Subject: Graphics Cards | November 17, 2016 - 08:54 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers
The fourth Radeon Software Crimson Edition graphics driver to be released this month, dated November 15th, was just published on their website. These have not been WHQL certified, like the previous ones, but that might actually be for the best. Rapid graphics driver releases, not throttled by Microsoft red tape, probably increases driver quality over this busy time of year. Also, I recently found out that WHQL certification is not a requirement for clean installed Windows 10 Anniversary Edition systems with Secure Boot Enabled. Both AMD and NVIDIA sign their hotfix drivers in a way that satisfies this check, without going through the entire WHQL process.
That aside, Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.11.4 rolls in additional fixes to Civilization VI. AMD isn’t saying what these fixes are, such as whether they are for general performance optimizations or stability issues that we haven’t heard about yet, but it’s out now so you should probably update if you are currently playing the game. The driver also fixes problems when attempting to watch web video and play a game simultaneously, which is actually something I do frequently. (Don’t knock listening to podcasts while playing StarCraft II Arcade until you try it...) Thirdly, 16.11.4 also fixes rendering issues in Titanfall 2 that occur while piloting a Titan.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 17, 2016 - 07:24 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Update, November 17th @ 7:21pm: NVIDIA has released 375.95 Hotfix to fix this issue. They are working on getting it WHQL certified for their website and GeForce Experience. You can download and install it directly, though.
Update, November 16th @ 12:56pm: NVIDIA has reproduced the low memory clocks issue, found its cause, and are working on a fix. They believe it only affects certain factory-overclocked cards. It is obviously a high priority, so a hotfix driver will likely be issued (unless they can get it WHQL certified quick enough that it would be pointless).
Original post below:
NVIDIA has just released a new graphics driver. GeForce Game Ready 375.86 provides optimized support for Ubisoft's Steep, which is an open-world game with wingsuiters, skiers, snowboarders, and paragliders. It also rolls in extra optimizations for previous game ready games that are receiving patches: Battlefield 1, Civilization VI, and Tom Clancy's The Division.
Before you install, though, there is one particularly annoying issue that is being reported on GeForce forums. NVIDIA is currently investigating reports that certain, but not all, Pascal GPUs are having their video memory stuck at 810 MHz, leading to (as you would expect) severe performance loss. It's possible that the affected users are all running a specific overclocking application or something. If you are in a bit of a rush and don't want to put up with potentially rolling back, then you might want to skip the version.
Thankfully, both discrete graphics vendors have been releasing multiple versions per month. The wait shouldn't be too long.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 9, 2016 - 09:52 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: graphics drivers, dishonored 2, crimson, amd
Just a handful of days into this busy month for video game companies, and AMD has released their third Radeon Software Crimson Edition drivers for November. 16.11.3, like 16.11.2 and 16.11.1, are not certified by WHQL. From a quality standpoint, Microsoft certification hasn't exactly made a difference over the last year or so. In fact, both graphics vendors rapidly releasing hotfixes between regular WHQL milestones seems to have a better user experience.
Unfortunately, this does mean that users of clean installed Windows 10 1607 with Secure Boot enabled will be missing out. Correction: The drivers are actually signed by Microsoft with the attestation process.
As for the driver itself, 16.11.3 rolls in AMD's optimizations for Dishonored 2. The game goes live in two days, so this should give users an opportunity to find a good time to install and reboot before launch. It also fixes an issue where Valve's Steam client and EA's Origin client would fail when an external GPU, using AMD's X-Connect Technology standard, is detached.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 7, 2016 - 06:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Update, November 7th @ 5:25pm EST:
First, NVIDIA gave Ryan their official statement, which I included below verbatem.
GeForce Experience collects data to improve the application experience; this includes crash and bug reports as well as system information needed to deliver the correct drivers and optimal settings. NVIDIA does not share any personally identifiable information collected by GeForce Experience outside the company. NVIDIA may share aggregate-level data with select partners, but does not share user-level data. The nature of the information collected has remained consistent since the introduction of GeForce Experience 1.0.The change with GeForce Experience 3.0 is that this error reporting and data collection is now being done in real-time.
They also pointed to their GeForce Experience FAQ.
It sounds like there's a general consensus, both from NVIDIA and even their harshest critics, that telemetry only affects GeForce Experience, and not their base driver. I still believe that there should be a more granular opt-out that still allows access to GeForce Experience, like web browsers and Visual Studio prompt with a checkbox during install. Still, if this concerns you, and, like Windows 10, it might not and that's okay, you can remove GeForce Experience.
Also, GamersNexus yet again did a very technical breakdown of the situation. I think they made an error, though, since they claimed to have recorded traffic "for about an hour", which may not have included the once-per-day reporting time from Windows Task Scheduler. (My image below suggests, at least for my system, monitor once per hour but report at 12:25pm and user login.) I reached out to them on Twitter for clarification, but it looks like they may have just captured GeForce Experience's typical traffic.
