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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Anti-Mining Feature Goes Beyond Driver Version, Could Expand to More SKUs

Yesterday NVIDIA announced the company's first Crypto Mining Processor (CPM) that serves the purpose of having a dedicated processor only for mining with no video outputs. Alongside the new processors, the company has also announced that in the next driver update the GeForce RTX 3060 GPU will get Etherium mining performance halved, limiting the use of this GPU SKU by miners. However, up until now, we have thought that NVIDIA is limiting the mining performance of this card by simply having a driver detect if crypto mining algorithms are in place and limit the performance. However, that doesn't seem to be the case. According to Bryan Del Rizzo, director of global PR for GeForce, more things are working behind the driver.

According to Mr. Del Rizzo: "It's not just a driver thing. There is a secure handshake between the driver, the RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS (firmware) that prevents removal of the hash rate limiter." This means that essentially, NVIDIA can find any way to cripple the mining hash rate even if you didn't update your driver version. At the same time, according to Kopite7Kimi, we are possibly expecting to see NVIDIA relaunch its existing SKUs under a different ID, which would feature a built-in anti-crypto mining algorithm. What the company does remains to be seen.

PSA: AMD's Graphics Driver will Eat One CPU Core when No Radeon Installed

While I was messing around with an older SSD test system (not benchmarking anything) I wondered why the machine's performance was SO sluggish with the NVIDIA card I just installed. Windows startup, desktop, Internet, everything in Windows would just be incredibly slow. This is an old dual-core machine, but it ran perfectly fine with the AMD Radeon card I used before.
At first I blamed NVIDIA, but when I opened Task Manager I noticed one of my cores sitting at 100%—that can't be right.

Digging a bit further into this, it looks like RadeonSettings.exe is using one processor core at maximum 100% CPU load. Ugh, but there is no AMD graphics card installed right now.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 457.30 WHQL Drivers

NVIDIA today released the GeForce 457.30 WHQL drivers. The drivers come "game ready" (optimized) for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and Godfall. The SLI profile for Black Desert has also been updated. The drivers also add G-Sync support for the Acer CP3271U V, Asus XG27AQ, MSI MAG274QR and Xiaomi Mi 245 HF monitors.

Among the bugs fixed with this release are a drop in performance during gameplay for Warzone; a laptop-only error where the internal panel flashes upon resume from sleep mode or from display off; and a bug specific for Ampere, in a G-SYNC, HDR, Dual-head 8K display environment where the display screen goes black. Get the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 457.30 WHQL

AMD Updates its Chipset Drivers, Includes Updated Power Plan for Ryzen CPUs

In the anticipation of the AMD Ryzen 5000 series of CPUs launch based on Zen 3 architecture, AMD has just released the updated drivers for its chipsets. Covering a wide selection ranging from B350, A320, X370, X399, B450, X470, X570, B550, and TRX40 Chipset, the updated chipset drivers include some bug fixes and new features. Now there is an updated power plan for AMD Ryzen CPUs that coordinate with chipsets, which means that AMD engineers have developed a new plan for Windows 10 OS which provides the best performance and power usage. You can check out the fixes listed below and you can go to the download link to install the new drivers.
Download: AMD Ryzen Chipset Driver 2.10.13.408.

AMD Graphics Drivers Have a CreateAllocation Security Vulnerability

Discovering vulnerabilities in software is not an easy thing to do. There are many use cases and states that need to be tested to see a possible vulnerability. Still, security researchers know how to find those and they usually report it to the company that made the software. Today, AMD has disclosed that there is a vulnerability present in the company graphics driver powering the GPUs and making them work on systems. Called CreateAllocation (CVE-2020-12911), the vulnerability is marked with a score of 7.1 in the CVSSv3 test results, meaning that it is not a top priority, however, it still represents a big problem.

