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Nvidia Big Bang II ForceWare Beta Release

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 11 comments

It’s soon time to upgrade the drivers again! The ForceWare 180 – AKA ‘Big Bang II’ details are coming out now – here is what we’ve got.

The Big Bang II will bring four major changes: performance increases in games, support for multiple displays in SLI multi-GPU mode, ability to dedicate a GPU to PhysX computations, and SLI support for upcoming X58 Intel based boards.

The biggest change is, however, on the multi-monitor side of things – with the added feature of dual-head SLI support. Users no long have to manually disable SLI to stretch their desktop across two or more monitors. Nvidia will be offering three distinct modes:

« In full-screen 3D mode, only the “SLI focus display” will render the game and the secondary will go dark. »

« In windowed mode, you will be able to play a game in a window on both monitors up and running, although Nvidia cautions reduced acceleration in this mode. »

« In the third mode Nvidia will support full-screen SLI gaming across two monitors – in a handful of titles to start with. World in Conflict, Supreme Commander Forged Alliance, and Flight Simulator X. »

Nvidia claims that users will not be able to span most other games across two displays, but they think that is not a big downside at the moment. Not many gamers like having an inch or two of plastic bezel in the middle of their view.

Also, Nvidia mentioned that the ForceWare 180 drivers can also handle up to six monitors on an SLI system – but you will of course, need a third GPU that is not hooked up via SLI to drive more than two displays. As for PhysX, current drivers already support the same feature offered by Big Bang II but utilizing a single GPU for both physics and graphics calculation (Nvidia can also spread calculations across an SLI setup FYI) – but with the new drivers, users can dedicate a graphics card to PhysX processing entirely. You will not require to purchase a second ‘high-end’ card either, a low-end $85 9600GT will apparently prove enough for this scenario.

Nvidia has released a beta version of the 180 series drivers – however, Nvidia cautions that people using these beta drivers do not have access to all the functions and new features as they are not enabled. These beta drivers apparently offer a great deal of performance increase for Far Cry 2.

For the record, AMD/ATI has had a great implementation of multi-monitor support for CrossFire for a while now – Nvidia appears to be coming out of the woodwork and promising the same features. Subsequent releases of the ForceWare 180 series should prove to be interesting.

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  • 3 Hide
    t0rri , October 23, 2008 9:19 PM
    Ati is always ahead of that green giant.
  • -2 Hide
    juvealert , October 23, 2008 9:46 PM

    I agree torri
    but own an 8600 GT
  • 0 Hide
    invisik , October 23, 2008 10:01 PM
    i have 2 gtx260 in sli would an extra 8600 help run the physics??
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , October 23, 2008 10:40 PM
    and i thought, integrated graphics can do phsyx
  • 0 Hide
    computerninja7823 , October 24, 2008 12:15 AM
    so im confused...right now i have one 8800gt, i was planning on buying a second one rather soon acording to what i read if have 2 8800gt's in sli then get a 9500gt or something cheap it can run the phyxs right? or am i lost...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 24, 2008 11:55 AM
    I wanna know if you can have an AMD/ATI card in your system (4870)... and then put in your old nvidia card (8800 gts 640) and dedicate it to physx...

    that would be pretty cool if you could cross chip makers... but i doubt it... b/c nvidia sucks on the software side of things...would be really nice ATM though... because 4000 series owns in performance... but doesn't have the physx support that make some games interesting...
  • 1 Hide
    gwolfman , October 24, 2008 4:18 PM
    Do you have to SLI the two cards if you want one to do solely physX and the other to do solely graphics acceleration? In other words, I have an gtx280 with a P45 motherboard, can I pop my old 8800gt in there and dedicate that to physX or do I have to have an nVidia chipset board?
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , October 25, 2008 11:55 AM
    Sounds like more bloatware drivers from NV. If only they could get their drivers to work correctly without issue. I could care less about SLI, I just want my single 8800GTS to work properly. When an update to drivers make NeverWinter Nights fail with your brand new 8800GTS you know they suck. I'm sorry, but if you're willing to trade stability and applications for a few more FPS in the lastest crap shooter then I'll take the competition's offerings instead.

    One 4870 from ATI trumps most SLI setups, and the 260/280 setups that it doesn't aren't worth putting in SLI. Either before or soon after Xmas something else will be out that will stomp on the SLI of today.

    SLI was a marketing scam from the start and offers little advantage, unless of course you consider a high energy bill from having to cool your computer room even in the winter a benefit. Or if you actually enjoying having to purchase a costly monitor so you don't look like a fool with two cards in your rig.
  • 0 Hide
    bornking , November 10, 2008 9:33 PM
    um excuse me but I had the 4870x2 and COULD NOT USE it on two monitors. I could easily have two monitors enabled, but they were independent so that movies and games would not play on both so the last comment in the article about ati/amd implementing this already is suspicious. They also claim that they do not support this feature with crossfirex.

    I want to know one thing: with this new driver update, can I use an intel based mobo (P5E) with two Nvidia graphics cards? NOT SLI, but one as a physx card.

  • 0 Hide
    bornking , November 10, 2008 9:37 PM
    Oh and JonnyDough you need to relax with badmouthing SLI. It is not a scam when the benchmarks clearly show the user what the benefits/price are. I am not claiming to be a fanboy, or a current user of SLI (before I was with 2 8800gts 320's) but they did work as claimed. I got an average of 50% better FPS.

    Also I use two 24" samsungs, so SLI is the best choice for me If I already did not have a GTX280, but as you can read above the 4870x2 I had and an SLI setup right now will not support two monitors...

    What I am saying is that SLI is for high high resolutions and works SA CLAIMED...dont badmouth it becuase you had a bad experience.

    I also had bad experiences with SLI, but I had good ones too. I had terrible experience with my 4870x2 and the support ati did/did not give me but I have yet to comment on it (I just did...sorry).

    BE NICE.
  • 0 Hide
    bornking , November 10, 2008 9:39 PM
    I meant to say AS CLAIMED, not SA CLAIMED...sorry.