Across internet forums like our own, you'll hear folks saying that Nvidia is moving away from the low-margin gaming market toward the professional and HPC market at full steam. It's hard to tell if that's happening, but the company's latest GTC keynote was over two and a half hours of discussion with barely a mention of gaming—despite CEO Jensen Huang stating that "without Quake, Nvidia wouldn't exist." Nvidia's latest driver release adds fuel to that argument, as driver version 419.67 is the first "Creator Ready" release.
Not as exciting as a game screenshot, is it?
Creator Ready drivers are exactly what they sound like: the same thing as a Game Ready driver, just for professional apps. That means that for the first time, we have a driver for GeForce cards which is specifically optimized—"Creator Ready"—for applications like Autodesk Arnold, Unreal Engine 4.22, REDCINE-X PO, Adobe Lightroom, and Substance Designer. Nvidia further says that this driver offers performance gains of 13% in Blender Cycles, 9% in Photoshop and Premiere Pro, and 8% in Cinema 4D, versus the previous driver.
Besides the performance uplift, these drivers also fix some problems with creative applications. Most notably, artifacting in Adobe software should be solved. DaVinci Resolve should run at full speed now, too. Other fixed issues include flickering on secondary displays with GeForce RTX 2070 cards, GPU overheating when using Titan RTX cards with NVLink, cut-off images when recording with ShadowPlay, and slow NVAPI calls on GeForce GTX 980 cards. That last one is interesting, because these drivers don't officially support Maxwell GPUs.
This is Far Cry: New Dawn, not Rage 2. I know.
Nonetheless, we expect these drivers originate from the same codebase as the company's usual releases, and that these fixes could find their way into the next Game Ready driver. After all, the release notes list a number of fixed issues with games. Ghost Recon: Wildlands shouldn't crash when using Ansel anymore. Far Cry: New Dawn shouldn't wreck your desktop brightness when you task switch with HDR enabled. Anti-aliasing should no longer trash your framerate in Total War: Warhammer 2, and screen corruption when changing Apex Legends to full-screen mode on HDR displays should be resolved. Finally, Resolume Arena 6 should run at full-speed on notebook GeForce RTX 2080 cards now.
Known issues still sticking around include crashes when accessing the inventory menu in Ghost Recon: Wildlands, crashing when using Ansel in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and crashing in ARK: Survival Evolved. SLI machines may still suffer game hangs in The Division 2, as well as artifacting in Adobe applications. Nvidia says you can work around the latter by disabling SLI. Also, some multi-display machines may experience "random desktop flicker," so I suppose that I and my four monitors will be staying away from this release.
As I noted above, these drivers don't officially support any GeForce graphics cards that predate the Pascal-based 10-series. Nvidia says on its blog that you can install them on Quadro cards as well, but we're not quite sure why you'd do that as they don't appear to carry the same ISV certifications that the proper Quadro drivers do. We've asked Nvidia about that and will update this post if the company explains.
Update: Nvidia spoke with us and let us know that we were correct in that the Creator Ready drivers are not certified like proper Quadro drivers. However, the company notes that it's possible a fix may find its way into the Creator Ready drivers before a Quadro driver with said fix is available. Nvidia's Sean Kilbride tells us that if they so desire, Quadro users can even install a regular GeForce Game Ready driver, and that GeForce drivers will still provide all of the Quadro features and settings on those boards—aside from the missing ISV certifications.
Nvidia says it will release new Creator Ready drivers with "key creative application updates," and that it will continue to release Game Ready drivers for new PC game releases. GeForce Experience users can use the application to pick whether it will automatically update them to Game Ready drivers, or whether they'll stick to Creator Ready releases only. The rest of us can pick by simply downloading our driver of choice, naturally.
You can head to Nvidia's download site if you want to step over to the Creator Ready branch, but Nvidia itself told us that "gamers should stick with our Game-Ready drivers." If you're keen to create, here's a handy link to the Windows 10 64-bit release, while the release notes are here.