By Andrew Burnes
The new NVIDIA GeForce 295.73 WHQL drivers are now available to download. Recommended for all GeForce users, these drivers include the numerous game-changing, NVIDIA-exclusive improvements that have been introduced with our recent betas, plus a few other treats too.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Bethesda Softworks’ role-playing action game is Steam’s fastest selling and the most popular game ever, boasting a record-breaking concurrent user count that bested even Valve’s venerable titles. With PC players spending an incredible 75 hours in the world of Skyrim, on average, we’ve worked hard to enhance the experience for our users.
In December, the 290.53 beta driver introduced our first performance optimizations, helping improve frame rates by about 19% in Skyrim’s many shadowy dungeons, and 2.8% in its wide-open outdoor environments. For 295.73 we’ve delved back into our driver’s code and coaxed out even more performance, which should be especially helpful for GeForce GTX 560 and 560 Ti users who wish to increase the game’s graphics settings, make use of Bethesda’s high resolution texture pack, and install user-made mods from the Skyrim Workshop.
n November, we released the 290.36 beta driver, boasting exclusive GeForce-only Ambient Occlusion support, enhancing the shadowing of Skyrim’s immersive world. Users loved the addition, and following feedback we revamped the implementation in 290.53 beta, reducing the frame rate impact and improving the fidelity of the new shadows. With release 295.73, these enhancements are now brought to an official WHQL driver.
To enable this must-have effect open your NVIDIA Control Panel, either via the desktop or the tray icon, and follow the steps below:
- Browse to ‘Manage 3D Settings’ and select ‘Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim‘ in the drop-down. If you can’t see it in the list, untick the ‘Show only programs found on this computer’ box and try again.
- Set the ‘Ambient Occlusion’ option to Performance or Quality.
- Click the Apply button.
And finally, for 3D Vision users there’s a new 3D crosshair that better matches the game’s default 2D crosshair, helping improve the 3D Vision experience. To enable it, use the Ctrl+F12 3D crosshair shortcut in-game, and then disable Skyrim’s 2D crosshair in the Settings menu.
Diablo III Beta
If you’re one of the lucky hundred thousand players currently enjoying the Diablo III beta you’ll be pleased to hear that your GeForce graphics card can now be leveraged to add the same immersive Ambient Occlusion shadowing to Blizzard’s role-playing action game, as shown in the comparison image below.
To enable Ambient Occlusion in the beta, open the NVIDIA Control Panel, browse to ‘Manage 3D Settings,’ locate the Diablo III profile in the list, and select one of the Ambient Occlusion quality settings before clicking ‘Apply’.
Mass Effect 3
The Mass Effect 3 demo made a big splash last week, arriving with a lengthy slice of single-player action and an extremely addictive multiplayer mode that’s been sampled by over 250,000 PC gamers to date.
Our release-day article revealed that the demo performs exceptionally well even on prior generation single-GPU solutions, and now, with the release of the 295.73 WHQL driver, the demo can make full use of SLI setups also, offering up to twice the performance.