Exploring Nvidia Surround & 120fps - Part 1 - Metal Gear Solid Phantom Pain

Article Type: 
Teaser Icon: 

Hey guys & gals, it's Peanut here and I'm back!

Today I want to start a two-part series on benchmarks and impression for the hardware I've been running the past few months - triple Acer XB270HU panels with dual GTX980 cards in SLI. Over this two part series, I will be looking at some newer games that have recently come out. For those of you thinking about upgrading to 1440p, 120hz, or surround (or all of them!) you might be interested in some of some of the info coming at you!

As some of you may know, back in July I upgraded to the Acer XB270HU which is a 1440p / 144hz IPS panel. Now I didn't just pick up one of these bad boys, but I upgraded to THREE in Nvidia surround. The super awesome peeps over at EVGA also sent the WSGF a GTX980. I added this to another GTX980, so I was able to run SLI to power such greedy and powerful monitors. Muwahah! Well, before I jump into the hard specs, I want to briefly give my official but not really official opinion after using these panels the last few months.

I'd like to call this section:

Peanut's opinion after using the Acer XB270HU in surround @120hz after 2months section

Firstly, let me say that I was lucky enough to not have any dead pixels on ANY of the three panels. Whew! I saw reviews on several websites that mentioned dead pixels and backlight bleed, but I suppose the hardware gods smiled down upon me and I have not had any of these issues.

This spring/summer was a pretty good year for blockbuster hits - games like Batman (technical issues aside), Witcher 3, Metal Gear PP, and the up and coming Fallout 4 all seem to be triple AAA titles that will push hardware to it's limits. At least these games will give PC gamers the visual eye candy we so crave. For my personal gaming habits, I'm about 60+ hours into the Witcher 3 and have barely scratched the surface. I took a break and started picking up Metal Gear PP, which I'm about 35% though. What is it with long, open world games this year?

I wanted to include Batman in this short analysis, but with the technical issues surrounding the release of the PC version I'm afraid that wouldn't be fair.

Witcher 3 does have some SLI / surround optimization issues that sill plague it (as of 355.82), but overall it delivers a solid Surround experience. I can run the game at high settings at 7860x1440 at a solid 30fps. Yeah 30 frames per second. Now before you say, "hey.. that's actually not great" keep in mind the amount of pixel I'm trying to push. I will say that Witcher 3 does really look beautiful no matter what framerate you decide to play at:

witcher 3

As for Phantom Pain, the Fox engine is much more heavily optimized. Running at the same resolutions with all settings at "High" I get around ~70fps steady. This makes for a really beautiful experience in an open world game like this. Even though some of the scenery is barren desert, you still feel the sun bearing down on Snake as if you were really there lying prone.

The Phantom Pain

Now, lets actually get into some hard numbers shall we?

The Metal Gear Solid Phantom Pain benchmark

Note: Since PP doesn't have an ingame preset for graphical settings, I selected my own based on reasonable assumptions about performance. My presets are as follows:

Pic Pic Pic
Low Med High
    Min Avg Max
1080p (High) 61 89 113
1440p (High) 64 84 96
1440p Surround (Low) 55 74 93
1440p Surround (Med) 56 68 87
1440p Surround (High) 40 64 84





As you can see, The jumps from Low > Med > High in surround are very close. Only losing 4-6 fps on average. This is excellent SLI and Surround performance! You might think that only getting 70+ fps on a 144hz monitor is a waste, but every little thing beyond 60 just adds that tiny, buttery smooth layer on top of already beautiful visuals. Couple that with Nvidia GSYNC technology and you've got yourself an all-around immersive experience. What I found interesting was that the much smaller resolutions of 1080p and 1440p only averaged 10 to 15 fps higher than their Surround counterparts. My conclusion is that the Nvidia driver support and optimizations for this game are VERY well done and allow for full use of both cards in SLI.

In conclusion, you can see that even the most heavily optimized games still cannot push 1440 x 3 @ 144fps yet. This is a good thing however, as it will give us an opportunity to see how Nvidia grows in the coming year with their new generation cards. Stick around for part 2 of this write-up where I'll be taking an in-depth look at Witcher 3!