Detonator 4 Improvements?

According to NVIDIA the new Detonator 4 drivers (which support all NVIDIA GPUs as well as the nForce’s integrated GPU) include DirectX and OpenGL pipeline optimizations.  While we couldn’t get much information about the specific optimizations included in the Detonator 4 drivers, we did find out the nature of some of the OpenGL enhancements.

The Detonator 4 drivers include a new OpenGL 1.3 ICD. Here’s what NVIDIA had to say about the driver improvements:

Increased Data Bandwidth

Detonator 4 Software’s new OpenGL ICD optimizes bus data transfers in order to reduce peak saturation of the bus, much like the new DirectX pipeline. 

Parallelized Memory Access

Detonator 4 Software’s new OpenGL ICD is more efficient at helping the GPU and CPU access memory in parallel.  This allows each processor to cache data before it is transferred between system and graphics memory, increasing performance in high resolution antialiasing modes.

Vertex Programs

Vertex programs have been optimized in Detonator 4 Software, yielding performance gains in some applications, and even larger gains in heavily vertex-processing bound applications.  Examples of applications that utilize these features are SPECViewperf, Pro/E, and NVIDIA’s Chameleon demo.

The end result seems to be more efficient usage of memory bandwidth in both OpenGL and Direct3D applications.  The one thing that caught our eyes was the “Parallelized Memory Access” which seemed to be best suited for the parallel memory access that would occur between the CPU and the integrated GPU on a nForce motherboard. 

Another major feature of the new detonator release is improved performance under Windows XP.  For those of you that have had experience with Windows XP you’ll know that the animations and effects can slow down normal OS interaction tremendously.  While we’re still working on XP benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of the new Detonator 4 drivers under Windows XP we can say that the new drivers definitely feel faster under Windows XP.  We’ll provide more performance analysis on that later this week.

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