If you’ve been looking at obtaining the latest drivers for your GeForce video cards from NVIDIA, you’ve likely seen “NVIDIA Studio Driver” popping up in the search results.  NVIDIA has drivers optimized for different types of users.  However, NVIDIA provides these drivers will full support still attached for gamers.  The latest NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready driver is version 431.60 WHQL.  There is also a new NVIDIA Studio Driver with a newer version of 431.70

In today’s article, we tackled the question asking what driver is best to install?  Will you lose gaming performance installing the NVIDIA Studio Driver?  Are the benefits to creative applications major or worth it?

Gaming Performance

When it comes to gaming performance the answer is quite clear.  The NVIDIA Studio Driver will not harm your gaming experience.  It will not lower your framerate; it will not ruin your gameplay experience.  In all of our testing performance was never negatively affected with the NVIDIA Studio Driver.  In fact, in some cases, we saw a performance gain of 1%.

This is good news if you are a creative developer using creative applications or workstation-class applications in such an environment.  You can have the benefits of the NVIDIA Studio Driver, and also still spend your break time enjoying games with no loss or degradation in gaming performance.  Basically, you get your cake and you can eat it too.  NVIDIA does not make you sacrifice gaming performance for optimized creative applications.

Creative Applications

We realize that the creative application benchmarks we used today are in no way an in-depth exhaustive look into creative application performance with the NVIDIA Studio Driver.  We only touched the surface of such testing.  Without using them in a professional setting, with professional workloads day in and day out we cannot properly relate the experience using those applications with the NVIDIA Studio Driver versus the GeForce Game Ready Driver.

That said, we did see an overall trend that indicates the NVIDIA Studio Driver would be faster in specific applications and workloads over the GeForce Game Ready driver.  The latest NV Studio Driver 431.70 specifically optimizes Magix VEGAS Pro v17, Autodesk Arnold, Allegorithmic Substance Painter 2019.2, Blender 2.80, Cinema 4D R21, and Otoy Octane Render 2019.2.  If you use those applications then this driver may make for a better experience and is recommended.  The extent of the benefits will depend on your workload and render options and times.

Final Points

When it comes down to it, if you are solely a gamer, or even dabble in light content creation work, it is best to stick with the GeForce Game Ready driver.  The reason why is simple, it is the GeForce Game Ready driver series that is updated most frequently.  It is this driver series that receives the latest game optimizations by the launch of new games.  If you want to keep up with the latest game support and performance, then the GeForce Game Ready driver is the only way to go.  This means right now that is the GeForce Game Ready 431.60 driver.  This is the driver you should install for gaming.

If, however, your primary use case is professional creative applications, content creation or from a workstation perspective where stability is paramount, then go for the latest NVIDIA Studio Driver.  You can rest assured that you won’t be sacrificing game performance, so you can still get your game on with your free time.  However, don’t expect the NVIDIA Studio Driver to be updated as frequently for game support.  As we have seen already this year there are months of time in-between NVIDIA Studio Driver releases, and these are not up-to-date with the latest games.

If you are a gamer, and you see that a new NV Studio Driver has been released just stick with the latest GeForce Game Ready Driver, even if the version number is older.  It is your best bet for the best gaming experience.      


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Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented...