If you're paying any degree of attention to the gaming world, you'll probably be aware that Dark Souls 3 comes out today. And if you're a PC gamer, you'll probably be abreast of the fact that the GPU manufacturers like to push out new patches to coincide with major game launches.
NVIDIA's Game Ready driver for Dark Souls 3 is version 364.72, and it's also the latest release with Microsoft's WHQL certification. Problem is, lots of gamers are having issues.
If you go back a couple of years, drivers used to be one of NVIDIA's best attributes. Their drivers were solid, the performance gains were good, and there was always bigger and better improvements to be found.
But things have been prickly of late, and 2016 has been marked by a string of spotty releases that have led to some frustrating bugs for players. Some of those bugs have been small issues, like delayed SLI support or flickering in older titles. And then some of those have been downright problematic, with users complaining that new releases were responsible for crashes or blue screens of death (BSODs).
Issues began earlier in March when the first Game Ready drivers for The Division were released. Users took to social media and NVIDIA's GeForce forums to report memory leaks and poor performance with SLI setups in Ubisoft's FPS-MMORPG.
"Whenever a game starts my mouse will continue to work but but my built in keyboard and my [Corsair K70 keyboard] work sporadically, all my programs stop functioning correctly and trying to plug in my mouse or keyboard causes the whole computer to be delayed for 2-3 seconds," one user posted about the March 28 release.
"Everything works fine if I never launch anything that needs my GPU, this never happened until I downloaded the March 28 drivers." Another wrote that they were experiencing shocking screen tearing simply scrolling web pages in Chrome with their GTX 970 after updating to the 364 class.
And then there are the higher idle temperatures reported by those on multi-monitor setups. "Now, however, my multi-monitor setup is pissing me off and something about my 144Hz monitor (DVI) and 60Hz monitor (HDMI) is making my GTX 970 stay at 935MHz instead of idling down to 135-150MHz like it used to."
"I'm not even kidding, this isn't some bullshit 'oh it just does that' thing — THIS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE this last update." This fellow early this morning also had the same issue.
Users across the board are still having issues.
— Myth Buzz (@BuzzVFX) April 10, 2016
Reports of artifcating have been spreading around as well, with this being perhaps the most extreme I saw over the last day or so. Being a GTX 570 though, there's always the chance that the card was on its last legs — although this is a bit of a horrific way for a fine card to go.
— xus espin cosme (@xusspin) April 10, 2016
Mind you, if you see someone coming out saying a driver update has bricked their card, it's probably bogus. NVIDIA engineers have already publicly warned that there is nothing in the drivers that could cause that to happen, although that's not much consolation for users who find themselves locked in reboot loops or BSOD hell.
The March 28 release is the latest available driver on the GeForce website at the time of writing, although another patch is expected before too long. The latest Vulkan beta driver for developers (364.91) was released a couple of days ago.
As a bit of public advice: if you are having problems, get yourself the Display Driver Uninstaller program, clean the drivers out, restart your computer and then reinstall to the last version of drivers you used without incident. (Alternatively, if it's been a significant amount of time since you last updated your GPU drivers, maybe just avoid the 362.xx family altogether.)