NVIDIA ForceWare 55 Hands-On

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NVIDIA ForceWare 55 HandsOn - Page 2

NVIDIA ForceWare 55 Hands-On
New Features for Enthusiasts

By: Chris Angelini
February 18, 2004

nView 3.5
An improved desktop manager

NVIDIA's nView Desktop Management software has come a long way - it'd even be safe to say that it is significantly better than ATI's Hydravision multi-monitor manager.  The suite is useful for organizing information on a single display, or multiple monitors, if applicable. 

The following images illustrate the integrated pop-up blocker for Microsoft's Internet Explorer.  There are a number of options for handling pop-up advertisements when they are encountered, but generally, the default options set forth by NVIDIA work well.  nView 3.5 even offers the ability to see which pop-ups have been blocked, and selectively allow them in the future or continue blocking the ads. 


The principle benefit to using a multi-monitor setup is the extra desktop real estate afforded by a pair of displays. With the proper organization, however, a single monitor can be nearly as effective.  NVIDIA's Gridlines feature, from nView 3.0, enables definable regions for maximizing windows, moving dialog boxes, and re-positioning windows. For example, a windows maximized in the first area (upper left-hand corner of the screen) will maximize to fit that particular area.  Though no substitute for a true multi-display environment, NVIDIA's Gridlines certainly help organize information on a single screen.

Of course, the other nView features are all intact, including mouse kinematics (evidenced in the picture below), NVRotate, NVKeystone display correction and up to 32 desktop spaces.  Overall, nView does a commendable job complementing NVIDIA's hardware lineup with a multitude of features that are actually useful.  It's also fairly resource-friendly - after running comparative tests with nView enabled and disabled, it became clear that the feature has a nearly negligible effect on gaming performance.


HotHardware Test System
Some surprising results

NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB

ForceWare 55 (56.56)

ForceWare 50 (53.03)


Common Hardware:

Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz (130nm)

Intel D875PBZ 875P Motherboard

1GB Corsair Pro Series PC4000

Western Digital Raptor 10k RPM 37GB HDD

A Few Words About The Benchmarks:
In setting up our test machines, we install Windows XP on a formatted, NTFS hard drive.  After installing the relevant drivers we disable system restore, all of the graphical enhancements in Windows XP, and the Automatic Update feature.  The desktop on each test bed is set to 1024x768, 16-bit color and a 75Hz refresh rate.
Unreal Tournament 2003 Demo
Real-world Direct3D benchmarking

There's a relatively minor change in performance for Unreal Tournament 2003.  It comes as little surprise, though, as NVIDIA is clearly focusing on features for ForceWare 55.

Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo
More real-world D3D

The results here are actually interesting.  NVIDIA is claiming that it isn't releasing the 56.56 driver on its web site because of a bug that is negatively impacting performance in the Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo. There must be specific circumstances in which that bug manifests itself, because we aren't seeing it here.  Both ForceWare 55 and and ForceWare 50 come out almost dead even.

More Benchmarks and Conclusion... 

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