NVIDIA announced the GeForce 257.15 beta driver and detailed its new Release 256 family of drivers, which will include version numbers from 256.xx to 259.xx.
The first WHQL certified version is slated for early June, but people eager to check out the beta can already enjoy several major performance enhancements for the GTX 400 series and new features such as Blu-ray 3D support, new visual quality modes (up to 96x AA), new multi-GPU setup controls, CUDA 3.1 and OpenGL 4.0. NVIDIA also revealed that 3D Vision Surround support should finally be available sometime next month.
New Release 256 Features
Blu-ray 3D – It’s pretty clear that Hollywood is going 3D. So, it makes sense that now 3D movies are making their way to Blu-ray disc thanks to NVIDIA 3D Vision technology. NVIDIA is the first to enable Blu-ray 3D acceleration for the PC. Check out the full system requirements here. The first 3D Blu-ray movie is due out June 1st.
New Visual Quality Modes – We are constantly striving to make the latest PC games not only run faster and smoother, but also look better. With this release, we’re offering new settings in the NVIDIA Control Panel for 3-way SLI customers that enable 48x SLI Antialiasing (96x for 3-way GTX 400 series PCs). We also added a new higher quality ambient occlusion setting in the NVIDIA Control Panel for more realistic scene shading.
New Multi-GPU Setup Controls – If you’ve got more than one NVIDIA GPU in your PC, you want to have detailed controls for them in order to get the most out of your PC. Release 256 adds a new SLI and PhysX configuration page that not only makes setup easy but also gives you more control over how your GPUs are configured. So, if you want to pair two GPUs in SLI mode and dedicate the third to PhysX, no problem. If you want to activate all three of your displays and then optimize for highest performance in that configuration—you’re golden. The new page even has real-time visual feedback. And, finally, for those customers that want to select which GPU their CUDA applications run on, the Manage 3D Settings page now has a ‘CUDA – GPUs’ option to enable this.
CUDA 3.1 – Release 256 drivers add support for applications built using CUDA Toolkit 3.1. CUDA Toolkit 3.1 enables a significant performance increase for double precision math operations.
OpenGL 4.0 – While we currently support OpenGL 4.0 in developer drivers, Release 256, brings full OpenGL 4.0 support to our unified consumer drivers. GeForce GTX 400 series customers can immediately take advantage of the tessellation support in OpenGL 4.0 by downloading Unigine’s latest release of their Heaven benchmark, version 2.1, which adds support for OpenGL 4.0 tessellation and 3D Vision technology. GeForce GTX 400 series GPUs are tessellation monsters, feed them highly tessellated objects and they’ll chew them up at an incredible speed. Download Unigine Heaven 2.1 today and give OpenGL tessellation and 3D a try.