While everyone looks at benchmarks for new graphics cards when they're first released, a lot can change as ATI and Nvidia update their drivers. Not only can performance be improved, but more features can be added as well. Unfortunately, there's big a wide gulf between desktop driver updates and laptop driver updates, as the latter are often dependent on the laptop manufacturers rolling out the updates to their customers at the companies' whim.
HotHardware is reporting that Nvidia hopes to reduce that discrepancy by unifying driver updates for both desktop and laptop GPUs. Its Verde notebook drivers can automatically be detected for your laptop by running a secure ActiveX/Java browser component called Nvidia Smart Scan. Starting with its 256 series drivers, Nvidia will provide the same updates to both their desktop and laptop video boards (albeit as separate downloads).
There is one bummer to this advancement. While laptops using Nvidia's Optimus graphics-switching platform can make use of the synched Verde drivers, those using hybrid graphics solutions that are multi-vendor dependentsuch as an Nvidia discreet card working with Intel integrated graphicsaren't supported. The most notable notebook that misses out because of this is the Alienware M11x. But many other laptop owners will appreciate the performance gains, new game compatibility, and additional features that Nvidia's decision will bring.