GeForce 497.29 Driver Performance Analysis – 22 games benchmarked using an RTX 3080 and 2080 Ti

This driver performance analysis showcases the performance of a Gigabyte AORUS RTX 3080 MASTER (Ampere architecture) and an EVGA RTX 2080 Ti BLACK (Turing architecture) with 22 PC games using the latest GeForce 497.29 Game Ready driver. We compare these drivers versus 496.98 Game Ready Hotfix drivers with both cards, and we perform all tests on the same game version and the same OS build.

Our AORUS RTX 3080 MASTER, rev. 1.0 (Ampere GPU micro-architecture).

This time our testing platform is a recent install of Windows 11 64-bit Pro Edition, an i9-12900K with stock clocks, an ASUS PRIME Z690-P D4 motherboard, and 32GB of T-FORCE XTREEM ARGB WHITE DDR4 3600MHz. The games tested, settings and hardware are identical except for the GPUs we use and the drivers we compare.  For this analysis, GeForce 496.98 and 497.29 driver performance was compared from the ground up on our new 12900K CPU platform using both the RTX 2080 Ti and the RTX 3080.

Our EVGA RTX 2080 Ti BLACK EDITION (Turing GPU micro-architecture).

Benching Methodology

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K (Hyper-Threading/Turbo boost on; stock settings)
  • ASUS PRIME Z690-P D4 motherboard (Intel Z690 chipset, v.0605 BIOS)
  • T-FORCE XTREEM ARGB WHITE 32GB DDR4 (2×16GB, dual-channel at 3600 MHz CL14 XMP), supplied by TeamGroup
  • Gigabyte AORUS GeForce RTX 3080 MASTER 10GB (rev. 1.0); v.F4 VBIOS, stock clocks
  • EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti BLACK EDITION GAMING 11GB, stock clocks
  • 1 x Samsung 500GB SSD 960 EVO NVMe M.2
  • 2 x WD Blue 1TB SATA SSD
  • Corsair RM850x, 850W 80PLUS Gold power supply unit
  • ASUS TUF Gaming VG289Q 28″ IPS UltraHD (3840×2160) 60Hz 5ms FreeSync Monitor for testing games at 2160p resolution.
  • ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q 27″ IPS QuadHD (2560 x 1440) 165Hz 4ms G-Sync Monitor for testing games at 1440p resolution.

Test Configuration – Software

  • NVIDIA GeForce 496.98 and 497.29 drivers; ‘High Quality’ and ‘prefer maximum performance’ (on a per-game profile-basis); Shader Cache Size ‘Unlimited’ (globally); fixed refresh rate (globally).
  • Resizable BAR off
  • 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 11 64-bit Pro edition, latest updates v21H2, High-performance power plan, HAGS off, Game Mode, Game DVR & Game Bar features off, Control Flow Guard (CFG) off on a per-game basis.
  • GIGABYTE and ASUS tools not installed.
  • Latest DirectX
  • All 22 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, v.1.2.3
  • UNIGINE Superposition, v.1.1
  • CapFrameX (CX), the latest version
  • RivaTuner Statistics Server (RTSS), the latest version
  • Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU), the latest version; always uninstall old driver using DDU in safe mode, clean, and restart.
  • ISLC (Purge Standby List) before each benchmark.

GeForce Driver Suite-related

  • We use DCH Game Ready drivers.
  • The display driver is installed.
  • We install the latest version of PhysX.

Hybrid & Non-Synthetic Tests-related

  • Single run per test.

Game Benchmarks-related

  • The corresponding built-in or custom 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 or custom 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).
  • We compare and value the results and aggregated records in terms of percentages of gain/loss, by setting the following thresholds to consider a certain % value as significant (not within the margin of error) for our benchmarking purposes:
    • Score/FPS Avg > 3% when valuing hybrid and non-synthetic benchmarks;
    • FPS Avg > 3% when evaluating raw performance;
    • P1/P0.2 > 3% when evaluating frame time consistency; after applying our custom formula

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

Benchmark Suite: 22 PC Games, 4 Hybrid & 4 Non-Synthetic Tests

Hybrid Tests (3DMark)

  • DirectX Raytracing feature test
  • Fire Strike Ultra
  • Port Royal
  • Time Spy Extreme

Non-Synthetic Tests

  • Basemark GPU
  • Boundary: Raytracing Benchmark
  • Neon Noir (Benchmark)
  • UNIGINE Superposition

DX11 Games

  • Borderlands 3 (DX11)
  • Chernobylite (DX11)
  • Days Gone (DX11)
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (DX11)
  • Far Cry New Dawn (DX11)
  • Neon Noir (DX11; Loop Mode)

DX12 Games

  • Borderlands 3 (DX12)
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (DX12)
  • DIRT 5 (DX12)
  • F1 2021 (DX12)
  • Far Cry 6 (DX12)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (DX12)
  • LEGO® Builder’s Journey (DX12)
  • Metro Exodus (DX12)
  • Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition (DX12)
  • Myst (2021, DX12)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DX12)
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (DX12)
  • Watch Dogs: Legion (DX12)

Vulkan Games

  • DOOM Eternal (VK)
  • Quake 2 RTX (VK; v.1.5.0)
  • Strange Brigade (VK)
  • Wolfenstein Youngblood (VK)

NVIDIA Control Panel settings

Here are the global NVIDIA Control Panel settings:

NVIDIA Control Panel Global 3D Settings (AORUS RTX 3080 MASTER).
NVIDIA Control Panel Global 3D Settings (EVGA RTX 2080 Ti Black).

