Nvidia has unleashed its latest GeForce beta driver with a few updates, including -- and perhaps most significantly -- performance optimizations for Skyrim players. Version 290.53 should offer GeForce owners up to 25% more frames per second. Nvidia reports a 25% boost over last month's 290.36 beta drivers while playing with cards such as the GeForce GTX 560 at 1920x1200 on Ultra quality settings.
That's a best case scenario, the company admits. The 25% gain was recorded indoors, while outdoor scenarios only run up to 2-3% better. Your mileage will vary depending on your specific GPU, system configuration and in-game location. Nonetheless, it's hard to complain about a double-digit increase indoors considering much of your time is spent in smaller environments, be that caves or buildings.
Skyrim players can also look forward to improved Ambient Occlusion, an Nvidia Control Panel quality setting that enables more realistic shadows. The company added Ambient Occlusion support for Skyrim with 290.36, but 290.53's effects are "faster" and should eliminate the tacky shimmering users have reported. Nvidia has also updated the 3D Vision crosshair to better match Skyrim's default 2D pointer.
There's not much else to see for folks without Bethesda's latest RPG. Build 290.53 includes SLI profiles for Afterfall: InSanity, Trine 2 and WRC 2: FIA World Rally Championship 2011 along with new or updated 3D Vision profiles for Trine 2, Orcs Must Die!, Stronghold 3 and a few lesser-known titles. The beta driver also resolves triangular artifacting in Battlefield 3 and a default panel resolution-timing bug.