The 2018 GPU Benchmark Suite & the Test

Another year marks another update to our GPU benchmark suite. This time, however, is more in line with a maintenance update than it is a complete overhaul. Although we've done some extended compute and deep learning benchmarking in the past year, and even some HDR gaming impressions, our compute and synthetic lineup remains largely the same. But before getting into the details, let's start with the bulk of benchmarking, and the biggest reason for these cards anyhow: games.

Joining the 2018 game list is Far Cry 5, Wolfenstein II, Final Fantasy XV and Middle-earth: Shadow of War. We are also bringing in F1 2018 and Total War: Warhammer II. Returning from last year is Battlefield 1, Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, and Grand Theft Auto V. All-in-all, these games span multiple genres, differing graphics workloads, and contemporary APIs, with a nod towards modern and relatively intensive games.

AnandTech GPU Bench 2018 Game List
Game Genre Release Date API(s)
Battlefield 1 FPS Oct. 2016 DX11
(DX12)
Far Cry 5 FPS Mar. 2018 DX11
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation RTS Mar. 2016 DX12
(DX11, Vulkan)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus FPS Oct. 2017 Vulkan
Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition JRPG Mar. 2018 DX11
Grand Theft Auto V Action/Open world Apr. 2015 DX11
Middle-earth: Shadow of War Action/RPG Sep. 2017 DX11
F1 2018 Racing Aug. 2018 DX11
Total War: Warhammer II RTS Sep. 2017 DX11
(DX12)

That said, Ashes as a DX12 trailblazer may not be as hot and fresh as it once was, especially considering that the pace of DX12 and Vulkan adoption in new games has waned. The circumstances are worth an investigation on their own, but the learning curve required in modern low-level API and the subsequent return may not be convincing right now. As a more general remark, most developers and publishers tend not to advertise or document DX12 support as much as they used to, nor is it clearly labelled in game specifications as many times DX11 is the unmentioned default.

Particularly for NVIDIA and GeForce RTX, pushing DXR and raytracing means pushing DX12, of which DXR is a component. The API has a backstop in the form of Xbox consoles and Windows 10, and if multi-GPU is to make a comeback, whether that's via compatible workloads (VR), flexible usage (ray tracing workload topologies), or just the plain old inevitability of Moore's Law. So this is less likely to be the slow end of DX12.

In terms of data collection, measurements were gathered either using built-in benchmark tools or with AMD's open-source Open Capture and Analytics Tool (OCAT), which is itself powered by Intel's PresentMon. 99th percentiles were obtained or calculated in a similar fashion, as OCAT natively obtains 99th percentiles. In general, we prefer 99th percentiles over minimums, as they more accurately represent the gaming experience and filter out any artificial outliers.

We've also swapped out Blenchmark, which seems to have been abandoned in terms of updates, in favor of a BMW render from the Blender Institute Cycles Benchmark, and a more recent one from a Cycles benchmark developer on Blenderartists.org. There were concerns with Blenchmark's small tile size, which is not very applicable to GPUs, and in terms of usability we also ran into some GPU detection errors which were linked to inaccurate Blenchmark Python code.

Otherwise, we are also keeping an eye on a few trends and upcoming developments:

  • MLPerf machine learning benchmark suite
  • Blender Benchmark
  • Futuremark's 3DMark DirectX Raytracing benchmark
  • DXR and Vulkan raytracing extension support in games

Another point is that we do not have a permanent HDR monitor for our testbed, which would be necessary to incorporate HDR game testing in the near future; 5 games in our list actually support HDR. And as we look at technologies that enhance or alter image quality (e.g. HDR, Turing's DLSS), we will want to find a better way of comparing differences. This is particularly tricky with HDR as screenshots are inapplicable and even taking accurate photographs will most likely be viewed on an SDR screen. With DLSS, there is a built-in reference quality based on 64x supersampling, which in deep learning terms is the 'ground truth'; an intuitive solution would be to use a neural network based method of analyzing quality differences, but that is likely beyond our scope.

