ForceWare 180 graphics drivers to bring major changes?


— 6:00 AM on August 1, 2008

Nvidia will introduce several major new features in a forthcoming ForceWare 180 driver release, according to a report by GPU Cafe. The driver is apparently code-named "Big Bang II," supposedly in reference to the "Big Bang" driver update that debuted SLI multi-GPU technology.

What's in store for this next driver release? GPU Cafe claims the biggest novelty will be the ability to use graphics cards as dedicated PhysX physics processors. For instance, you might be able to slip a GeForce 9500 GT and a GeForce 9800 GTX into a system and use the former for physics computations only. That sounds a lot like what ATI was doing with Havok FX physics two years ago.

The ForceWare 180 release will reportedly include other goodies like performance optimizations, OpenGL 3.0 support, better multi-monitor support for SLI configs, "GPU transcoding," and DisplayPort compatibility. Those last two items have us scratching our heads a little, since existing drivers should already support CUDA video transcoding apps, and we tested a GeForce 9600 GT with a DisplayPort connector way back in February.

If GPU Cafe has its facts straight, you can expect to see the ForceWare 180 release pop onto Nvidia's site some time in September. (Thanks to VR-Zone for the tip.)

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