Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 And 980 Review: Maximum Maxwell

Results: Arma 3 And Grid Autosport

Arma 3

And now let's put everyone's favorite hyper-realistic combat simulator, Arma 3, to the test:

It looks like the GeForce GTX 980, 970, and 780 Ti are hitting a platform bottleneck at 1080p when the ultra detail setting is used in conjunction with 4x MSAA. Nvidia's newest products continue to shine in this benchmark and we have a pretty clear expectation of performance by now. Note how the Radeon R9 280X suffers from some significant frame time variance spikes, it's not bad enough to be a deal breaker but you can notice it while playing.

When we increase resolution to 3840x2160, the GeForce GTX 970 falls behind the pack slightly where raw frame rates are concerned, but it maintains a playable pace and a relatively flat frame time variance. The same can not be said for the Radeon cards, which suffer from some judder at this high resolution. 

Grid Autosport

Grid Autosport is the newest installment in the popular racing series, and we've recently added it to our benchmarking suite. As usual, Codemasters did a wonderful job with their game engine, allowing us to push all of the details to their maximum settings, crank MSAA up to 8x,  and maintain incredibly smooth performance.

Note how none of these cards spend a significant amount of time below 60 FPS. It should come as no surprise by now that the GeForce GTX 970 and 980 can easily handle 1920x1080 at ultra high detail settings in almost every game we throw at them. Let's see how these cards handle those same settings, including hardware intensive 8x MSAA, on a 4K monitor.

All of the cards tested managed to maintain the minimum frame rate above 30 FPS, and the majority kept the average frame rate above 40 FPS. Those that missed the mark did it by a small margin, meaning that this game is quite playable with 8x MSAA at 4K!

  • Vivecss
  • lancear15
    I was waiting for Tom's review to make my final decision, the 980 is definitely going into my current 5960x build! I cant wait.
    so how long before you do a round up?i mean this time i've seen some pretty crazy looking cards (Zotac's Extreme AMP! edition looks crazy and the Inno3D too)and EVGA has shown off ACX 2.0 which they claim to be the most efficient GPU air cooler in the world...so many to choose from also EVGA FTW has been nicely overclocked i've seen it performing almost on par with 980
  • realibrad
    byt he way... Last page 2nd sentence after the graph of Avg game performance.

    I was hoping for more performance but the efficiency is quite nice. They just put pressure on the top end and gave us a price reduction, instead of overall performance gains.
  • balister
    Very nice, but I still want to see what the power consumption along with what might be possible with the drop to 20nm (since this is still 28nm).

    Likely, we're going to see a Maxwell Titan equivalent come in the next year or so as these are a x04 much like Kepler with the 670/80s were and we're still going to be waiting to see what the x10 will be with the Maxwell architecture.
    Why didn't you include an overclocking comparison? Why didn't you include the 780, but included the 770? Doesn't make much sense...
  • vertexx
    970 is the real story until the 980ti comes out - what a value proposition with the 970!

    Good stuff here - but you guys were a bit slow on this one. Tom's Hardware is the first site I visit every morning. But with the delay of this article, I've been all over the net this morning on other sites that got their stuff out sooner.
  • daveys93
    Will there be a follow-up article about overclocking these cards? Other sites are showing results that both of the new cards are capable of 1500+ MHz on air (aftermarket coolers and even a few with stock coolers), which is a massive overclock. Looks like NVIDIA left the door open for some decent voltage increases, but many results have been in the 1450-1500 MHz range at stock voltage. I am a big fan of the thoroughness of Tom's articles so I am very interested in seeing overclocking results and analysis from this site.
  • nikolajj
    I need this...
  • tobalaz
    I want a 970, wow!
    That's some flat out insane price / performance ratio right there!