"A denial-of-service vulnerability exists in the D3DKMTCreateAllocation handler functionality of AMD ATIKMDAG.SYS 26.20.15029.27017. A specially crafted D3DKMTCreateAllocation API request can cause an out-of-bounds read and denial of service (BSOD). This vulnerability can be triggered from a guest account, " says the report about the vulnerability. AMD states that a temporary fix is implemented by simply restarting your computer if a BSOD happens. The company also declares that "confidential information and long-term system functionality are not impacted". AMD plans to release a fix for this software problem sometime in 2021 with the new driver release. You can read more about it here.

NVIDIA Releases Game Ready 456.55 WHQL Driver With Improved Stability of RTX 3000 Series Cards, Support for Star Wars: Squadrons

NVIDIA has today released the latest iteration of its Game Ready driver with the version number 456.55. Marked as a WHQL release, the driver is supposedly going to bring new advancements to the stability of the latest GeForce RTX 3000 series Ampere graphics cards. While the release notes don't officially mention anything on how it improves, it is already confirmed by a few Redditors that the new driver removes crashed experienced with the past version 456.38. In the latest revision, the support has been added for NVIDIA Reflex in Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, as well as support for Star Wars: Squadrons game. Below is the link to the driver download page redirecting to NVIDIA's site, and in no time the TechPowerUp download page will be updated as well.
DOWNLOAD:NVIDIA GeForce 456.55 WHQL Game Ready Drivers

The change-log follows:

NVIDIA Releases Hotfix Driver Version 451.85

NVIDIA has recently released GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 451.85 which fixes various issues in the latest 451.67 WHQL Game Ready drivers. This hotfix brings stability improvements to Shadow of the Tomb Raider when running in DirectX 12 mode with Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling enabled, texture corruption fixes in Death Stranding with GeForce GTX 16/RTX 20 series GPUs, and performance fixes to Forza Motorsport 7. The new hotfix also adds G-Sync Compatibility for the Samsung 27" Odyssey G7 gaming monitor.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 451.85

NVIDIA Announces Quadro Experience

Experience matters. And with NVIDIA Quadro Experience—a new application for Quadro GPUs—professionals across industries can boost their creativity and increase their productivity like never before.

Quadro Experience, available now, helps professionals simplify time-consuming tasks, streamline workflows and ensure your favorite applications always have the latest updates. NVIDIA Quadro Experience makes sharing content easier by providing screen capture and desktop recording in 4K, so teams can easily upload content and even broadcast their work directly from their desktop or laptop.
NVIDIA Quadro Experience NVIDIA Quadro Experience NVIDIA Quadro Experience

NVIDIA Launches GeForce Game Ready 446.14 WHQL Driver

NVIDIA has today launched the latest version of its "Game Ready" graphics driver lineup with the 446.14 WHQL drivers. This release brings mostly performance optimizations and bug fixes for the video game Valorant. In addition to these performance optimizations and fixes, optimal support for Minecraft Dungeons, Disintegration, and Crucible is included. An important new feature update is the inclusion of Variable Rate Supersampling (VRSS) support for Onward. NVIDIA has also fixed driver installation issues on Colorful GeForce GTX 1650 that may have bugged some users of the cards. For the full list of fixes please check out the list below.
Valorant
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 446.14 WHQL

AMD Releases APU + dGPU Combo Radeon Drivers for Dell G5 15 SE Notebooks

AMD released its first Dell G5 15 SE-specific OEM driver update, with a single package providing drivers for the APU (iGPU) and Radeon RX 5600M discrete GPU of the notebook. This would be AMD's first Radeon Software release in over a month, as the AAA game release cycle has cooled down, and AMD has its hands full with several new OEM designs to develop drivers for. The G5 15 SE comes with processor options that include the "Renoir" Ryzen 5 4600H and Ryzen 7 4700H; and Radeon RX 5600M discrete GPU option.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Dell G5 15 SE iGPU+dGPU Combo Driver

NVIDIA Outs GeForce Hotfix 445.98 Drivers to Fix Overwatch Stability Issues & other Major Bugs

