NVIDIA GeForce Driver 337.50 Early Results are Impressive

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 11, 2014 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, geforce, dx11, driver, 337.50

When I spoke with NVIDIA after the announcement of DirectX 12 at GDC this past March, a lot of the discussion centered around a pending driver release that promised impressive performance advances with current DX11 hardware and DX11 games. 

What NVIDIA did want to focus on with us was the significant improvements that have been made on the efficiency and performance of DirectX 11.  When NVIDIA is questioned as to why they didn’t create their Mantle-like API if Microsoft was dragging its feet, they point to the vast improvements possible and made with existing APIs like DX11 and OpenGL. The idea is that rather than spend resources on creating a completely new API that needs to be integrated in a totally unique engine port (see Frostbite, CryEngine, etc.) NVIDIA has instead improved the performance, scaling, and predictability of DirectX 11.

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NVIDIA claims that these fixes are not game specific and will improve performance and efficiency for a lot of GeForce users. Even if that is the case, we will only really see these improvements surface in titles that have addressable CPU limits or very low end hardware, similar to how Mantle works today.

Lofty goals to be sure. This driver was released last week and I immediately wanted to test and verify many of these claims. However, a certain other graphics project kept me occupied most of the week and then a short jaunt to Dallas kept me from the task until yesterday. 

To be clear, I am planning to look at several more games and card configurations next week, but I thought it was worth sharing our first set of results. The test bed in use is the same as our standard GPU reviews.

Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge-E
Motherboard ASUS P9X79 Deluxe
Memory Corsair Dominator DDR3-1600 16GB
Hard Drive OCZ Agility 4 256GB SSD
Sound Card On-board
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB
Graphics Drivers NVIDIA: 335.23 WHQL, 337.50 Beta
Power Supply Corsair AX1200i
Operating System Windows 8 Pro x64

The most interesting claims from NVIDIA were spikes as high as 70%+ in Total War: Rome II, so I decided to start there. 

First up, let's take a look at the GTX 780 Ti SLI results, the flagship gaming card from NVIDIA.

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With this title, running at the Extreme preset, jumps from an average frame rate of 59 FPS to 88 FPS, an increase of 48%! Frame rate variance does increase a bit with the faster average frame rate but it stays within limits of smoothness, but barely.

Next up, the GeForce GTX 770 SLI results.

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Results here are even more impressive as the pair of GeForce GTX 770 cards running in SLI jump from 29.5 average FPS to 51 FPS, an increase of 72%!! Even better, this occurs without any kind of frame rate variance increase and in fact, the blue line of the 337.50 driver is actually performing better in that perspective.

All of these tests were run with the latest patch on Total War: Rome II and I did specifically ask NVIDIA if there were any differences in the SLI profiles between these two drivers for this game. I was told absolutely not - this just happens to be the poster child example of changes NVIDIA has made with this DX11 efficiency push.

Of course, not all games are going to see performance improvements like this, or even improvements that are measurable at all. Just as we have seen with other driver enhancements over the years, different hardware configurations, image quality settings and even scenes used to test each game will shift the deltas considerably. I can tell you already that based on some results I have (but am holding for my story next week) performance improvements in other games are ranging from <5% up to 35%+. While those aren't reaching the 72% level we saw in Total War: Rome II above, these kinds of experience changes with driver updates are impressive to see.

Even though we are likely looking at the "best case" for NVIDIA's 337.50 driver changes with the Rome II results here, clearly there is merit behind what the company is pushing. We'll have more results next week!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

A curious new driver from AMD

In case you missed the news, AMD is going to be making a big push with their Radeon brand from now until the end of the year starting with an incredibly strong game bundle that includes as many as three full games and 20% off the new Medal of Honor.  The second part of this campaign is a new driver specifically the 12.11 beta that will be posted to the public later this week.

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AMD is claiming to have made some substantial improvements on quite a few games including the very popular Battlefield 3 and the upcoming Medal of Honor (both of which use the same base engine).  But keep in mind that 15% is a LOT and this is the best case scenario in specific maps and you may not see benefits on others. 

There are going to be some debates about the validity of these performance boosts from AMD until we can get some more specific details on WHAT has changed.  Essentially the company line is that they have finally "caught up" to the GCN GPU architecture introduced with the Radeon HD 7970 in January of 2012.  We traditionally see this happen with new GPU architectures from both vendors but for it to have taken this long is troublesome and will surely cause some raised eyebrows from gamers and the competition. 

We decided to run through the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition with this new 12.11 beta driver to compare it to the 12.9 beta driver we had just completed testing on a few weeks ago.  AMD claims performance advantages for all the GCN cards including the 7700/7800/7900 cards though we only had time to test a single card for our initial article.  The results are on the following pages...

Continue reading our look at the new AMD 12.11 Beta Catalyst Driver!!

