Metro: Last Light

As always, kicking off our look at performance is 4A Games’ latest entry in their Metro series of subterranean shooters, Metro: Last Light. The original Metro: 2033 was a graphically punishing game for its time and Metro: Last Light is in its own right too. On the other hand it scales well with resolution and quality settings, so it’s still playable on lower end hardware.

Metro: Last Light - 3840x2160 - High Quality

Metro: Last Light - 3840x2160 - Medium Quality

Metro: Last Light - 2560x1440 - High Quality

Metro: Last Light - 1920x1080 - Very High Quality

As has become customary for us for the last couple of high-end video card reviews, we’re going to be running all of our 4K video card benchmarks at both high quality and at a lower quality level. In practice not even GTX 980 is going to be fast enough to comfortably play most of these games at 3840x2160 with everything cranked up – that is going to be multi-GPU territory – so for that reason we’re including a lower quality setting to showcase just what performance looks like at settings more realistic for a single GPU.

GTX 980 comes out swinging in our first set of benchmarks. If there was any doubt that it could surpass the likes of R9 290XU and GTX 780 Ti, then this first benchmark is a great place to set those doubts to rest. At all resolutions and quality settings it comes out on top, surpassing NVIDIA’s former consumer flagship by anywhere from a few percent to 12% at 4K with high quality settings. Otherwise against the R9 290XU it’s a consistent 13% lead at 2560 and 4K Medium.

In absolute terms this is enough performance to keep its average framerates well over 60fps at 2560, and even at 3840 Medium it comes just short of crossing the 60fps mark. High quality mode will take the wind out of GTX 980’s sails though, pushing framerates back into the borderline 30fps range.

Looking at NVIDIA’s last-generation parts for a moment, the performance gains over the lower tier GK110 based GTX 780 are around 25-35%. This is about where you’d expect to see a new GTX x80 card given NVIDIA’s quasi-regular 2 year performance upgrade cadence. And when extended out to a full 2 years, the performance advantage over GTX 680 is anywhere between 60% and 92% depending on the resolution we’re looking at. NVIDIA proclaims that GTX 980 will achieve 2x the performance per watt of GTX 680, and since GTX 980 is designed to operate at a lower TDP than GTX 680, as we can see it means performance over GTX 680 won’t quite be doubled in most cases.

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  • Frenetic Pony - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    This is the most likely thing to happen, as the transition to 14nm takes place for intel over the next 6 months those 22nm fabs will sit empty. They could sell capacity at a similar process to TSMC's latest while keeping their advantage at the same time. Reply
  • nlasky - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    Intel uses the same Fabs to produce 14nm as it does to produce 22nm Reply
  • lefty2 - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    I can see Nvidia switching to Intel's 14nm, however Intel charges a lot more than TSMC for it's foundry services (because they want to maintain their high margins). That would mean it's only economical for the high end cards Reply
  • SeanJ76 - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    What a joke!!!! 980GTX doesn't even beat the previous year's 780ti??? LOL!! Think I'll hold on to my 770 SC ACX Sli that EVGA just sent me for free!! Reply
  • Margalus - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    uhh, what review were you looking at? or are you dyslexic and mixed up the results between the two cards? Reply
  • eanazag - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    Nvidia would get twice as many GPUs per wafer on a 14nm process than 28nm. Maxwell at 14nm would blow Intel integrated and AMD out of the water in performance and power usage.

    That simply isn't the reality. Samsung has better than 28nm processes also. This type of partnership would work well for Nvidia and AMD to partner with Samsung on their fabs. It makes more sense than Intel because Intel views Nvidia as a threat and competitor. There are reasons GPUs are still on 28nm and it is beyond process availability.
    Reply
  • astroidea - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    They'd actually get four times more since you have to considered the squared area. 14^2*4=28^2 Reply
  • emn13 - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    Unfortunately, that's not how it works. A 14nm process isn't simply a 28nm process scaled by 0.5; different parts are scaled differently, and so the overall die area savings aren't that simple to compute.

    In a sense, the concept of a "14nm" process is almost a bit of a marketing term, since various components may still be much larger than 14nm. And of course, the same holds for TSMC's 28nm process... so a true comparison would require more knowledge that you or I have, I'm sure :-) - I'm not sure if intel even releases the precise technical details of how things are scaled in the first place.
    Reply
  • bernstein - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    no because intel is using their 22nm for haswell parts... the cpu transition ends in a year with the broadwell xeon-ep... at which point almost all the fabs will either be upgraded or upgrading to 14nm and the rest used to produce chipsets and other secondary die's Reply
  • nlasky - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    yes but they use the same fabs for both processes Reply

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