Faster GeForce drivers, GeForce Experience 2.0 software coming today


— 8:00 AM on April 7, 2014

Today's going to be a big day for GeForce users. Any minute now, the company will release a new beta GeForce driver chock-full of performance improvements. We'll also be seeing version 2.0 of the GeForce Experience software, which will introduce full-desktop video capture, custom video encoding options, and new goodies for notebook users.

Let's start with the 337.50 beta driver. That update will include the latest of Nvidia's ongoing DirectX 11 optimizations, which center on CPU overhead reductions, multi-core scaling improvements, and stutter reduction via shader caching. Nvidia claims to have "dramatically enhanced" the efficiency of its DirectX 11 driver, and it says the 337.50 betas will usher in performance gains of up to 64% for single GPUs and 71% for SLI multi-GPU configs. (Those gains should mainly apply to non-GPU-limited scenarios, since the efficiency improvements are largely about CPU overhead.) The PowerPoint slide above, which is from Nvidia's presentation, outlines purported gains for a GeForce GTX 780 Ti SLI config paired with a Core i7-3960K processor. However, Nvidia stresses that the performance improvements from this driver release are "not relegated to the high end." Users can expect "overall goodness across the board," the firm says.

Meanwhile, version 2.0 of Nvidia's GeForce Experience software will add the features that were announced alongside the GeForce 800M series last month: ShadowPlay and GameStream support for notebooks, plus Battery Boost, which can increase gaming battery life by adjusting detail settings and capping in-game frame rates.

Also included will be a full-desktop capture mode for ShadowPlay. This mode will allow users to stream their entire Windows desktops, including borderless windowed games (such as League of Legends) and OpenGL titles (like Minecraft). Because this capture mode was "technically quite challenging" to implement, Nvidia plans to offer it only for desktop GPUs at first. However, the company says, "[We] will be bringing this to notebooks as soon as we can."

GeForce Experience 2.0 will also introduce new encoding settings. Users will have the option to set a custom output resolution, bit rate, and frame rate. Streaming video to Twitch.tv at up to 720p with a 60FPS frame rate will be possible. On top of that, streaming will automatically pause when the user alt-tabs out of a game, and it will resume, also automatically, when the user alt-tabs back. The GeForce Experience software will even be able to name streams automatically based on game titles.

Finally, GeForce Experience 2.0 will let owners of Shield handhelds use GameStream remotely from outside their homes. This beta feature has been in the works for the "past couple of months," Nvidia says, and it will let a user wake up his home PC, log in, and stream games from that system, all from a remote location. The only catch, apparently, is that you'll need a "fairly robust" Internet connection. Nvidia recommends 5Mbps of upstream and downstream bandwidth.

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