NVIDIA's new Linux drivers do well until you try the OpenGL optimizations

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2012 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: opengl, nvidia, linux, driver

Phoronix tested out the new beta Linux driver from NVIDIA on a GTX 680 and saw some nice performance improvements compared to the previous generation of driver.  They tested not just popular Linux games but also several Unigine benchmarks and for the most part when using just the basic driver they saw noticeable improvements and would recommend updating your system.  On the other hand when they enabled the threaded OpenGL optimization performance plummeted in every test, leading Phoronix to describe the current threaded OpenGL support as "a mess at this point.".  If you were hoping to take advantage of the new threading options, you'd best hold off for another driver revision.

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"With the NVIDIA 310.14 Beta driver introduced at the beginning of this week there are some OpenGL performance improvements in general plus an experimental threaded OpenGL implementation that can be easily enabled. In this article are benchmarks from the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 with this new Linux driver release."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Phoronix

Worried your GTX690 won't work on Win8? Don't be!

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 10, 2012 - 09:33 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, driver, win8

It is not just that the latest GeForce drivers will work on Windows 8, these are the third WHQL certified drivers so you can be pretty much guaranteed to have the same compatibility and control over your GPU after making the switch as you do with Win7 and previous versions.  The GeForce 306.97 drivers are good for Win7 and Win8 and offers the list of fixes and improvements which you can see below.  Owners of Doom 3: BFG Edition who want to play in NVIDIA 3D should definitely upgrade as NVIDIA specifically mentions the quality improvements you will enjoy upon upgrading.

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Adds support for the new GeForce GTX 650 Ti GPU.
Updates SLI profile for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier.
Updates 3D Vision profiles for the following PC games:

  • Check vs. Mate - Rated Excellent
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - Rated Good
  • Doom 3: BFG Edition - Rated Excellent
  • English Country Tune - Rated Good
  • F1 2012 - Rated Good
  • Iron Brigade - Rated Fair
  • Jagged Alliance: Crossfire - Rated Good
  • Orcs Must Die 2! - Rated Good
  • Planetside 2 - Rated Not Recommended
  • Prototype 2 - Rated Poor
  • Sleeping Dogs - Rated Good
  • Spec Ops: The Line - Rated Good
  • Tiny Troopers - Rated Fair
  • Torchlight 2 - Rated Good
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron - Rated Fair
Source: NVIDIA

AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta is Now Available

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 26, 2012 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: amd, catalyst, catalyst 12.9, beta, driver

You can grab the latest Catalyst Beta driver today, the 12.9 beta driver and Catalyst Application Profiles for CrossFire today.  For the beta driver you must pick your card and OS version as normal, from there scroll below the current WHQL 12.8 driver and you will see the beta.  Why would you want to grab the driver?  It could make your Panda bears perform better and for those on laptops, the introduction of AMD Enduro Technology will allow you to set separate power profiles for every installed application, determining if it uses hybrid graphics or only the APU.

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http://support.amd.com/us/Pages/AMDSupportHub.aspx

Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta: AMD Catalyst Mobility support for AMD Enduro Technology

AMD Catalyst Mobility now includes support for AMD Enduro Technology.
AMD Enduro Technology for Notebooks delivers:

  • Unbeatable battery life
  • GPU accelerated performance for gaming, video, and compute apps
  • A Seamless and automatic experience

New Enduro Technology features found in Catalyst 12.9 Beta:

  • Re-designed Catalyst Control Center user interface
  • View all profiled applications
  • View recently run applications
  • Profile applications based on power source
  • Expert mode control and customization
  • Performance centric AC
  • Battery centric DC

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Performance highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta (versus AMD Catalyst 12.8)

  • Up to 10% in Lost Planet 2 in single GPU configurations

AMD’s latest Catalyst Application Profile: AMD Catalyst 12.9 CAP1 (to be used with AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta)

Find the latest available AMD Catalyst CAP here : http://sites.amd.com/us/game/downloads/Pages/crossfirex-app-profiles.aspx

  • World of Warcraft - Mist of Pandaria (DX11, DX9): Fixes texture flickering observed when enabling high graphics settings with CrossFire enabled
  • World of Warcraft - Mist of Pandaria (DX9): Resolve corruption when enabling Anti-Aliasing through the Catalyst Control Center
  • World of Warcraft - (DX9): Resolves performance issues observed with the 64-bit variant of the client
  • Tribes Ascend: Improves CrossFire performance
  • F1 2012: Improves CrossFire performance, resolves texture flickering in reflections

Resolved issue highlights of the AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta driver

  • Tri and Quad CrossFire + Eyefinity configurations – Users will no longer see lower than expected performance in certain DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications
  • FireFox – corruption is no longer observed on CrossFire configurations
  • Enabling Overdrive settings no longer increases clocks in all power states
  • AMD Video Converter support is available in AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta Windows 7 and Windows Vista packages

Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta Linux Driver: New OS Support
This release of AMD Catalyst Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems

  • Ubuntu 12.10 early look support
  • RHEL 6.3 production support

Source: AMD

GeForce 302.82 Driver for Win8

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 27, 2012 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: win8, whql, nvidia, geforce, driver

If you are running Windows 8 and an NVIDIA graphics card on a desktop machine then you should head on over to NVIDIA to grab the WHQL certified GeForce 302.82 for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the pre-release OS.  If you are on a laptop then NVIDIA suggests you should continue to use the 302.80 drivers for the moment. 

