GeForce Game Ready driver program turns 7, Nvidia slams competitors for "sub-par beta...

nanoguy

Posts: 1,200   +20
Staff member
The big picture: Nvidia's Game Ready Drivers program is now seven years old, and the company is using this occasion to criticize AMD for offering comparatively worse software support for its products. Both companies have spent years perfecting their GPU drivers, so Intel has a lot of catching up to do as it steps into this arena.

This week, Nvidia released its latest GeForce Game Ready driver with support for ray tracing in Chernobylite, certifications for new G-Sync monitors from Asus and Samsung, as well as performance optimizations for Dune: Spice Wars and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt, which are available in early access.

Team Green used this occasion to celebrate seven years of Game Ready driver development. The company is touting over 150 such drivers released to date with support and optimizations for over 400 games. GPU drivers are a crucial part of the tech chain that makes gaming possible on PC, and Nvidia senior product manager Sean Pelletier points out they are a monumental development effort that keeps growing every year.

In 2021 alone, Nvidia released 20 Game Ready drivers with support for no less than 75 titles, as well as evolving game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine. Delivering optimizations for new games on time requires a deep level of collaboration between Nvidia engineers and game developers, with a constant feedback loop for pre-release drivers.

Previously, Nvidia would wait until a game's launch date was close before testing new drivers. In recent years, the company has transitioned to a development schedule that aligns with that of games so that work on driver support is usually ready just in time for the launch of those titles. And optimization work often continues after a game is released.

Testing involves a whopping 4,500 different desktop and laptop PC configurations, including hardware that's now a decade old. Nvidia says it does 1,000 tests a day across a variety of games, with 1.8 million hours of testing recorded in 2021 alone. Every driver that passes Nvidia's test must then go through Microsoft's WHQL certification process that involves a battery of over 1,300 tests.

Nvidia also claims it's the only GPU maker that goes through the WHQL process with every driver, taking a not-so-subtle jab at rival AMD, which is notorious for releasing many beta drivers and having a relatively slow cadence for stable releases. Nvidia goes on to explain that it doesn't release "sub-par beta drivers with minimal testing, let alone multiple conflicting beta drivers forked from different development branches that support different games and products, which confuse customers."

Of course, the remarks are not completely unwarranted. AMD's latest GPU drivers have a tendency to reset Ryzen CPU overclock settings and can even silently activate an automatic overclock feature called Precision Boost Overdrive. However, Nvidia has released non-WHQL drivers in the past, sometimes with equally bad results. To the company's credit, it was quick to fix those issues, while it takes days or weeks for Team Red to come up with a fix for glaring issues.

Back in February, AMD released a driver update numbered 22.2.2 for its RDNA 1 and RDNA 2 GPUs, with performance optimizations ranging from 10 to 24 percent in select titles. At the time, Terry Makedon, who is the senior director of AMD's user experience engineering team, noted it had been 20 years since the company started pushing regular driver updates.

In the meantime, the Pat Gelsinger-powered Intel is trying to get its Arc Alchemist GPUs ready to compete with AMD and Nvidia offerings. As you'd expect, a major obstacle so far has been proper software support for the new hardware. The success of these upcoming GPUs will depend a lot on whether Intel can quickly catch up with its competitors in this space, both of which have spent many years perfecting their drivers.

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hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,430   +2,409
And people ask why gamers choose Nvidia. They put in the work, that's why.

You may have thought with software gsysnc Nvidia would have just let monitor makers run amuck like they have with Freesync. Nope, they have to meet Nvidia's requirements and they add support in their drivers for each one. They go above and beyond imo. The accompanying software is useful.

I bash on AMD, because for years they've sold you a card and a beta driver to put it plainly and harshly. A component company. On the software side they are slow to add features like how Apple does with iOS in response to Android, except AMD is not Apple. That needs to change ASAP. It stalls innovation and progression. Good enough was good enough years ago. Gamers expect more today I imagine.
 

George Keech

Posts: 171   +282
Is boasting really the best way to come across, I've Had AMD cards for the last 8 years and I cant say I had any major problems (well with some beta drivers). - Although im by no means saying they dont exist.

I also do wonder with game ready drivers how much does Nvidia Block AMD (and Intel) from being able to look at the code before launch to optimise, as a lot of the time they are made with games that are sponsored by them in some way.
 

Achaios

Posts: 378   +1,046
I feel all the nerds are making too much fuss about nothing here.

My 500 EUR Skylake laptop that comes with a Radeon R5 M330 GPU can game just fine and you know what, I haven't even updated the drivers past a 2018 or 2019 Radeon Driver version b/c I don't need too.

Another nerd said that if you want to game on a laptop you absolutely MUST have an RTX 3070/3080 mobile GPU laptop.

Well, hate to break it to you, but my 500 EUR laptop can game just fine and cover my mobile needs with an R5 M330 GPU and drivers from 2018/2019.

It's not good enough for l33t gam0Rz like you of the "OVER $9000" kind and types like "Quantum Physics" but it will serve just fine for vast majority of the playerbase out there.

