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NVIDIA Puts Its (New) Cards on the Table

NVIDIA ForceWare V52.16, Continued

With the new drivers, NVIDIA took the opportunity to reiterate the importance of their self-imposed optimization rules. The aim is to prevent any questionable optimizations from finding their way into future driver releases. These new guidelines are now a central part of NVIDIA's driver development process.

These are NVIDIA's optimization guidelines for driver developers:

  • An optimization must produce the correct image
  • Compare against refrast, competitor and unoptimized versionsDVS automatically verifies image quality
  • An optimization must accelerate more than just a benchmark
  • Is it general enough to help more than a single app? If so, can you point one out?Algorithm must not be reducible toBenchmark = trueIf (benchmark) do_one_thing(); else do_something_else();
  • An optimization must not contain pre-computed state
  • Like pre-computed geometry, cached textures, movie playback, etc.Must not relay on particular order of state that is particular to a single application.

So far, this kind of self-imposed discipline in the form of rules and mechanisms are unique within the industry. This is a very brave step, in our opinion, as some of the results obtained with the new drivers are lower than those of previous versions. Then again, if the lower performance brings with it an increase in image quality, that seems like a fair bargain. Hopefully, other chipmakers will follow NVIDIA's lead.