NVIDIA Releases 364.91 Beta Drivers for Developers

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 10, 2016 - 09:04 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, vulkan, graphics drivers

This is not a main-line, WHQL driver. This is not even a mainstream beta driver. The beta GeForce 364.91 drivers (364.16 on Linux) are only available on the NVIDIA developer website, which, yes, is publicly accessible, but should probably not be installed unless you are intending to write software and every day counts. Also, some who have installed it claim that certain Vulkan demos stop working. I'm not sure whether that means the demo is out-of-date due to a rare conformance ambiguity, the driver has bugs, or the reports themselves are simply unreliable.

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That said, if you are a software developer, and you don't mind rolling back if things go awry, you can check out the new version at NVIDIA's website. It updates Vulkan to 1.0.8, which is just documentation bugs and conformance tweaks. These things happen over time. In fact, the initial Vulkan release was actually Vulkan 1.0.3, if I remember correctly.

The driver also addresses issues with Vulkan and NVIDIA Optimus technologies, which is interesting. Optimus controls which GPU acts as primary in a laptop, switching between the discrete NVIDIA one and the Intel integrated one, depending on load and power. Vulkan and DirectX 12, however, expose all GPUs to the system. I'm curious how NVIDIA knows whether to sleep one or the other, and what that would look like to software that enumerates all compatible devices. Would it omit listing one of the GPUs? Or would it allow the software to wake the system out of Optimus should it want more performance?

Anywho, the driver is available now, but you probably should wait for official releases. The interesting thing is this seems to mean that NVIDIA will continue to release non-public Vulkan drivers. Hmm.

Source: NVIDIA

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April 11, 2016 | 02:58 AM - Posted by Jann5s

Your post made me wonder on who should make the decision on which gpu to activate. Should it be the application, the OS or the user. If I had a dgpu in my laptop, I probably would prefer to be in control of this, I.e. have a hardware button.

April 11, 2016 | 11:03 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The OS should be in control with the user able to choose the GPU from an OS managed control panel. This one GPU but not the other integrated or discrete nonsense should have been fixed years ago. The OS should be able to utilize all the hardware plugged into the computer all of the time or the OS is not a real OS. If the integrated GPU does not have the power to do graphics along side the discrete GPU then the OS should make the SOC's/APU's integrated GPU available for non graphics gaming computations/physics/other while the discrete GPU manages the graphics and other compute also.

The OS should be able to support asymmetrical GPU Graphics/compute via the OS/Graphics APIs that come with the OS and GPU OEMs should be forced to follow the necessary API functionality that enables all GPU hardware to be available for use all of the time if that's what the user wants. The user should have the option to use one or the other or Both/more GPUs from whatever maker, and any OS that does not have the ability to utilize all of the compute/graphics hardware on the device all of the time is a fake OS!

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