With the "official" release of Windows 7 RC to the MSDN and TechNet subscribers today along with the public release scheduled for May 5th, NVIDIA released beta GPU driver set 185.81 today. The 32-bit driver set is available here and the 64-bit release is located here. Our first results this morning indicate this driver set is much more polished than the 181.71 release, along with several improvements in gaming performance and platform stability. NVIDIA also released the 185.81 driver set for the Vista and XP operating systems.

The release notes are listed below:

This is a beta driver supporting GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9, 100, and 200-series desktop GPUs. This driver package installs WDDM v1.1 for GeForce 8, 9, and 200-series (DirectX 10) GPUs and WDDM v1.0 for GeForce 6 and 7-series (DirectX 9) GPUs.

This driver supports all of the new Windows 7 GPU-accelerated DirectX APIs: DirectX Compute, Direct2D, DirectWrite, and DXVA-HD.

New in Release 185.81:

  • Adds support for the new GeForce GTX 275 GPU.
  • Adds support for Ambient Occlusion – the newest NVIDIA Control Panel feature to offer enhanced 3D gaming realism exclusively to GeForce GPUs.
  • Adds support for CUDA 2.2 for improved performance in GPU Computing applications. See CUDA for more details.
  • Expands GPU hardware acceleration for the NVIDIA Video Encoding library to GPUs with less than 32 cores. Applications using this library include CyberLink PowerDirector 7, Nero Move it 1.5, Loilo SuperLoiloScope MARS, and CyberLink MediaShow Espresso.
  • Accelerates performance in several 3D applications. The following are examples of improvements measured with Release 185 drivers vs. Release 181 drivers (results will vary depending on your GPU, system configuration, and game settings):
    • Up to 25% performance increase in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
    • Up to 22% performance increase in Crysis: Warhead with antialiasing enabled
    • Up to 11% performance increase in Fallout 3 with antialiasing enabled
    • Up to 14% performance increase in Far Cry 2
    • Up to 30% performance increase in Half-Life 2 engine games with 3-way and 4-way SLI
    • Up to 45% performance increase in Mirror’s Edge with antialiasing enabled

  • Automatically installs the new PhysX System Software version 9.09.0408.
  • Supports GeForce Plus Power Pack #3. Download these FREE PhysX and CUDA applications now!
  • Numerous bug fixes. Refer to the release documentation notes.
  • Users without US English operating systems can select their language and download the International driver here.

Existing Support:

  • Supports single GPU and NVIDIA SLI technology on DirectX 9, DirectX 10, and OpenGL, including 3-way SLI, Quad SLI, and SLI support on SLI-certified Intel X58-based motherboards.
  • Includes full support for OpenGL 3.0.
  • Supports NVIDIA PhysX acceleration on a dedicated GeForce graphics card. Use one card for graphics and dedicate a different card for PhysX processing for game-changing physical effects. Learn more here. Note: GPU PhysX is supported on all GeForce 8-series, 9-series and 200-series GPUs with a minimum of 256MB dedicated graphics memory.
  • Supports GPU overclocking and temperature monitoring by installing NVIDIA System Tools software.
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  • theslug - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    I would like to see them fix the fixed aspect ratio bug. (where older games without resolution settings get stretched out, even when fixed aspect ratio is selected in the nvidia control panel)
    Reply
  • tester3000 - Tuesday, May 5, 2009 - link

    New driver just make me excited LOL :P Reply
  • r28666 - Monday, May 4, 2009 - link

    I had 2 monitors of different resolutions. They both works fine with 182.50 drivers.

    Update to the latest one (beta for Vista x64) and it went all wrong.
    When SLI is enabled, the driver changed the primary display to the other monitor but using the same resolution of the orignal primary monitor (it seems); also the screen went completely black, just the mouse cursor showing.

    In the end, I had to boot in safe mode and rollback to the older driver.

    Nice one NVidia, breaking something that worked before (again?).

    Reply
  • nubie - Friday, May 1, 2009 - link

    "Supports GPU overclocking and temperature monitoring by installing NVIDIA System Tools software"

    Shouldn't that read: "has support in the driver for simple overclocking and monitoring, but due to a logic malfunction you cannot access it. You must download a 90 megabyte package to control 2 sliders and see a temperature readout"

    Sedonadisable people, sedonadisable.
    Reply
  • coreyb - Friday, May 1, 2009 - link

    what are you guys whining about? I'm running win7 already and playing all my games without problems. Things are looking VERY good for the windows 7 release. Reply
  • Griswold - Saturday, May 2, 2009 - link

    Read it, numbnuts? Reply
  • VaultDweller - Thursday, April 30, 2009 - link

    This driver supports all of the new Windows 7 GPU-accelerated DirectX APIs: DirectX Compute

    Wait, what? Isn't that a feature for DirectX 11 cards?
    Reply
  • ieskorp - Thursday, April 30, 2009 - link

    DX11 is included with Windows 7 Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Thursday, April 30, 2009 - link

    I believe DX11 Compute Shaders will include profiles to support older GPUs, namely CS4.0 for DX10 GPUs, CS4.1 for DX10.1 GPUs, and CS5.0 for DX11 GPUs. I'm not sure of the limitations of the older profiles compared to DX11 GPUs which would presumably be designed with the full Compute Shader spec in mind. Reply
  • Ogdin - Thursday, April 30, 2009 - link

    Hopefully they have some stable working drivers by launch time.There vista support for the first 6 months was just terrible. Reply

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