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You will see a new NVIDIA Control Panel page that allows you to set up stereoscopic 3D for 3D Vision.  The drawbacks are few, the driver will request a reboot in order to finish the installation, which you should do whether you are asked or not, and there is an issue for users of the GT520 who enable FXAA via the NVIDIA control panel but other than those two addendum, NVIDIA posted no other known issues.  As it is a WHQL version, you can expect it to be stable and to be around for a bit as the release date of Win8 slowly approaches. 

Source: NVIDIA

AMD Catalyst 11.4 for Linux Released

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Chipsets | May 3, 2011 - 11:54 AM |
Tagged: ubuntu, rhel, Red Hat, opensuse, linux, driver, catalyst, ati, amd

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In a previous article we stated:

"Highlights of the Linux AMD Catalyst™ 11.4 release include: This release of AMD Catalyst™ Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems Ubuntu 11.04 support (early look) SLED/SLES 10 SP4 support (early look) RHEL 5.6 support (production)"

AMD introduced a new feature into Linux with Catalyst™ 11.4, PowerXpress.

  • PowerXpress: Will enable certain mainstream mobile chipsets to seemlessly switch from integrated graphics to the dedicated graphics. *note: This only applies to Intel Processors with on chip graphics and AMD dedicated graphics and must be switched on by invoking switchlibGL and switchlibglx and restarting the Xorg server.

If you are running RHEL 5.6 or SLED/SLES 10 SP4 and need the driver you can get it here.

If you are running Ubuntu 11.04, install the driver under the "Additional Drivers" program.

If you are running a BSD variant you must still use the Open-Source driver "Radeon" and "RadeonHD" as AMD has yet to release a BSD driver.

Be sure to check back to PCPer for my complete review of the 11.4 driver and PowerXpress.

Source: AMD

AMD Catalyst 11.4 for Windows released

Subject: General Tech | April 27, 2011 - 05:51 PM |
Tagged: driver, catalyst, amd

 

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Grab it from AMD Game

Highlights of the AMD Catalyst™ 11.4 Windows release include:

Enhancements to the AMD VISION Engine Control Center / AMD Catalyst Control Center

  • New task based Display Management controls
    • Simplifies the configuration of displays and display settings ·
  • New Eyefinity setup group
    • Setting up an Eyefinity group has never been easier
  • AMD Catalyst update notification (found within the Information Center)
    • This feature notifies users that new AMD Catalyst software packages are available

GPU Compute enhancements:
The OpenCL runtime (included in AMD Catalyst 11.4) includes performance enhancements supporting zero-copy on APUs and increased performance for PCIe transfers between a CPU and discrete GPU.

Performance highlights
The AMD Radeon HD 6900 Series and AMD Radeon HD 6800 Series of products will see the following performance gains:

  • Call of Duty Black Ops – gains of up to 15% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single GPU configurations
  • Battleforge – gains of up to 15% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations
  • Batman Arkham Asylum – gains of up to 20% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations
  • Aliens vs. Predator – gains of up to 8% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations
  • Civilization 5 – gains of up to 15% on single and multiple GPU configurations
  • Far Cry 2 – gains of up to 6% on single and multiple GPU configurations
  • Just Cause 2 – gains of up to 9% on single and multiple GPU configurations
  • Lost Planet 2 – gains of up to 10% on single and multiple GPU configurations

Resolved issue highlights

  • The GPU no longer shows high GPU usage after when running Firefox 4 with hardware acceleration enabled.
    Bioshock no longer displays random tearing and screen corruption with Vsync and MLAA enabled.
  • Water textures no longer flicker in Two Worlds II in Crossfire mode.
  • Bulletstorm lightshafts no longer appear broken when running on a HD 6970 series product.
  • Bulletstorm no longer displays random texture corruption when running in Crossfire mode.
  • FI 2010 no longer slows down intermittently when in Crossfire mode.
  • PowerDVD no longer crashes if Crossfire is enabled / disabled during playback of a BD title.
  • Running the Heaven benchmark no longer displays graphics corruption during DirectX 11 tests.

Highlights of the Linux AMD Catalyst™ 11.4 release include:

This release of AMD Catalyst™ Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems
Ubuntu 11.04 support (early look) SLED/SLES 10 SP4 support (early look) RHEL 5.6 support (production)

Source: AMD