(Pocket-lint) – PC games rely heavily on the graphics drivers that support them. GPU drivers can make or break a game launch and so Nvidia takes these things seriously.
Naturally, the perceived quality of a graphics card is heavily influenced by the drivers that support it. The hardware can be incredibly well crafted but if the drivers cause constant crashes, dreaded blue screen errors, game stutters, lag or worse then everyone suffers.
Why good drivers matter
This is why Nvidia takes drivers so seriously.
Especially when the company is keen to push the possibility of gaming at 8K 60Hz with HDR turned on. Those bold claims were made for the GeForce RTX 3090 and RTX 3090 Ti graphics cards and no surprise considering the sheer power of these GPUs but it could still falter with a bad driver.
Nvidia, therefore, puts a lot of weight on thoroughly testing drivers before launch. The company knows there is a vast amount of gaming PCs out there with all sorts of configurations. Therefore getting the drivers to be as robust as possible requires a lot of testing.
1.8 million hours of testing
As part of Nvidia’s Game Ready Driver program, the company puts a heavy focus on extensive testing across thousands of possible hardware configurations. This testing is designed to ensure that every gamer gets the best possible performance and has a reliable system too.
Nvidia says that it carries out 1,000 reliability tests a day. That’s equivalent to 1.8 million hours of testing per year which is equivalent to 214 years worth of thorough testing. Nvidia employs a complicated testing matrix which tests with over 4,500 different PC configurations including various graphics cards, CPUs, RAM and more. Even going as far as to test hardware that dates back to 2012.
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It’s this pride in getting things right that explains why Nvidia doesn’t release beta drivers. It’s also why Nvidia works to submit each driver to Microsoft’s rigorous Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) testing procedures.
Lines and lines of code
Game Ready Drivers are serious business. You might not have given it much thought when you were last busy playing your favorite game, but there are over 25 million lines of code in each Game Ready Driver you download. Nvidia says that’s comparable to the amount of code you’d find in a modern fighter jet.
Drivers also have to be both programmed and tested for each game that’s released. This is why you’ll often find a new driver launched around the same time as a new big title appears. Drivers are tuned to deliver higher frame rates for games, but also to ensure consistent frame rates for a smooth experience.
Nvidia’s drivers also place emphasis on minimising system latency this ensures that your PC and what you see on your gaming monitor respond quickly to your mouse and keyboard inputs.
Nvidia also works closely with game developers to ensure the drivers are ready well before launch and thoroughly tested and optimized. The testing and optimisation then carries on until the game appears as well. With future updates further enhancing performance over time.
This work also means that Nvidia can offer the option to “optimise” a game via GeForce Experience. So with a single click in that software a user can set the game to the best settings for their gaming system.
All this comes with the added bonus of improved performance via DLSS if you need it. So next time you play a game, just remember the amount of work that went into making sure it runs smoothly.
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Writing by Adrian Willings. Editing by Chris Hall.