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Nvidia RC2 driver speeds here, slows there

Fifth INQpression Vista RC 2 gaming with Nvidia RC2 driver
Thu Oct 19 2006, 18:04
SHORTLY after we posted the first review of Nvidia under Vista a new driver came out Luckily the performance is better now, but not always, as the new driver has some new ghosts.

Yet again we tested the driver under Windows Vista RC2 32-bit edition build 5744. Nvidia had a dribbly dream about this one and we saw that it improved some scores, along with the new glitches.

alt='nvista'
Control panel remains the same, still confusing

We again used the same card, a Leadtek Geforce 7950 GT. We used Nvidia's latest RC 2 driver downloaded from its site. We wrote about that one here. We tested the same games, benchmarks under Windows XP and Windows Vista with the latest drivers and this is what we figured out.

Benchmarketing
We used :
Foxconn C51XE M2aa Nforce 590 SLI motherboard
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Athlon FX 62 2800 MHz 90 nanometre Windsor core
2x1024 MB DDR2 Corsair CM2X1024-6400C3 memory
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500GB SATA II NCQ hard drive
Thermaltake Mini Typhoon Athlon 64/X2/FX cooler and Intel CPU's
OCZ GameXStream / 700W / SLI-Ready / Active PFC power supply

Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
3DMark 03
Game2
Game3
Game3
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
20435
161.9
135.1
117.7
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
17929
151.2
124.6
95.5
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
18382
153.8
126.9
97.5
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Vertex Shader
Pixel Shader 2.0
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
4810.7
12694.9
55.4
259.2
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
4762.1
12355.2
51.6
227.4
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
4800.7
12579.1
52.2
232.0
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 06
3DMark 06
? ?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
5386
? ? ?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
5145
? ? ?
Albatron 7950GT 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
4954
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
SM2.0 Test
Score
GT1
GT2


Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
2181
17.517
18.836
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
2116
17.161
18.108
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
2105
17.133
17.946
? ? ? ? ?
HDR/SM3.0 Test
Score
HDR1
HDR2


Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
2150
19.174
23.822
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
2008
17.875
22.288
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
1839
17.490
19.289
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
Score
CPU1
CPU2


Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
2094
0.669
1.048
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
2035
0.643
1.031
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
2040
0.646
1.030
? ? ? ? ?
Doom 3
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
129.0
124.2
110.0
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
119.9
110.9
101.2
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
123.2
114.5
99.2
?
? ? ? ? ?
Doom 3 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
115.4
88.1
65.7
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
106.3
81.2
61.3
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
100.7
77.1
59.3
?
? ? ? ? ?
Quake 4
OK 1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz
171.5
163.6
152.0
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
144.5
125.9
121.0
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
97.9
94.9
70.7
?
? ? ? ? ?
Quake 4 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
145.5
138.8
111.4
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
124.6
114.3
71.8
?
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
116.0
111.4
99.9
?
? ? ? ? ?
Serious Sam 2
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
76.13
57.40
41.51
28.10
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
65.80
64.07
5 9.06
43.13
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
72.13
71.63
70.46
55.73
? ? ? ? ?
Serious Sam 2 FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
64.93
48.00
34.00
22.67
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
63.50
57.71
49.62
34.11
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
68.16
65.63
49.66
46.83
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
2048x1536
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
123
95
68
46
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
113
86
61
40
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
118
93
66
43
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
2048x1536
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Win XP
81
59
40
27
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista
59
41
28
12
Leadtek WinFast PX7950GT TDH 550/1400 MHz Vista new driver
79
56
39
22

Nvidia's new driver scores 400 marks more in 3Dmark03. Windows XP is still the fastest choice and again wins by 2000+ marks. The new driver still lags in performance compared with the Windows XP. ATI's new Vista driver is much closer to its XP performance.

alt='3dmg'
3Dmark06 glitch captured

The driver sets back the 3Dmark06 scores, however, and even renders incorrectly. Nvidia now scores 200 marks fewer than with the previous RC1 drivers and sinks to almost 400 marks down on Windows XP. Shader model 2.0 tests are slightly slower than with RC1 driver but the HDR and Shader model 3.0 tests suffer a lot. They score almost 200 marks fewer and cause the total score performance drop. The CPU runs slightly faster with a new driver.

Doom 3 performance increases from two to four frames with new RC2 driver, and with FSAA and Aniso off it can get even six frames faster.

We ran quake 4 scores at least dozen times as we could not believe our eyes. Nvidia's new driver drops the Quake 4 performance by as much as forty five frames. Nvidia is now almost half the speed of the RC1 driver. A real shocker. The same card runs seventy five percent faster in Windows XP. There is something seriously wrong with the OpenGL but how come Doom 3 scored that well? We are puzzled. Quake 4 4X FSAA and 8X Aniso is slower at 10x7 by seven+ frames, only three at 12x10 and runs significantly faster twenty eight frames or, forty percent faster than RC1 driver.

Serious Sam 2 runs even faster with the new driver. It beats the XP driver and runs almost twice as fast. This is really a puzzle for us too and Croteam still haven't got back to us on that.

It is even faster in Serious Sam 2 4X FSAA and 16X Aniso and at 20x15 runs 106 per cent faster. This is really a wonderful surprise but we would like to know why but Nvidia is still tight lipped, they don't like to talk to us these days.

The new driver increases the performance in FEAR. RC2 driver runs three to seven frames faster or seven and a half per cent faster than RC1 and just two to five frames slower than the XP one. FEAR 4X FSAA and 16X Anisotropic really benefits from a new driver and gets up to twenty frames or thirty four per cent boost. At 20x15 it is eighty three percent faster than the previous driver but still five frames or twenty three percent slower than the XP one.

In Short
The new driver leaves us puzzled. Doom 3, 3Dmark03 and Fear and certainly Serious Sam 2 benefits a lot from the new driver. But 3Dmark06 scores slightly slower and Quake 4 performs catastrophically slower. 3Dmark06 also has some rendering glitches on some tests. It is a step forward in four from six games and applications that we tested but it will have to be better than that.

There is not much time to get things right as the RTM version is expected any day now, it is scheduled for November and we are just ten days away from teh beginning of that month. We will keep our eyes for any change with drivers and performance. We want to know as well. ?

Reviewed and tested by Sanjin Rados and Fuad Abazovic

See Also
Windows Vista RC1 gives great gaming experience
Vista RC 2 gaming with Nvidia not there yet
ATI X1950 XTX works well in DirectX under Vista

 

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