It’s no exaggeration to say that the quality of a graphics card comes down to the quality of its driver. You could have a card that can play Cyberpunk 2077 at 8K 144Hz with full ray tracing, but it wouldn’t mean anything if you get constant stutters, glitches, or corrupted images. With that in mind, Nvidia has released a video that provides a glimpse into what goes into driver development.
The video was posted on the Nvidia YouTube channel (via Sweclockers). Its launch marks seven years since it started its Game Ready Driver program.
One of the enlightening sections of the video talks about how much work it takes to test and verify. Nvidia spent up to 1.8 million hours of testing in 2021 and runs up to 1,000 tests per day on a wide range of different hardware configurations.
Nvidia talked about how it doesn’t release beta drivers (which wasn’t always the case), while taking a swipe at rival AMD at the same time. “Because the Game Ready Driver Program and our promise of quality depend on all this work, we don’t release sub-average beta drivers with minimal testing, let alone multiple bifurcated conflicting beta drivers from different development industries that support different games and products, which confuses the clients.”
PC drivers and graphics card drivers in particular are incredibly advanced pieces of software. Unlike a console, which is a closed system, PC graphics cards must work on numerous combinations of hardware, with different operating systems and software installations as well. Also, each game requires its own optimizations.
Nvidia says its latest drivers contain over 25 million lines of code, which is apparently similar to the amount of code in a modern fighter’s flight systems.
Without proper testing, a player will experience loss of performance or consistency, latency spikes, crashes, or crashes that can ruin the experience. The Game Ready program is designed to deliver stability and performance on day one. There’s nothing worse than having to wait for a driver update to fix a known bug.
Nvidia (and AMD as well) deserve credit for the amount of work required to produce a good quality graphics driver. The internet has a long memory and if a new AAA game or graphics card is released, the PR reaction can be immense if the driver is underwhelming. Is this a contributing factor to the Intel’s Arc delayed release cards? Such a major launch requires a polished driver from day one.
1.8 million hours is a lot of testing. If your dream is to play games all day and get paid for it, Nvidia seems like a good place to work. Second only to PC Gamer, of course!