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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  • Viewgamer - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    To Ryan Smith. How can the GTX 980 possibly have a 165W TDP when it actually consumes 8 watts more than the 195W TDP GTX 680 !? please explain ? did Nvidia just play games with the figures to make them look more impressive ? Reply
  • ArmedandDangerous - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    TDP =/= Power consumption although they are related. TDP is the amount of heat it will output. Reply
  • Carrier - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    You're right, power consumption and heat output are related. That's because they're one and the same! What else could that electricity be converted to? Light? A massive magnetic field? Mechanical energy? (The fan, slightly, but the transistors aren't going anywhere.) Reply
  • Laststop311 - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    no they aren't the same. Not all the electricity used is converted to heat. This is where the word EFFICIENCY comes into play. Yes it is related in a way but maxwell is more efficient with the electricity it draws using more of it and losing less of it to converted heat output. It's all in it's design. Reply
  • bernstein - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    bullshit. since a gpu doesn't do chemical nor mechanical transformations all the energy used is converted to heat (by way of moving electrons around). efficiency in a gpu means how much energy is used for a fixed set of calculations (for example: flops) Reply
  • Senpuu - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    It's okay to be ignorant, but not ignorant and belligerent. Reply
  • bebimbap - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    there is "work" being done, as transistors have to "flip" by use of electrons. Even if you don't believe that "input energy =\= output heat" think of it this way
    100w incandescent bulb produces X amount of useful light
    18w florescent bulb also produces X amount of useful light

    in this sense the florescent bulb is much more efficient as it uses only 18w to produce the same light as the 100w incandescent. so if we say they produce the same amount of heat, then
    100w florescent would produce ~5x the light of a 100w incandescent.
    Reply
  • Laststop311 - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    ur so smart bro Reply
  • Guspaz - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    The power draw figures in this article are overall system power draw, not GPU power draw. Since the 980 offers significantly more performance than the 680, it's cranking out more frames, which causes the CPU to work harder to keep up. As as result, the CPU power draw increases, counteracting the benefits of lower GPU power draw. Reply
  • Carrier - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    I don't think that can explain the whole difference. It performs similarly to a 780 Ti in Crysis 3, so the difference in power consumption can only come from the card. The 980 is rated 85W less in TDP but consumes only 68W less at the wall. The discrepancy gets worse when you add losses in the power supply.

    My guess is the TDP is rated at nominal clock rate, which is cheating a little because the card consistently runs much higher than nominal because of the boost.
    Reply

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