The following tech demos and test applications were provided via NVIDIA:

  • Star Wars 'Reflections' Demo (includes real time ray tracing and DLSS support)
  • Final Fantasy XV Official Benchmark (includes DLSS support)
  • Asteroids Demo (features mesh shading and variable LOD)
  • Epic Infiltrator Demo (features DLSS)

The Testbed

Because NVIDIA is not productizing any other reference-quality GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and 2080 card besides the Founders Editions, which are non-reference by specifications, we've gone ahead and emulated the true reference specifications with a 90MHz downclock and lowering the TDP by roughly 10W. This is to keep comparisons standardized and apples-to-apples, as we always look at reference-to-reference results.

In a classic case of Murphy's Law, our usual PSU started malfunctioning around the time of the review, but given the time constraints we couldn't do a 1:1 replacement in time. As it is a digital PSU, we were beginning to use it for PCIe power readings to augment system measurements, but for now we will have to stick power draw at the wall. For the time being, we've swapped it out with another high-quality and high-wattage PSU.

CPU: Intel Core i7-7820X @ 4.3GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte X299 AORUS Gaming 7 (F9g)
Power Supply: Corsair AX860i
EVGA 1000 G3
Hard Disk: OCZ Toshiba RD400 (1TB)
Memory: G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3200 4 x 8GB (16-18-18-38)
Case: NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition
Monitor: LG 27UD68P-B
Video Cards: AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (Air Cooled)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
Video Drivers: NVIDIA Release 411.51 Press
AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.9.1
OS: Windows 10 Pro (April 2018 Update)
Spectre/Meltdown Mitigations Yes, both
Meet The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti & RTX 2080 Founders Editions Cards Battlefield 1
POST A COMMENT

338 Comments

View All Comments

  • ESR323 - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - link

    I agree with the conclusion that these cards aren't a good buy for 1080ti owners. My 1080ti overclocks very nicely and I'll be happy to stick with it until the next generation in 7 nm. By then we might have a decent selection of games that make use of ray tracing and the performance increase will be more appealing. Reply
  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - link

    Yah i agree, especially its only a 20-25fps increase on average. While many might thing thats great, considering the price increase over 1080TI and the fact many 1080TI can overclock to close that gap even more. The features don't justify the cost.

    However, it could be lots of performance could be unlocked via driver updates..we really don't know how tensor cores could increase performance till the games get updated to use it. Also, while super expensive option...how does the new SLI performance increase performance? Lets see a compare from 1080TI sli to newer sli 2080TI..maybe its easier to put into games? So many what-ifs with this product.

    I feel this product should of been delayed till more games/software already had feature sets available to see.
    Reply
  • Aybi - Thursday, September 20, 2018 - link

    There wont be driver&optimization support for 1000 series. They will focus on 2000 series and with that the gap going to increase a lot.

    If you remember 980ti and 1080ti it was the same case when 1080ti announced and then you know what happened.
    Reply
  • Vayra - Friday, September 21, 2018 - link

    Actually I don't and there is also no data to back up what you're saying. The 980ti still competes with the 1070 as it did at Pascal launch.

    Don't spread BS
    Reply
  • Matthmaroo - Sunday, September 23, 2018 - link

    Dude that’s not true at all

    Nvidia will fully support the 10 series for the next 5 -10 years

    They all use the same CUDA cores

    Don’t just make crap up to justify your purchase
    Reply
  • SanX - Thursday, September 20, 2018 - link

    What the useless job the reviewer is doing comparing only to latest generstion cards? Add at least 980Ti and 780Ti Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, September 20, 2018 - link

    Ever heard of their benchmark database? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, September 20, 2018 - link

    You'll be glad to hear then that we'll be backfilling cards.

    There was a very limited amount of time ahead of this review, and we thought it to be more important to focus on things like clocking the cards at their actual reference clocks (rather than NVIDIA's factory overclocks).
    Reply
  • dad_at - Sunday, September 23, 2018 - link

    Many thanks for that, I think it is useful job, people are still using maxwell(or even older) generation GPU in 2018. And when we could expect maxwell (980/980ti) results to appear in GPU 2018 bench? Could you also please add Geforce GTX Titan X (maxwell) to GPU 2018? Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Sunday, September 23, 2018 - link

    Hopefully you back-fill a substantial amount, the GPU bench this year has been a bit lacking... Especially in regards to mid-range and older parts.

    Whole point of it is so that you can see how the latest and greatest compare it to your old and crusty.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now