Nvidia offers insight into how it tests GPU drivers and looks at AMD

Nvidia’s latest push to woo PC gamers with its graphics cards focuses on the company’s painstaking efforts around GPU software drivers and how the approach is allegedly superior to competitors, including those from AMD. .

Nvidia released a blog post today that offers insight into how the company ensures its software drivers are optimized for the latest PC games. Through its GeForce Game Ready Driver Program, which began in 2014, Nvidia has worked with game developers through “nearly every stage of game creation” on driver optimization.

Software drivers are essential to ensure that a graphics card works properly with a PC game without causing frame rate slowdowns or crashes. Optimizing drivers can be tricky, especially since a company like Nvidia has to support the dozens of GPU models used in thousands of different PC games.

“Game bugs, GPU-specific bugs, OS bugs, driver bugs, etc., can all cause a driver to glitch and crash, and it’s critical that they be fixed. before the game is released,” Nvidia’s Andrew Burnes wrote in the post.

To ensure a smooth release, Nvidia says hundreds of employees are working to prepare GPU drivers for high-end PC games on launch day. During the process, game developers will also work with Nvidia to swap game builds and pre-release drivers to eliminate errors.

A diagram of how Nvidia and game developers regularly share pre-release information to optimize GPU drivers.

“If necessary, we also work with Microsoft on changes to the operating system and engine developers on changes that benefit the title in question, and any other games that may benefit from this programming in the future” , Burnes added.

Additionally, Nvidia will rigorously test drivers with each game on numerous GPU models, as well as various CPU and RAM configurations. This led the company to create a “massive, automated test matrix” capable of running GPU drivers on 4,500 PC configurations for hardware dating back to 2012.

“In a single day, Nvidia’s Game Ready Driver testing process involves over 1,000 different tests on a wide variety of released and upcoming titles. That’s over 1.8 million hours of testing alone. in 2021,” Burnes said. If a problem is found, an Nvidia engineer can step in and start fixing it.

The company then couldn’t help but criticize its rivals when discussing its GPU driver development efforts. Burnes noted that each Nvidia GPU driver is also certified using Microsoft’s Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) test procedure.

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According to Burnes, Nvidia is “the only GPU vendor to WHQL certify every driver.” AMD, on the other hand, will sometimes release non-WHQL certified drivers as beta versions for the company’s Radeon graphics cards.

The difference led Burnes to launch a thinly veiled dig into AMD, without naming the company. “We don’t release sub-par beta drivers with minimal testing, not to mention multiple conflicting beta drivers from different development branches that support different games and products, confusing customers,” he said. -he writes.

AMD did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Nvidia’s blog post understandably prompts some gamers to repel and indicate when Nvidia’s drivers actually caused errors. It’s also important to note that Nvidia will release “fixes” for GPU drivers when issues arise.

Nvidia released the blog post as the GPU wars begin to heat up. Intel is gearing up to launch its first gaming desktop graphics cards in over 20 years later this quarter. Meanwhile, Nvidia and AMD will likely release their next-gen GPUs around September and October. So expect to hear more from the companies touting their latest advancements in infographics.

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