Introduction and Release Notes
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 nVidiaFrom 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.
Benchmarks - Test System Setup and 3DMark03Test System SetupProcessor(s): AMD Athlon X2 3800+ Motherboard(s): ASUS A8N SLI Premium (Supplied by ASUS)Memory: 2 X 512MB Mushkin PC4000 DDR (Supplied by Mushkin)Hard Disk(s): WD Raptor 74GB 10,000 RPM SATA(Supplied by Western Digital)Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP1Drivers: nVidia ForceWare 78.01 (last official) and 81.84 BETA (newest official BETA) and DX9cWe will be following the same testing pattern as we do with our ATI cards in our monthly articles. Throw a few cards through their paces and see what happens when compared to the last official driver release. The cards we will be using today include the GeForce 6800GT for people still utilizing the 6 series line along with the GeForce 7800GTX in single and SLI modes.* BFG Technologies GeForce 7800GTX * Keep in mind that nVidia have told us that these new drivers include Dual-Core processor optimizations (hence the reason we're using an Athlon X2) so you might not experience the same results as we have if you're using a regular CPU.Are these drivers the X1800XT killers that nVidia hope them to be? Unfortunately we can't tell you because our X1800 still hasn't made its way to our door step. So what we'll try and find out is: Will you get more performance for a free 17MB download? Let's find out right now.3DMark03Version and / or Patch Used: Build 340Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark03/Buy It Here
Benchmarks - 3DMark053DMark05Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/Buy It Here
Benchmarks - Far CryFar CryVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.3Timedemo or Level Used: Ubisoft VolcanoDeveloper Homepage: http://www.crytek.comProduct Homepage: http://www.farcrygame.comBuy It Here
Benchmarks - Half Life 2Half Life 2Version and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.comBuy It Here
Benchmarks - Doom 3Doom 3Version and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper Homepage: http://www.idsoftware.com Product Homepage: http://www.doom3.comBuy It Here
Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AFHigh Quality AA and AFIn our High Quality tests we bump the Antialiasing (AA) and Anisotropic Filtering (AF) up causing the card(s) to be put under more load.This usually helps us remove the CPU limitation. We use 4 x AA and 8 x AF as this is quite a common setup for most people who are venturing into the AA and AF area.
Final ThoughtsFinal ThoughtsIf you own a GeForce 7800GT or GTX and you haven't yet updated to the new drivers, head over to nZone and go download them NOW - follow this link to grab the driver, it's 17MB to download. These drivers really offer an exceptional performance increase across the board in a normal gaming experience but when we move to AA and AF we see that there is no real performance increase, if anything a small drop in performance.The release notes we received from nVidia mentioned that the drivers are designed to improve performance on Dual-Core processors and we did see plenty of extra performance using our Athlon X2. This could explain why we see such big improvements in standard gaming but when we enable AA and AF, possibly more of the focus (3D processing power) is put back on the GPU. We can't say for sure but that would make sense.* BFG Technologies GeForce 7800GTX * There is more then just performance increases though as we get a few features that can come in handy like on-the-fly SLI along with the mix and matching of different brand graphics cards. For example, you might have a BFG 7800GTX and an XFX 7800GTX, now you'll be able to run them in SLI mode without any problems. Before you couldn't but this is just one thing nVidia has worked on to help SLI remain the dominant force over ATI's Crossfire solution which still isn't available for sale yet.These drivers have advantage over advantage and you really would be denying yourself if you are the user of a 7800GT or GTX and don't upgrade your drivers. Unlike a lot of other sites, when we receive our R520 sample we will compare it against the latest nVidia drivers and if what other sites are saying is true, we think that the competition will be quite competitive with nVidia's Release 80 ForceWare drivers bringing some impressive performance increases to the table.With that said we must give thanks to ATI for all these rumors on the R520 because if nVidia weren't worried about the R520 they might have not worked so hard on these drivers. So thanks and until the next driver release - Happy Benchmarking!
Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:26 pm CDT
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