Last Friday ATI updated its Catalyst drivers and this Friday nVidia brings a nice symmetry to events by releasing the latest version 77.76 of ForceWare.
We spoke directly with Adam Foat, nVidia’s Product Manager for Northern Europe, to get the skinny.
TR: To start off, a general question, I am sure we'd all like to know just how much of a challenge is it every month to keep squeezing out extra performance on existing cards?
AF: We don’t have a set policy on when we release drivers. We obviously try and get as much performance out of a product as much as we can, but there are also a lot of other techniques that we apply to the driver.
TR: Do you plan to follow a rigid monthly update schedule for your drivers like the one recently announced by ATI?
AF: No, we will release drivers when they will give an added value to users.
TR: Moving specifically onto 77.76 what features are you most excited about in the new drivers?
AF: These drivers are not here to give big performance gains. The main features of this new driver are to allow SLI for 6600 LE and allow SLI 16X AA.
TR: Isn't it a bit nuts to go to 16x AA? :) Can mere mortals tell the difference compared to 8x?
AF: I think you can, check it out and see how clean and straight edges now look ;)
TR: I see the 6600 LE now supports SLI, do you plan to keep adding older models over time or do you see a specific cut off point at a particular model/series?
AF: We always planned to allow the 6600 and above ranges of products to support SLI, it is not as easy as just turning on an effect in a driver. It needs to work well, and we have now got the driver mature enough to give us the great compatibility, reliability and stability that we strive for.
TR: Final question on the drivers, ATI has completely revamped its whole approach to Catalyst in recent months, can we expect any major changes to ForceWare in the future, or - if not - is there anything you would specifically like to see implemented?
AF: We are continually looking at giving the user the best possible user experience when it comes to the interface of our driver. I think we have led the way and seen other companies try to offer similar experiences. We constantly re-evaluate the look of our driver, who knows what we may bring to the market. :)
TR: Very secretive ;) Ok, on a slightly different note, I've heard some industry rumours that nVidia may be looking to cull the 6800GT as there is simply no margin left on this card. Is there any truth to this?
AF: There is no truth in this what so ever. It is one of our best selling products.
Many thanks to Adam for taking the time to speak with us, you can download the new ForceWare Drivers here. So, the graphics card war rages on, and I don’t think you’ll find a single consumer who isn’t happy about that…