NVIDIA GeForce 290.36 Beta Drivers Released

Drivers

November 28th, 2011

By Andrew Burnes

The new NVIDIA GeForce 290.36 beta drivers are now available to download. Recommended for gamers diving into Batman: Arkham City , the drivers also add official support for Ambient Occlusion in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Furthermore, a Battlefield 3 fix is included to combat the random appearance of triangular artifacts, a SLI shadow bug is stamped out in Crysis 2, and Settlers 7 corruption is eliminated.

On the tech side, the 290.36 beta drivers enable NVIDIA Surround on newly-released X79 SLI-certified motherboards, and native 3D Vision DisplayPort 1.1 connections are now possible on BenQ XL2420T and BenQ XL2420TX monitors.

Ambient Occlusion

As mentioned, the 290.36 beta drivers now allow for the use of Ambient Occlusion directly through the control panel in the two most popular titles of the moment: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

If you're unfamiliar with Ambient Occlusion, it is most easily described as a way to make in-game shadowing more realistic, and therefore better. To enable the effect, open your NVIDIA Control Panel either via the desktop or the tray icon, and follow the steps below:

  1. Browse to 'Manage 3D Settings,' select 'Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim' or 'Modern Warfare 3' in the drop-down. If you can't see it in the list, untick the 'Show only programs found on this computer' box and try again.
  2. Set the 'Ambient Occlusion' option to Performance or Quality.
  3. Click the Apply button.

With Ambient Occlusion enabled these are the results you should expect to see in Skyrim:

And here's an example of Ambient Occlusion in action in Modern Warfare 3:


Click to view an interactive comparison.

There will be a performance impact, have no doubt, though it is impossible to predict exactly how large given the millions of PC configurations, so we suggest enabling Fraps' frame rate overlay while you play, and should the frame rate drop below thirty simply undo the Ambient Occlusion changes or use the less demanding Performance mode.

Release Notes In Full

NVIDIA Ambient Occlusion

  • Adds NVIDIA Control Panel ambient occlusion support for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
  • Adds NVIDIA Control Panel ambient occlusion support for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

NVIDIA PhysX

NVIDIA Surround

  • Enables NVIDIA Surround support for Intel X79 SLI-certified motherboards.

NVIDIA SLI

  • Added or updated SLI profiles for Crysis 2, Heroes and Generals, Inversion, Stronghold 3, and Syndicate.

3D Vision

  • Adds support for 3D Vision over native DisplayPort 1.1 connection - available on BenQ XL2420T and BenQ XL2420TX monitors.
  • Added or updated the following 3D Vision game profiles:

    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Rated Good
    • Cang Sheng – Rated Good
    • Diablo 3 – Rated Good
    • Fei fei – Rated Good
    • Final Combat – Rated Good
    • L.A. Noire – Updated Rating To 3D Vision Ready
    • LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 – Rated Fair
    • Qian Nv You Hun Online – Rated Good
    • QQ Xi You – Rated Good
    • Sonic Generations – Rated Good
    • Xian Tu – Rated Good
    • Yong Bing Tian Xia Online – Rated Good

HD Audio

  • Updates HD Audio driver to version 1.3.9.0.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixes random flickering as Windows boot logo is loading or fading away.
  • Fixes corruption in Crysis 2 with SLI and lower quality shadow settings.
  • Fixes ability to set Surround resolutions to 5760x1080 using custom resolutions.
  • Fixes some random instances of triangular artifacts when playing Battlefield 3.
  • Fixes corruption and flickering of some objects in Battlefield 3 in the New York single-player level when anti-aliasing is enabled.
  • Fixes corruption seen in Settlers 7 with the NVIDIA 275.33 drivers.
  • Fixes playback of videos or live TV using Window Media Center resulting in a black screen.
  • Fixes the issue where 1920x1080 @60Hz PC resolution mode switched down to @59Hz.
  • Fixes mouse cursor flickering and shaking in Crysis 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Deus Ex and Civilization V when SLI is enabled when using 3DTV Play.

Click here to download the GeForce 290.36 beta drivers.