Update, November 7th @ 7:15pm EST: Heard back from GamersNexus. They did check at the Windows Task Scheduler time as well, and they claim that they didn't see anything unusual. They aren't finished with their research, though.
Original news, posted November 6th @ 4:25pm EST, below.
Over the last day, users have found NVIDIA Telemetry Monitor added to Windows Task Scheduler. We currently don't know what it is or exactly when it was added, but we do know its schedule. When the user logs in, it runs an application that monitors... something... once every hour while the computer is active. Then, once per day (at just after noon on my PC) and once on login, it runs an application that reports that data, which I assume means sends it to NVIDIA.
Before we begin, NVIDIA (or anyone) should absolutely not be collecting data from personal devices without clearly explaining the bounds and giving a clear option to disable it. Lots of applications, from browsers to software development tools, include crash and error reporting, but they usually and rightfully ask you to opt-in. Microsoft is receiving a lot of crap for this practice in Windows 10, even with their “Basic” option, and, while most of those points are nonsense, there is ground for some concern.
I've asked NVIDIA if they have a statement regarding what it is, what it collects, and what their policy will be for opt-in and opt-out. I haven't received a response yet, because I sent it less than an hour ago on a weekend, but we'll keep you updated.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 4, 2016 - 05:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers, crimson
AMD has released another hotfix driver, just a day after releasing 16.11.1. This version has a single listed change: “Improved Shader Cache storage limit”. I'm not sure why the company decided to release this update so abruptly, since I'm not aware of any critical issue that relies upon it, but there's certainly nothing wrong with rapidly releasing optional software. I'm guessing at least one new game has a performance issue with the previous maximum, though.
If this has been an issue for you, and you are able to install drivers that are unsigned, it's available.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 2, 2016 - 04:01 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
The release of NVIDIA's GeForce 375.57 graphics drivers wasn't the most smooth. It introduced a few bugs into the package, which was likely due to all of the games that were coming out at the time. One issue introduced artifacts in animated GIFs, which could introduce seconds worth of black blotches. This was supposed to be fixed in the next WHQL driver, but it slipped. Since the next WHQL driver is looking to be a couple of weeks out, NVIDIA released a hotfix.
The driver also fixes “occasional flicker on high refresh rate monitors”. I'm not sure how old this bug is. I've heard some people complain about it with recent drivers, but Allyn and I have noticed weird snowy flickers for several months now. (Allyn actually took slow motion video of one occurrence back in May.) I guess we'll see if this is the same issue.
You can pick up 375.76 Hotfix from NVIDIA's CustHelp.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 30, 2016 - 12:08 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: titanfall 2, graphics drivers, amd
If you are experiencing crashes in Titanfall 2, and you are using an AMD graphics card, then you will probably be interested in AMD's Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.3. According to its release notes, that is the only issue this hotfix driver addresses.
Also, being a hotfix driver, you might have issues with clean installs of Windows 10 Anniversary Update, because I'm not sure if it's signed by Microsoft. It might be, but that's obviously a fairly narrow subset of hardware and software that I cannot test on a single machine. If that's the case, though, then you can temporarily disable Secure Boot... or just wait until AMD releases a signed driver.
I should note that, while we're posting this a couple of days late, like our news about NVIDIA's driver, AMD was able to release this the day before Titanfall 2 launched. Our readers, at least I hope, found out about the update before now, rather than suffering through some crashes when a fix was already available. Sorry that I didn't get a post up sooner, though; AMD did their part.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 29, 2016 - 08:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Yesterday, which was a Friday, NVIDIA released updated graphics drivers for Titanfall 2, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, Skyrim Special Edition, Obduction, and Dishonored 2. While it kind-of missed Skyrim Special Edition by a day-and-a-bit, the GeForce 375.70 drivers seem stable enough in my testing, although a couple of issues that were introduced in 375.57 are still ongoing. I've been using them with a GeForce GTX 1080 (and a secondary GTX 670) for a little over a day, and I haven't yet seen an issue.
As for the known bugs, while neither of which affect me, they could be a bother to some. First, Folding@Home is allegedly reporting incorrect results, which NVIDIA is currently investigating. Second, and probably more severe, is that certain animated GIFs have quite severe artifacting. It's almost like, for the first handful of seconds, instead of seeing the frame difference over the first frame, you see it over a black frame. This can be worked around by disabling hardware acceleration (or using a different browser -- Firefox seems okay) until NVIDIA can release another driver. The good news is that it's already been fixed internally, they just couldn't ship it with 375.70.
Feel free to download 375.70 at NVIDIA's website (or GeForce Experience)... or wait for a later release if GIFV support in certain applications (like Google Chrome) or donating resources to Folding@Home are important to you. One of the “Game Ready” titles for this driver (Dishonored 2) won't be released until mid-November, though, so it might be a little while.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 22, 2016 - 06:49 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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).
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 8, 2016 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.