Windows 10 May 2021 Update Performance Analysis (21H1 vs. 20H2) – 18 games benchmarked using a Gigabyte AORUS RTX 3080 MASTER

The Windows 10 May 2021 Update (version 21H1, build 19043) started to become publicly available three weeks ago, and this performance analysis will showcase gaming using the Gigabyte AORUS RTX 3080 MASTER. We will compare the performance of 18 PC games on the latest Windows 10 May 2021 update versus the October 2020 update (version 20H2, build 19042) using GeForce Game Ready 466.27 driver.

windows 10 may 2021 update
Source: mycomputer.com

Our testing platform is a recent install of Windows 10 64-bit Pro Edition, an i9-9900K with stock clocks, a Gigabyte Z390 AORUS PRO motherboard, and 32GB of Kingston DDR4 3333MHz. The games tested, settings, hardware, and GeForce drivers are identical except for the Windows 10 builds we compare.

Our AORUS RTX 3080 MASTER, rev. 1.0 (Ampere GPU micro-architecture).

Before offering the performance data and charts of each different analysis scenario, it’s important to describe both the hardware and software configuration used in our testing as well as the analysis methodology.

Benching Methodology

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • Intel Core i9-9900K (Hyper-Threading/Turbo boost on; stock settings)
  • Gigabyte Z390 AORUS PRO motherboard (Intel Z390 chipset, v.F12l BIOS)
  • Kingston HyperX Predator 32GB DDR4 (2×16GB, dual-channel at 3333 MHz CL16)
  • Gigabyte AORUS GeForce RTX 3080 MASTER 10GB (rev. 1.0); v.F4 VBIOS, stock clocks
  • Samsung 500GB SSD 960 EVO NVMe M.2
  • WD Blue 1TB SATA SSD
  • Corsair RM750x, 750W 80PLUS Gold power supply unit
  • ASUS TUF Gaming VG289Q 28″ IPS UHD 4K (3840×2160) 60Hz 5ms FreeSync Monitor (Fixed Refresh Rate on) when testing games at 2160p resolution.
  • ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q 27″ IPS (2560 x 1440) 165Hz 4ms G-Sync Monitor (G-Sync Off, Fixed Refresh Rate On) when testing games at 1440p resolution.

Test Configuration – Software

  • NVIDIA GeForce 466.27 drivers; ‘High-Quality’ and ‘prefer maximum performance’ (on a per-game profile-basis); fixed refresh rate (globally).
  • Resizable BAR off.
  • V-Sync application controlled in the control panel, V-Sync off in-game.
  • AA and AF as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified.
  • Windows 10 64-bit Pro edition, latest updates v21H1, and latest updates v20H2; high-performance power plan, HAGS off, Game Mode, Game DVR & Game Bar features off.
  • GIGABYTE and ASUS tools not installed.
  • Latest DirectX
  • All 18 games are patched to their latest versions at the time of publication.
  • 3DMark’s suite and UNIGINE Superposition benchmark, the latest version
  • Basemark GPU benchmark, v.1.1
  • UNIGINE Superposition, v.1.1
  • CapFrameX (CX), the latest version
  • RivaTuner Statistics Server (RTSS), the latest version
  • Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU), the latest version; always uninstall old driver using DDU in safe mode, clean, and restart.
  • ISLC (Purge Standby List) before each benchmark.

GeForce Driver Suite-related

  • Standard Game Ready drivers are used.
  • The display driver is installed.
  • The latest version of PhysX is installed.

Hybrid & Non-Synthetic Tests-related

  • Single run per test.

Game Benchmarks-related

  • The corresponding built-in or custom benchmark sequence is used.

Frametimes Capture & Analysis tool-related

  • CapFrameX is used for capturing and analyzing the relevant performance numbers obtained from each recorded built-in or custom benchmark sequence.
  • Consecutive runs until detecting 3 valid runs (no outliers) that can be aggregated by CapFrameX using the following method:
    • ‘Aggregate excluding outliers’:
      • Outlier metric: Third, P0.2 (0.2% FPS percentile).
      • Outlier percentage: 3% (the % the FPS of an entry can differ from the median of all entries before counting as an outlier).
  • We compare and value the results and aggregated records in terms of percentages of gain/loss, by setting the following thresholds to consider a certain % value as significant (not within the margin of error) for our benchmarking purposes:
    • Score/FPS Avg > 3% when valuing hybrid and non-synthetic benchmarks;
    • FPS Avg > 3% when evaluating raw performance;
    • P1/P0.2 > 3% when evaluating frame time consistency; after applying our custom formula

{[(LowPercentileFPS_2 / AvgFPS_2) / (LowPercentileFPS_1 / AvgFPS_1)] – 1} x 100

Benchmark Suite: 18 PC Games, 4 Hybrid & 4 Non-Synthetic Tests

Hybrid Tests (3DMark)

  • Fire Strike Ultra
  • Time Spy Extreme
  • DirectX Raytracing feature test
  • Port Royal

Non-Synthetic Tests

  • Basemark GPU
  • UNIGINE Superposition
  • Neon Noir (Benchmark)
  • Boundary: Raytracing Benchmark

