nVidia is making somewhat of a song and dance about the latest ForceWare driver release. We figured we would give a shout out and get our groove on (Editor Note: Grooving and benchmarking drivers - that's a new one...) with them to see just what is special about Release 80 - 81.84 BETA to be exact. With the release of ATI's Radeon X1800XT just coming out, opinions all over the world are mixed and there is no doubt that nVidia wanted to steal some of the spotlight from ATI by releasing a new driver with some nice features on the same day ATI released their next-generation series of graphics cards.
After benchmarking drivers for a while now I can say without a doubt that most people love to know when they can get extra performance for no cost. With advancements in games happening so fast, it seems that new graphics cards are becoming out dated after every major game release. This makes it important to know when a new VGA driver is released that offers big claims of performance increases, just like this one.
While the 81.84 aren't an "official release" driver from nVidia (they're available for download on the nZone website in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors), this hasn't stopped people wanting to know what type of performance increase from the ForceWare 70 series is going to be and rightfully so.
This is exactly what we are going to be checking out in this article. Let's not delay and get straight into it but first take a read of the summary release notes from nVidia so we know where we stand.
Release notes from nVidia
This new Release 80 one provides a glimpse into some of the new features and performance upgrades for our customers with the new drivers, including:
- BETA driver to support the availability of the game Black and White 2
- Mixed Vendor support for NVIDIA SLI
- New PureVideo High Definition De-Interlacing support
- Performance optimizations when using dual-core CPUs
- HDTV control panel usability improvements
Known Issues in this beta version of 81.84
- GeForce 7800 GTX/GT - Application crash with Half-Life 2 Lost Coast. This game functions properly with 78.05 drivers.
- GeForce 7800 GTX / GeForce 6800 Ultra / GeForce 6600 - Far Cry with patch 1.33 does not work with HDR. This is also an issue on 77.77, 78.01, 78.03, and 78.05 drivers, but does not occur with 77.72.
- GeForce 7800 GTX SLI - Opening the inventory screen in Everquest 2 causes SLI performance to drop to single card level.
- GeForce 7 Series / 6 Series, SLI : The control panel may prompt for restart when switching to SLI mode from DualView mode after changing the primary display. It is not recommended to use DualView mode with SLI GPUs at this time.
- GeForce 7 Series / 6 Series, SLI: Enabling SLI with a monitor connected to the second GPU causes the display to go black. It is recommended that you use SLI with your monitor connected to your GPU closest to the chipset in this driver (GPU1).
- GeForce 7 Series / 6 Series, SLI: Switching from SLI to DualView mode or DualView mode to SLI may cause the display to lose sync. It is not recommended to use DualView mode with SLI GPUs at this time.
- GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI, Windows XP - Intermittent application failures when using nForce4 SLI/SLI X16 motherboards.
* eVGA e-GeForce 7800 GTX *
You can see the full release notes from nVidia by downloading their PDF, which is located here.