Updated Windows 8-based NVIDIA beta drivers released

Just after the RTM build of Windows 8 became available for some users earlier this month, AMD released their latest graphics drivers for their Radeon chips, which supported the RTM version of Windows 8. By contrast, its main rival in the PC graphics chip business, NVIDIA, has been slower to update their drivers to support the latest version of Windows 8.

Today, the company released new beta drivers (version number 306.02) for its GeForce line of graphics chips. The beta drivers support the 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 8, along with the 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 7 and the 64-bit version of Windows Vista. These beta drivers do not support Windows XP.

The release notes for the 306.02 beta drivers show what has been fixed in terms of Windows 8 since the last driver version, including dealing with a problem that previously caused re-installing the drivers to fail after first uninstalling them. There are still some unresolved issues with both the 32-bit and 64-bit version of Windows 8, including several that are specific to the notebook drivers running with NVIDIA's Optimus feature.

The new beta drivers also support the recently released NVIDIA GeForce GeForce GTX 660 Ti GPU. As with all beta drivers, users should be cautious before downloading them as there will not be any official support for this release from NVIDIA.

Source: NVIDIA | Image via NVIDIA

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From my end, ever since R300 series came out (starting from the 302.80 Driver), gaming performance in Windows 8 suffered a huge regression. That is, starting with the drivers for Windows 8 RP, while for CP, the 295.73 and the 296.17 one worked just excellently!

But not even the R304 and the latest 306.62 remedies this. On the other note, same driver works in quality condition for XP, Vista and 7. But not for 8.

Downloading, no mentions of any performance improvements for Kingdoms of Amalur - which suffers from the occasional frame drop under certain effects conditions.

Shane Nokes said,
Huh...GeForce.com reports them as beta, but nVidia.com reports them as WHQL certified, not beta.

I wonder which one is right...

Ok I see where the confusion on this is...and it's because nVidia.com made some changes in their wording on there

Originally the word beta was not in the release notes on the nVidia.com version (when I found them early this morning), and instead of having the 'Beta' logo as they state their Beta drivers will it says Certified. The problem is they don't have a key for that logo on their site, so I had thought they were updating the WHQL logo to just say Certified instead.

I believe this is a case I think of them wanting to be able to point and say they have a Certified driver on the site, but without claiming it to actually be WHQL certified, which would get them in trouble.

another that is new but not on offcial driver wizard.

Windows 7 not 8 !
This is a WHQL-certified driver for the new GeForce GTX 660 Ti GPU.

Supported Products
GeForce 600 Series
GeForce GTX 660 Ti

and maybe they should close that forum for good LOL

well that sucks.... I sent them log files and everything to document the driver crash under windows 8 with photo gallery and fine-tuning. The new driver still crashes when you edit a photo with fine tuning.

NVIDIA: Oh you have really old ancient GPU. Here is new drivers for Windows 8. Enjoy.
AMD: Oh you have somewhat outdated GPU. Your GPU is old, no support, buy new one. Give us your money.

NVIDIA ARE BROS. ALL AMD NOW CARES ABOUT IS F**KING THEIR USERBASE.

all the people QQ about Nvidia make me sick! I have a 4890HD ATI card.. Its still a powerful card today and beats the crap out of most cards still its not that old at all. And guess what ATI dropped support for it! yes thats right dropped support! At least you guys get drivers even for your old cards. I'm stuck with a £100+ card thats still **** hot and no drivers (well its got default drivers but they are buggy and ****).

Be more thankful I will be moving for Nvidia for my next card thats for sure.

MrAnalysis said,
all the people QQ about Nvidia make me sick! I have a 4890HD ATI card.. Its still a powerful card today and beats the crap out of most cards still its not that old at all. And guess what ATI dropped support for it! yes thats right dropped support! At least you guys get drivers even for your old cards. I'm stuck with a £100+ card thats still **** hot and no drivers (well its got default drivers but they are buggy and ****).

Be more thankful I will be moving for Nvidia for my next card thats for sure.

Sucks man. That's actually why I jumped to nVidia again a few years ago, for that exact reason. :\

JJ_ said,
I think Nvidia and Creative have the same 12 year old writing their drivers

I can't defend either company, but the facts are like this...

Creative's technology was effectively upstaged by high resolution CPU sound processing, this kicked their dedicated DSP technology to the curb, and gave them issues upon issues.

