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Following AMD's recent decision to provide more regular, consistent Catalyst Mobility driver support for mobile GPUs, NVIDIA has now focused attention on giving better support for its mobile GPUs.
In the past notebook users have had to depend on notebook OEMs to make available mobile graphics driver updates for NVIDIA GPUs residing in select models, of which the timeframes between each of these updates was most always significantly longer than the rate at which GPU makers can make driver updates available to the public.
This problem will soon be solved, it seems. NVIDIA is looking to unify its desktop and mobile drivers and will put things into action as of release 256, due to come out in a few months. This will mean updated GPU drivers will hit the web from NVIDIA themselves for both desktop and notebook users at the same time; albeit they will be in separate packages.
The only real letdown here is that it's been said notebooks with multi-vendor hybrid solutions won't be supported - ie. those which include integrated Intel graphics along with discrete NVIDIA GPUs; there's quite a lot of notebooks out there with this configuration.
In any case, it's better notebook GPU support for many and certainly a step in the right direction.
Earlier in the month we heard about another GTX 400 series card coming to market in the near future, nestling beneath the GTX 470 with pricing somewhere under the $300 mark (putting it squarely against the HD 5830).
The latest word is that NVIDIA is planning to unveil the "GTX 460" at Computex during the first week of June. The source has also been able to confirm a bit more on the specifications front.
While the card will be derived from the GF100 GPU, it will be trimmed down with a lower stream count and slimmer memory interface. It is said to have 384 cores, 32 ROPs, 48 TMUs and a 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface connected to 1GB of memory.
AMD has just rolled out a big refreshment in its professional "FirePro" series of graphics cards, introducing five new models into the series including an efficient little number that gives multi-monitor support (up to four monitors) in a half height, low profile solution.
The five new FirePro models include the FirePro V7800 (nestling directly beneath the top dog V8800 that was introduced earlier this month), V5800, V4800, V3800 and 2460 Multi-View. All models are based on AMD/ATI's latest architecture with all GPUs supporting DX11.
The aforementioned 2460 Multi-View card gives four mini DisplayPort outputs whilst being half-height in size, using passive cooling and drawing under 13W of power.
The folks at PC Perspective got hold of a V5800 and V3800 for a full going over today as well as a 2460 Multi-View for separate review here. Phoronix check out the V3800 and V5800 models today as well.
Not so long ago an ingenius fellow going by the name of GenL over at the NGOHQ forums came up with a working Hybrid PhysX mod for NVIDIA's GeForce drivers that gives the ability to enable hardware level PhysX support for NVIDIA GPUs even if one's primary display device is not NVIDIA made.
Several fine tuned versions of this mod have since come out to make the mod easier to implement and with better support. The latest has just been released dubbed NVIDIA GeForce driver 19x.xx Hybrid PhysX mod [x86/x64] v1.03 and here's a list of improvements :-
- added support for fixing a timebomb, introduced in 196.75 and 197.xx drivers (gravity reverse + overall slowdown after a few seconds of PhysX processing)
- mod will now attempt to patch PhysX System Software files (helps to eliminate desktop extension requirement on Windows 7)
- mod will now disable "nvsvc" service autostart (helps to fix problems with fake displays)
- improved patching process (no more need to reboot in Safe Mode or terminate any process)
- improved patching logic (mod will no more try to patch non-existent files)
- improved accuracy of some patterns to avoid unnecessary patching
You can download the mod and supporting GeForce drivers for it from this page. You'll also find in-depth details on how to install it and a decent sized FAQ posted there.
About a week ago we were informed that AMD had made available a preview driver of its next Catalyst release in the 10.4s. This was designed to work only with HD 5000 series cards and was of particular benefit to the mass of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 fans out there with optimized loading times between maps.
Now AMD has gotten back to us with a message letting us know a Catalyst 10.4a driver is now available for download and this one lets owners of earlier HD 4000, 3000 and even 2000 series cards get the same performance improvements under BF: Bad Company 2.
You can find the driver for your HD 4/3/2000 series card here.
If you're one of the lucky folks with a Fermi based card (or more if you went all out on the SLI front) in your hand, you might be interested to know that NVIDIA has made available a new WHQL approved driver for the GTX 400 series.
The new ForceWare 197.55 driver only works with these two DirectX 11 based cards and gives one major update in the form of up to 4-way SLI support.
Sure, one high-end GTX 480 from NVIDIA crammed in your gaming rig is nice, but three of them is even better. The gang at Hardware.info have tested 3-way SLI with NVIDIA GTX 480 video cards.
In the end the publication found that three of the cards in one machine makes for the fastest gaming platform around today. The downside is that the cards need nearly 1000W of power, so you had better have a really big PSU.
The rig scored 22487 3Dmarks in the test system, which was a bit slower than HD 5970 CrossFireX in that benchmark. However, the NVIDIA rig made up that ground in gaming tests it seems.
MSI has made the first step in giving GTX 400 series owners more flexibility in obtaining higher than stock clock rates with its latest Afterburner software (1.6.1 Beta 4). The installation of this software together with a GTX 480 gives the ability to start tinkering with the voltages.
Shane has confirmed that the software is not restricted to MSI-only branded cards either; you can see in his latest article here that he used a GIGABYTE branded GTX 480 to test with and it worked a treat.
GTX 470 owners don't get the ability just yet, but don't worry guys, we've been informed there's another Afterburner update coming out within the next week or two that will make it possible to do the same on your card(s).
Obviously you'll want to keep things in check and make sure you don't go burning up your precious piece of hardware, but Shane has been told that with the stock cooler it's good enough to handle a voltage increase from .937 to 1.1v, but don't take that for gospel and keep your eyes fixated on temps before fiddling around.
The folks at Nordic Hardware share a report from reknowned overclockers Kinc and Elmor this week in which they had hold of 4k worth of ASUS' suped up ARES video cards that have been hyped up for a while now and for good reason. But we're still yet to be assured of any form of mass production worldwide (possibly never to be).
With such a nice array of cards to tinker with, the occassion called for some liquid nitrogen loving and already there's been two world records broken under 3DMark Vantage in the Entry and Performance presets.
More specifically, with two of their four cards on hand in CrossFireX they managed to push them up to 1150MHz on the GPUs and 1300MHz on the 4GB of GDDR5 memory which then gave them the ability to obtain the WR scores of E93549 and P51651. The rest of the system specs were as follows :-
Intel Core i7 980X @ 5,8-5,9GHz (LN2)
ASUS Rampage III Extreme
Corsair Dominator GTX2 Triple channel
2 x Corsair TX950 950W
This link gives the pretty picture in clear detail; a look at the Futuremark Hall of Fame.
Considering the ease of getting WRs so soon after having the cards in hand, it's likely this won't be the ceiling and we might be seeing some even higher scores by the end of the coming weekend.
With the launch of Adobe CS5 today comes another announcement of some import. The gang over at MAINGEAR has announced a system called the Quantum SHIFT. This is a dual CPU (Intel Xeon) system with an NVIDIA Quadro GPU inside. The system will be built specifically for the needs of photography and videography professionals.
The Dual Xeons will give more than enough CPU horsepower while you can chose either a Quadro FX or a GTX 480 to handle the new CUDA accelerated Mercury Engine found in Premier Pro. The shift also uses a vertical design to keep these GPUs cool. The new MAINGEAR SHIFT certainly looks like an excellent entry into the high-end professional market.