If there's one downside to being a PC gamer, it's probably making sure that all our pieces of hardware behave appropriately with one another, as well as keeping their associated drivers updated and making sure they don't interfere with anything. Man, the drama. Improperly updated drivers can leave remnants of old drivers strewn about your system, hindering your system's all-too-precious performance. That's why Driver Fusion, the newest addition to Steam's software selection, is looking pretty sweet.
As it typically does for a major game launch, Nvidia has updated its GeForce card drivers to 314.22 for boosts in performance and stability. It claims recent titans BioShock Infinite and Tomb Raider both get a significant bump in frames-per-second, with the former increasing by 41 percent and the latter by an astonishing 71 percent.
I promised earlier in the week to give you a run down of what exactly the driver improvements touted by AMD for its ‘Never Settle’ driver release of Catalyst 12.11. Not to be outdone on the driver front Nvidia has also released a new beta driver for its graphics cards this week too. So, in the battle of the latest graphics card optimisations who wins?
If you're playing Skyrim and have an Nvidia card, you'll definitely want to grab the latest driver update. The Nvidia site boasts of significant improvements to Skyrim framerates. Indoor scenes should run 45% faster and Skyrim's grand outdoor vistas will see a 16% boost. The drivers also come with an improved version of the ambient occlusion effect added by the last set of drivers. This adds a subtle layer of extra shadowing and darken the deep cracks in Skyrim's rocky landscapes, boosting their cragginess factor by about 14%.
Modern Warfare 3 gets the same ambient occlusion treatment, boosting war torn grittiness by 32%. Additional AO for the Diablo 3 beta applies a chunky 35.2% hike to lingering sense of dread levels and PhysX fixes improve Batman: Arkham City's bat-punchiness with 10% extra Pow! 4% extra Zam! and a minor increase to overall levels of Biff! You can download it now from the Nvidia site, where they also have some fancy interactive screenshots that show off these Ambient Occlusion updates quite nicely.
Here's a quick heads up for anyone running an Nvidia card. New GeForce 290.36 Beta drivers have been released that add ambient occlusion support for Skyrim and Modern Warfare 3. Screen flickering and triangular artifacts in Battlefield 3 should also be fixed by the new drivers, and Nvidia recommend the update to Batman: Arkham City players. The update streamlines PhysX support, so players experiencing performance problems in Arkham City might want to give this a download.
The Skyrim and Modern Warfare 3 ambient occlusion settings can be turned on via the Nvidia control panel. You'll find instructions on how to enable the advanced shadowing effect on the Nvidia site where the new beta are now available to download. You'll find the full release notes below.