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Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 And 980 Review: Maximum Maxwell

Results: Assassin's Creed IV, Watchdogs, Far Cry 3

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Despite its status as an Nvidia Gameworks partner title, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is known to perform well with the Hawaii GPU in the Radeon R9 290 series. Let's see how the new GeForce cards compare:

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At 1080p the high-end graphics cards run in to a clear platform bottleneck, so it's difficult to call out any real winners amongst these super elite products. Perhaps bumping up the resolution will separate the men from the boys:

It remains a tight race but the GeForce GTX 980 has demonstrated a clear trend of achieving best-in-class performance at 4K, and manages over 40 FPS average in this case with very high details enabled.

Watchdogs

Watchdogs can be brutal on medium-range hardware, but it does not present an insurmountable burden for the top-tier graphics hardware we're throwing at it today.

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Even with the high detail preset enabled, all of these graphics cards handle 1080p without too much problem, but you can see that this game engine is plagued with significant frame time variance spikes. This is most likely caused by loading chunks of the large game world as we travel through it in a speeding vehicle.

Increase the resolution to 3640x2160, though, and we need to settle for the medium detail preset. Even so, the frame time variance spikes increase and impact the player's experience. The issue isn't distracting enough to make the game unplayable, though.

Far Cry 3

The final game in today's benchmark tests, Far Cry 3 remains a sterling example of a beautiful graphics engine with lush foliage that is affected by your avatar as you walk through the jungle.

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The new GeForce cards stand tall here, as they have throughout the rest of our benchmark suite. You can see that Radeon graphics cards demonstrate considerably more frame time variance than their competitors, which can manifest as micro stutter and be an annoyance in this game.

With the resolution increased to 4K, details must be dropped to the medium preset in order to maintain playability with even the fastest single-GPU cards. The GeForce GTX 970 and 980 distinguish themselves yet again, although the Radeon frame time variance issue we saw at 1080p has curiously become less of a problem.