On Second Thought... Maybe Wait on 375.57 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 22, 2016 - 06:49 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers

Before it was released, employees of NVIDIA were claiming that it was difficult to get their drivers through Microsoft's WHQL certification. It is a busy time of year, with the holiday gaming and hardware rush in full swing, so there was likely a backlog until Microsoft could return the signed graphics driver. It also seems like GeForce 375.57 drivers could have used a little more time in NVIDIA's QA department.

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At the GeForce Forums, users are complaining about a variety of issues. Ironically, there seems to be a bunch of them claiming that Battlefield 1 is crashing and otherwise being buggy. I haven't installed the game yet, so I cannot contribute my own experiences to it, one way or the other. I have seen some issues myself, though. For instance, I can confirm that tiles in the Windows 10 Start Menu lock up the entire panel if you attempt to move them. NVIDIA acknowledges a handful of issues with Windows 10 on their forums, and they plan a hotfix driver soon (which I'm guessing cannot be applied on PCs running Anniversary Edition clean installs that have secure boot enabled, because of Microsoft's kernel mode driver changes -- thankfully, I'm guessing that applies to very few people).

One issue that seems localized to me, though, is StarCraft II. Since I installed the driver (and granted I installed several things that night, like the CUDA SDK) it fails to launch about three-quarters of the time. Could be unrelated, but it should give you an idea about how broad the issues seem to be. Other users are complaining about GIFV corruption, for instance.

Best to roll back and wait for the next WHQL driver (unless hotfix users give glowing praise).

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 373.06 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 8, 2016 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce

On Thursday, NVIDIA released their latest graphics drivers to align with Gears of War 4, Mafia 3, and Shadow Warrior 2. The drivers were published before each of these games launched, which allows gamers to optimize their PCs ahead of time. Graphics vendors work with many big-budget studios during their development cycles, and any tweaks that they found over the months and years will be targeted to this release, as usual.

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Beyond tweaking for these games, NVIDIA has also announced a couple of fixes. If you were experiencing issues in Overwatch, then these new drivers fix how decals are drawn. The major fix claims to reduce inconsistent performance in multiple VR titles, which is very useful for these applications.

You can get these drivers from their website, or just install them from GeForce Experience.

Source: NVIDIA

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.1

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 5, 2016 - 08:37 PM |
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd

Earlier today, AMD has released their Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.1 drivers. These continue AMD's trend of releasing drivers alongside major titles, which, this time, are Mafia III (October 7th) and Gears of War 4 (October 11th). Both of these titles are multiple days out, apart from a handful of insiders with advanced copies, which makes it nice for gamers by letting them optimize their machine ahead of time, on their own schedule, before launch.

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The driver also includes a handful of interesting fixes. First, a handful of games, such as Overwatch, Battlefield 1, and Paragon, should no longer flicker when set to CrossFire mode. Also, performance issues in The Crew should be fixed with this release.

You can download AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.1 from their website.

Source: AMD

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 372.90 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 21, 2016 - 05:54 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers

With Forza Horizon 3 coming out for Ultimate Edition SKU users in a little over a day, NVIDIA has released their new Game Ready drivers. GeForce 372.90 drivers roll in all of NVIDIA's fixes for the game that have been discovered during its development.

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Thankfully, unlike the slippage that I've witnessed from them recently in this regard, the release notes for 372.90 are quite verbose (PDF). For instance, and this probably affects a few of our readers, NVIDIA has finally fixed the issue with HTC Vive over DisplayPort. Their description sounds like it wasn't failing to connect, as users believed, but rather it was just failing to light up the display. Of course, from a user's standpoint, a black screen is a black screen, but it's interesting to see what honest admissions of what exactly any given error was.

So, TL;DR: HTC Vive users should be able to use it over DisplayPort with Pascal again.

Also, they announced that the driver contains security updates. They don't elaborate on what specifically was fixed, especially since it will take a while for users to update, but it sounds like NVIDIA was in bug-fixing mode with this driver, which I appreciate.

You can get GeForce 372.90 from GeForce Experience and their website.

Source: NVIDIA

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.9.2

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 21, 2016 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, graphics drivers, crimson

Continuing with AMD's attempts, especially since the start of the Crimson Edition line, to release a driver alongside big game releases, the graphics vendor has published Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.9.2. This one aligns with the Ultimate Edition SKU of Forza Horizon 3 from Microsoft Studios, which unlocks in a little over a day. Standard and Deluxe Edition users will need to wait until Tuesday, the 27th. As always, it rolls in all of the tweaks and fixes that AMD has found prior to the game's general release.

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Also, AMD has fixed several issues, according to their pleasantly verbose release notes. Crimson Edition 16.9.2 should resolve crashes that occur in Multi-GPU mode with Ashes of the Singularity in DirectX 12. It should also fix things like mouse pointer corruption on RX 400 series graphics.

You can pick it up from AMD's website, for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10, both 32- and 64-bit versions.

Source: AMD

NVIDIA Releases 370.28 Drivers for Linux

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 9, 2016 - 03:59 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, linux

Unfortunately, I don't tend to notice when Linux drivers get released; it's something I want to report more frequently on. Luckily, this time, I heard about NVIDIA's 370.28 graphics drivers while they were still fresh. This one opens up overclocking (and underclocking) for GeForce 10-series GPUs, although NVIDIA (of course) mentions that this is “at the user's own risk”. It also fixes a bunch of Vulkan bugs.

