Are ATI and Nvidia doing enough with their Vista drivers?

ATI and Nvidia have released new WHQL-certified Windows drivers for their flagship video cards. In the past three months, both companies have been delivering a steady stream of new drivers. Are those updates enough to quiet the critics?

I spent the weekend setting up some new hardware. One change was to add a PCI Express graphics card to a system that had been using onboard graphics (primarily so I could use two monitors with it).

After completing the upgrade, I noticed that this ATI X1300 card was still using the in-box Vista driver, so I went looking for a new one, and found that ATI released new Catalyst 7.5 display drivers last week, on May 31. They installed just fine here. If you’ve got an ATI card, take a look:

Catalyst 7.5 Display Driver for Windows Vista (32 bit)

Catalyst 7.5 Display Driver for Windows Vista (64 bit)

Each page contains release notes and a link to an RSS feed so you can find out immediately when the next update is released.

Not to be outdone, Nvidia released their own updated drivers for the GeForce 6, 7, and 8 series one day later, on June 1. Here are the links:

ForceWare Release 158 Version 158.24 (32–bit)

ForceWare Release 158 Version 158.24 (64–bit)

I can’t find an RSS link for Nvidia news, only for podcasts. But the bottom of the driver download page has a link you can use to get on Nvidia’s e-mail list for updates about drivers.

Both of these companies released their original WHQL-certified drivers in late February. In the three months since then, ATI has had three major updates, and Nvidia has had at least two updates with frequent beta releases. Back in April, Nvidia users were frustrated enough by the poor state of Vista drivers to consider a class-action suit. Dave Wascha, Microsoft’s director of partner platform marketing, told Mary Jo Foley last month that he was he was “’really pleased’ by Nvidia's cooperation and said the Nvidia 8800 drivers, still in beta ‘are working really, really well.’”

I’ve heard lots of complaints about Vista graphics drivers, especially from the gaming community. Any gamers out there want to comment on whether these updates represent a real improvement?


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