DX12 brings AMD up to par with NVIDIA in Ashes of the Singularity

Posted on Tuesday, Aug 18 2015 @ 16:27 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
The recently published alpha version of Stardock's Ashes of the Singularity is the first game to feature a DirectX 12 renderer and the benchmark results are causing quite a ruckus. The game uses the Nitrous Engine from Oxide Games, which is said to be specifically designed for the new generation of closer-to-metal APIs like DX12 and Vulkan.

PC Perspective benchmarked AMD's R9 390X and NVIDIA's GTX 980 cards in this pre-beta version of the game and found that NVIDIA's card do not seem to be getting a big performance boost from DirectX 12, in fact in some scenarios the performance is worse than DirectX 11. AMD on the other hand really shines in the benchmarks, enjoying massive performance gains that put the performance of its Radeon R9 390X above that of the GeForce GTX 980.

Here's a video overview but the PC Perspective article contains all the benchmark results.

It's a bit too early to draw conclusions about what's exactly going on but the data suggests that NVIDIA's DirectX 11 drivers were indeed miles ahead of those from AMD, whereas DirectX 12 delivers a more level playing field.

A second test can be found at ExtremeTech, they compared the AMD R9 Fury X with the GeForce GTX 980 Ti and discovered Fury X indeed breaks even or exceeds the performance of the GTX 980 Ti in a lot of tests.

NVIDIA senior PR manager Brian Burke issued a comment and claims Ashes of the Singluarity is not a good indicator of DX12 performance, mentioning the game is far from finished and still has bugs. Burke confidently states that when accurate DX12 metrics arrive, NVIDIA's outperformance will be the same as it was for DX12.
This title is in an early Alpha stage according to the creator. It’s hard to say what is going on with alpha software. It is still being finished and optimized. It still has bugs, such as the one that Oxide found where there is an issue on their side which negatively effects DX12 performance when MSAA is used. They are hoping to have a fix on their side shortly.

We think the game looks intriguing, but an alpha benchmark has limited usefulness. It will tell you how your system runs a series of preselected scenes from the alpha version of Ashes of Singularity. We do not believe it is a good indicator of overall DirectX 12 gaming performance.

We’ve worked closely with Microsoft for years on DirectX 12 and have powered every major DirectX 12 public demo they have shown. We have the upmost confidence in DX12, our DX12 drivers and our architecture’s ability to perform in DX12.

When accurate DX12 metrics arrive, the story will be the same as it was for DX11.
NVIDIA claims its DX12 performance is negatively impacted by a MSAA bug but in a blog post, Oxide Games claims such a bug in its code does not exist. The game developer writes Microsoft, NVIDIA, AMD and Intel all had access to the source code for over a year and claims the benchmark is fair to all graphics vendors.

Brad Wardell from Stardock said it would be helpful if NVIDIA quit shooting the messenger, but hinted a fix may be on the way as they've "offered to do the optimization for their DirectX 12 driver on the app side that is in line with what they had in their DirectX 11 driver. " He also mentions the MSAA bug NVIDIA is describing will happen on any DX12 game currently, stating it is not a bug in their code, and hinted it will not be an issue for long.

Meanwhile, AMD's Roy Taylor is pouring water on the oil fire on Twitter, reminding us the graphics scene is still the most intense rivalry in the PC market.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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