GeForce 522.25 Driver Performance Analysis – 20 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 20 PC games using the latest GeForce 522.25 Game Ready driver. We compare this GeForce driver versus our previously recommended driver 517.48 with both cards, and we perform all tests on the same game version and OS build.

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

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 and the drivers we compare.

Our AORUS RTX 3080 MASTER, rev. 1.0 (Ampere 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.1008 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
  • 1 x TeamGroup MP33 M.2 PCIe 1TB 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 or (DL)DSR resolution.

Test Configuration – Software

  • NVIDIA GeForce 517.48 and 522.25 drivers; ‘High Quality’ and ‘prefer maximum performance’ (on a per-game profile-basis); Shader Cache Size ‘Unlimited’ (globally); fixed refresh rate (globally).
  • We enable Resizable BAR.
  • ‘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 v22H2, High-performance power plan, HAGS & Game Mode are enabled, Game DVR & Game Bar features off, Control Flow Guard (CFG) off on a per-game basis, Hypervisor and Virtualization-based security are disabled.
  • We do not install GIGABYTE or ASUS tools.
  • Latest DirectX
  • All 20 games are patched to their latest versions at the time of publication.
  • 3DMark 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

  • We use the corresponding built-in or custom benchmark sequence.

Frametimes Capture & Analysis tool-related

  • We use CapFrameX for capturing and analyzing the relevant performance numbers obtained from each recorded built-in or custom benchmark sequence.
  • We always perform consecutive runs until detecting three 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 evaluate the results and aggregated records in terms of percentages of gain/loss and set the following thresholds to consider a % 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: 20 PC Games, 4 Hybrid & 5 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
  • GPUScore: Relic of Life
  • Neon Noir (Benchmark)
  • UNIGINE Superposition

DX11 Games

  • Chernobylite (DX11)
  • Days Gone (DX11)
  • God of War (DX11)

DX12 Games

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (DX12)
  • Borderlands 3 (DX12)
  • Call of Duty: Vanguard (DX12)
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (DX12)
  • DIRT 5 (DX12)
  • F1 2021 (DX12)
  • Far Cry 6 (DX12)
  • Forza Horizon 5 (DX12)
  • Ghostwire: Tokyo (DX12)
  • Hitman 3 (DX12)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (DX12)
  • Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition (DX12)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DX12)
  • Watch Dogs: Legion (DX12)

Vulkan Games

  • DOOM Eternal (VK)
  • Quake 2 RTX (VK; v.1.6.0)
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood (VK)

NVIDIA Control Panel settings

Here are the global NVIDIA Control Panel settings:

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

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 522.25 Game Ready WHQL Drivers

This latest GeForce Game Ready 522.25 driver was released on October 12 primarily for the release of Gotham Knights, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, and Dakar Desert Rally, which feature NVIDIA DLSS technology. It also brings optimized support for the first new DLSS 3 games including A Plague Tale: Requiem, Justice, Loopmancer, F1 22, Bright Memory: Infinite, SUPER PEOPLE, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered.

This new driver adds support for the GeForce RTX 4090 GPU (Ada Lovelace GPU micro-architecture) and brings significant DirectX 12 performance improvements for GeForce RTX GPUs:

These improvements include shader compilation optimization, reduced CPU overhead, and Resizable BAR profiles for Forza Horizon 5 and F1 22. Many of these optimizations are most beneficial in CPU-bound scenarios, enabling your graphics card to be utilized to a greater degree. […] Our DirectX 12 optimizations apply to GeForce RTX graphics cards and laptops, though improvements will vary based on your specific system setup, and the game settings used. (Source: NVIDIA)

Source: NVIDIA

The download links for the latest GeForce 522.25 drivers can be found starting here. The release notes are 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-0 gaming experience for the latest new DLSS titles including Gotham Knights, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, and Dakar Desert Rally. In addition, this Game Ready Driver supports the first new DLSS 3 titles including A Plague Tale: Requiem, Justice, Loopmancer, F1 22, Bright Memory: Infinite, SUPER PEOPLE, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered. This Game Ready Driver also includes significant DirectX 12 performance optimizations which can dramatically improve performance for GeForce 30 Series GPUs.

Gaming Technology

Includes support for the GeForce RTX 4090.

Source: NVIDIA

The GeForce 522.25 Driver Performance – Summary Charts with 20 Games

Below you can find the summary charts of our representative selection of 20 games plus 4 hybrid and 5 non-synthetic benchmarks. We chart our games’ driver performance progression from version 517.48 to 522.25 using 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 Days Gone and Far Cry 6 tested at 3840×2160 resolution. You may click 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 frame time 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 522.25 Driver Performance Charts

geforce 522.25 driver performance
Hybrid Benchmarks
geforce 522.25 driver performance
Non-Synthetic Benchmarks
geforce 522.25 driver performance
DirectX 11 Games – We tested Days Gone, Chernobylite, and God of War using BTR custom sequences.
geforce 522.25 driver performance
DirectX 12 Games – Built-in benchmarks (except Call of Duty: Vanguard and Ghostwire: Tokyo, tested using BTR custom sequences).
geforce 522.25 driver performance
Vulkan Games – We tested Wolfenstein: Youngblood using its built-in benchmark & DOOM Eternal using a custom sequence.
geforce 522.25 driver performance
DirectX Raytracing Games – Built-in benchmarks (except Ghostwire: Tokyo, tested using BTR custom sequence).
geforce 522.25 driver performance
Vulkan Raytracing Games – Built-in benchmarks (except DOOM Eternal, tested using a custom sequence).

Notes on GeForce 522.25 Driver Performance

From the charts, although we see no significant differences in graphics performance between drivers for the hybrid tests using our RTX 3080 and RTX 2080 Ti, we see a significant raw performance regression in the GPUScore: Relic of Life (Vulkan Ray Pipeline API) non-synthetic test.

For the game benchmarks, although most games show no significant differences when we move to 522.25 drivers from the 517.48 driver version using both GPUs, we see a significant performance regression in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (DX12) in terms of frametime consistency; but substantial improvements in raw performance in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (DX12), Call of Duty: Vanguard (DX12), Cyberpunk 2077 (DX12 & RTX), DIRT 5 (DXR), Forza Horizon 5 (DX12), Horizon Zero Dawn (DX12), and Watch Dogs: Legion (DX12 & DXR).

This time, we also believe that the substantial average FPS improvement we saw in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, using both RTX graphics cards, may offset the regression in frame time stability.

Conclusion

Based on our previous results and findings, we recommend Ampere and Turing users update to the latest GeForce 522.25 driver. Although its raw performance and smoothness or frametimes consistency are overall on par with our previously recommended driver 517.48, we see substantial performance gains in many DX12 games using both NVIDIA GPU architectures.

From a qualitative point of view, there are also important reasons that make it advisable to upgrade to version 522.25. These reasons include its higher level of driver bug fixes, the optimizations for the latest games, and support for the RTX 4090 GPU and latest NVIDIA technologies.

We hope to be able to compare GeForce drivers under the Ada Lovelace architecture in November, as soon as we can get our hands on a GeForce RTX 4080 16GB graphics card.

Let’s Play!

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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.