NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience 2.0, R337 Driver Bring Major Improvements and Features
Posted on April 7, 2014 9:00 AM by Rob Williams
NVIDIA launched its GeForce Experience app last May, and at the time, I wasn’t too sure of what it’d become. From the get-go, it boasted the ability to optimize your games with ease, but past that, I am not sure I realized that NVIDIA would keep piling new features on. Fortunately, it did. ShadowPlay, GameStream, and Twitch.tv broadcasting are all fantastic features, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
With 2.0, released today, NVIDIA’s bringing ShadowPlay and GameStream support to notebooks, as well as enabling the Battery Boost feature we talked about last month. At the same time, the company’s also adding yet another feature: Desktop Capture. As it sounds, you’ll be able to record your entire desktop session (cropping will be available in time) – a feature I’m personally quite excited about (especially since Fraps loses that ability Windows 8).
GeForce Experience 2.0 is the first release that enables outside-of-the-house GameStream support. This will allow you to stream a game running at home to your SHIELD, wherever you may be. NVIDIA recommends an upload speed of 5Mbps at the source, although that sounds a little excessive to me. As I discovered and talked about in my look at SHIELD, GameStream sends data to the SHIELD at about 10Mbps – a far cry from 50Mbps. Nonetheless, what’s going to be more important than throughput is latency – if you have greater than 50ms ping times to the PC, expect a less-than-stellar experience.
Note: I was incorrect in stating that NVIDIA recommends a 50Mbps upstream; in actuality, the requirement is 5Mbps.
At this point, the feature update I think GeForce Experience is in bad need of is the ability to record a video to greater than 1080p resolution. It’d be great to support multi-monitor resolutions as well, since it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Surround users would like to record their native gameplay. Fortunately, NVIDIA has said that better resolution support is en route.
In addition to all that GE 2.0 brings to the table, the latest GeForce driver, versioned 337.50, brings promises of significant performance upgrades. Hot on the heels of AMD’s Mantle push, NVIDIA has reassured us that DirectX is a great place to be, and that it has enhanced its GPUs’ DirectX performance as time has gone on to such a large degree that gains made possible through Mantle seem insignificant.
As of GeForce 337, NVIDIA shows that with its DirectX enhancements, performance has been improved by 64% for single GPUs, and 71% for SLI’d GPUs. Considering the fact that these enhancements affect all configurations, whereas Mantle mostly benefits those using modest processors, NVIDIA might have a good point here.
In the chart above, NVIDIA shows that between the two most recent drivers, performance in some titles has been vastly improved. Of course though, gains like these are not totally atypical of AMD’s drivers, but this is NVIDIA’s way of giving AMD’s Mantle a good jab. One thing’s for certain: Gamers are not going to mind performance improvements, regardless of where they come from.
During a recent NVIDIA conference call, the company further jabbed AMD by rubbing it in that its GPUs, dating back to Fermi, are all compatible with the forthcoming DirectX 12, expected to be seen on a released game in a ~year-and-a-half. On an AMD call last week, the company didn’t have much to say about DirectX 12 when asked, stating that it’s too far out to warrant much discussion at this point.
As true as the above numbers might be, I’m still not sure it’s worth putting that much importance on them. DirectX 12 is still a ways off – both AMD and NVIDIA are going to release an entirely new generation of GPUs before it gets here. By the time it does get here, you’d think that some folks would be itching to upgrade, and then, DirectX 12 support would be a non-issue. That’s not to say it won’t affect some, but we’ve traditionally had to upgrade to a new GPU to take advantage of a new DirectX API – so the fact that any GPU supports DX12 ahead-of-time is just icing on the cake. Am I wrong? What do you guys think?
DirectX aside, performance updates in the latest driver are great to see, and so are all of the new capabilities with GeForce Experience 2.0. To grab both, head here.