Notes on NVIDIA's new 260-series drivers
NVIDIA is proud of their new 260-series graphics drivers. Of course, any GPU maker should be happy when they tweak their software successfully to add features and performance increases.
First of all, the new driver installer is a lot faster and easier to use. It features both a one-click Express installation option as well as a Custom option.
Gaming/benchmarking Performance Increases for GTX 400 Series:
Testing with a GTX 460, NVIDIA experienced the following performance gains with the new 260-series drivers:
StarCraft II SLI: 19%
Crysis Warhead SLI: 12%
Far Cry 2 DX10: 13%
HAWX DX10 SLI: 12%
3DMark Vantage Performance Preset: 9%
AvP DX11: 9%
AvP DX11 SLI: 7%
Battlefield BC2 DX11 SLI: 15%
Dirt 2 DX11: 11%
Metro 2033 DX11: 7%
STALKER CoP DX11: 12%
STALKER CoP DX11 SLI: 11%
Riddick Dark Athena (OpenGL): 22%
Riddick Dark Athena (OpenGL) SLI: 29%
It looks like a free overclock! Granted results may vary, but these performance increases are positively welcomed, and we thank the NVIDIA driver team for implementing these improvements.
As far as features are concerned, the new 260-series drivers have added support for Blu-Ray 3D as well as Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio through HDMI. This makes the audio processor onboard the GTS/GTX 400 series even more attractive for home theater PC users.
NVIDIA Surround also received some tweaks. A new UI makes the application easier to use, and several features have been added or improved (portrait mode setup, addition of help page and bezel correction setup improvement).
3D Vision is now easier to install, as it installs with the display driver now. Game support has been improved (examples of new games with 3D Vision support: Mafia II, StarCraft II and Trine), and support has been added for Sony's Sweep Panorama picture format to the NVIDIA 3D Photo Viewer.
Overall, this is a welcome facelift and energy drink for NVIDIA's drivers. I can't be certain that some nagging specific scenarios have been rectified, but overall this new package is something gamers can be happy about.
Next: Final Thoughts and Conclusion
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