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Nvidia driver update feature focus is on GameWorks VR 1.1

by Mark Tyson on 22 December 2015, 12:31


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Nvidia has released its GeForce Game Ready 361.43 WHQL drivers. The main thrust of this release is to add GameWorks VR 1.1 support including VR SLI support for OpenGL and support for the latest Oculus SDK. Full release notes are available here (PDF).

Coinciding with the new driver release Nvidia published a blog post about the VR SLI functionality. It includes a new OpenGL extension with the 361.43 WHQL driver which can "greatly improve the speed of head mounted display (HMD) rendering". Furthermore we are told that multiple GPUs can be controlled via a single OpenGL context - to reduce overheads and thus improve frame rates.

In testing of Autodesk stereo rendering speeds were an impressive 1.7x faster on HMDs like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Nvidia explains the new efficient rendering method; "With the OpenGL multicast extension, it’s possible to upload the same scene to two different GPUs and render it from two different viewpoints with a single OpenGL rendering stream. This distributes the rendering workload across two GPUs and eliminates the CPU overhead of sending the rendering commands twice, providing a simple way to achieve substantial speedup". Check the diagram below.

Figure 2: Performance increase in an Oculus rendering sample,
going from one GPU to two GPUs using VR SLI for OpenGL.

Elsewhere the driver squashes a series of 'significant' bugs. These are listed on the Nvidia driver discussion forums as follows;

  • [GM20x] Clock speeds remain above idle at 144 Hz on desktop
  • Lag in Star Wars Battlefront with SLI enabled after updating to driver 359.06.
  • Momentary loss of signal after scoring first goal in Rocket League
  • Game crashes on certain GeForce GTX 860M notebooks
  • Battlefield Bad Company 2 performance fix
  • GameStreamed video has 2 images overlapping w/ SLI
  • TDR when viewing YouTube videos in Microsoft Edge browser

OS specific bugs and other fixed issues are covered in the extensive driver release notes. It is noted that Fermi GPUs will use WDDM 2.0 in single GPU configurations and in mixed multi-GPU non-SLI configurations but in SLI configurations will use WDDM 1.3.

In the latest release we also see a smattering of new and updated SLI profiles. Games benefitting for this are; Elite Dangerous, DayZ, Bless, Hard West and Dungeon Defenders 2.