New GeForce drivers (295.73) are out, and they dramatically boost Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 performance.
Specifically, the Skyrim improvements are made to indoor-scene performance, high-resolution texture pack performance and Creation Kit mod performance.
Those with mid-range GTX 560 cards can now properly play Skyrim at 1920x1080, in Ultra Detail and with 16x Anisotropic Filtering.
Before now, indoor scenes at these settings ran at an essentially unplayable 27.6 frames-per-second. With the 295.73 drivers, the same scene runs at 40 frames-per-second.
For SLI GTX 560 cards, performance jumps from just over 50FPS to nearly 80FPS.
GTX 580 performance jumps from ~50FPS to ~70FPS; and SLI GTX 580 performance jumps from ~100FPS to ~120FPS.
In outdoor Skyrim environments, GTX 560 card performance (using the same settings) improves from ~45FPS to ~53FPS.
The other GeForce cards see no change above 60FPS, as performance becomes "CPU-bound".
Also Skyrim-related in 295.73: Ambient Occlusion support is now official, and no longer in beta; and there's a 3D crosshair for 3D Vision users.
The improvements to Mass Effect 3 come from Nvidia enabling SLI set-ups to be fully used.
One GTX 560 card runs the Mass Effect 3 demo (1920x1080) at ~80FPS. SLI GTX 560 cards run the demo at ~150FPS. Up the resolution to 2560x1440, and those numbers are ~40FPS (1 GTX 560) and ~90FPS (SLI GTX 560).
One GTX 570 card runs the Mass Effect 3 demo (1920x1080) at ~100FPS. SLI GTX 570 cards run the demo at ~190FPS. Up the resolution to 2560x1440, and those numbers are ~60FPS (1 GTX 570) and ~110FPS (SLI GTX 570)
To enable SLI, disable Vsync. "A quick and easy tweak," explained Andrew Burnes on the Nvidia blog, "simply open C:\Users\YourUsername\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect 3 Demo\BIOGame\Config\GamerSettings.ini, and add useVsync=False and SmoothFramerate=False to the bottom of the [SystemSettings] section, each on separate lines. Save the file and SLI will now work to its full potential."
Edit the GamerSettings.ini file in the full Mass Effect 3 game - located at C:\Users\YourUsername\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\Config\ - for the same effect.
The Nvidia 295.73 drivers also add Ambient Occlusion shadowing to the Diablo 3 beta and Modern Warfare 3.
Other games that now make use of SLI GeForce graphics cards after applying these drivers include big names like Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, The Darkness 2 and Trine 2.
A bunch of games now have updated 3D Vision profiles, too.
GeForce driver 295.73 also fixes a Battlefield 3 texture corruption problem.
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