As regularly featured by BabelTechReviews, this evaluation charts the performance of 32 games using the latest GeForce WHQL 353.62 driver that was released the day before Windows 10 was launched on July 29, versus the last Geforce WHQL 353.30 driver that was released the day before Batman: Arkham Knights was first launched on June 23.

We want to document the performance changes of this current WHQL 353.62 driver on Windows 8.1 immediately before we upgrade to Windows 10.  We are also benching for an upcoming evaluation of the new AMD Windows 10 15.7.1 driver to be published here this weekend.  This mini series will culminate in a comparison of the performance of the latest AMD and Nvidia drivers on Windows 8.1 versus running them on Windows 10, next week.

980tisThis driver performance analysis features Nvidia’s top Maxwell gaming GeForce card, the GTX 980 Ti, and we also benchmark GTX 980 Ti SLI.  Our results should be proportionally similar for the TITAN X, the GTX 980, and other Maxwell cards.   We are going to give you the performance results of the GTX 980 Ti and 980 Ti SLI  at 1920×1080, 2560×1440, and at 3840×2160 resolutions.  This driver performance evaluation will chart a natural comparison of the performance changes since Nvidia’s last WHQL driver set.

We are going to test GeForce WHQL 353.62 using our current benchmark suite of 32 games plus 3 synthetic benchmarks.  We have added the “Kite Demo” on Unreal Engine 4 at 1920×1080 and Batman: Arkham Knight although it has not yet been patched. Our testing platform is Windows 8.1 64-bit, using an Intel Core i7-4790K at 4.00GHz which turbos to 4.4GHz for all cores, an 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 three resolutions: 3840×2160, 2560×1440 and 1920×1080 at 60Hz, and we use DX11 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 to the results.