NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready 397.31 WHQL Drivers Now Available – Enables NVIDIA RTXTM Technology on Volta GPUs, Full Support For Vulkan 1.1 and More

Hassan Mujtaba

NVIDIA has just released their latest GeForce Game Ready 397.31 WHQL driver which is available for download. The latest driver includes game ready support for BattleTech and FrostPunk while also enabling support for the NVIDIA RTXTM Technology on Volta GPUs along with support for the latest APIs.

NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready 397.31 WHQL Drivers Released - Enables NVIDIA RTXTM On Volta GPUs and Adds Full Support For Vulkan 1.1 API

The NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready 397.31 WHQL is the first game ready driver that will remove support for all Fermi GPUs and 32-bit operating systems (You can read more on that here). The driver features full game ready support on post-Fermi GPUs which include Kepler, Maxwell, Pascal, and Volta. As such, you'll need to own one of those graphics cards to have the latest GeForce tech and features on your PC. You can download the driver from the following link:

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The Game Ready drivers are optimized for two new titles, BattleTech and FrostPunk. You can find more details on these titles below:

Game Ready For BattleTech

Harebrained Schemes, the studio that revived the Shadowrun franchise with several excellent RPGs, has now turned their hand to turn-based strategy with the release of BattleTech. Based on FASA's boardgame of oldBattleTech puts you in control of MechWarriors and their BattleMechs in an expansive campaign that requires you to outfit and upgrade your team of mercenaries before battling in strategic missions. Think X-COM, with big stompy mechs.

Game Ready For Frostpunk

Also out now is Frostpunk, the latest game from 11 bit studios, who previously created Anomaly and its sequels, and the excellent This War of Mine. Described as a "society survival game", you must build a city for your people in a frozen world that's only going to get colder. Balance resources, make tough decisions, and crack down on discontent to make it to the next day.

via GeForce.com

The main feature highlight of the NVIDIA GeForce game ready driver is the support for NVIDIA RTX (Real-Time Ray Tracing Technology) for NVIDIA Volta GPUs. Announced back at GTC 2018, the new NVIDIA RTXTM technology adds a “ray-tracing denoiser module” to the existing GameWorks SDK so those game developers may properly take advantage of NVIDIA RTX. Furthermore, as per the previous report, NVIDIA “partnered closely” with Microsoft to enable full RTX support in Microsoft’s new DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API.

New Features

  • NVIDIA RTXTM Technology
    Developer preview for NVIDIA RTX ray tracing technology for DirectX 12. NVIDIA RTX supports the Microsoft DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API on NVIDIA Volta GPUs. In order to get started with developing DirectX Raytracing applications accelerated by RTX, you’ll need the following:
    • NVIDIA Volta GPU
    • NVIDIA driver version 396 or higher
    • Windows 10 RS4
    • Microsoft’s DXR developer package, consisting of DXR-enabled D3D runtimes, HLSL compiler, and headers
  • Vulkan 1.1
    This driver release provides full support for the new Vulkan 1.1 API and passes the
    Vulkan Conformance Test Suite (CTS) version
  • HD Audio
    This driver adds new sample rates 32 kHz, 88.2 kHz, and 176.4 kHz to the HDMI
    device for all GPUs.
  • Display Driver Standalone Installer
    The stand-alone display driver installer now removes extracted files after installing the driver, leaving a smaller footprint on the hard drive.
  • Display Driver Libraries
    Added new libraries (nvdlist.dll and nvdlistx.dll) to support Optimus and MSHybrid
    Added a new API that lets the client reconfigure the decoder resolution and other post-processing parameters (such as the display resolution, cropping rectangle, and aspect ratio of the decoded frame) without having to destroy and recreate the decoder instance. This API is useful in scenarios where the decoder instance initialization time takes up a significant portion of the overall decode execution time; for example, in the back-to-back decoding of multiple short clips of different resolutions.
    The new API will be included in Video Codec SDK 8.2, which is expected to release in
    late Q2 2018.
  • Application SLI Profiles
    Added or updated the following SLI profiles:
    • Descenders
    • Frostpunk
    • Warhammer: Vermintide 2
    • Far Cry 5
  • 3D Vision Profiles
    Added or updated the following 3D Vision profiles:
    • Descenders – Good
    • EVE Valkyrie – Warzone – Good

NVIDIA RTX technology is currently only available on Volta GPUs but since it's making a developer preview for Volta GPUs within the current GeForce Game Ready drivers, we can expect that the next consumer grade GeForce graphics cards will be fully compliant with the technology as newer titles 4A Games and Epic Studios have already started making use of NVIDIA's Ray-Tracing tech to some extent.

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