Maxwell is here! GTX 980 is now revealed!

Testing Methodology

The OS we use is Windows 8 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.

Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows Vista occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.

We ran each test a total of 3 times, and reported the average score from all three scores. Benchmark screenshots are of the median result. Anomalous results were discounted and the benchmarks were rerun.

Please note that due to new driver releases with performance improvements, we rebenched every card shown in the results section. The results here will be different than previous reviews due to the performance increases in drivers.

Test Rig

Test Rig
Case Level 10 GT
CPUs Intel i7 4770K @ 4.7GHz
Motherboards ASUS Maximus VI Formula
Ram Patriot Viper 32GB (4x8GB) 2133Mhz 11-11-11Quad-Channel Kit
CPU Cooler Custom Liquid Cooling
Hard Drives 8x Western Digital RE4 2TB 7200RPM 3Gb/s Hard Drives (Raid 5)
SSD 3x Kingston HyperX 240GB SATA III 6Gb/s SSD
Optical ASUS DVD-Burner
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 980

 

Synthetic Benchmarks & Games

We will use the following applications to benchmark the performance of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 video card.

Benchmarks
3DMark 11
3Dmark 2013
Sleeping Dogs
Tomb Raider
Metro 2033
Unigine Heaven 4.0
Batman Arkham City
Batman Arkham Origins
Dirt 3 Showdown
Metro Last Light
Sniper Elite V2

3DMark 11

3d11 3d11x

First up 3DMark 11 and I can honestly say I was a bit surprised to see the 980 jump out ahead the way it did, it simply stomped on everything short of the 690, now mind you its not a monstrous leap over the 780 Ti but it does decisively beat it.

3DMark 2013

firestrike extreme firestrike

The new Firestrike and Firestrike Extreme benchmarks show similar with the 980 making quick work of the competition and even creeping ahead of the dual GPU 690!

Unigine Heaven 4.0

Unigine Heaven is a benchmark program based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine, Unigine. The engine features DirectX 11, Hardware tessellation, DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0. All of these new technologies combined with the ability to run each card through the same exact test means this benchmark should be in our arsenal for a long time.

heaven

Heaven can be torture on a card and here you see once again the 980 trounces everything while narrowly blowing past the outgoing 780ti as well.

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs we see the 780ti creep by just barely but overall the 980 pulls some very nice numbers here.

Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Even after many years, Metro 2033 is still one of the most demanding DX11 video games available to really push the limits of your system. Here the GTX 980 pulls ahead of everything except the 690 again.

Batman Arkham City

batman AC

Batman Arkham City is one of the really fun games you can jump in and play so its a staple of our tests for GPUs. here you can see that the 980 knocks out everything across the board.

Batman Arkham Origins

Batman AO

This is the newest installment to the Arkham series Batman games and in order to ensure an even playing field I disabled Nvidia Physx and Nvidia based AA sticking with a standard high AA variant to ensure as equal loading as possible. The GTX 980 here pulls in a good showing edging out the TITAN but the 780ti pulls off some extra frames to take the lead here.

Tomb Raider

Tomb raider

Tomb Raider once again is a heavily pushed title by AMD and with TressFX but even with all of that the 980 pulls super close to the 780ti and past the 290x but it just doesnt have what it takes to blow past the ti in these games.

Metro Last Light

Metro Last Light

Here we have Metro Last Light which is a brand new game added to our testing platform as it just came out. If you thought Metro 2033 was stressful you have seen nothing yet. The particles and lighting, as well as the PhysX effects all add up to an amazing looking game that can put a stun even the most powerful system in its tracks. Once again we disabled the Nvidia technology PhysX to ensure even results and playing field. the GTX 980 once again pulls ahead of the ti by two FPS and falls only a single FPS short of the 690.

Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2 is a fun game which, when first released, was quite stressful but still playable on most higher end cards. By now, most cards have surpassed it, with the top end cards we are testing today we see the GTX 980 pulling well past 150 and arriving at 163.3FPS surpassing the ti by almost a full 15 FPS.

Dirt 3 Showdown

Dirt 3

Dirt 3 Showdown is a visually beautiful game with excellent lighting and overall motion blurring creating a real visual spectacle of a game. The GTX 980 once again pulls ahead of the ti but only by the slimmest of margins. but at the top we are talking less than a single FPS separating the top players. the 690 is just over 1FPS higher than the ti and the 980.

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