AMD 390X Hotfix Benchmark for DOOM – Some Improvement

By Published May 23, 2016 at 6:00 am
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AMD was first-to-market with Doom-ready drivers, but exhibited exceptionally poor performance with a few of its cards. The R9 390X was one of those, being outperformed massively (~40%) by the GTX 970, and nearly matched by the GTX 960 at 1080p. If it's not apparent by the price difference between the two, that's unacceptable; the hardware of the R9 390X should effortlessly outperform the GTX 960, a budget-class card, and it just wasn't happening. Shortly after the game launched and AMD posted its initial driver set (16.5.2), a hotfix (16.5.2.1) was released to resolve performance issues on the R9 390 series cards.

We had a moment to re-benchmark DOOM using the latest drivers between our GTX 1080 Hybrid experiment and current travel to Asia. The good news: AMD's R9 390X has improved performance substantially – about 26% in some tests – and seem to be doing better. Other cards were unaffected by this hot fix (though we did test), so don't expect a performance gain out of your 380X, Fury X, or similar non-390-series device.

Note: These charts now include the GTX 1080 and its overclocked performance.

Test Methodology

We tested using our updated 2015 Multi-GPU test bench, detailed in the table below. Our thanks tosupporting hardware vendors for supplying some of the test components.

The latest AMD drivers (16.5.2.1 with Doom support) were used for testing. NVidia's unreleased 368.146 drivers were used. Game settings were configured to "Ultra" with anti-aliasing set only to FXAA (no multi-tap). Resolution settings were configured to 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. We performed some additional low-end GPU testing with “Medium” settings at 1080p. Tests were conducted in the Foundry, level 2. The test path is in the video further above (pending upload).

Each scenario was tested for 30 seconds identically, then repeated three times for parity, per setting, per card – that's a maximum of 9 to 12 test passes per device.

FPS fluctuates heavily in the game. We chose one of the more intensive interior settings. Generally, card performance should be slightly higher than what's shown here – we didn't figure out a definitive “worst case,” but found a middle-of-the-road benchmark course in terms of intensiveness.

GN Test Bench 2015 Name Courtesy Of Cost
Video Card This is what we're testing! - -
CPU Intel i7-5930K CPU iBUYPOWER 
$580
Memory Corsair Dominator 32GB 3200MHz Corsair $210
Motherboard EVGA X99 Classified GamersNexus $365
Power Supply NZXT 1200W HALE90 V2 NZXT $300
SSD HyperX Savage SSD Kingston Tech. $130
Case Top Deck Tech Station GamersNexus $250
CPU Cooler NZXT Kraken X41 CLC NZXT $110

Average FPS, 1% low, and 0.1% low times are measured. We do not measure maximum or minimum FPS results as we consider these numbers to be pure outliers. Instead, we take an average of the lowest 1% of results (1% low) to show real-world, noticeable dips; we then take an average of the lowest 0.1% of results for severe spikes.

Graphics Cards Tested

Compiled DOOM Benchmark – R9 390X w/ Hotfix, 1080p / Ultra

 doom-hotfix-amd-1080

1% frametimes have improved noticeably alongside the AVG FPS jaunt afforded by AMD's hotfix. The AVG FPS gap against the GTX 970 has closed from ~30FPS to ~10FPS, providing a boon to the 390X's performance. We measured no change in 380X or Fury X performance, and thus have not listed them above. 

Compiled DOOM Benchmark – R9 390X w/ Hotfix, 1440p / Ultra

 doom-hotfix-amd-1440p

AVG FPS performance jumped from 51.33 to 62FPS at 1440p (+18.8%). The R9 390X now trails the GTX 970 by 4FPS (-6.25%), rather than -25%.

Compiled DOOM Benchmark – R9 390X w/ Hotfix, 4K / Ultra

doom-hotfix-amd-4k

4K performance gains were measurable, but not significant as a result of the heavy load placed on the system.

Conclusion

AMD's resolved some of its day-one issues, the 390X now outperforming the GTX 960 by much larger margins (as it should do) and reducing the gap vs. the 970 to ~12.6% at 1080p. That gap has thinned to ~6% at 1440p.

This test goes to show just how much the drivers are responsible for. Keep them up-to-date to avoid missing out on “free” performance.

We're posting this from the plane that will bring us closer to Taipei, so check back throughout the week from jet-lagged coverage from Taiwan, China, and elsewhere.

Editorial, Lead: Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke
Test Technician: Andie “Draguelian” Burke

Last modified on May 22, 2016 at 6:00 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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