NVIDIA To Unify Desktop and Notebook Drivers - HotHardware
NVIDIA To Unify Desktop and Notebook Drivers

NVIDIA To Unify Desktop and Notebook Drivers

Over the last few years, both ATI and NVIDIA have implemented plans to release mobile graphics driver updates at more regular intervals. Historically, notebook users have been at the mercy of the notebook OEM with regard to mobile graphics driver updates, and OEMs have typically lagged way behind the GPU manufacturers. This left many notebook users out in the cold, while desktop users were treated to performance enhancements, new features, and increased compatibility with the latest games.

NVIDIA, however, is making another move in the mobile GPU space, that takes things a step further, with the ultimate goal of unifying desktop and mobile GPU drivers. NVIDIA's Verde GPU drivers, as they are called, will bring the company's mobile GPU drivers up to feature parity with desktop GeForce drivers. This is particularly important as of late, because the GPU is being used for more than just gaming. Owners of notebooks with discrete NVIDIA GPUs that wanted to take advantage of the increasing number of CUDA-enabled applications, for example, can't do so if their notebook drivers didn't enable CUDA.

The Verde drivers aren't only about CUDA-support, however. With recent driver releases, NVIDIA has also implemented features like ambient occlusion and included compatibility updates and SLI profiles for many new games, in addition to 3D Vision support (with a compatible notebook).  NVIDIA will also be releasing a feature called 3D TV Play, which will allow notebook users to connect their systems to 3D TVs, to exploit the benefits of 3D Vision and 3D multimedia content using the glasses included with the TV. And let's not forget about performance. NVIDIA's 197 series drivers also offer significantly increased performance in a number of games and applications, over the old 17x / 18x series drivers. And those performance increases can sometimes make a game that was previously unplayable on the mobile GPU, playable.

Things will really get interesting in a few months when NVIDIA releases their 256 series drivers. At that point, NVIDIA's plans are to completely unify their GPU drivers, so mobile and desktop users will be able to get the latest releases simultaneously. The drivers won't be released in a single package, but the download should be made available at the same time.

While NVIDIA's Verde drivers aim to unify mobile and desktop GPU drivers, they will not be universally compatible. Notebooks with discrete GPUs, hybrid solutions that feature NVIDIA IGPs, and Optimus enabled notebooks will be compatible. Notebooks with multi-vendor hybrid solutions, i.e. those with integrated Intel graphics and discrete NVIDIA graphics, will not be supported. That's somewhat of a letdown, when you consider how many really popular notebooks have been released in the last few years which feature multi-vendor hybrid graphics--the Alienware M11x comes to mind--but NVIDIA is still moving in the right direction and should be commended for making the effort to better support mobile users, when the OEMs won't.
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Marco, remember what I said about the M11x and getting driver updates? I'm actually not happy about being right, since this leaves people out in the cold. I know you can do a little hacking to make the drivers work, but most people won't know how to do it. Hope they come out with something...

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This sounds like a good idea so long as NVidia is able to keep the notebook and desktop drivers separate and people clearly understand which one to download and install.

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This is exactly what AMD should be doing with the mobile ATI drivers, It is good to see Nvidia take the lead on this. I commented the other day how I believe this hurt sales of mobile ATI cards as drivers lagged. Hopefully now ATI will get their drivers in sync.

Kudos again though to Nvidia for taking the lead on this important issue.

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Great job Nvidia is doing here :D.

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Finally!!!!! I've been waiting for something like this to happen. Now, a gaming notebook seems better than ever. I'm not really sure why this hadn't started earlier, given the rise of notebooks is not a new concept.

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I had thought nVidia's desktop and mobile drivers were already unified, but I guess that was only on Linux?

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Actually I've been using modded INFs to make the desktop drivers work with my laptop with a 9800M GTS (did the same with my old laptop with a 7600 Go)  and it works just fine because it is "unified"  I think the reason they separate it is because the laptop versions deal more with how it reacts to power settings. (can't remember exactly but I want to say it deal with the power settings somehow)

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