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NVIDIA has major driver overhead issues on older CPUs in DX12 games

Earlier this month, HardwareUnboxed reported some interesting findings about NVIDIA’s GPUs. According to HUB, NVIDIA’s GPUs have major driver overhead in CPU-intense games under the DirectX 12 API. And today, HUB tested more games in order to showcase these issues.

According to HardwareUnboxed, this driver overhead is mainly due to some optimizations that NVIDIA has done for its GPUs. These optimizations worked wonderfully in DX11 games, in which we’ve seen AMD’s driver falling behind. This is something we’ve criticized AMD for. However, the tides have turned with the arrival of DX12.

During DX12 CPU-intense games, NVIDIA’s driver overhead brings a negative performance impact. In fact, the NVIDIA RTX3080 can be slower than the AMD Radeon RX 5600XT when used in really old CPUs.

To showcase its findings, HUB used Watch Dogs Legion, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Horizon Zero Dawn, Death Stranding, Rainbow Six Siege, Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. In the games that were significantly stressing the CPU, the AMD Radeon RX 5600XT and 6800XT were noticeably faster than the NVIDIA RTX 3080.

What this basically means is that owners of really, really old CPUs should avoid NVIDIA’s GPUs when playing DX12 games. The situation changes, however, when playing DX11 games. In DX11 games, NVIDIA’s GPUs are noticeably faster than AMD’s GPUs.

Still, these are really interesting findings and it will be interesting to see whether NVIDIA will make any adjustments to its drivers (and architecture) in future GPUs!

Nvidia Driver Investigation [Part 2] Owners of Old CPUs Beware

John Papadopoulos

John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities. Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved - and still does - the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the "The Evolution of PC graphics cards." Contact: Email