Do drivers cripple performance?
In a thread posted on our forums and sourced at ByteMeDev.com, RagingCain investigated the effect of Nvidia's driver releases on the performance as measured with 3DMark Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme. In total 18 drivers were tested with the GeForce GTX 780 Ti in both single GPU and SLI configuration.
In the conclusive lines RagingCain states: "The transitioning into 35x.xx family has caused a certain amount of performance penalty to some Kepler users, for example a loss of 4.05% in GPU score in Fire Strike, and 3.88% Fire Strike Extreme. A loss though should be read in context. The loss in performance since at least driver 347.25. I don't think there is a huge conspiracy to "withhold" performance as people speculate, but there is enough data to merit a review by nVidia. I don't expect major performance gains any more, now that we are EOL, but we shouldn't be going down in performance in a benchmark that even pre-dates this video card. The best driver currently for Kepler, in terms of 3DMark performance I have tested thus far is 347.25. If you must use a 35x.xx driver, I highly recommend the 350.12 or the 352.86. I have updated the charts and added the actual numbers."