NVIDIA's 'Leakage Policy'
Many of you might now be asking, "What on Earth is Tom's problem? I've just downloaded driver rev. 12.10!" Yes, indeed! We are not stuck with 'old chum 6.50', because it's extremely simple to find NVIDIA's latest 'leaked' driver in numerous places on the web. However, those drivers come without NVIDIA's official blessing and carry the well known tag 'Unsupported' with the usual comment 'use those drivers at your own risk!' The result is that tech-savvy end users, who want their NVIDIA graphics card to perform on the cutting edge, with the latest features and highest performance are simply left without any support. The only alternative is to wait until your graphics card vendor, like e.g. Elsa, Creative Labs, Asus, MSI, Leadtek or Guillemot, incorporate NVIDIA's latest reference driver version into its next official driver release. The rule of thumb is that those official card vendor drivers are typically some hefty 5-10 reference driver releases behind NVIDIA, which is hardly very satisfying to the performance freaks amongst us.
If you ask NVIDIA about 'leaked' drivers, officials are usually getting kind of tight. A typical example is the 'prelude' to this article. NVIDIA was aware of my work for this driver review and I was asked which 'new driver' I was actually testing. When I answered back that I am testing driver revision 12.10, the reply was "Why didn't you ask us for the official driver to use instead of some "hack" from the Internet?" It seems crystal clear that NVIDIA does not appreciate the leakage of drivers, at least from an official point of view. Here are two official statements to this issue.
On the leaks, it is a major issue for us. We absolutely don't do it on purpose. We have not figured out how to contain it. It is a big problem because the interim releases cause support problems for us. They have not gone through the QA process and usually have known bugs. Further, they are usually at interim stages of tuning so having them hit the websites doesn't allow us to have that big bang of performance increase. Its much more exciting and easier to manage for us to have a large increase versus several small increases.
We are putting in place several security measures to try and contain the problem and plan to put in place serious repercussions for those that violate our non-disclosures.