The reason this happened is that MS found that with the XBox 360, Sound could be OS handled on the CPU with better coordination, less latency, and better overall performance, without hitting even a 1/2% in CPU usage. This is why the HD Audio and Windows sound technology moved to replaced existing DSP based technologies, making Creative outdated overnight. Their only foothold in the sound markets now are in digital sound devices and midi/sound processing software. Trying to make their DSP sound devices work on Windows is counterproductive, when it is such a tiny performance difference, and introduces compatibility and latency and also re-sampling quality issues. (Most Creative re-sampling is on par with OS X, which has a HIGH level of distortion compared to Windows 7.)

NVidia's drivers have ran fairly solid, but they also were not happy with the Vista generation of GPU and driver changes, fighting Microsoft along the way. NVidia are the ones that prevented DX10 from getting all the features the XBox 360 DX subset had, and is why DX11 was the first version to equal the XBox 360. (Their hardware was incapable of providing the functionality.)

NVidia had a heck of a time adapting to the WDM/WDDM driver model, and was the biggest 'success' case from Microsoft going to them in June of 07 and literally teaching them how to write the drivers to take advantage of the performance the new driver model offered over XPDM. This is why Sept of 07 is when NVidia was able to produce Vista drivers that were for the first time faster than XP drivers.

Again, part of NVidia's problem was their hardware and not adhering to the Xenos reference design as well as they should have for the Geforce 8xxx series.

ATI also benefited from Microsoft assisting with their driver technology in 2007.

Since that time NVidia has continued to drag their heels when it comes to driver functionality. They didn't have the hardware to support DX10.1, and complained, and even though their Geforce 5xxx,6xxx,7xxx series cards with dedicated shaders were capable of WDM 1.1 drivers, NVidia fought Microsoft on what WDM 1.1 should include and what they would provide, with Microsoft winning the battle and getting WDM 1.1 drivers for most of the older NVidia cards when Win7 shipped. (WDM 1.1 was about more acceleration and better virtualization/scheduling/DMA transfer technologies)


With Windows 8, NVidia has complained a bit, but has been fairly supportive with WDM 1.2, and are actually doing more with legacy support than ATI. Nvidia is giving WDM 1.2 drivers to GPUs that the equivalent ATI GPUs of the time will not get 1.2 drivers and will be limited to the scheduling/virtualization technologies of the WDM 1.1 drivers of Windows 7.

So NVidia is at least trying for once, and not fight Microsoft as much about what the hardware and drivers need to be doing.

NVidia's WDM 1.2 drivers for Windows 8 have also shown a consistent increase in performance, and with the previous beta started to showcase the performance advantages of Windows 8, which is where you see people getting 10-20% faster gaming performance. Each generation of the WDM 1.2 drivers have jumped about 10-20% with the June release equaling Windows 7 performance for pure GPU benchmarks, and the July release best Windows 7 by the 10-20%.

Tried them so far. I can run Diablo 3 in full quality now, I could run in medium before. Stability is fine (still ****ty as always with Nvidia sigh, but BETTER).

FPS went from 60 to 70.

tmaxxtigger said,
For non gaming, how much better are these drivers than the ones that ship with Windows 8? Are they worthwhile installing?

I haven't seen the performance numbers on these yet.. However the previous Beta version from Nvidia was about 15% faster on average than the MS supplied drivers. The previous Beta version (was a dual Win7/Win8 driver as well), but games were on average about 18% faster with them under Windows 8 than Windows 7 (even compared to the fastest Win7 drivers).

So, give them a try.

As always, use the Vendor Video driver if you are video performance, features are a concern. The MS supplied ones are core drivers, with limited functionality for some of the more advanced NVidia technologies like PhyX, etc.

tmaxxtigger said,
For non gaming, how much better are these drivers than the ones that ship with Windows 8? Are they worthwhile installing?

I use em for BOINC and the performance increase is considerable. On the same task, the speed seems to've doubled.
However, My GFX constantly hangs. Windows still runs beneath it (I dont see myself timeout on IRC for example, eventho the clock on my screen said its 5 hours ago, still there )
Withouth drivers, the whole system just BSOD's after a dozen or so attempts to recover the GFX driver (well, its light blueish instead of dark blue ) and with the Nvidia drivers... the screen just freezes... hope they fix it soon cant run BOINC, lotsa precious cycles going to waste.