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Performance Enhancements: Beta Drivers

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 480: Before And After A Year Of Driver Updates

Before we get to the benchmarks, we need to go over beta drivers. Nvidia relies on these much more than AMD, though rushed launches and new games have seen AMD spend more time patching its drivers in between final releases, too. Since the GeForce GTX 480's introduction, eleven drivers have been posted, four of which are beta releases. But as the company states, "beta drivers are provided by Nvidia as preview releases for quick bug fixes and access to new features. Beta drivers are under qualification testing, and may include significant issues."

Driver TypeDate
GeForce/Ion Driver 266.58WHQL1/18/11
GeForce/Ion Driver 266.35Beta1/4/11
GeForce/Ion Driver 260.99WHQL10/25/10
GeForce/Ion Driver 260.89WHQL10/18/10
GeForce/Ion Driver 258.96WHQL7/29/10
GeForce/Ion Driver 258.69Beta6/29/10
GeForce/Ion Driver 257.21WHQL6/15/10
GeForce/Ion Driver 257.15Beta5/24/10
GeForce Driver 197.75WHQL5/10/10
GeForce Driver 197.75Beta5/3/10
GeForce Driver 197.41WHQL4/9/10

The performance enhancements seen in a beta are rolled into the next qualified driver. As a result, betas don't count toward the total performance you would see over the life of a graphics card.

257.15 beta257.15 beta257.21 WHQL257.21 WHQL

For the purposes of our testing, we are selecting qualified drivers to remain consistent with our earlier look at AMD's driver performance.

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  • -1 Hide
    Yuka , April 7, 2011 4:13 AM
    Heh, now it cooks my steaks 5 secs faster.

    Oh wait... I'm using a GT425M on my notebook... Damn!

  • 1 Hide
    theyohan , April 7, 2011 4:32 AM
    I hear good things about that new Nvidia 270.51 beta driver.
  • 1 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , April 7, 2011 4:50 AM
    Impressive results to say the least... well, except for WOW. That has to be a bit of a disappointment for the people who care about that title. But otherwise quite remarkable performance optimizations from the driver team.

    I have to agree with the conclusion, due to the recent nature of the Fermi architecture it probably took both Nvidia and developers time to get used to the new hardware. It just wasn't well optimized upon launch. Although I think it's worth noting that it still managed to perform well even on those early drivers.
  • -1 Hide
    ezodagrom , April 7, 2011 4:55 AM
    In the World of Warcraft page instead of saying "Percent Gain from 197.41 to 266.58" it says "Percent Gain from 9.10 to 11.1". ;P
  • 0 Hide
    acku , April 7, 2011 5:02 AM
    In the World of Warcraft page instead of saying "Percent Gain from 197.41 to 266.58" it says "Percent Gain from 9.10 to 11.1". ;P

    Oops! My motto: Pobody's Nerfect. :kaola: 

  • 0 Hide
    cpy , April 7, 2011 5:59 AM
    257.21 looks best for me as wow player and sc2 player :) 
  • 0 Hide
    gofasterstripes , April 7, 2011 9:05 AM
    TBH it looks like good work from the green team. Cool, my 470 is getting bumped for free [and it's already overclocked to 788/1950 :)  ]

    On second thoughts, maybe 'cool' is the wrong word.....
  • 2 Hide
    Mario75 , April 7, 2011 11:17 AM
    andy5174GTX480/470/465.... Fail

    Nope - trolls actually FAIL.Also your "comment" FAIL
  • 0 Hide
    nforce4max , April 7, 2011 12:47 PM
    mayankleoboy1only 465 was fail. just like the 5830.

    Cough 6790
  • 0 Hide
    LATTEH , April 7, 2011 1:50 PM
    aww i wish you guys did a left 4 dead bench.. since the source engine is one of the must played engines!
  • 0 Hide
    vvhocare5 , April 7, 2011 1:52 PM
    hmmm an article about graphics and we dont have someone asking which graphics card is best or which one to buy for their next build??
  • 0 Hide
    srgess , April 7, 2011 1:52 PM
    i have the gtx 480 with gelid cooler and i idle at 36 and load 55 degree and decibel lower then my other pc case fan wich are very silent. it only fail cuz of the original nvidia cooling design, if you had a vapor chamber like the 570 on the gtx480 i bet you its gonna be cooler then 570/580
  • 0 Hide
    grody , April 7, 2011 2:07 PM
    Quite a lengthy article for a card that TH basically told everyone to skip in favor of the 570/580.
  • 0 Hide
    randyzie , April 7, 2011 2:34 PM
    Awh...was hoping the 270 beta would be in here :( 
  • 0 Hide
    dgingeri , April 7, 2011 2:46 PM
    I'm sticking with my 260.99 drivers for my dual GTX 470s. the 266.58 drivers have given me no end of problems, with SLi only being enabled sometimes, while the control panel won't even give me the option to enable it other times. Constant quality issues as well. the 266.58 drivers are horrible. Now I find out the newer drivers drive down my performance on my favorite game. Nvidia is really slacking off on driver quality lately.
  • 1 Hide
    Ogdin , April 7, 2011 4:05 PM
    LATTEHaww i wish you guys did a left 4 dead bench.. since the source engine is one of the must played engines!

    Ya but a 4 slice toaster can run the source engine at over 100 fps no point in using it here.
  • 1 Hide
    travish82 , April 7, 2011 5:31 PM
    Great article, but I have one slight bone to pick. Can you explain why you chose to use the 2500K processor? A year ago, that processor wasn't available, so these charts don't really present a real-world situation. I think it would have made a lot more sense if you had used a processor that was in computers a year ago.
  • 0 Hide
    17seconds , April 7, 2011 5:37 PM
    It seems like it's always a good idea to at least try out new WHQL and beta drivers, since the trend seems to be progressively improved performance overall. This is another area where Nvidia has an advantage in the fact that there are more driver versions available to download, both official and unofficial ones released by board partners.
  • 0 Hide
    dalta centauri , April 7, 2011 6:23 PM
    nforce4maxCough 6790

    6790? If it launched in the replacement of the 5830 it wouldn't have been a fail, or even if they launched around the same time. Overall, it appears the 6790 doesn't have the same issues as the 5830 oriignally had (Or still do).
    So, it's a fail although it's a fail mainly due to it's release date.
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