With the highly anticipated The Witcher 3 being released today, NVIDIA has pushed out their requisite launch day Game Ready driver for the game with the release of driver version 352.86.

As is typical for a Game Ready driver, the focus on this driver is enabling SLI and GeForce Experience support for The Witcher 3, which along with its high profile nature is also one of the games in NVIDIA’s latest game bundle. Along with The Witcher, this driver also includes profile updates and bug fixes for a handful of other games, including Civilization: Beyond Earth and Magicka 2.

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that this marks the first Windows 7/8 (WDDM 1.x) release of a R352 branch driver. NVIDIA’s previous release for Grand Theft Auto V was from the R349 branch, and in fact this new branch comes barely a month after the introduction of the R349 branch. Unfortunately at this time beyond the handful of bug fixes and new profiles we don’t know whether R352 includes any major updates, as NVIDIA's release notes don't mention much else for this release. New branches typically contain more significant feature and performance enhancements, so there may be a surprise or two in here. At any rate what we do know is that NVIDIA has yet to merge their Win7/8 and Win10 drivers at this time, so this release only contains support for Microsoft’s current OSes, while the in-development Windows 10 continues to receive its own driver updates.

As usual, you can grab the drivers for all current desktop and mobile NVIDIA GPUs over at NVIDIA’s driver download page.

Source: NVIDIA (via SH SOTN)

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  • imaheadcase - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Mm contains a new PhysX driver as well, that is a first time in a long time for a update to that.
  • fthf - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Shouldn't the drivers be always as optimized and bugles as possible for a given moment. I mean doesn't releasing this new version of drivers, for almost every popular title, indicates that code wise and optimization-wise drivers are in some kind of mess ?
  • chizow - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    No, this is just a fundamental trade-off for abstracted hardware because your generic compatibility driver is always going to be the most verbose and inefficient to help ensure compatibility among multiple ASICs and architectures. In a worst case scenario, the compatibility driver has rendering errors that show up as anomalies or artifacts.

    However, drivers can be tuned for specific code so if one piece of hardware can come to the same result in fewer instructions compared to another piece of hardware, those types of deviations need to be profiled and included as driver optimizations.

    We're actually going to be seeing a lot more of this with DX12, as drivers can be even more explicit and expose the capabilities of different target hardware, which puts even more burden on the IHVs to support their hardware in a timely manner.
  • close - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    They'll probably split the driver into more branches dedicated to certain series of GPUs instead of a single driver that covers the last 3 series.
  • chizow - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Exactly, that's what makes something like GeForce Experience even more important (compared to Windows Update that lags and will be similar to compatibility driver), as you can get drivers specific to your GPU in a more timely manner.
  • MrSpadge - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Windows update gives you the same WHQL drivers as nVidias, just a bit later. They're not any more or less compatible, just maybe tested better.
  • chizow - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    No, the point is you'd get Betas and even specific arch updates through GE while Windows Update might stick to the generic WHQL compatibility driver. There's even been times WU doesn't have the latest WHQL for whatever reason.
  • MrSpadge - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    The "unified drivers" already contain seperate optimizations and code paths for different chip architectures. They're only unified from the end user perspective and do all the house-keeping internally - and it would be dumb to deviate from this.
  • chizow - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Yes that is the case now, but the point is that might become an untenable situation in the future as DX12 will put even more emphasis on IHVs to be more explicit with their drivers for target hardware, meaning you could have even more driver-level extensions to expose capabilities in DX12. Nvidia (and AMD drivers) are already in the 300MB range, if you keep growing that you can see it might make more sense to split them up at some point for specific ASICs or uArchs. We'll see.
  • coburn_c - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    The words make it sound like you understand what you're talking about, but you pretty clearly haven't a clue. Please shut up.

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