Following the GeForce GTX 590 Overprotection Driver SNAFU that resulted in deaths of several overclocked / overvolted GTX 590 boards, today nVidia is releasing a public beta version of their Release 270 drivers. The company brings many improvements for GeForce 400/500 GPUs and expands 3D Vision profiles to massive 535 games.

Major news in GeForce Drivers Release 270
Summary of new features in Release 270 – note that nVidia claims up to 250% improvement in 3D Vision Surround

We spoke with Chris Daniel, Product Manager of GeForce Business unit and Michael McSorley, Product Marketing Manager for 3D Vision. Chris spoke about the main differentiations between Release 260 and 270. Given that Fermi had a troubled birth, it is no surprise that the company could not optimize the drivers in the best possible way – after all, even their main competitor had a lot of issues with the Catalyst drivers in the past.

nVidia Update - utility which debuted in Windows XP is now back with expanded functionality
nVidia Update – utility which debuted in Windows XP is now back with expanded functionality
 
First new feature is the return of NVIDIA Update, system tray icon that monitors the availability of new drivers. Users can configure to be notified of both Beta and WHQL drivers that get posted on nvidia.com. The engine for this application is identical to the one nVidia used with Optimus technology and you should not have any false positives by popular Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware programs.
 
Performance increase for Fermi-based silicon
Performance increase for Fermi-based silicon

Second and probably most important update is one of performance kind. Release 270 allegedly unlocks performance on all Fermi architecture cards, with the accent being on cards with more on-board memory.

Dragon Age 2 Performance optimizations bring vast improvement in single and multi-GPU configurations
Dragon Age 2 Performance optimizations bring vast improvement in single and multi-GPU configurations
 
One of games that nVidia got creamed by the AMD Radeon HD 5000 and 6000 series was Dragon Age II from Bioware. The development of this DirectX 11 title was closely tied to the vast availability of AMD’s DirectX 11 hardware. We were surprised to see such flanky performance, especially with DirectX 11 and High-Resolution texture mode. According to nVidia, this is now fixed between 360% and massive 620% on SLI setup.

Performance scaling in 3D Vision Surround is dramatic - nVidia optimized the way how frame buffers are being rendered in 3D and improved sequencing

SLI Scaling is also improved from already impressive levels seen when GTX 480 launched and now enables a lot of good gameplay experience in 2D, 3D and 3D Vision Surround mode with three displays enabled. In 3D Vision Surround, there was no visible improvement in Batman: Arkham Asylum and Far Cry 2, but the difference between Rel 260 and Rel 270 is just staggering in games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops – 360% improvement, Left 4 Dead 2 (350% faster), with Alien vs. Predator, Burnout Paradise showing 200% improvement in framerate.

We’re currently redoing all of our testing using the newest drivers, and will report on how the driver performs in our testing.