Later this morning NVIDIA will be releasing the first public beta of their 270 series GeForce drivers. NVIDIA is promising the usual spate of performance improvements that come from a new driver branch; notable improvements include Dragon Age 2 given the game’s poor performance on NVIDIA’s existing drivers, and 3D Vision/3D Vision Surround performance for some games. Of course driver performance gains rarely match what’s advertised, so your mileage may vary.

The more important bit of news coming with the release 270 drivers is that NVIDIA is going to be including a driver update notification service. Currently NVIDIA has a true auto update service for Optimus but nothing for the rest of their drivers; and meanwhile AMD launched their own notification service with the Catalyst 11.4 preview drivers earlier this month.

Unlike the Optimus service – which is a full auto update service – NVIDIA’s GeForce driver update service will be a notification service; driver updates are just a wee bit bigger and are more likely to go wrong than a simple profile update. As with the AMD’s notification service this is going to be enabled by default, as users most likely to encounter problems with out of date drivers are the most likely to pass over the option to enable driver update notifications. Meanwhile for power users the service will also have an option to poll for beta drivers as frequently as once an hour for the truly cutting edge. Notably, NVIDIA is going to be directing users to their download page rather than directly downloading the newest drivers, as they want users to be able to read the release notes first.

As with AMD's notification service we're a bit worried about this becoming another source of update spam for most users, but we'll see how things go. NVIDIA's less frequent WHQL release schedule should result in fewer updates over the period of a year than AMD's schedule, and as a result fewer update notifications. Meanwhile NVIDIA has not announced a release date for WHQL drivers, however we'd expect it to occur in April, meaning both NVIDIA and AMD will begin including update notifications with their public WHQL drivers at approximately the same time.

Update: 270.51 Beta has been posted

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  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Agreed. It may be nice to get this feature as an additional option, but actually I prefer the Windows Update method. And Adobe and Oracle should join that team.

    MrS
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    I like the Chrome style of auto-updating; happens silently in the background, and takes effect when I close my browser. It's seamless.

    It'd be nice if the nVidia drivers would automatically update to the latest stable/beta version (make that an option), and silently update themselves in the background, switching over to the new drivers when the machine is idle (after all, that switch is just a few seconds of display flickering). Since Win7 doesn't require reboots for graphics driver updates anymore, this can work.
    Reply
  • hackztor - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Only problem with that is an update to the browser is a lot less severe than a video driver as video drivers are part of the operating system running. Say it auto updated and you now bluescreened. Thhttp://www.anandtech.com/show/4252/nvidia-adds-dri... would suck as you would never know it auto updated. Now giving the option to do this but not enabling is prob the better way to go. Reply
  • hackztor - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Only problem with that is an update to the browser is a lot less severe than a video driver as video drivers are part of the operating system running. Say it auto updated and you now bluescreened. This would suck as you would never know it auto updated. Now giving the option to do this but not enabling is prob the better way to go. Reply
  • Araemo - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Even 'stable' video card drivers can have horrible bugs that may not be discovered immediately. ATI had one recently, if I recall, but they're hardly alone in that. By waiting after the initial release, you may at least hear about it if it's a big problem, or the drivers may be pulled if it's a big enough problem. Reply
  • Natfly - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Let's hope that they are improving their drive QA process along side this so we don't have any more card bricking drivers that would now be pushed to everyone, a la http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Nvidia-196.75-dri... Reply
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Who the fuck saves an image like the first as a JPEG for a start, when it's text heavy... and THEN saves it as a PNG? Jesus Christ. Reply
  • war59312 - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Yea! WTF dude! ;) Reply
  • silverblue - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    But it's not text-heavy; it's mainly graphical. That said, I'm not sure about converting it to PNG thereafter.

    The second image makes a whole load more sense due to its uniformity and the comparative lack of colour.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Do these still require the whole uninstall the old driver/reboot/install new driver/reboot dance? As I don't game I rarely update video drivers even when I know they are available as it is such an annoyance to go through all that. I only update if a problem actually comes up (rare) or if some new feature is added such as Flash acceleration. Reply

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