Test Configuration – Today’s Hardware

  • Intel Core i7-4790K (reference 4.0GHz, HyperThreading On, and Turbo Boost for all 4 cores is locked to 4.4GHz by the MB BIOS; DX11 CPU graphics), supplied by Intel.
  • ASUS Z97-E motherboard (Intel Z97 chipset, latest BIOS, PCIe 3.0 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x)
  • Kingston 16 GB HyperX Beast DDR3 RAM (2×8 GB, dual-channel at 2133MHz, supplied by Kingston)
  • GTX 780 Ti, 3GB, reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • GTX Titan, 6GB, reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • PowerColor R9 290X PCS+ 4GB; original reference version factory clocked at 1030Mhz Uber clocks, and with the fan allowed to spin up to 100% to prevent throttling.
  • GeForce GTX 680, 2GB, reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • PowerColor HD 7970, 3GB, reference clocks
  • GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 6GB reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC, 6GB, at reference clocks in SLI, supplied by EVGA
  • GeForce GTX 980, 4GB, reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • GALAX GTX 970 EXOC 4GB, GALAX factory clocks (1164MHz/7010MHz with 1430MHz boost on this sample), supplied by GALAX
  • PowerColor R9 Fury X 4GB, stock clocks.
  • VisionTek R9 290X reference design 4GB, at stock Uber clocks in CrossFire with the fan allowed to spin up to 100% to prevent throttling.
  • VisionTek R9 280X, Reference clocks.  Supplied by VisionTek
  • Two 2TB Toshiba 7200 rpm HDDs; 1 for AMD and 1 for Nvidia, identically configured otherwise.
  • 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 – Today’s Software

  • Nvidia GeForce 364.51 WHQL vs. 331.70 Launch Drivers for the GTX 980 Ti, and for Titan. Other Nvidia cards tested in the Big Picture use drivers noted on the chart.  High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display.
  • AMD Crimson Software 16.3.1 Beta vs. Catalyst 13.9.11 Beta 9.2 for the R9 290X. Other AMD cards tested in the Big Picture use drivers as noted on the chart.   Use Application Settings for Tessellation; Morphological Filtering/Surface Optimizations, Off; Texture Filtering Quality, High.
  • VSync is off in the control panel.
  • AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied
  • All results show average frame rates plus minimum frame rates (in slightly smaller font italics) as noted on the charts.
  • Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
  • Windows 10 64-bit Home edition, all DX11 titles were run under DX11 render paths. Our only DX12 title is run under the DX12 render path. Latest DirectX
  • All games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication.
  • EVGA’s PrecisionX, latest version.  Nvidia Control Panel.  AMD Crimson Software Control Panel and Catalyst Control Panel.

The New (2016) 25 Game benchmarks & 1 synthetic test

  • Synthetic
  • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
  • DX11* Games
  • ARMA III
  • Crysis 3
  • Metro: Last Light Redux (2014)
  • Thief
  • Sniper Elite 3
  • GRID: Autosport
  • Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor
  • Alien Isolation
  • Far Cry 4
  • Dragon’s Age: Inquisition
  • Dying Light
  • Total War: Attila
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood* (*OpenGL game)
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • ProjectCARS
  • the Witcher 3
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • Mad Max
  • Fallout 4
  • Star Wars: Battlefront
  • Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
  • Just Cause 3
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • DiRT Rally
  • DX12 Game
  • Ashes of the Singularity – Beta Demo benchmark

The OLD (2013) 13 Game benchmarks & 2 synthetic tests retested for 2016

  • Synthetic
  • Firestrike – Extreme
  • Heaven 2.0
  • DX11 Games
  • Call of Pripyat
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization V
  • DiRT 3
  • DiRT Showdown
  • Sniper Elite V2
  • the Secret World
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Hitman Absolution
  • Crysis 3
  • BioShock Infinite
  • Tomb Raider 2013
  • Metro: Last Light Redux (2014)
  • Batman: Arkham Origins

