NVIDIA’s Gamescom Driver Deep Dive – 15 Games Tested

Recently, we published a report on NVIDIA’s latest GeForce Game Ready driver, which they released at Gamescom. The new driver touts a number of new features, and NVIDIA highlighted performance improvements in a select group of titles. We validated those claims in our report, but we didn’t dive any deeper than that. Today, we’ll be rectifying that as some users have reported performance degradation in other titles, so we’ll be testing a wider range of games in order to determine overall performance.

We’ll be testing 15 games in total, including the ones from the original report. Let’s dig in!

Graphics Card Test Setup and Methodology

Summer 2019 Update:

We’ve undergone a fairly significant change in both our testing methods, how we display data and our test setup. Firstly, we’ve upgraded our graphics card test bench to a 3rd gen Ryzen-based system. Second, we’ll no longer be measuring ‘99.9th percentiles’ or as we’ve labeled them in the past ‘0.1% lows’ instead we’ll focus purely on both average FPS and ’99th percentiles’ as we believe they most accurately represent actual GPU performance without over complicating things for the viewer.

All game benchmarks are taken from a 3-run average either in-game or using the title’s built-in benchmark utility. Performance is recorded using OCAT: the open-source frontend for PresentMon, which itself is an open-source capture and analytics tool which supports modern APIs such as DirectX 12 and Vulkan.

For our graphics card reviews, we use a 3rd generation Ryzen-based system with components supplied by AMD, GIGABYTE, Western Digital, DEEPCOOL and Nixeus. Thanks to all those who support us by supplying vital components for our test systems, without them reports like this would not be possible.

Graphics Card Test Bench
CPUAMD Ryzen 9 3900X – PBO Enabled
MotherboardGIGABYTE X570 AORUS PRO WiFi
RAMG. Skill Trident Z Neo – DDR4-3600 CL18 16GB Memory Kit – Timings at CL-16-19-19-38
GPUGIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER Gaming OC
StorageWD Black SN750 1TB NVMe SSD (OS), 480GB Patriot Burst SSD, 960GB ADATA SU655 SSD
CoolerDEEPCOOL Castle 240 RGB all-in-one liquid cooler.
CasePhanteks P350X
PSUDEEPCOOL Quanta DQ1250
MonitorNixeus EDG27 v2
Software Configuration
OSWindows 10 1903
DriversNVIDIA GeForce 431.60 – WHQL / NVIDIA GeForce 436.02 WHQL

NVIDIA GeForce 436.02 Game Ready Driver Performance

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

We test this title during a 60-second gameplay segment in the ‘Hidden City’ portion of the game.

Far Cry: New Dawn

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Forza Horizon 4

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

HITMAN 2

We test this title during a 60-second gameplay segment in the ‘Santa Fortuna’ map.

Resident Evil 2 (2019)

We test this title in a 60-second gameplay segment at the early portion of the game in the fiery streets of ‘Raccoon City’ on the way to the police station.

Battlefield V

We test this game during a 60-second gameplay segment of the ‘War Stories’ single-player game mode on the first level of the ‘Tirailleur’ campaign.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Gears of War 4

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

We test this title during a 60-second gameplay segment on the ‘Riverside’ level of the campaign.

World War Z

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Strange Brigade

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Grand Theft Auto V

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility. Specifically, during the final scene following along with the Fighter Jet.

The Witcher 3

We test this title using a 60-second run through the village of White Orchard, during the beginning portion of the game.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow: Six Siege

We test this title in the single-player ‘Situations’ mode, on the ‘High Value Target’ mission which takes place on the ‘Consulate’ map.

Conclusion

So, after at least 90 different benchmark runs, we have what I think is a fairly decent picture of the performance one should expect from this driver. I should note that during our initial testing, we did see significantly worse performance the what’s displayed here, and that was sorted out by doing a fresh install of the drivers. So, if you notice anything off after installing the new drivers, try a fresh install and maybe even use something like Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU) to ensure you’re installing on a clean slate. I can’t be sure that this is what was causing performance issues for others, but it is definitely worth looking into.

Performance Summary

With all that said, you’re probably interested in seeing a performance summary of the results, so here that is:

Average FPS
99th Percentile

Taking a look at the average FPS results, we can see that on average the driver provides 3.4% more performance across the 15 titles we tested. None of the titles displayed any actual performance degradation and a few titles aside from the one’s NVIDIA originally highlighted, have actually significantly improved in performance. Gears of War 4 is a very surprising result for me, given the age of that one, but it definitely has me excited for testing Gears 5 come September. Looking at our 99th Percentile results, it is much of the same story with a 4.4% increase in overall performance. A couple tiles such as Far Cry: New Dawn and The Witcher 3 did display lower performance here, but it is within the margin of error, so not really an issue.

All and all, I’m very pleased with the GeForce 436.02 driver, just as I was in our initial report. I’m happy to see that there is in fact no performance degradation, or at least not in our tests. Of course, there’s always the possibility of other titles having issues, but that’s sort of the nature with driver updates, some older or more obscure titles may not be tested for compatibility simply because of a lack of resources.

Well, that’s it for this one. If you’d like to see any other titles tested, feel free to drop a comment down below!

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