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, at reference clocks, supplied by EVGA
  • GeForce GTX 980, 4GB, reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • GALAX GTX 970 EXOC, GALAX factory clocks, supplied by GALAX
  • 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 358.50 WHQL drivers and GeForce 355.98 WHQL drivers for the GTX 980 and 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
  • All results show average frame rates except as noted.
  • Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
  • Windows 10 64-bit Home edition, all DX11 titles were run under DX11 render paths.  DX12 title is run under the DX12 render path.  Latest DirectX
  • All games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication.
  • PrecisionX, latest version.

The 26 Game benchmarks & 3 synthetic tests

  • Synthetic
  • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
  • Heaven 4.0
  • Kite Demo, Unreal Engine 4
  • DX11
  • STALKER, Call of Pripyat
  • the Secret World
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • Tomb Raider: 2013
  • Crysis 3
  • BioShock: Infinite
  • Metro: Last Light Redux (2014)
  • Battlefield 4
  • Thief
  • Sniper Elite 3
  • GRID: Autosport
  • Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor
  • Alien Isolation
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity
  • Far Cry 4
  • Dragon’s Age: Inquisition
  • The Crew
  • Total War: Attila
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • ProjectCARS
  • the Witcher 3 
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • Mad Max
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • DX12 Games
  • Ashes of the Singularity – Alpha Demo benchmark

Let’s first look at Ashes of the Singularity performance using the GTX 980 Ti, 980 Ti SLI, GTX 980, GTX 970 EXOC and the GTX 960.

Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity is an AMD Evolved title as a Steam Early Access Pre-Beta.  It is scheduled to be released next year, but it is an Alpha DX12 game in an unfinished and unoptimized state.  It is an RTS much in the style of Supreme Commander and it uses DX12 to make it possible for very large numbers of units to interact at one time onscreen.Ashes_DX11 2015-11-02 07-22-05-67

There is only one playable race now, and many promised features are yet to be introduced, but the benchmark – although cranky about changing resolutions – seems to be repeatable and an accurate depiction of what is happening in the game.

Ashes_DX11 2015-11-02 07-24-19-34The benchmark is quite challenging at higher resolutions and with “Crazy” (above High) settings plus 4xMSAA applied.  Here are the settings that we used.  Every setting is fully maxed out.
Ashes_DX11 2015-11-02 07-20-51-81Here are the DX12 performance results benching Ashes of the Singularity for the GTX 960, the GTX 970 EXOC, the GTX 980, the GTX 980 Ti, and GTX 980 Ti SLI.


This may or may not turn out to be a good DX12 benchmark, but in the absence of any other, we will continue to chart its progress until the game is released.

Lets look at Nvidia’s release highlights regarding the GeForce 358.50 WHQL driver before we head to performance testing.

Release Notes Highlights for GeForce 358.50

This is a short list highlighting the fact that Nvidia’s WHQL driver release schedule is continuing to be tied to the release of AAA games.

This new GeForce Game Ready driver ensures you’ll have the best possible gaming experience in the Star Wars: Battlefront Open Beta. This driver also brings support for the latest OpenGL ARB extensions as well as OpenGL ES 3.2. In addition, this Game Ready driver also includes updated features and functionality for the GameWorks VR software development kit (SDK).

Game Ready
Learn more about how to get the optimal experience here: Star Wars: Battlefront Open Beta

Gaming Technology
Supports OpenGL 2015 ARB extensions and OpenGL ES 3.2

GameWorks VR Support
Updated driver support for GameWorks VR SDK, adding VR SLI enhancements, and bug fixes. Learn more atdeveloper.nvidia.com/vr.

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

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