As part of a regular feature for BabelTechReviews, this short evaluation is comparing the performance of 28 benchmarks with the GeForce WHQL 347.09 driver release versus the last GeForce WHQL 344.75 drivers released previously. We realize that we are a little late as this driver was released December 23, 2014, and there will probably be a new driver set released shortly.  However, we want to at least document the performance changes of this driver set even though we are only testing one video card.  We are going to give you the performance results of the GTX 980 at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1600. This driver mini performance evaluation will give a natural comparison between the performance improvements since Nvidia’s last WHQL driver set.

ShadowOfMordor 2014-10-07 15-08-51-59We are going to test GeForce 347.09 using our current benchmark suite of 28 games plus 2 synthetic benchmarks. Our testing platform is Windows 7 64-bit, using an Intel Core i7-4790K at 4.00GHz with turbo to 4.4GHz for all cores, ASUS’ Z97E motherboard, and 16GB of Kingston “Beast” HyperX RAM at 2133MHz. The settings and hardware are identical except for the drivers being tested.

At GTX 760 and above, we test at higher settings and resolutions generally than we test midrange and lower-end cards.  although all of our games are now tested at two resolutions: 2560×1600 and 1920×1080 at 60Hz, and we use DX11/10/10.1 whenever possible with a very strong emphasis on the latest DX11 games.

Let’s get right to the test configuration, the driver release notes, and then the results.

Test Configuration & Driver Release Notes

 

Test Configuration

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, PCOe 3.0 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x) supplied by ECS
  • Kingston 16 GB HyperX Beast DDR3 RAM (2×8 GB, dual-channel at 2133MHz, supplied by Kingston)
  • GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 4GB reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • Two 2TB Toshiba 7200 rpm HDDs
  • Thermaltake ToughPower 775W power supply unit supplied by Thermaltake
  • Thermaltake Water2.0 Pro watercooler, supplied by Thermaltake
  • 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
  • HP LP3065 2560×1600 30″ LCD display

 

Test Configuration – Software

  • Nvidia GeForce 344.75 WHQL drivers and GeForce 347.09 WHQLdrivers. High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display.
    Windows 7 64-bit; very latest updates
    Latest DirectX
    All games are patched to their latest versions.
    VSync is off in the control panel.
    AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied; 16xAF forced in control panel for Crysis.
    All results show average, minimum and maximum frame rates except as noted.
    Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
    Windows 7 64, all DX10 titles were run under DX10 render paths; DX11 titles under DX11 render paths.

The 33  Game benchmarks & 3 synthetic tests

  • Synthetic
    • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
    • Heaven 4.0
    DX9
    • The Witcher 2
    • Borderlands 2
    • Aliens: Colonial Marines
    DX10
    • Crysis
    DX11
    • STALKER, Call of Pripyat
    • Civilization V
    • Max Payne 3
    • the Secret World
    • Sleeping Dogs
    • Hitman: Absolution
    • Far Cry 3
    • Tomb Raider: 2013
    • Crysis 3
    • BioShock: Infinite
    • Metro: Last Light
    • Battlefield 4
    • Splinter Cell: Blacklist
    • ArmA 3
    • Total War: Rome II
    • Batman: Arkham Origins
    • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
    • Thief
    • Sniper Elite 3
    • Watch_Dogs
    • GRID: Autosport
    • Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor
    • Alien Isolation
    • Assassin’s Creed Unity
    • Civilization Beyond Earth
    • Far Cry 4
    • Dragon’s Age: Inquisition
    • The Crew

 

Lets look at Nvidia’s release notes regarding the GeForce 347.09 WHQL driver before we head to performance testing.  Please see the GeForce 347.09 Release Highlights

Release Notes Highlights for GeForce 347.09

This is a really short list from Nvidia but you can download the .pdf

New in GeForce Game Ready Drivers
The latest GeForce Game Ready driver, release 347.09 WHQL, ensures you’ll have the best possible gaming experience for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Elite: Dangerous

Game Ready
Best gaming experience for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Elite: Dangerous

Let’s head to the charts and compare the driver progress with the GTX 980 since we tested them last time.

 

Benchmarks & Performance Analysis

Here are our results of twenty-eight games and 2 synthetics compared between GeForce 347.09 WHQL and GeForce 344.75 WHQL drivers using the GTX 980. Each set of WHQL drivers is compared against the other in the two results column and the higher performance number is in bold. If there is a tie, both results are given in bold type.Untitled-1We note some solid performance improvements with Nvidia’s new GeForce 347.09 over 344.75 in a few games with Assassin’s Creed Unity being a standout for the GTX 980. Generally, however, the performance is a mixed bag with more slight performance gains than losses.

Conclusion:

We would recommend upgrading to the latest GeForce 347.09 driver because there are some advantages, and no large performance-impacting negatives that we encountered. It is also the driver to use for the latest games.

Stay tuned, next up we are benching for a brand new “mystery card” review that has delayed our GALAX GTX 970 EXOC evaluation for a few days!

In the meantime, join BTR’s forum for great tech discussions and also feel free to comment on this Performance Analysis in the comments section below, or on ABT forum.

Happy gaming!