NVIDIA: A Million Consumers a Month Can’t Be Wrong

Rene Haas is the General Manager of Notebooks at NVIDIA

It was a little over a year ago that NVIDIA became the first GPU manufacturer to provide a notebook GPU driver directly to end user.  It was a milestone moment for notebook users, solving a long standing problem that plagued notebook computers. Consumer demand for timely driver updates has outgrown the rate at which drivers were being supplied by the notebook manufacturers. Customers need new drivers in order to take full advantage of the latest visual computing applications. The move was applauded by notebook press around the world.

In fact, drivers can be so critical that with NVIDIA now providing quarterly notebook driver releases, it’s pretty much impossible for us to even consider recommending anything else for a gaming notebook ….” -Anandtech

Verde is available today for all types of Notebooks mainstream, gaming, thin & light, netbooks. With Dell commercial and Lenovo joining last year and the inclusion of Sony starting in April all major OEMs will be represented in our program. Driver updates are an easy thing to dismiss, but they should not be trivialized.  Today we have over 1 million customers a month downloading notebook drivers.  They are coming for new performance, new features and to gain support for new standards.

With the advent of Verde there were no longer notebooks waiting for a driver that would allow them to take advantage of new standards or operating systems.  A comparison of the driver before our Verde program was launched, v179.32, proves eye-opening. Through a steady flow of drivers we have introduced the following support to NVIDIA-based notebooks via Verde:

  • Windows 7 support
  • DirectCompute support
  • Open CL support
  • Support for Open GL 3.0, 3.1 and 3.1

That is an impressive list.  But it gets better.  Besides adding support for new industry standards and OSes, we use Verde to give our existing notebook GPU customers new features.  In the same time frame, we have enabled the following:

  • NVIDIA CUDA support for GPU computing, opening up a host of applications that use the GPU for processing
  • NVIDIA PhysX support for advanced in-game physics effects

A gamer should know that any multi-GPU configuration is only as good as its ability to run games on two GPUs, and that requires a profile for every game you play.  Through the Verde driver program, we have introduced over 300 SLI profiles to make sure games work on NVIDIA SLI machines.    Those profiles would not have been made available to a notebook user without Verde.

To give you an idea of the performance jumps we have given games with driver updates we took an average frame rate increase on a GeForce 9600M GT (a popular mid-level GPU) for the following games:  Devil May Cry 4, Fallout 3, H.A.W.X., Lost Planet: Colonies, Need for Speed Shift, Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, and World in Conflict.  The average increase was 30%.  What is significant about those titles?  In all cases, we bumped the frame rate up from unplayable to a playable rate of over 30 fps.

By taking that important first step of supporting our customers with drivers for notebook GPUs, NVIDIA was able provide our customers with constant performance boosts, new features and fix bugs along the way.  We now have a driver pulse of about once a month now, but we are not tied to a strict schedule.  We believe the right time to release a new driver is when it is needed.  If it is less than a month, great – more than a month, that’s ok too.

The NVIDIA Verde driver program offers new features, improved application compatibility, and performance optimizations direct from NVIDIA. The explosive growth in notebooks coupled with the rapid rate of innovation for GPUs makes driver updates a critical issue for all notebook users.