Both ‘High-Quality’ values 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 497.29 Game Ready WHQL Drivers

This latest GeForce Game Ready 497.29 driver was released on Monday (12/20/21) primarily to ensure the best performance in GTFO and to bring optimized DLSS support in Horizon Zero Dawn.

Source: TechPowerUp

It also includes among others the following bug fixes:

    • [Microsoft Flight Simulator]: The game may crash to the desktop during gameplay. [3454519]
    • [Microsoft Flight Simulator]: Purple/blue artifacts appear on ground textures in the game.
      [3454530]
    • [Supreme Command: Forged Alliance/Supreme Commander 2]: Performance drop occurs
      when there is mouse movement. [3405920]
    • Desktop may stutter after extended period when mouse cursor is moved. [3443235]
    • [NVIDIA Control Panel]: Spelling error in the German language NVIDIA Control Panel ->
      Manage 3D Settings -> Shader Cache Size default option. [3442310]

The download links for the latest GeForce 497.29 drivers can be found starting here. The release notes can be found here as a downloadable pdf fileHere 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

This new Game Ready Driver provides the best day-1 gaming experience for the latest new titles including GTFO as well as the latest update for Horizon Zero Dawn which utilizes NVIDIA DLSS to improve performance by up to 50%.

The GeForce 497.29 Driver Performance – Summary Charts with 22 Games

Below you can find the summary charts of our representative selection of 22 games plus 4 hybrid and 4 non-synthetic benchmarks. We chart our games’ driver performance progression from version 496.98 to 497.29 using both the AORUS RTX 3080 MASTER and the EVGA RTX 2080 Ti BLACK.

You can see the list of graphics settings on the charts, and we run each built-in or custom game benchmark’s sequence at 2560×1440, except for Borderlands 3Days GoneFar Cry New Dawn, and Far Cry 6 tested at 3840×2160 resolution. You may click on each chart to open a pop-up for the best viewing.

Results give average framerates and higher is better. We display the low FPS percentiles (P1 and P0.2) 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. We applied the following custom formula to calculate the stability gains or losses:

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

We mark significant performance changes (higher than 3%in bold and use purple for the significant improvements or orange font for regressions.

GeForce 497.29 Driver Performance Charts

geforce 497.29 driver performance
Hybrid Benchmarks
geforce 497.29 driver performance
Non-Synthetic Benchmarks
geforce 497.29 driver performance
DirectX 11 Games – Built-in benchmarks (except Days Gone and Chernobylite, tested using BTR custom sequences).
geforce 497.29 driver performance
DirectX 12 Games – Built-in benchmarks [except Cyberpunk 2077, LEGO® Builder’s Journey, and Myst (2021), tested using BTR custom sequences].
geforce 497.29 driver performance
Vulkan Games – Built-in benchmarks (except DOOM Eternal, tested using a custom sequence).
geforce 497.29 driver performance
DirectX Raytracing Games – Built-in benchmarks [except Cyberpunk 2077, LEGO Builder’s Journey, and Myst (2021), tested using BTR custom sequences].
geforce 497.29 driver performance
Vulkan Raytracing Games – Built-in benchmarks (except DOOM Eternal, tested using a custom sequence).

Notes on GeForce 497.29 Driver Performance

From the charts, we see no significant differences in graphics performance between drivers for both the hybrid and non-synthetic tests using both our RTX 3080 and RTX 2080 Ti.

For the game benchmarks, although most games show no significant differences when we move to 497.29 drivers from the 496.98 driver version using both GPUs, we see significant performance improvements in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (DX11) and Metro: Exodus (DX12, vanilla edition) in terms of frametime consistency.

We also found that Tom Clancy’s Ghost Ghost Recon Breakpoint (DX11 & Vulkan) currently shows major performance issues using our i9-12900K. So, we will not include this game in our testing suite again until the developers fix this problem.

Disclaimer
Please be aware that the following results, notes, and the corresponding driver recommendation are valid for similar Ampere and Turing gaming rigs on Windows 11 v21H2. Its representativeness, applicability, and usefulness on different NVIDIA GPU architectures, testing benches, and MS Windows versions may vary.

Conclusion

Based on our previous results and findings, we recommend Ampere and Turing users to update to the latest GeForce 497.29 driver. Its raw performance and smoothness or frametimes consistency level are overall on par with 496.98 drivers using both NVIDIA GPU architectures.

From a qualitative point of view, there are important reasons that also make it advisable to upgrade to version 497.29. These reasons include its higher level of security and driver bug fixes, the optimizations for the latest games, and support for the latest NVIDIA technologies.

Happy Holidays and Stay Safe!