Test Configuration – Hardware – GTX 780 Ti Launch, 2013

  • Intel Core i7 3770K (overclocked to 4.5GHz); Turbo is on. Supplied by Intel.
  • EVGA Z77 FTW motherboard (Intel Z77 chipset, latest beta 03-12-13 BIOS, PCIe 3.0 specification; CrossFire/SLI 16x+16x using Plex chip), supplied by EVGA.
  • 16GB Kingston DDR3 Kingston RAM (8x2GB, dual-channel at 2133MHz; supplied by Kingston)
  • Noctua NH-DH14 CPU cooler plus 7 case fans, supplied by Noctua.
  • GTX 780 Ti 3GB at reference speeds and also overclocked, supplied by Nvidia
  • EVGA GTX 780 3GB, reference speeds; on loan from EVGA
  • GTX Titan 6GB at reference speeds, supplied by Nvidia
  • GTX 690 4GB at reference speeds, supplied by Nvidia
  • Nvidia GeForce 770, 2GB, reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • PowerColor R9 290X 4GB at PowerColor’s +30MHz overclock speeds in Uber mode (1030MHz); fan set to 100%
  • VisionTek R9 280X 3GB, reference speeds; supplied by VisionTek
  • VisionTek HD 7970 3GB at reference speeds; on loan from VisionTek
  • PowerColor HD 7970 3GB at GHz Edition Boost speeds
  • Onboard Realtek Audio
  • Genius SP-D150 speakers
  • Two identical 500 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 hard drives configured and set up identically from drive image; one partition for Nvidia GeForce drivers and one for ATI Catalyst drivers
  • Two Kingston 240GB HyperX SSDs configured and set up identically from drive image; one partition for Nvidia GeForce drivers and one for ATI Catalyst drivers; supplied by Kingston
  • Cooler Master Platinum Pro 1000W PSU, supplied by Cooler Master
  • Thermaltake Overseer RX-I full tower case, supplied by Thermaltake
  • Philips DVD SATA writer
  • HP LP3065 2560×1600 thirty inch LCD

Test Configuration – Software – GTX 780 Ti Launch

  • WHQL Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9 for R9 290X; application controlled, Surface optimizations off, High Quality, Vsync off
  • Nvidia GeForce WHQL 331.70 for the GTX 980 Ti and Titan; High Quality; Single-display Performance mode; Prefer Maximum Performance, Vsync off
  • Windows 7 64-bit; very latest updates
  • Latest DirectX
  • All games are patched to their latest versions.
  • Vsync is forced off in the control panels.
  • Varying 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 frame rates
  • Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
  • Windows 7 64, all DX9 titles were run under DX9 render paths, DX10 titles were run under DX10 render paths and DX11 titles under DX11 render paths.

Testing Differences between 2013 and now

Although we tested the same games at the same settings, our testing platform has changed from Windows 7 to Windows 10 which should make for only potentially slight differences in performance which can fall under “benching noise”, or margin of error; and we are using a slightly faster CPU now as we have upgraded from Ivy Bridge’s i7-3770K at 4.5GHz to the Devil’s Canyon i7-4790K at 4.4GHz which will only slightly affect CPU-dependent benchmarks. And of course, game patches and updates will also make for larger potential performances differences which reflect playing the game then versus now.  However, the relative performance of our 3 featured video cards will be similar, and our results should be very close.

AMD’s Driver Settings

The Crimson drivers come with a new interface that may take users time to get used to.  We feel the new interface is a big improvement over the older one, but there are still some issues – especially with changing resolutions and refresh rates that still need to be adjusted in Windows.

Here are the settings that we always use in AMD’s Crimson Control Center for our default benching.  They are identical settings to what we used in the older Catalyst Control Center in 2013.
globaloverdriveNotice that we always bench our 290X with the fan set to allow it to spin up to 100%.  It never throttles under our benching conditions.

Nvidia’s Control Panel Settings

NvCP1NvCP2

Let’s head to the performance charts to see how the GTX 780 Ti compares with R9 290X and also versus the Titan by benching today’s most demanding PC games, and also by looking back to 13 older games that we benchmarked 2-1/2 years ago when the Kepler GTX 780 Ti first launched.