GeForce 310.70 Drivers: An Essential Upgrade For All GeForce GTX Gamers

Drivers

The new GeForce 310.70 drivers are now available to download. The culmination of our recent beta releases, these WHQL-candidate drivers improve performance by up to 37% in the year's most popular games, add TXAA support to Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Assassin's Creed III, make Sparse Grid Supersampling easier to use, get your system ready for the latest releases, including Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution and Planetside 2, and resolve key issues, like shadow flickering in Assassin's Creed III.

If you have any feedback about today's driver please leave a comment at the bottom of the article, and if you have a technical issue please report the problem via the NVIDIA Display Driver Feedback Form.

Performance Improvements

In October's GeForce 310.33 beta driver we improved performance by up to 15% in nine games, and this time we’re improving performance by up to 37% in twenty-one games. Leading the charge in 310.70 is a 37% boost for Far Cry 3, followed by a 26% boost for Call of Duty: Black Ops II, an 18% boost for The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, a 17% boost for Assassin’s Creed III, and a 12% boost for Battlefield 3.

Please note that performance improvements benefit all GeForce GTX graphics cards, though obviously to varying degrees. We would of course love to show how our optimizations benefit the entire range of GeForce GTX GPUs, but sadly this is unfeasible given the number of benchmarks required. For example, for each GPU and game you test include a before and after benchmark to show the level of improvement, then multiply the number of tests by the number of resolutions, three, and then again by the number of different detail levels and anti-aliasing modes tested. Then, finally, to verify the results, run everything again to ensure there were no anomalies. With so many GPUs in our lineup, even focusing exclusively on the most popular models would prove impossible in the time between a driver being finalized, and released.

Performance Improvement Benchmarks

In Far Cry 3, we maxed out the game's many graphics options, selected SSAO Ambient Occlusion (an excellent balance between performance and fidelity), set the game's version of Transparency Supersampling to "Standard", and enabled 8xMSAA to eliminate aliased edges.

Far Cry 3 310.70 Performance

With 310.70 installed, performance improved by up to 37.8%, helping the GTX 670 and GTX 680 achieve playable frame rates at this highly demanding detail level.

Below, we detail the two-dozen other optimizations packed into the 310.70 drivers, using the GeForce GTX 680 and GeForce GTX 660.

GeForce 310.70 GTX 680 Performance

Results & Benchmark Settings:

  • Aliens vs. Predator: Performance increased by 3.4% at 1920x1080 when using max settings, tessellation, and Advanced Shadows.
  • Assassin’s Creed III (Pre-Release Build): Performance increased by 17.8% at 1920x1080 when using max settings and Normal Anti-Aliasing, by 7.1% at 2560x1600 using the same settings, and by 9.8% at 1920x1080 when using max settings and Very High Anti-Aliasing.
  • Batman: Arkham City: Performance increased by 7.6% at 1920x1080 when using Very High detail settings, Tessellation High, PhysX High and FXAA High. At 2560x1600, using 4xMSAA, performance increased by 5.2%.
  • Battlefield 3: Performance increased by 13% at 1920x1080 when using Ultra settings in a single-player Paris benchmark; at 2560x1600 an improvement of 7.9% was recorded. Using High settings, an improvement of 15.3% was registered at 1920x1080.
  • Borderlands 2: Performance increased by 5.3% at 2560x1600 when using max settings and PhysX High. At 1920x1080 performance increased by 3.3%.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II: Performance increased by 26% at 1920x1080 when using max settings and 8xMSAA. At 2560x1600 performance increased by 24.1%.
  • Civilization V: Performance increased by 23.7% at 2560x1600 in a late-game benchmark using max DirectX 11 settings.
  • DiRT 3: Performance increased by 4.3% at 1920x1080 when using Ultra DirectX 11 settings and 8xMSAA.
  • Dragon Age 2: Performance increased by 8.5% at 2560x1600 when using max settings.
  • Hard Reset: Performance increased by 3.6% at 1920x1080 when using Ultra settings and FXAA.
  • Just Cause 2: Performance increased by 3.2% at 1920x1080 when using max DirectX 10 settings and 8xMSAA.
  • Medal of Honor: Warfighter: Performance increased by 5.7% at 1920x1080 when using High settings.
  • Metro 2033: Performance increased by 4.6% at 1680x1050 when using max DirectX 11 settings, Depth of Field, and Advanced PhysX.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat: Performance increased by 4.7% at 2560x1600 when using Extreme settings. At 1920x1080 performance increased by 4.2%.
  • Shogun 2: Total War: Performance increased by 3.5% at 2560x1600 when using max DirectX 11 settings, and by 3.3% at 1920x1080.
  • Sniper Elite V2: Performance increased by 3.5% at 2560x1600 when using max settings, AA High, and 2.5x Supersampling. Without Supersampling, performance increased by 3.8%.
  • StarCraft II: Performance increased by 6.2% at 1920x1080 when using Ultra settings.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena: Performance increased by 18% at 2560x1600 when using max settings.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Performance increased by 5% at 2560x1600 when using Ultra settings in an indoor scenario, and by 4.7% at 1920x1080.
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings: Performance increased by 3% at 1680x1050 when using max settings and anti-aliasing. At 1920x1080 performance increased by 2.8%.
  • Unigine Heaven 3.0: Performance increased by 3% at 1920x1080 when using max DirectX 11 settings and Extreme Tessellation. At lower settings and resolutions performance increased by up to 4%.

