Over the last few weeks, NVIDIA has been berated for poor drivers by early Vista adopters because of what many have described as 'unacceptable'. NVIDIA has finally come to set the record straight thanks to PC Perspective
, who managed to sit down with Dwight Diercks, NVIDIA's Vice President of Software Engineering.
Mr. Diercks highlights that with every OS change there is major driver work to be done with many games, but since XP was released NVIDIA has had several iterations of hardware and introduced SLI, as well as the fact that it has to cope with not only Direct X 9 and 10 but also an entirely new driver model.
He says that NVIDIA now has to approach driver development in an entirely different way, and instead of having to develop two driver sets: one for SLI and one for single card they now have to develop six
: One for DX9 single card, one for DX9 SLI, one for DX10 single card, one for DX10 SLI, one for OpenGL single card and one for OpenGL SLI.
Not only has this changed, the driver design has change since Microsoft moved the driver set from the Kernel mode into User mode leaving the system more stable but drivers have be written to navigate from one into the other. Also, with Vista becoming far stricter about what it lets into Kernel mode, the tweaks and hacks traditionally use no longer apply, so it’s a case of finding them all over again.Finally couple in the fact that each
driver is some 20 million lines of code and you can see why this is a task of mind boggling proportions.
However, it’s not like the beta releases of Microsoft’s Vista OS haven’t been around for a while, despite changing quite significantly over the past 6-9 months since the “public” release, this has still given NVIDIA plenty of time to work on them.
There’s even a time line laid out as to when we can expect support and improvement in features for each of the driver types over the next few months. With some of the first Direct X 10 titles being expected in late March and into April, NVIDIA seems to be focusing on this time as a target to get their Direct X 10 hardware working solidly. For those with SLI, you’ll still be out of luck for sometime afterwards though, as single card performance is being concentrated on over that of SLI.
Can you forgive NVIDIA considering the mountain of work it is up against? Or is it a band aid on a compound fracture of “Vista Ready” promises made and broken, considering the consumer release is public and people have invested a lot
of money in their hardware?