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Nvidia’s Day of Updates

By NAG3LT08-04-2014

Owners of current Nvidia hardware have received a treat this day. The company has released GeForce Experience 2.0, the large Shield update and a new beta driver to reduce CPU overhead.

GeForce Experience 2.0 lives up to the increase in major version. ShadowPlay now supports the desktop capture on Windows 8 and Windows 7 with Aero enabled. Now it is no longer limited to fullscreen games and supports games in windowed and borderless windowed modes. OpenGL, Java, Web games or any other programs can be captured on video using ShadowPlay. The Twitch streaming also supports desktop capture, as well as custom settings.

The video capture and recording finally got laptop GPU support. Laptops with GTX 660M – GTX 680M and all GTX 700M and 800M GPUs support these features. However, the Shadowplay desktop capture is not supported on laptops and it’s unknown if it will be added later on.

As promised during GTC, Nvidia Shield receives a lot of new functionality. The portable console got update to the latest Android 4.4.2 “KitKat”. Among many small changes, the remote GameStream is the most interesting one. Now, you can stream the game to Shield not only via local network, but via the internet as well. Tom’s Hardware tested the new functionality in several different conditions. Using remote GameStream in the same city resulted in 31 ms ping and provided a playable experience. Their upload speed was very limited, so image quality suffered as a result. Using remote GameStream on a better connection should provide good results.

The release of Mantle by AMD seems to have led to good results. Others, including Nvidia have started looking for ways to reduce driver overhead in standard DirectX and OpenGL APIs. Nvidia has also stated that there are performance gains possible in DX11 by rewriting drivers. The latest 337.50 beta driver is their first public demonstration of that claim. Tom’s Hardware and AnandTech have done some benchmarks to test Nvidia’s claims. They seem to support the real gains from a new driver, but it is very game dependant. Some games run the same while others may get 10% boost. Nvidia seems especially focused on getting higher performance on Mantle titles. Interestingly, Star Swarm tech demo received a very impressive 60% performance boost and now runs very well on Nvidia cards. It is good to have a healthy competition.

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