NVIDIA Introduce Vulkan 1.1 Support In GeForce 397.31 WHQL Drivers

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅25.04.2018 18:34:03

The pace of GPU driver updates has certainly slowed this month, not least due to a dearth of major new PC games, but NVIDIA couldn't quite make it out of April without a major GeForce driver release. A Game Ready update was issued today - specifically version 397.31 WHQL - addressing two upcoming games and the introduction of one core API revision: Vulkan 1.1.

BattleTech (a turn-based strategy game successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2015) and FrostPunk (an indie city-building title) both release this week, and the Game Ready 397.31 WHQL are intended to provide the best possible stability and performance from launch. That's great, especially if there were any pressing issues in those games not rectified in prior updates. But that's not really the meat of the new driver release.

For the first time NVIDIA have updated their driver stack to support Vulkan 1.1. The Khronos Group - Vulkan's steering committee that decides how the API progresses - finalised the v1.1 specification at the beginning of March, introducing Subgroup Operations to better organise parallel processes through the API and integrating features made available through extensions to the v1.0 specification. Support among consumer drivers means that developers can be more confident implementing the changes, changes designed to improve performance and reduce development time.

Furthermore, NVIDIA have also baked support for RTX Raytracing Technology into this release. Currently only available to GPUs using the Volta architecture (i.e. the NVIDIA Titan V), it heralds the first step in bringing the technology to consumers as well as allowing developers to more easily exploit the feature on an experimental basis. RTX will, no doubt, become a more significant feature once consumer GPUs capable of leveraging it are more widely available.

There are more minor features added in this driver update, and as usual we have reproduced a summary of the release notes below. You can download the drivers for 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and 10 at www.geforce.com/drivers or via the GeForce Experience app, and they are compatible with NVIDIA Kepler-based GPUs (600-series forward).

* Note that this is the first Game Ready release to explicitly not support 32-bit operating systems and NVIDIA Fermi (400-series and 500-series) GPUs.

Release Notes

What’s New in Version 397.31 WHQL

Game Ready Drivers provide the best possible gaming experience for all major new releases, including Virtual Reality games. Prior to a new title launching, our driver team is working up until the last minute to ensure every performance tweak and bug fix is included for the best gameplay on day-one.

Game Ready

Provides the optimal gaming experience for BattleTech and FrostPunk.

New Features

- NVIDIA RTX(TM) 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 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 standalone 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 notebooks.


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 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

Software Module Versions

• nView - 148.92
• HD Audio Driver -
• NVIDIA PhysX System Software - 9.17.0524
• GeForce Experience -
• CUDA - 9.2

Discontinued Support

- 32-bit Operating Systems

Beginning with Release 396, NVIDIA is no longer releasing Game Ready drivers for 32-bit operating systems for any GPU architecture.


Beginning with Release 396, the NVIDIA Game Ready driver no longer supports NVIDIA GPUs based on the Fermi architecture.

Fixed Issues

[GeForce GTX 1080 Ti][Doom]: The game crashes due to the driver reverting to OpenGL 1.1 when HDR is enabled. [2049623]

[GeForce GTX 1060][Far Cry 5]: The game crashes after a few minutes of game play. [2096077]

NvfbcPluginWindow temporarily prevents Windows from shutting down after launching a Steam game. [2068833]

[Firefox]: Driver TDR error may occur when using Firefox. [2049523]

[GeForce GTX 1060][Rise of Tomb Raider]: Flickering/corruption occurs when opening the in-game options UI. [200351146]

[NVIDIA Control Panel][SLI][Diablo III]: With V-Sync on and SLI enabled, the game freezes after switching windows (ALT+TAB) a few times. [1951584]

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