As I have discussed with you in the past, NVIDIA is the only GPU maker that provides notebook users their graphics driver upgrades. Our first driver delivered CUDA to notebook users. The feedback we got from this was great we consistently heard two things:
1) They love getting timely drivers (especially gamers)
2) They want their drivers on the same schedule and feature set as their desktop counterparts
Last week NVIDIA launched its WHQLed Release 185 drivers for desktop AND notebook PCs with NVIDIA GPUs. While the first notebook driver release was all about CUDA and PhysX on a notebook, we are just as excited about this release because it provides notebook customers with the exact same features and performance optimizations as desktop customers just as we were asked to. PC gamers will be thrilled to hear that this driver offers all of the latest game optimizations and performance for both single GPU and SLI notebook PCs.
This driver also supports Windows 7. Many of you probably know that Microsoft just posted the release candidate version of Windows 7. That build together with NVIDIA’s R185 drivers provides a rock solid, fully featured Windows experience. I’ve been using this combination both at work and at home and I am really enjoying the speed and responsiveness that Windows 7 and NVIDIA GPUs offer, not to mention the increased battery life.
Windows 7 significantly increases the use of the GPU over Windows Vista by utilizing the GPU to accelerate 2D as well as 3D. GDI hardware acceleration, Direct2D, and DirectWrite are all new to Windows 7 and will bring more speed and more visually compelling applications to customers. Also new in Windows 7 is GPU accelerated H.264 and DIVX codecs in the box for high quality playback performance. This combined will battery life improvements will allow you more playback time for high definition movies.
But perhaps the most compelling new feature for GPU in Windows 7 is DirectX Compute. This new API from Microsoft allows developers of many types to harness the GPU for computing workloads in multimedia, scientific computing, and gaming. This allows for an entirely new level of performance on systems that ship with GPU’s. DirectX Compute runs great on the NVIDIA CUDA architecture, and NVIDIA has already demoed DirectX Compute on several occasions. DirectX Compute is the foundation that both NVIDIA and Microsoft will use to bring new consumer lifestyle applications to market at the time of launch. All in all, we are really excited about the possibilities that Windows 7 and Microsoft are bringing to the table and how the GPU is being used.
This driver also delivers improved performance in GPU computing applications by including version 2.2 of the CUDA toolkit and SDK. We have a great roster of applications that run on the NVIDIA CUDA architecture that consumers will love. Just ask Xavier about vReveal. You can download trial versions of these applications and many more cool NVIDIA PhysX gaming applications here (all for FREE!).
Like typical driver updates, this driver is an instant upgrade to your GPU performance. Examples of this performance jumps include:
o Up to 25% performance increase in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
o Up to 22% performance increase in Crysis: Warhead with antialiasing enabled
o Up to 11% performance increase in Fallout 3 with antialiasing enabled
o Up to 14% performance increase in Far Cry 2
o Up to 45% performance increase in Mirror’s Edge with antialiasing enabled
(Release 185 drivers vs. Release 179 drivers -results will vary depending on your GPU, system configuration, and game settings)
I encourage notebook users to upgrade to these new Release 185 drivers and you can find them here.