GPU Scaling

Switching gears, let’s take a look at performance from a GPU standpoint, including how well Star Swarm performance scales with more powerful GPUs now that we have eliminated the CPU bottleneck. Until now Star Swarm has never been GPU bottlenecked on high-end NVIDIA cards, so this is our first time seeing just how much faster Star Swarm can get until it runs into the limits of the GPU itself.

Star Swarm GPU Scaling - Extreme Quality (4 Cores)

As it stands, with the CPU bottleneck swapped out for a GPU bottleneck, Star Swarm starts to favor NVIDIA GPUs right now. Even accounting for performance differences, NVIDIA ends up coming out well ahead here, with the GTX 980 beating the R9 290X by over 50%, and the GTX 680 some 25% ahead of the R9 285, both values well ahead of their average lead in real-world games. With virtually every aspect of this test still being under development – OS, drivers, and Star Swarm – we would advise not reading into this too much right now, but it will be interesting to see if this trend holds with the final release of DirectX 12.

Meanwhile it’s interesting to note that largely due to their poor DirectX 11 performance in this benchmark, AMD sees the greatest gains from DirectX 12 on a relative basis and comes close to seeing the greatest gains on an absolute basis as well. The GTX 980’s performance improves by 150% and 40.1fps when switching APIs; the R9 290X improves by 416% and 34.6fps. As for AMD’s Mantle, we’ll get back to that in a bit.

Star Swarm GPU Scaling - Extreme Quality (2 Cores)

Having already established that even 2 CPU cores is enough to keep Star Swarm fed on anything less than a GTX 980, the results are much the same here for our 2 core configuration. Other than the GTX 980 being CPU limited, the gains from enabling DirectX 12 are consistent with what we saw for the 4 core configuration. Which is to say that even a relatively weak CPU can benefit from DirectX 12, at least when paired with a strong GPU.

However the GTX 750 Ti result in particular also highlights the fact that until a powerful GPU comes into play, the benefits today from DirectX 12 aren’t nearly as great. Though the GTX 750 Ti does improve in performance by 26%, this is far cry from the 150% of the GTX 980, or even the gains for the GTX 680. While AMD is terminally CPU limited here, NVIDIA can get just enough out of DirectX 11 that a 2 core configuration can almost feed the GTX 750 Ti. Consequently in the NVIDIA case, a weak CPU paired with a weak GPU does not currently see the same benefits that we get elsewhere. However as DirectX 12 is meant to be forward looking – to be out before it’s too late – as GPU performance gains continue to outstrip CPU performance gains, the benefits even for low-end configurations will continue to increase.

CPU Scaling DirectX 12 vs. Mantle, Power Consumption
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • eanazag - Monday, February 9, 2015 - link

    Yes, and they need more millions of machines to attract developers. Find any app that exists on iOS, Android, and Windows and you'll see that the Windows version is usually lagging in support or features. Example: Star Wars Commander receives the same updates iOS does weeks later.

    They absolutely need developers to get on board. When they do, there should be a corresponding stream of cash flow in the Windows store.
  • Blessedman - Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - link

    This is 100% correct... Ask any Machead if they would prefer Max Excel or Windows Excel, it is a clear choice that the windows version of Excel is far away a better product. When they can develop for an audience, do you think they would rather show off their product on the niche market (anything other than windows)?
  • Blessedman - Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - link

    Errr This isn't 100% correct.
  • SparkySamza - Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - link

    yes but numbers on mac vs mac excel, numbers wins every time cause numbers is a boss.
  • Christopher1 - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    True, but Windows 8 has the Store and it is a PAID upgrade from Vista and 7 so..... that comparison sorts falls flat in the real world.
  • ymcpa - Saturday, February 7, 2015 - link

    It's free only for the first year and it's not free to OEMs and large enterprise customers, who use software assurance anyways. They want everyone to upgrade to create a large enough user base to attract developers again. This will benefit windows tablets and phones and might make them competitive against ios and android. The only thing really holding tablets and phones back is the app selection. On the other hand, Google's only reason for giving away free software and service s to establish a large user so that the can sell ads to target that user base. In that scenario, you are the product.
  • bitcrazed - Saturday, February 7, 2015 - link

    "It's free only for the first year .."
    No. Win 10 is a free upgrade if you upgrade within a year of initial release. There is no fee to be paid after the 1st year.

    Because we now live in a world where one doesn't need to replace one's machine every 3 years in order to be able to run the next OS version, Microsoft has learned that it needs to incentivize users to upgrade to newer OS' in order to prevent what happened with XP:

    Although Microsoft had released Vista, 7 and 8, until fairly recently, a considerable percentage of their userbase were still running XP. Microsoft had to extend the support lifespan of XP twice to avoid leaving XP users without an upgrade path, but still they refused to upgrade. Then Microsoft could do no more and even extended support expired resulting in a larger number of upgrades from XP.

    My offering Win10 as a free upgrade, Microsoft (and the entire industry) hopes to encourage users to upgrade from their current OS - XP, Vista, 7 or 8.x to the new OS sooner rather than later.
  • hwangeruk - Saturday, February 7, 2015 - link

    Eh? His "free for the first year" comment was correct, stop splitting hairs.
    Microsoft is not trying to prevent what happened with XP at all, that's just wrong.
    MS need apps for mobile, so wants a mass of users to get the tablet and phone space back.
    They also want to win some hearts and minds as Windows 8 had a mixed reception (even though after 8.1 updates it was fine, the damage was done. Like games with launch issues sometimes don't recover from negative early reviews)
    This has 0 to do with XP, and the XP extended support for only for paying customers not generally consumers. This move has 0 to do with XP, you are so wrong on that.
  • zodiacfml - Sunday, February 8, 2015 - link

    It is free. They put it for free for the first year of the OS so that people are forced to upgrade immediately and not any amount of time longer than that as it that defeats the purpose of putting a huge percentage of people into just one, current operating system.

    Besides, adopters would be will beta testers with little obligation from MS.
  • Wwhat - Sunday, February 8, 2015 - link

    But what does windows10 desktop to do with getting the tablet and phone space? And what do you mean with "get the tablet and phone space back", back? MS never had that market ever, nor is MS likely to get it.

    But yes, they are likely hoping to gain from 'an appstore' and 'cloud' and the always listening and handy for advertisers and security services alike voice-command thing.

    All of which exemplifies the reason to worry..

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now