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Many of these fixes were in the previous, but beta-class drivers, 370.23. It, like 370.28, also includes experimental support for PRIME Synchronization. PRIME handles choosing which GPU drives a given display, which may be different from the GPU that is rendering that image. I'm not too familiar with the system, and I've heard some jokes from the Linux community over the last couple of years about its almost vaporware-like status, but I don't have any personal experience with it.

370.28 is available for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Linux on their website.

Source: NVIDIA

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.8.1

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 10, 2016 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers

Alongside the release of the Radeon RX 460 and RX 470 graphics cards, AMD has released the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.8.1 drivers. Beyond adding support for these new products, it also adds a Crossfire profile for F1 2016 and fixes a few issues, like Firefox and Overwatch crashing under certain circumstances. It also allows users of the RX 480 to overclock their memory higher than they previously could.

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AMD is continuing their trend of steadily releasing graphics drivers, and rapidly fixing important issues as they arise. Also, they have been verbose in their release notes, outlining fixes and known problems as they occur. Users can often track the bugs that affect them as they are added to the Known Issues, then graduated to Fixed Issues. While this often goes unrecognized, it's frustrating as a user to experience a bug and not know whether the company even knows about it, or they are just refusing to acknowledge it.

Useful release notes, like AMD has been publishing, are very helpful in that regard.

Source: AMD

NVIDIA Release 368.95 Hotfix Driver for DPC Latency

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 22, 2016 - 05:51 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, graphics drivers

Turns out the Pascal-based GPUs suffered from DPC latency issues, and there's been an ongoing discussion about it for a little over a month. This is not an area that I know a lot about, but it's a system that schedules workloads by priority, which provides regular windows of time for sound and video devices to update. It can be stalled by long-running driver code, though, which could manifest as stutter, audio hitches, and other performance issues. With a 10-series GeForce device installed, users have reported that this latency increases about 10-20x, from ~20us to ~300-400us. This can increase to 1000us or more under load. (8333us is ~1 whole frame at 120FPS.)

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NVIDIA has acknowledged the issue and, just yesterday, released an optional hotfix. Upon installing the driver, while it could just be psychosomatic, the system felt a lot more responsive. I ran LatencyMon (DPCLat isn't compatible with Windows 8.x or Windows 10) before and after, and the latency measurement did drop significantly. It was consistently the largest source of latency, spiking in the thousands of microseconds, before the update. After the update, it was hidden by other drivers for the first night, although today it seems to have a few spikes again. That said, Microsoft's networking driver is also spiking in the ~200-300us range, so a good portion of it might be the sad state of my current OS install. I've been meaning to do a good system wipe for a while...

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Measurement taken after the hotfix, while running Spotify.
That said, my computer's a mess right now.

That said, some of the post-hotfix driver spikes are reaching ~570us (mostly when I play music on Spotify through my Blue Yeti Pro). Also, Photoshop CC 2015 started complaining about graphics acceleration issues after installing the hotfix, so only install it if you're experiencing problems. About the latency, if it's not just my machine, NVIDIA might still have some work to do.

It does feel a lot better, though.

Source: NVIDIA

AMD Radeon Crimson 16.7.1 Software Released for RX 480 Power Issue

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 7, 2016 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: rx480, rx 480, Radeon RX 480, radeon, power draw, PCIe power, graphics drivers, driver, Crimson Edition 16.7.1, amd

As promised, AMD has released an updated driver for the RX 480 graphics card, and the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 promises a fix for the power consumption concerns we have been covering in-depth.

Note: We have published our full analysis of the new 16.7.1 driver, available here.

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AMD lists these highlights for the new Crimson Edition 16.7.1 software:

"The Radeon RX 480’s power distribution has been improved for AMD reference boards, lowering the current drawn from the PCIe bus.

A new 'compatibility mode' UI toggle has been made available in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This option is designed to reduce total power with minimal performance impact if end users experience any further issues.  This toggle is 'off' by default.

Performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%. These optimizations are designed to improve the performance of the Radeon RX 480, and should substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the 'compatibility' toggle."

You can go directly to AMD's page for this updated driver from this direct link: http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/desktop?os=Windows%2010%20-%2064

Source: AMD

AMD Seems to Be Stepping Up RX 480 Support on Linux

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 6, 2016 - 09:37 PM |
Tagged: amd, linux, graphics drivers, rx 480, Polaris

Linux support from AMD seems to be improving, as it has been on Windows. We'll be combining two separate, tiny stories into one, so bear with us. The first is from Fudzilla, and it states that AMD has AMDGPU-PRO 16.30 drivers for the RX 480 out on day one. It's nice to see that their Radeon driver initiative applies to Linux, too.

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That brings us to the second story, this one from Phoronix. One Windows, the Crimson 16.7.1 drivers will include a fix for the RX 480 power issues (which we will obviously test of course). Michael Larabel was apparently talking with AMD's Linux team, and it seems likely that this update will roll into the Linux driver as well. They "are still investigating", of course, but it is apparently on their radar.

Source: Phoronix