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 21 October 2008
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 Dr. Adrian Wong
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NVIDIA's Big Bang 2
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NVIDIA's Big Bang 2

After losing their own Battle Of The Midway Islands against the ATI Radeon HD 4870 and Radeon HD 4850 graphics cards and suffering reliability issues with their GPUs, NVIDIA went from being seemingly invincible to virtually fighting for their lives.

With the performance crown and popularity radically shifting to ATI, NVIDIA needs a new gimmick to regain their fortunes, and they think they have it in what they call their Big Bang 2 - the forthcoming Release 180 NVIDIA ForceWare drivers.

 

Bang! Bang!

This morning, NVIDIA announced the details of the Release 180 (R180) drivers. Touted as the next best thing since sliced bread (or at least the original Big Bang drivers), the R180 drivers will do more than just offer faster gaming performance. NVIDIA outlined four main features of the R180 drivers, namely :

  • Faster gaming performance, of course! Hey, we still want faster gaming performance, right?
  • Direct support for NVIDIA SLI on the Intel X58 platform!
  • New multi-monitor display options for SLI setups!
  • Support for dedicating a GPU for PhysX acceleration!

In this article, we will go through the four main features, starting with faster gaming performance.

 

Faster Gaming Performance

Although the Release 180 drivers are still a work in progress, NVIDIA gave us an early preview of performance boosts we can expect from the new driver. Here, NVIDIA compared the performance of the GeForce 9800 GTX+ using the new R180 driver versus the current R178 driver.

Their results showed that the GeForce 9800 GTX+ was able to deliver 5%-35% better frame rates using the new R180 driver. However, these are early results and NVIDIA claims the final R180 driver would be even faster. With that said, you should only expect to see these performance improvements in the more recent GeForce GTX and GeForce 9/8 series of graphics cards. Don't count on it to help with your GeForce 7 or older graphics card!

 

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