It’s been at least six months since BTR compared the Fury X versus the GTX 980 Ti and versus the GTX 1070. It will be interesting to see if there have been any major changes since then. Has Nvidia neglected Maxwell in favor of Pascal? This evaluation will revisit 25 games from our last Fury X versus GTX 980 Ti evaluation and we will also include the GTX 1070. We will use the same games that we benched then, and we will again compare them using the latest drivers, plus we will add 11 newer games including Watch Dogs 2.
Both the GTX 980 Ti and the Fury X launched at $650 and have been natural competitors. However, just over six months ago, Nvidia released the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070, and both new cards beat the GTX 980 Ti and also beat the Fury X. Today the Fury X and the GTX 980 Ti are often discounted below $400 which is about where the GTX 1070 is priced, although the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 are now bundled with Watch Dogs 2.
Our game benchmark suite has changed in the past six months as we always strive to update our tested games to include the latest and most popular titles at the time of writing. Since then, we have also upgraded from Devil’s Canyon i7-4790K at 4.4GHz to Skylake i7-6700K at 4.4GHz, but we found almost no performance difference between the two platforms.
We mainly want to see how these formerly flagship GPUs stand now in relation to each other by playing the latest games with updated drivers at demanding settings that we usually bench at as well as by replicating the test conditions of our last Fury X vs. GTX 980 vs. GTX 1070 evaluation as well as we can at 3840×2160, 2560×1440, and at 1920×1080.
We will be interested to see how the Fury X stands up to the latest games with its 4GB of vRAM, and if the GTX 1070 is pulling further away from the GTX 980 Ti. Watch Dogs 2 is vRAM intensive and its recommended specs are pretty steep.
Watch Dogs 2 was released a couple of days ago and we are playing the game now. However, we were able to get a consistent preliminary benchmark. Nvidia’s GameWorks has allowed the Watch Dogs 2 devs to implement additional features into this game, several of which can be used in AMD cards:
- Ansel is a new way to capture in-game photography beyond taking simple screen shots. Ansel allows a GeForce gamer to compose shots from any location allowed by the dev, use post-process filters, capture HDR images, and share screenshots in 360 degrees via a smartphone, PC, or VR headset. Ansel is expected to be added to Watch Dogs 2 in a GeForce driver update.
- Percentage Closer Soft Shadows (PCSS) are a good way for devs to add more realistic soft shadows to their games. Imitating real life, PCSS shadows progressively soften as the distance from the casting object increases. A further benefit of PCSS are the addition of high-quality shadow filtering techniques that reduce the prominence of shadow aliasing. We use PCSS in benching our 3 cards since Nvidia’s Hybrid Frustum Traced Shadows (HTTS) – a hybrid of Frustum Traced hard shadows and PCSS filtering for the soft shadows – are only available to Nvidia Pascal video cards.
- HBAO+ adds more realistic Ambient Occlusion shadowing around objects and surfaces with better visuals and less of a performance hit compared with older real-time AO methods. We also use HBAO+ for benching our 3 cards.
- TXAA is an anti-aliasing technique which reduces temporal aliasing (crawling and flickering with the camera in motion) at the expense of blurring the images slightly with a cinematic look overall. TXAA combines high-quality MSAA, post processes, and Nvidia-designed temporal filters. However, in benching our 3 cards, we use SMAA.
Let’s check out the FuryX versus the GTX 980 Ti and versus the GTX 1070 performance after we look over our test configuration on the next page.