You people who moan, whine etc all day about ZOMG MY DRIv0Rz are the 1%, the one-percenters and largely insignificant in the large scheme of things outside the NVIDIA shill bubble.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,142   +5,770
Is boasting really the best way to come across, I've Had AMD cards for the last 8 years and I cant say I had any major problems (well with some beta drivers). - Although im by no means saying they dont exist.

I also do wonder with game ready drivers how much does Nvidia Block AMD (and Intel) from being able to look at the code before launch to optimise, as a lot of the time they are made with games that are sponsored by them in some way.

Exactly. Nvidia first became the de facto standard by bribing developers to optimize for their hardware, and ONLY their hardware.
 
D

Dd663

Can someone explain to me why specific games should need drivers specifically tailored for them? What exactly are they doing to that requires something about the software-hardware interface to change compared to any other game?
 

dangh

Posts: 572   +908
Very happy with my AMD's cards, jumped from Vega to 6900x and cant remember if I had ever any issues with drivers.
But I sure do have issue with closed approach made by nVidia (overprioced, limited g-sync or locked physics implementation which you can enable by cheating game it runs on nvidia cards -> software lock), their aggresive stance or more or less bribing devs in order to use their proprietary tools.
I do appreciate their engineers and knowledge, but their sales and marketing is not acceptable by me.
 

Adhmuz

Posts: 2,239   +1,054
That's the reason why Nvidia driver file size bloated from 30mb+ to current half a gig size
If you're going to bash on a driver size, at least get your facts right, current driver is up to over three quarters of a gig... They had reach half gig well over a year ago now.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,262   +1,753
Sorry but Team Greens NVidia Control Panel is ancient and until that gets updated I think they need to shut up.
As a blessedly former GeForce Experience user you don't want them to update it, believe me. They'll ask for your phone, social security number and current weight next. Gotta mine them all!
 

TechZel

Posts: 21   +30
Nvidia: Bashes AMD for releasing "multiple conflicting beta drivers forked from different development branches"

Also Nvidia: Breaks their driver level mining limiter by releasing drivers from different branches.

Half the time I think the whole "AMD drivers bad" discussion is based on out of date assumptions and fanboy parroting. The other half because AMD puts their driver release notes directly on their website where everyone sees it, while Nvidia buries theirs in a PDF download that nobody ever sees. Drivers can't have issues if nobody ever sees the "fixed issues" and "known issues" parts of the notes right?
 

Adhmuz

Posts: 2,239   +1,054
Half the time I think the whole "AMD drivers bad" discussion is based on out of date assumptions and fanboy parroting. The other half because AMD puts their driver release notes directly on their website where everyone sees it, while Nvidia buries theirs in a PDF download that nobody ever sees. Drivers can't have issues if nobody ever sees the "fixed issues" and "known issues" parts of the notes right?
Mind providing some examples?

Otherwise you're no better than what you seem to be apposed to.
 

goldman

Posts: 14   +8
Man I love how they bash other people's drivers when theirs still has had the same slow and crappy interface since windows 7 (gotta love the "They put in the work" from the first post lol)
 

Someone8MyPosts

Posts: 461   +146
Nvidia needs to sit down. Their drivers are notorious for eating up tons of space on your drive due to their amature inability to uninstall files between updates.
 

Someone8MyPosts

Posts: 461   +146
And people ask why gamers choose Nvidia. They put in the work, that's why.

You may have thought with software gsysnc Nvidia would have just let monitor makers run amuck like they have with Freesync. Nope, they have to meet Nvidia's requirements and they add support in their drivers for each one. They go above and beyond imo. The accompanying software is useful.

I bash on AMD, because for years they've sold you a card and a beta driver to put it plainly and harshly. A component company. On the software side they are slow to add features like how Apple does with iOS in response to Android, except AMD is not Apple. That needs to change ASAP. It stalls innovation and progression. Good enough was good enough years ago. Gamers expect more today I imagine.

Run amuck? You mean give the tech to monitor makers for free so that they can support more users. If Nvidia put in the work, as you claim, their drivers wouldn't take up so much space on your drive due to it's inability to do clean updates automatically. This is coming from an Nvidia card owner for many years, not an AMD fanboy. I go with what's fastest for the money at the time, but I've been seriously considering an AMD card lately.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,430   +2,409
Run amuck? You mean give the tech to monitor makers for free so that they can support more users. If Nvidia put in the work, as you claim, their drivers wouldn't take up so much space on your drive due to it's inability to do clean updates automatically. This is coming from an Nvidia card owner for many years, not an AMD fanboy. I go with what's fastest for the money at the time, but I've been seriously considering an AMD card lately.
20Hz VRR windows in the beginning.
Poor GPU support in the beginning.
Hitching and stutter resulting in numerous videos about it from tech sites and reviewers.
Freesync, Freesync 2, Freesync Premium HDR... One of them didn't even make it to market I believe.

AMD left it a mess, because it was an open standard and because AMD couldn't be bothered to put in any extra work into making it great, resulting in monitor makers doing strange things forcing you to research far too much just to get the best Freesync monitor you could.

