NVIDIA decided to give notebook users an early Christmas present today. It's a present notebook owners have kept on their wish lists since NVIDIA first started making graphics processing units (GPUs) for notebooks ... downloadable drivers on the NVIDIA website.
For years now the only way laptop owners could find notebook graphics drivers for NVIDIA GPUs was if the notebook manufacturer was kind enough to make the drivers available or to download unofficial "hacked" drivers from various websites (drivers that were often hacked together based on desktop GPU drivers). Consumers need these drivers in order to be able to take full advantage of the latest visual computing applications and games as well as to be able to restore GPU functions after a fresh install of Windows.
NVIDIA is now offering notebook users the option of downloading graphics driver updates and upgrades direct from NVIDIA.com for the first time. The driver update from NVIDIA will offer new features, improved application compatibility, and performance optimizations. The first web driver update from NVIDIA will extend NVIDIA "CUDA" technology to notebook GPUs. According to the official press release, "CUDA technology also moves physics processing to the GPU for new levels of realism in games and virtual worlds based on the market leading PhysX API."
Notebook manufacturers have historically only allowed graphics drivers to be offered directly from them. This was due to the fact that the drivers had to be customized in order to maintain the functionality of dedicated hotkeys, power management, and smooth suspend/resume in notebooks. NVIDIA claims to have worked diligently over the past year to "modularize its driver architecture" and "develop a unified driver install package" that not only works with laptops from all manufacturers but also maintains those specific model hotkeys and suspend and resume functionality.
The availability of "official" notebook drivers on the NVIDIA website couldn't come soon enough for many of our forum regulars, as our discussion forum members have posted literally hundreds of links to hacked drivers over the years. Let's hope these newly available drivers prove as helpful as they sound.