In the crazy rush to wrap up the GeForce GTX 980 review in time for the NDA lift yesterday, news of the first R343 driver release may have been lost in the shuffle. This is a full WHQL driver release from NVIDIA, and it's available for Windows 8.1, 7, Vista, and even XP (though I don't know what you'd be doing with a modern GPU on XP at this point). Notebooks also get the new drivers, though only for Windows 7 and 8 it seems. You can find the updates at the usual place, or they're also available through GeForce Experience (which has also been updated to version if you're wondering).

In terms of what the driver update provides, this is the Game Ready driver for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, The Evil Within, F1 2014, and Alien: Isolation – all games that are due to launch in early to mid-October. Of course this is also the publicly available driver for the GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970, which are apparently selling like hotcakes based on the number of "out of stock" notifications we're seeing (not to mention some hefty price gouging on the GTX 970 and GTX 980).

The drivers also enable NVIDIA's new DSR (Dynamic Super Resolution), with hooks for individual games available in the Control Panel->Manage 3D Settings section. It's not clear whether DSR will be available for other GPUs, but it's definitely not enabled on my GTX 780 right now and I suspect it will be limited to the new Maxwell GM204 GPUs for at least a little while.

There are a host of other updates, too numerous to go into, but you can check the release notes for additional information. These drivers also drop support for legacy GPUs (anything from the 300 series and older), so if you're running an older GPU you'll need to stay with the previous driver release.

Update: 334.16 is now available for the GTX 900 series. These drivers include the fixes to resolve the compatibility issues we were seeing with the GTX 970

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  • coburn_c - Sunday, September 21, 2014 - link

    There is no bug. RGB doesn't have a luminance range. RGB has a gamma range.
  • hpglow - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    How is DSR different than super-sampling? The granddaddy of AA where a scene was rendered in a higher res then down-sampled? It often produced blurry content, and the performance hit was horrible. But it dates way back, N64 had it as did the Geforce3 (although the performance was so bad it was unusable).

    Also what is Dynamic about it? I have read the blurbs about it in every 980 and 970 review but none go much farther than telling us that it is a scene rendered at a higher res then scaled down.
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    DSR basically exposes a higher "virtual" resolution in the drivers that the games see as a real resolution, and that resolution gets scaled down via a 13 tap Gaussian filter to whatever resolution you set (usually your native LCD resolution, though it doesn't have to be).

    So as an example, say you have a game like Dark Souls II and you're running on a 1080p display. You could set a DSR resolution of 3840x2160 (4K or 4x 1080p) and the game will just think you're playing on a display that runs at that resolution. However, the drivers know your actual display is a 1080p panel and so they'll take the rendered game image and down-size it to 1080p. You could also set the DSR resolution to other values, like 2560x1440, 2752x1548, or whatever other options NVIDIA has (I'm not sure what exact values are supported).

    Contrast that with supersampling where the game generally has to be aware of the feature, or if it's forced on through the drivers it's still not quite the same. See, SSAA has to be a specific whole integer multiple of the resolution, either 2X or 4X typically, so if you're running at 1920x1080 and use 2x SSAA then internally the game renders at 3840x2160 and that gets resized to 1080p -- not much difference here, although I think the 13 tap Gaussian filter is different as SSAA traditionally just used bilinear filtering (or maybe bicubic filtering). With DSR it's possible to use 1.5x, 2.5X, 3.2X, etc. AFAIK. But yes, it's mostly just a refinement of SSAA, and it was interesting how careful NVIDIA was to never actually use the phrase "supersampling" when talking about DSR.

    As to your assertion that SSAA produces blurry content, well, it might be slightly blurry as it has to remove jaggies, but in general SSAA produces better quality image than MSAA; it's just far more computationally intensive. TXAA on the other hand can look quite blurry in my experience, and the same goes for some variants of FXAA.
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, October 4, 2014 - link

    FXAA is awful. It looks like a screen smeared with butter.
  • coburn_c - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    I believe they call it dynamic because the card has dedicated hardware that does the downsampling. It doesn't take a performance hit to scale. That and they made the settings idiot proof.
  • D. Lister - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    No, actually it is just your last sentence, nothing else. Manually, you can do this on any reasonably modern GPU. AAMOF there is a very good DIY tutorial at Nvidia's official website.
  • frenchy_2001 - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    The reason for that new AA method is that simple super does not work anymore with modern engine using deferred rendering.
    You are right that this is an equivalent to the older AA technique, it's just that this technique does not work anymore.
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    SSAA should work with deferred rendering -- it's MSAA that doesn't work. SSAA after all is just rendering internally at a higher resolution and downsizing, though it's done in a slightly different fashion the DSR.
  • n13L5 - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    Its the new snake oil, rather than the old snake oil ;-)

    Just kidding, I saw some videos that looked like great improvement and some others where you were hard pressed to tell the rather unexciting difference.
    Distant Grass becoming stable, rather than flickering in and out of existence was pretty damned cool.
  • chardyman - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    Heads up.
    These new drivers appear broken with my GTX 570 under Win8.1.
    BSOD - rolled back to a restore point.
    Contacted nvidia - no response yet.

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