 Game Ready WHQL Drivers

This latest GeForce Game Ready 456.38 driver was released on Thursday (09/17/20) primarily for the September 17 release of RTX 3080 GPUs and to bring support for the upcoming RTX 3090 GPUs. It adds support for 5 more monitors to the G-SYNC compatible list, bringing the total to 115. It brings support for GeForce Experience in-game performance monitoring for GeForce GTX 600 series and above, and Fortnite‘s RTX update. This new driver also provides the best experience for GeForce gamers who play Halo 3: ODST and Mafia: The Definitive Edition.

Source: NVIDIA

You can download the latest GeForce 456.38 drivers from here. The release notes can be found here as a downloadable pdf file. Here are the release highlights from NVIDIA’s website:

Game Ready Drivers provide the best possible gaming experience for all major new releases. 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 for Fortnite RTX
This new Game Ready Driver provides support for Fortnite’s dramatic new update which adds ray-traced effects, NVIDIA DLSS, NVIDIA Reflex, and a custom RTX map. In addition, this release also provides optimal day-1 support for Halo 3: ODST and Mafia: The Definitive Edition.

We had to work around a slight increase in Windows Event Log CPU utilization with driver 456.38 by deleting the _NvTopps.dll. NVIDIA is aware of the issue.

Let’s head to the tables and charts to compare the driver performance changes from the latest GeForce 456.38 driver versus the 452.06 drivers.

The Performance Summary Charts with 10 Games

Below are the summary charts of our representative selection of 10 games and 3 hybrid and 3 non-synthetic benchmarks. We chart the games’ performance to compare the GTX 1070 G1 Gaming driver’s performance progression from driver 452.06 to the latest 456.38. We list the graphics settings on the charts, and we run the built-in game benchmarks sequence at 2560×1440. You can open each chart in a separate window or tab for best viewing.

Results give average framerates and higher is better. The low FPS percentiles (P1 and P0.2) are displayed below the corresponding averages. We use CapFrameX to record frametimes over time and to visualize and convert them into their corresponding average FPS and P1 and P0.2 FPS percentiles values. There are also columns showing percentages of gain/loss in both raw performance (average FPS) and, when applicable, in frametimes consistency or stability between the different driver versions. To calculate the gains or losses in stability we applied our custom formula:

{[(LowPercentileFPS_2 / AvgFPS_2) / (LowPercentileFPS_1 / AvgFPS_1)] – 1} x 100

We mark significant performance changes (higher than 3%) in bold and use green or red font for the significant gains or losses respectively.

Notes on GeForce 456.38 driver performance

From the charts, we see no significant performance changes between drivers for both the hybrid and non-synthetic tests.

For the built-in game benchmarks, there are almost no significant differences when we move to 456.38 drivers from the 452.06 driver version, and with only a significant regression in frametimes stability that affects Metro Exodus (DX12) benches.


Please, be aware that the following results, notes, and the corresponding driver recommendation are valid for similar Pascal gaming rigs on Windows 10 v2004. Its representativeness, applicability, and usefulness on different NVIDIA GPU platforms, testing benches, and MS Windows versions may vary.


Based on our previous results and findings, we recommend updating to the latest GeForce 456.38 driver, since its raw performance and smoothness or frametimes consistency level is overall on par with driver 452.06.

From a qualitative point of view, there are important reasons that also make it advisable to upgrade to version 456.28. These reasons include its higher level of game bug fixes, the support for RTX 3080 and 3090 GPUs, the optimizations for the latest AAA games, and enhanced support for G-SYNC compatible monitors, and the latest NVIDIA technologies.


Rodrigo González (aka “RodroG”) is an enthusiast gamer and tech reviewer interested especially in shooter games, open-world role-playing games, and software and hardware benchmarking. He is the author of the NVIDIA WHQL Driver Performance Benchmarks Series and founder and moderator of the r/allbenchmarks community on Reddit.