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AMD vs Nvidia: Whose Driver Updates Improve Performance More?

Battlefield 4 (2013, DX11)

The newer Battlefield 4 was one of the games we used in our Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 1060 6GB reviews. Even though it was three years old by the time both cards launched, the DX11-based title still featured prominently in our test suite, making it a probable target for optimization.

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The Radeon RX 480’s initial 73.7 FPS average rose to 76.4 FPS with Crimson ReLive Edition 17.7.2, before settling at 75.5 FPS in the latest Adrenalin Edition 18.7.1 build. From introduction to two years later, that’s a 2.4% speed-up.

Frame time variance in Battlefield 4 is a little higher than its predecessor. But AMD’s Radeon RX 480 achieves similar 99th percentile frame rates across the board, improving slightly in the latest driver builds.

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Nvidia was already getting the Pascal architecture’s maximum performance in Battlefield 4 when GeForce GTX 1060 6GB launched. The card’s average frame rate increased by one-tenth of a percent over two years.

The GeForce’s frame times are much lower than the Radeon’s, which is, mathematically, where the higher frame rates come from. However, Nvidia’s variance is also lower, evident in the thinner line across our frame time over benchmark chart. This corresponds to an overall smoother experience.

Although Nvidia wasn’t able to improve the 1060 6GB’s performance in Battlefield 4 from launch, a 95.6 FPS average with its newest 398.36 driver represents a 26.6% advantage over the Radeon RX 480 at 1920x1080 using the Ultra preset.

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Battlefield 4
Battlefield 4
Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.