Last week, we saw a new set of beta drivers come out for GeForce graphics cards. Well, the same 190.38 driver pack has apparently passed through Microsoft's qualification labs, because it's up on Nvidia.com as the latest WHQL release. You can grab it right now for Windows Vista or 7 x86, Windows Vista or 7 x64, Windows XP, and Windows XP x64.
As we already pointed out, these drivers include a new power management scheme for certain GeForce 9 and newer graphics cards. Here's the full description from the official release notes:
Many NVIDIA graphics cards support multiple performance levels so that the PC can save power when full graphics performance is not required. To provide more control over these power management capabilities, NVIDIA has added the Power Management Mode control. The control consists of two settings–Adaptive and Prefer Maximum Performance.
Adaptive: This is the default setting in which the graphics card monitors GPU usage and seamlessly switches between modes based on the performance demands of the application. This allows the GPU to always use the minimum amount of power required to run a given application, and can allow even older 3D games to run in lower power modes if the game does not require full 3D performance. NVIDIA recommends this setting for best overall balance of power and performance.
Prefer Maximum Performance: This setting lets you maintain the card at its maximum performance level when 3D applications are running regardless of GPU usage. This option can be set Globally (for all 3D applications), or an application profile can be created under Program Settings to set the preference for a particular 3D application.
Interesting. Nvidia has also thrown in some CUDA updates, bringing support for 64-bit video encoding and making it so CUDA apps can use all graphics processors in a multi-GPU configuration. Other changes include OpenGL 3.1 support, a reorganized control panel (with TV-specific settings taking residence in the "Display" tree), and support for overlays on two cloned displays.