Test Configuration & Driver Release Notes

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)
  • Kingston 16 GB HyperX Beast DDR3 RAM (2×8 GB, dual-channel at 2133MHz, supplied by Kingston)
  • GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 6GB reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • EVGA GTX 980 Ti, 6GB, reference clocks, supplied by EVGA
  • 2TB Toshiba 7200 rpm HDD
  • EVGA 1000G 1000W power supply unit
  • Cooler Master 2.0 Seidon, supplied by Cooler Master
  • 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
  • Monoprice Crystal Pro 4K

 

Test Configuration – Software

  • Nvidia GeForce 353.62 WHQL drivers and GeForce 353.30 WHQL drivers for the GTX 980 Ti including for SLI. High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display.
  • 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 8.1 64, all DX10 titles were run under DX10 render paths; DX11 titles under DX11 render paths.  Latest DirectX
  • All games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication.

The 32 Game benchmarks & 3 synthetic tests

  • Synthetic
  • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
  • Heaven 4.0
  • Kite Demo, Unreal Engine 4
  • DX10
  • Crysis
  • DX11
  • STALKER, Call of Pripyat
  • Max Payne 3
  • the Secret World
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • Tomb Raider: 2013
  • Crysis 3
  • BioShock: Infinite
  • Metro: Last Light Redux (2014)
  • Battlefield 4
  • ArmA 3
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • 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
  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
  • The Crew
  • Evolve
  • Total War: Attila
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • ProjectCARS
  • the Witcher 3 
  • Batman: Arkham Origins

Since Batman: Arkham Knight is still a new benchmark for BTR which replaced Batman: Arkham Origins,  the settings we use are completely maxed-out, with every setting on, and at the highest settings.  Since GameWorks Interactive Smoke/Fog as well as Interactive Paper Debris depend on GPU PhysX and CUDA, they cannot be run on Radeons, we are now benching with those two settings On versus Off, much as we benchmark Metro Last Light Redux with PhysX On vs Off and the Witcher 3 with HairWorks On versus Off.

Batman: Arkham Knights was released last month and sales were halted due to bugs and performance issues that do not affect our PC.  The game itself is outstanding and we hope to have a performance/IQ evaluation of it when the game is finally rereleased next month.

The “Kite demo” is an Unreal 4 demo based on a custom dev version allowing use of the console that was put together by psolord at AnandTech VC&G forums.  We run it at its default settings at 1920×1080 and use Fraps to measure its frame rates.

Lets look at Nvidia’s release highlights regarding the GeForce 353.62 WHQL driver before we head to performance testing.

Release Notes Highlights for GeForce 353.62

This is a really short list highlighting the fact that Nvidia’s WHQL driver release schedule is tied to the release of new operating systems as well as to AAA game releases.  This driver claims the “best gaming experience for Windows …. ”

For the comprehensive release notes, you will need to download the .pdf

NVIDIA has been working closely with Microsoft on the development of Windows 10 and DirectX 12. Coinciding with the arrival of Windows 10, this Game Ready driver includes the latest tweaks, bug fixes, and optimizations to ensure you have the best possible gaming experience.

Game Ready
Best gaming experience for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

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