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Nvidia unifies mobile, desktop drivers

Nvidia unifies mobile, desktop drivers

Nvidia's Verde project aims to introduce feature parity between the company's desktop and mobile graphics products.

Graphics manufacturer Nvidia has announced that it is to simplify its driver structure by unifying the software for both its desktop and mobile graphics chipsets.

As reported over on HotHardware, the company is hoping to bring the frequent updates that desktop users enjoy to the mobile market - no matter the manufacturer of your device.

Traditionally, laptop GPUs have relied on specialised drivers only available direct from the laptop manufacturer - with updates coming slowly, if at all. Nvidia's Verde programme aims to change all that, with promised feature parity between desktop and mobile GPU drivers.

As well as functionality improvements, newer drivers often bring performance enhancements - with Nvidia claiming that the Verde programme will improve frame rates on many modern games by an average of 30 percent compared to the stock drivers that OEMs ship with their laptops.

Verde is also set to include 3D TV Play, which allows users of compatible laptops to hook their systems up to a 3DTV for truly immersive gaming - along with support for Nvidia's 3D Vision if your laptop has a suitable display.

The move will be welcomed by those laptop users who have grown sick of the typically poor after-sales service offered by many manufacturers which has seen them running severely out-of-date driver versions - or hacking their own mobile variant from the desktop driver bundles.

By the time Nvidia releases the 256 driver series, it hopes to have full convergence between the desktop and mobile driver bundles - although they will still be offered as separate downloads to save bandwidth. Strangely, while mobile devices featuring embedded Nvidia GPUs and dedicated graphics cards will be supported along with Optimus-based systems, hybrid systems that do not use Nvidia's Optimus will not be able to take advantage of the unified drivers.

Do you think Nvidia is making the right move with Verde, or should it leave mobile drivers up to the OEMs and ODMs as it has traditionally done? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

16 Comments

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l3v1ck 27th April 2010, 11:18 Quote
This is good news. Partly because my new laptop has an Nvidia GPU and I'd like regular updates, and partly because I've had issues getting drivers for previous laptops. eg Tiny went bankrupt about a year after I bought my laptop, but ATi wouldn't let me download drivers for my Mobility Radeon 9600 from their site. They just kept saying it was the manufacturers responsibility. In the end I found I could download Omega drivers that worked, but I'd have preferred the latest ones from ATi
proxess 27th April 2010, 11:26 Quote
This is where ATi fails miserably, specially when it's some sort of laptop GPU made specifically for a vendor, then there's no real updates for it. We have to use tools like Mobility Modder.
Tyrmot 27th April 2010, 11:55 Quote
Quote:
should it leave mobile drivers up to the OEMs
Hell no, never had a good experience with OEM driver support, once they've got your money they couldn't care less
NickCPC 27th April 2010, 12:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
This is where ATi fails miserably, specially when it's some sort of laptop GPU made specifically for a vendor, then there's no real updates for it. We have to use tools like Mobility Modder.

No - ATI also now offer the same monthly driver updates for Mobility Radeon HD cards. This announcement is nVidia playing catch up with ATI. Don't believe me? http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/Pages/index.aspx

Glad to hear that nVidia has made this move nonetheless though.
javaman 27th April 2010, 12:11 Quote
Very good news, lets hope they don't get it wrong and cook themselves. Tho with so many laptops out there I wonder why this hasn't happened sooner. After all surely laptop GPU's don't differ that much from their desktop siblings in terms of architecture.
Omnituens 27th April 2010, 12:13 Quote
REALLY wish the PhysX stuff was option download - waste of space... 140MB download for my drivers? Seriously.
Cupboard 27th April 2010, 12:48 Quote
With the laptop GPUs often being behind a generation but having the same name, that could get really confusing on the drivers site.

But this sounds great! Thankfully I no longer have to game on a laptop but when I did, the issues in getting drivers... I just gave up!
l3v1ck 27th April 2010, 13:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickCPC
No - ATI also now offer the same monthly driver updates for Mobility Radeon HD cards.
Well that's good news too. Just a shame they didn't do that when I needed them to. To be fair it hasn't put me off buying mobile ATI GPU's, it just happened that the one I bought recently is Nvidia.
Denis_iii 27th April 2010, 14:08 Quote
thumbs up nvidia (not often i say that about the evil green N), with this and optimus things are looking good now just get some directx 11 laptops out!
wuyanxu 27th April 2010, 14:25 Quote
Optimums laptop seems like the best kind of laptop currently out there :D
B3CK 27th April 2010, 14:54 Quote
I just hope they start making drivers for chrome os; With 85% of my usage on the web, (and using chrome), I could really get behind hardware makers taking responsibility for making sure customers get decent support for their hardware.
nia-desu 27th April 2010, 15:36 Quote
The specifics of Verde aren't clear at all. Could someone clarify this for me please.

Which driver revision does Verde start with? 19x.xx?
Which chipsets are supported with Verde? 6, 7, 8, 9, 200, 300?
RichCreedy 27th April 2010, 17:32 Quote
the reason ati and nvidia didnt do drivers for oem was because oems wanted to provide drivers themselves, its not that they didnt want to, its that they were told not to.

often oems make changes to designs to make them non standard, so you have to go back to them for drivers etc.

as others have pointed out, this can mean delays, or even non issue of updated drivers.


it would be so much better if oems allowed the hardware makers to do the drivers.
Darkedge 27th April 2010, 17:36 Quote
ATi have been doing this for ages unless you has a vendor modified card.
RedFlames 27th April 2010, 23:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by nia-desu
The specifics of Verde aren't clear at all. Could someone clarify this for me please.

Which driver revision does Verde start with? 19x.xx?
Which chipsets are supported with Verde? 6, 7, 8, 9, 200, 300?

verde are [supposed to be] the 256.x ones... as for what card they [officially] support until they actually turn up we won't know...
wiak 28th April 2010, 06:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
This is where ATi fails miserably, specially when it's some sort of laptop GPU made specifically for a vendor, then there's no real updates for it. We have to use tools like Mobility Modder.
its the OEMs not ATIs problem
Catalyst 10.3 or later supports all Radeon HD graphics chips on both notebook and desktop, but now OEMs have to say we dont want to be included instead of saying we want to be included

some OEMs like Sony, Lenovo has way old drivers because they chose NOT to allow their customers to update, its has nothing to do with ATI as far as we customers are concerned

so now that ATI has basicly forced OEMs to allow customers to install latest drivers! unless the OEM say no

anyway its good that both ATI and NVIDIA starts to force OEMs to allow customers to update drivers, its pointless the way it was before, when we customers had to mod the freaking drivers that basicly just worked 100% fine anyway
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