Nvidia Corp., a leading supplier of graphics processing units (GPUs), plans to ensure maximum performance of discrete graphics processors for notebooks by unifying their drivers with desktop graphics solutions. The decision will ensure up-to-date feature set and optimizations, but may not be the best solution for custom mobile PCs.
For many years notebook manufacturers did not allow graphics hardware vendors to release independent driver updates. Unfortunately, most notebook manufacturers only provided one driver version at launch and never updated them. The reason for that was pretty simple: similar graphics processors inside different notebooks featured different clock-speeds, different cooling sub-systems and manufacturers were reluctant to update them so that not to cause any instabilities. But while the issues were avoided, playing latest video games on mobile computers was hardly possible since all of them required driver tweaks.
In order to ease the situation, Nvidia startied working with top gaming notebook manufacturers and from 2006 to 2008 the company released notebook driver updates for a select group of gaming notebooks. In 2008 the GPU designer announced the Verde driver program for notebook PCs, which offered driver support for all notebook PCs from the low-end to the high-end and supported most notebook manufacturers as well as all of their customizations.
Since sales of notebooks are exceeding shipments of desktops, it is crucial for Nvidia and other designers of graphics chips to ensure maximum quality of experience onto mobile personal computers. As a result, Nvidia announced Tuesday plans to unify driver development for desktops and laptops, which means that owners of mobile computers will get the same experience on their systems on the same day with notebook owners.
“Today, we are excited to announce that going forward each driver release for Windows Vista and Windows 7 desktop PCs will go out with an equivalent Verde notebook driver. These Verde drivers will support all notebook platforms, including Optimus notebooks. The next driver release is coming in May,” said Chris Daniel, a spokesperson for Nvidia.
While the decision to unify drivers for desktop and laptop graphics sub-systems is very logical and is positive for the end-user, there are still a lot of custom notebook designs on the market, for which certain tweaks may cause instabilities. As a result, users of notebooks should still be cautious with updates.