DX11 Games

  • Borderlands 3 (DX11)
  • Days Gone (DX11)
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (DX11)
  • Far Cry New Dawn (DX11)
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Ghost Recon Breakpoint (DX11)
  • Neon Noir (DX11; Loop Mode)

DX12 Games

  • Borderlands 3 (DX12)
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (DX12)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (DX12)
  • Metro Exodus (DX12)
  • Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition (DX12)
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (DX12)
  • Watch Dogs: Legion (DX12)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DX12)
  • Godfall (DX12)
  • DIRT 5 (DX12)

Vulkan Games

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint (VK)
  • Strange Brigade (VK)
  • Wolfenstein Youngblood (VK)
  • Quake 2 RTX (VK; v.1.5.0)

NVIDIA Control Panel settings

Here are the global NVIDIA Control Panel settings:

windows 10 may 2021 update
NVIDIA Control Panel Global 3D Settings (AORUS RTX 3080 MASTER).

Both ‘High-Quality’ values for texture filtering-quality setting and ‘Prefer maximum performance’ for power management mode are set on a per-game or program profile-basis via Manage 3D Settings > Program settings tab.

The Performance Summary Charts

Below are the summary charts of 18 games and 4 hybrid and 4 non-synthetic benchmarks used to compare the performance changes for the AORUS RTX 3080 MASTER from the Windows 10 October 2020 (20H2) version to the latest May 2021 (21H1) version.

You can see the list of graphics settings on the charts, and we run each built-in or custom game benchmark’s sequence at 2560×1440, except for Borderlands 3Days Gone, and Far Cry New Dawn, tested at 3840×2160 resolution. You may click on each chart to open a pop-up for the best viewing.

Results give average framerates and higher is better. We display the low FPS percentiles (P1 and P0.2) below the corresponding averages. We use CapFrameX to record frametimes over time and to visualize and convert them into their corresponding average FPS and P1 and P0.2 FPS percentiles values. There are also columns showing percentages of gain/loss in both raw performance (average FPS) and, when applicable, in frametimes consistency or stability between the different driver versions. To calculate the gains or losses in stability we applied our custom formula:

{[(LowPercentileFPS_2 / AvgFPS_2) / (LowPercentileFPS_1 / AvgFPS_1)] – 1} x 100

We mark significant performance changes (higher than 3%in bold and use purple or orange font for the significant improvements or regressions respectively.

Windows 10 May 2021 Update Performance Charts

windows 10 may 2021 update
Hybrid Benchmarks.
windows 10 may 2021 update
Non-Synthetic Benchmarks.
windows 10 may 2021 update
DirectX 11 Games – Built-in benchmarks (except Days Gone, tested using the BTR custom sequence).
windows 10 may 2021 update
DirectX 12 Games – Built-in benchmarks (except Cyberpunk 2077, tested using the BTR custom sequence).
windows 10 may 2021 update
Vulkan Games – Built-in benchmarks.
DirectX Raytracing Games – Built-in benchmarks (except Cyberpunk 2077, tested using the BTR custom sequence).
Vulkan Raytracing Games – Built-in benchmarks.

Notes on Windows 10 May 2021 (21H1) version performance

We found no significant differences between gaming performance on the latest Windows 10 May 2021 (21H1) version compared with October 2020 (20H2) version. Overall, the results are well within what is considered our 3% margin of error, or “benchmarking noise”.

Let’s head to our conclusion.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that the following results, notes, and the corresponding Windows 10 version recommendation are valid for similar Ampere gaming rigs using GeForce Game Ready 466.27 driver. Its representativeness, applicability, and usefulness on different GPU architectures, testing benches, and GPU drivers may vary.

Conclusion

Based on our previous results and findings, we recommend upgrading to the latest Windows 10 May 2021 update (21H1) since its raw performance and smoothness or frametimes consistency level is approximately on par with the prior Windows 10 version (20H2).

From a qualitative point of view, there are important reasons that also make it advisable to upgrade to Windows 10 version 21H1 from an older build. These reasons include its higher stability, security fixes, and a few new OS features. Finally, we found the latest Windows 10 build to be stable and relatively bug-free, which is in line with what we experienced after the last October 2020 (20H2) update.

Let’s Play!

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Rodrigo González (aka ‘RodroG’) is an enthusiast gamer and tech reviewer interested especially in shooter games, open-world role-playing games, and software and hardware benchmarking. He is the author of the NVIDIA WHQL Driver Performance Benchmarks Series and founder and moderator of the r/allbenchmarks community on Reddit.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Because everyone owns a 30xx series nvidia GPU…
    How about using more commonly owned GPU’s so the average person can get a real idea of how such updates affect them?

    • He tests driver updates with both 2080 TI and 3080 and there is not much a difference between those.

      • Thank you, John. Yours is also my answer to Fred’s question. You read my mind! It is also a logical conclusion for those who follow my driver reviews using Ampere and Turing. Based on our data and testing experience, it’s unlikely that we would have found a different conclusion using a Turing GPU.

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