GeForce 310.70 GTX 660 Performance

Results & Benchmark Settings:

  • Assassin’s Creed III (Pre-Release Build): Performance increased by 5% at 1920x1080 when using max settings and Normal Anti-Aliasing.
  • Batman: Arkham City: Performance increased by 3.9% at 1920x1080 when using Very High detail settings, Tessellation High, and 4xMSAA.
  • Battlefield 3: Performance increased by 9.8% at 1920x1080 when using High settings in a single-player Paris benchmark; at 1680x1050 an improvement of 10.3% was recorded. Using Ultra settings, improvements of 8.1% and 7.7% were recorded at 1680x1050 and 1920x1080, respectively.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II: Performance increased by 23.8% at 1920x1080 when using max settings and 8xMSAA. At 2560x1600 performance increased by 23.3%.
  • DiRT 3: Performance increased by 3% at 1920x1080 when using Ultra DirectX 11 settings.
  • Dragon Age 2: Performance increased by 4.7% at 1920x1080 when using max settings and 8xMSAA.
  • Hard Reset: Performance increased by 4.5% at 1920x1080 when using Ultra settings.
  • Medal of Honor: Warfighter: Performance increased by 4.3% at 1920x1080 when using High settings.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena: Performance increased by 8.7% at 2560x1600 when using max settings.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Performance increased by 7.4% at 1920x1080 when using High settings in an outdoor scenario; at 2560x1600 an improvement of 7.3% was recorded. Using Ultra settings, improvements of 4.8% and 4.5% were recorded at 1920x1080 and 2560x1600, respectively.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II & Assassin’s Creed III TXAA Anti-Aliasing

At the launch of the GeForce GTX 680 last March we announced a new form of advanced anti-aliasing called TXAA, exclusive to Kepler-based GTX 600 series video cards. Utilizing a custom anti-aliasing resolve, a temporal filter, and Multisample hardware anti-aliasing, TXAA is designed to remove almost all aliasing from a scene, and eliminate temporal aliasing, the distracting movement of aliased lines when the player’s viewpoint is in motion in-game.

In July we released the TXAA-enabled GeForce 304.79 beta drivers, and in August The Secret World, Funcom’s technologically-advanced MMO, became the first game to support the new anti-aliasing technique. Gamers and the independent press agreed that the result was super smooth, free of troublesome aliasing, but some felt the new TXAA-enhanced image was too soft. To that end, Timothy Lottes, NVIDIA’s FXAA and TXAA mastermind, has improved the technique, making it sharper and more defined. And so, with the 310.70 drivers installed, you can now enjoy Tim's new and improved TXAA anti-aliasing in Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Assassin’s Creed III, two of the year's most popular games.

To demonstrate the capabilities of this new TXAA implementation, we’ve cooked up a side-by-side Assassin's Creed III comparison video, which gives those of you without a Kepler GPU a great idea of how TXAA can drastically enhance games.

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Assassin's Creed III Tech Video

For more on Assassin's Creed III's tech and TXAA support check out our Assassin’s Creed III Launches On The PC With Impressive Tech & TXAA article.

NVIDIA Fullscene Sparse Grid Supersampling Anti-Aliasing Enhancement

Several years ago Fullscene Sparse Grid Supersampling Anti-Aliasing was added to the GeForce drivers as an advanced anti-aliasing option for those with high-end systems. When enabled and correctly configured, SGSSAA significantly increases the quality of Multisample Anti-Aliasing, helping remove aliasing that even 8xMSAA struggles with.

Interactive example demonstrating the benefits of SGSSAA
In this interactive example from Mass Effect 3 the benefits of SGSSAA are immediately obvious.

 

Configuring SGSSAA to reach this level of detail can at times be tricky due to the need to counteract texture blurring that occurs when using the technique. With a Negative LOD Bias, applied via NVIDIA Inspector, texture quality can be restored, but unfortunately the correct value can only be ascertained through trial and error.

Following repeated calls from users for a solution, we introduced an automatic LOD Bias feature in October’s 310.33 beta driver. Now, users need only enable Sparse Grid Supersampling in the profile of a compatible game in NVIDIA Inspector, and the new feature will do the rest.

Recommended Mass Effect 3 settings
Our recommended Mass Effect 3 settings improve the quality and definition of the game’s textures with High Quality 16x Anisotropic Filtering, and all-but-eliminate aliased jagged edges through the use of 4xMSAA and 4x Sparse Grid Supersampling.

New SLI Profiles

As always, our new driver includes new profiles for today’s top titles, increasing multi-GPU performance.

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Added and updated SLI profile
  • Hawken – Added SLI profile
  • Hitman: Absolution – Added SLI profile
  • Natural Selection 2 – Added SLI profile
  • Primal Carnage – Added SLI profile

Following 310.70's creation, we updated our Far Cry 3 SLI profile to incorporate new 'bits' that prevent frame rate stuttering observed on some systems with the previous profile. To force an immediate download of the new profile, install 310.70, then right click the NVIDIA tray icon and select "Check for updates."

Resolved Issues

Last but not least, 310.70 includes several fixes for commonly reported issues:

  • Assassin’s Creed 3: Shadow flickering resolved.
  • Battlefield 3: The game should no longer crash to desktop with the message “bf3.exe stopped working” on GeForce 500 and 600 series GPUs.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2: “Driver not responding” error should no longer occur on the GeForce GTX 570 and GTX 580 during the second half of the first level of the game, when the helicopter is shot by a rocket.
  • Hitman: Absolution: “Driver Not Responding” error should no longer occur when playing the game on a GeForce GTX 650 Ti with Global Illumination and Tessellation enabled.
  • Final Fantasy XIV Online: "DirectX device was lost" crash should no longer occur on GeForce GTX 680 systems.
  • GeForce GTX 690: Quad SLI GeForce GTX 690 systems should no longer lock-up when playing games in Surround.

You can download the GeForce 310.70 drivers with one click from the GeForce.com homepage. If you have any feedback please drop us a note in the comments section below, and if you have a technical issue please report the problem via the NVIDIA Display Driver Feedback Form.

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