Nvidia to switch to monthly driver update schedule

The fact that Nvidia is a little behind with its Windows Vista support is no secret: the company's latest Vista ForceWare drivers, which came out one day after Vista's retail release, are still in beta. Those drivers lack support for SLI GeForce 6 and GeForce 7 setups in addition to a number of other features, and some users have been upset enough to consider filing a class action lawsuit over the issue.

The folks at PC Perspective have had a little chat with Nvidia's Software Engineering VP Dwight Diercks about the subject, and some interesting information has come to light regarding Nvidia's plans. First, Diercks partly explains Nvidia's lateness by saying the company must essentially write six separate driver components for Vista (SLI and non-SLI flavors for DirectX 9, DirectX 10, and OpenGL), while it needs to write only two for Windows XP (DirectX and OpenGL). Each Vista driver supposedly contains 20 million lines of code, as well—roughly the same number as the entire Windows NT 4.0 operating system.

More importantly, Diercks outlines Nvidia's plans to bring its Vista drivers up to speed. He says new ForceWare drivers will now come out every month—a similar release schedule to that of AMD's Catalyst drivers—and that a WHQL-certified ForceWare release will be out this month. Nvidia plans to release another update in March with GeForce 7 SLI capabilities and better TV output support. Another update will come out in April with support for DirectX 10 SLI and H.264 video acceleration. Diercks adds that driver updates could come at an even greater frequency if major bugs are found between releases.

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