Nvidia launched its latest game driver ready for GeForce graphics cards on Tuesday. We don’t normally cover the hot-and-heavy world of driver graphics releases (just keep them updated, okay?), But this one features a notable milestone: Game Ready Driver 451.48 is fully Directo 12 ultimate compliant, meaning Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20-series graphics is the first hardware to support Microsoft’s next graphics API.
While it’s remarkable, it’s no surprise. Directo 12 Ultimate unifies graphical support across PCs and the upcoming Xbox X Series, rolling in features such as an updated version of Microsoft’s DXR radius plot API, variable rate shadow level 2, mesh shaders, and sample feedback. Most of these technologies appeared first in Nvidia’s “Turing” graphics card — the RTX 20-series and GTX 16-series — but they weren’t seen often in games, as they were limited to Nvidia hardware.
Now that they’re enrolling in the new DX12 Ultimate standard via console and GPU PC looks, expect the features to be more traction. Microsoft calls the unified API “a force multiplier for the entire gaming ecosystem.”
It’s also the justification for Nvidia’s design decision for its latest graphics card architecture. You can learn more at our Turing GPU deep-dive if you’re curious, and more about the specific features of our coverage in the Directo 12 Ultimate ad. They are diligent.
Future AMD Radeon GPUs will no doubt also support DirectX 12 Ultimate, because the company’s RDNA graphics power architecture Xbox One X and the plot rail were confirmed for RDNA2 graphics cards to launch later this year. Offering actual Radeon lacks ray rail capability, however.
Speaking of the latest APIs, Nvidia’s new driver also rolled out full support for Vulkan 1.2.
Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling, new G-sync compatible monitors
This is not all. Nvidia’s latest game drivers also let your existing hardware perform new tricks.
A new hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling feature might be even more exciting at the user level than Directo 12 Ultimate, at least for now. Microsoft has added the feature of Windows 10 2020 Update May (also needed for DX12 Ultimate), and this driver unlocks Nvidia’s support. Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling but VRAM management on the graphics card itself, rather than having Windows handle the reins.
Here’s how Nvidia’s public relations explosion describes its benefits:
“Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling allows GPUs to handle video playback and game computation more efficiently by directly managing its video memory. This new feature can also help improve performance and reduce latency on supported hardware. Hardware scheduling works regardless of the API ( Directo, Vulkan, OpenGL) for a wide variety of applications and games can see a benefit from this new feature, including Movies & TV app, Netflix, and games. “
Given that Nvidia isn’t touting big performance gains, don’t expect it to work some sort of black magic that suddenly overpowers GPU performance. However, it sounds like a solid feature addition.
Search for “Graphics Settings: Changing Default Graphics Settings” in Windows and activating the feature on to enable it, assuming you have already upgraded to the May 2020 Update. do not do that turn it on in Nvidia’s Control Panel.
Changing gears, the new driver also adds automatic support for nine more G-Sync compatible displays, Nvidia’s marketing theme for Adaptive Sync (read: FreeSync) monitors that pass a rigorous Nvidia certification process. The official compatible G-Sync displays automatically have the variable capabilities to be refreshed by the drivers, rather than requiring a Control Panel solution like other FreeSync monitors.
The new driver activates support for the following monitors:
Finally, this driver adds one-click optimization for 12 more games. The optimization tool in GeForce Experience scans your computer hardware and automatically configures a game’s visual options based on their capabilities, though its decisions can be … odd … sometimes. Still, it works well more often than not, and is a valuable tool for those who are not comfortable DIY with esoteric graphic options themselves. Here are the newly supported games:
- Age of Empires III: Complete Collection
- Command & Conquer Remastered Collection
- Tactical gears
- Mafia II: Definitive Edition
- Monster train
- ONE PIECE: PIRATE VIRUS 4
- Wild exterior
- Titan shop
- Streets of Rage 4
- Total tank simulator
If you’re running GeForce Experience, look for the new driver update today; I already see in my system. You can also download the drivers manually Nvidia’s website. Again, while you can download Ready 451.48 game drivers no matter which version of Windows 10 you’re using, the Ultimate DirectX 12 with hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling features requires the Windows 10 May 2020 update to work .