Nvidia drivers are bigger because that's where the optional components are. It's that big because NVidia cards support a lot of things. Ever see the check boxes at the bottom of the first tab of GPU-Z? Now compare that to how many are checked for AMD cards. Nvidia is a software company you know that, right? And you wonder why their drivers are so much bigger than AMD's lackluster beta software stack.
 
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TechZel

Posts: 21   +30
Mind providing some examples?

Otherwise you're no better than what you seem to be apposed to.
Examples of what? Nvidia's driver release notes? They're available from the bottom of the driver download page, under Game Ready Driver Release Notes (<version>). They contain the fixed issues and open issues, along with some other information.

Unlike AMD's driver release notes, these are not search indexed and the overwhelming majority of gamers have no idea they even exist.
 

Someone8MyPosts

Posts: 461   +146
20Hz VRR windows in the beginning.
Poor GPU support in the beginning.
Hitching and stutter resulting in numerous videos about it from tech sites and reviewers.
Freesync, Freesync 2, Freesync Premium HDR... One of them didn't even make it to market I believe.

AMD left it a mess, because it was an open standard and because AMD couldn't be bothered to put in any extra work into making it great, resulting in monitor makers doing strange things forcing you to research far too much just to get the best Freesync monitor you could.

Nvidia drivers are bigger because that's where the optional components are. It's that big because NVidia cards support a lot of things. Ever see the check boxes at the bottom of the first tab of GPU-Z? Now compare that to how many are checked for AMD cards. Nvidia is a software company you know that, right? And you wonder why their drivers are so much bigger than AMD's lackluster beta software stack.
I call BS on that. One of my monitors is currently running at 170 hertz using Freesync as we speak. It adjusts to whatever I'm using, watching or playing dynamically without issue. Btw, I've been around long enough to know when Nvidia wasn't a thing. I had one of their original Riva graphics cards. You can talk junk all you want, but you very clearly have a biased view of this. I've seen all of this for myself and have not experienced anything you're describing through the years and have had some experience even with AMD cards on this monitor on other computers. It's not as you present it to be.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,430   +2,409
I call BS on that. One of my monitors is currently running at 170 hertz using Freesync as we speak. It adjusts to whatever I'm using, watching or playing dynamically without issue. Btw, I've been around long enough to know when Nvidia wasn't a thing. I had one of their original Riva graphics cards. You can talk junk all you want, but you very clearly have a biased view of this. I've seen all of this for myself and have not experienced anything you're describing through the years and have had some experience even with AMD cards on this monitor on other computers. It's not as you present it to be.
I'm gonna state a fact right now.
8 out of 10 gamers buy Nvidia GPUs.
That's not a fluke!
My Freesync premium/gsysnc compatible 165Hz monitor, does not mention Freesync or AMD anywhere on the product page.

Go AMD! Sorry, I had to do that. AMD is not a top tier company outside of server CPUs right now, and AMD software is next to trash in comparison to what we have from the other guy.

Btw, I said "in the beginning" in regards to the Freesync mess, and you apparently ignored that then told me some irrelevant information about how many decades ago you got into PC's. Enjoy your FS monitor. It took them a while to settle on 48Hz-Max refresh?, but they finally got there?
 

Adhmuz

Posts: 2,239   +1,054
Examples of what? Nvidia's driver release notes? They're available from the bottom of the driver download page, under Game Ready Driver Release Notes (<version>). They contain the fixed issues and open issues, along with some other information.

Unlike AMD's driver release notes, these are not search indexed and the overwhelming majority of gamers have no idea they even exist.
Number one reason why no one cares to look at the release notes? They aren't updating their drivers to fix broken, or non functional aspects of their hardware. That's why I was asking for an example, maybe you've seen a real problem get fixed in the "hidden" release notes, the few times I've ever looked it was all nominal.

In all the years I've had both AMD and Nvidia GPUs, I can't remember once having to update an Nvidia driver because the GPU I paid for wasn't working as intended. Where as with AMD I would check the release notes every time hoping for resolutions to screen tearing problems, driver crashes, better support for a game I was playing at the time, etc. Until I gave up on expecting a fix and firmware modded my cards to fix the problem myself, and that was the last time I bought AMD hardware.
 

DAOWAce

Posts: 323   +62
Sure am glad NVIDIA stopped releasing actual beta drivers and instead force everyone to wait for WHQL versions..

And the WHQL versions are still basically beta drivers in the first place. Can't count the amount of times I've ran into issues with them, either via the install, strange Windows issues or with problems in games (including significant performance degradation).

Oh, and them not releasing non-DCH drivers as of the start of 2022, so people on older OS versions can no longer receive driver updates.

This is, yet again, just PR BS.
 

Pop Mihai Ioan

Posts: 14   +5
The latest Nvidia driver gave me an BSOD, so I had to revert to previous one. It's the second time this year. I think Nvidia should slap themselves for the sub-par standard drivers (RTX 2060 Super, Ryzen 7 5800X). AMD graphic drivers were sometimes problematic and frustrating, but I never had an BSOD.
 
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