Just a moment, NVIDIA fans! If you took some weird joy out of AMD's recent RX 480 driver issues, well, it's time for some self-flagellation. Reportedly, the company's latest software is causing audible crackling and stuttering issues on its GeForce 10 series of chips.
Over on NVIDIA's official GeForce forums, a user by the handle "UbiPangolin" posted a chunky update comparing the "Deferred Procedure Call" (DPC) latency on their new GTX 1080 with their Titan X.
The results were not good:
I just upgraded to a PNY GTX 1080 FE and unfortunately, even though the performance is great, all my games and videos on youtube or netflix now stutter, sometimes with crackling sound. ... As I already had some experience with crackling sound on an old configuration of mine, I decided to check the DPC Latency with DPCLat (I am on Windows 7 x64 SP1). To my surprise, I found out that the DPC Latency is around 350-400us when the PC is idle and it is around 900us with spikes up to 1500us when in game or netflix.
After switching out the 1080 for the Titan X using the same drivers — in this case, 368.39 — the stutter and latency was gone. UbiPangolin theorised that the increased latency and hence, the issues, were related to NVIDIA's GPU Boost 3.0, which might be keeping a tighter grip on monitoring the card's voltage, temperature and other vital statistics.
What's DPC? According to Wikipedia it's an "operating system mechanism which allows high-priority tasks (e.g. an interrupt handler) to defer required but lower-priority tasks for later execution". Basically, it lets your graphics and audio drivers go hell-for-leather, without having to worry about other services stealing their processing time.
With the hint taken, other users started measuring their DPC latency, with similar results.
After about 16 pages of feedback, the manufacturer piped up; it appears it's on the case, or more accurately, has solved it, with NVIDIA's Manuel Guzman providing the following update:
Thank you. No need to submit further survey feedbacks on this issue. We believe we understand the root cause and will provide a fix through a future driver. At this time I do not have an ETA but as soon as I have further information, I will share with everyone.
Those hoping for a fix in the next set of drivers will be disappointed, but all is not lost:
I am sorry for the inconvenience. A fix will not make it in time for the next driver so it will likely be included as part of the following driver. If a fix is ready and validated much sooner I will push for a hotfix driver to get it out to everyone as soon as possible.