Wednesday, October 2, 2019

NVIDIA Driver Download Options Explained

When downloading the latest NVIDIA graphics driver you are prompted to select a Download Type. I reached out to my friends at NVIDIA to learn more about what the two options really mean... today's post helps to answer this question.

Keep reading to learn more...

Here is the scoop on the difference between Optimal Driver or Enterprise (ODE) and Quadro New Feature Driver (QNF) from those in the know... I asked about this in the context of architecture, Revit, Enscape and the popular VR headsets.
Well it depends on the target hardware like VR headset and software.  The QNF is newer and will have updates but what you’ll get is hard to say.  The hardware and software companies are always working with driver teams to enhance things.  With RTX and software coming online those changes are happening more and more. 
Let’s put it this way the QNF won’t hurt you but it could help you.  I haven’t tested VR with the QNF but am doing some stuff related software that does use the QNF.

Now for the real gritty details...
We release two ODE driver branches each year—the ODEs are serviced with bug fix and security releases throughout its lifetime, which is one year.  However, no new features are introduced once a branch is released.  In the six months, or so, between ODE releases, we often have the need to introduce new features to support OS releases, ISV features, and potentially hardware, like the VR example you mentioned.  In such instances, we release the QNF branches, which is a short-lived driver with at most two releases in the branch.  All new QNF features will eventually get picked up by the next ODE branch.  So, in essence, the QNF drivers are geared mainly for early adopters who want to deploy the latest features and get support for the latest offerings in the ecosystem.  However, for long term stability and support, I would recommend deploying ODE drivers.
There you have it... on your production computer you should install the lasted Revit Beta, the Enscape preview release and the QNF driver! Or, just the opposite depending on your adversity to risk! I typically do the former... but do so at your own risk:)

Related links: Updating Your Graphics Driver - A How To Post For Students

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