NVIDIA rolled out the GeForce software 445.98 Hotfix drivers. The Hotfix was released to expeditiously correct glaring bugs with the GeForce software. The 445.98 Hotfix improves Overwatch stability, resolves F1 2019 crashes, fixes driver installation on the Colorful GeForce GTX 1650, improves HDR in some games, and includes various other bug fixes. The drivers are otherwise identical to GeForce 445.87 software released earlier this week. Grab the drivers from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 445.98 Hotfix

AMD Releases the Radeon Adrenalin Edition 20.2.2 Drivers

AMD today released version 20.2.2 of their Radeon Adrenalin Edition driver suite. The new version brings with it support for the launch of Zombie Army 4: Dead War, so users can experience the latest and greatest performance available for AMD graphics cards on the new release.Perhaps more importantly, the new release also features a number of fixes for Black Screen errors in a number of scenarios and games, of which much has already been written over the internet. There are still a number of instances where black screens can occur listed on AMD's "Known Issues" checklist for this driver release, however, so make sure to check the release notes to see if this driver looks to fix your particular scenario. Of course, you're likely always better off updating to this latest driver version.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Adrenalin Edition 20.2.2 Drivers

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 441.99 Beta Drivers with Vulkan 1.2 API Support

NVIDIA today released its first developer beta drivers that support the new Vulkan 1.2 3D graphics API. Labeled GeForce 441.99, under the R440-series, the drivers extend Vulkan 1.2 support to all NVIDIA graphics architectures going back to "Kepler." That would include GTX 600/700-series "Kepler," GTX 700/900-series "Maxwell," GTX 10-series "Pascal," and GTX 16/RTX 20-series "Turing," along with TITAN and Quadro graphics cards based on these architectures. NVIDIA states that its API support for Vulkan 1.2 is "full," including including support for timeline semaphores, descriptor indexing, buffer device address and SPIR-V 1.5 features.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 441.99 Vulkan 1.2 Developer Beta

AMD Announces Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition

AMD today unveiled AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition, the next generation of its software suite for AMD Radeon graphics, providing gamers, creators and enthusiasts with a unique set of features and capabilities that deliver unparalleled visual fidelity and phenomenal gaming experiences. Featuring a fully redesigned gaming application, AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition puts powerful capabilities at gamers' fingertips. It includes the new Radeon Boost feature, bringing enhanced performance and fluidity to fast-motion gameplay, new Integer Display Scaling technology that rejuvenates old games for modern displays, as well as significant enhancements to the acclaimed AMD Link mobile application, to Radeon Image Sharpening, Radeon Anti-Lag, and much more.

Our detailed write-up, including performance testing on Navi, Vega and Polaris can be found here.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 19.12.2 WHQL
"With each Radeon Software release, we laser-focus on bringing innovative features gamers demand, significant performance improvements, and the ultimate in software stability and reliability," said Andrej Zdravkovic, corporate vice president of software development at AMD. "AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition takes gaming on Radeon graphics to the next level with breathtaking visual quality, faster performance, and a host of unique, must-have features that dramatically improve the overall user experience."

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.12.1 Drivers

AMD Monday released the latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin. Version 19.12.1 beta adds support for the new Radeon RX 5300M graphics. It also fixes a major issue with Radeon RX 5700-series graphics cards stuttering at 1080p with low game settings. A crash-to-desktop noticed on machines with RX 5700-series graphics playing "The Outer Worlds" has also been fixed. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.12.1

The change-log follows.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 441.20 WHQL Drivers

NVIDIA today posted GeForce 441.20 WHQL software. The drivers come game-ready for "Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order," and "Stormland." This includes SLI support for the latest Star Wars game. NVIDIA also introduced support for CUDA 10.2 compute API. The list of G-Sync compatible monitors has been expanded with three more displays. Among the issues addressed with this release are geometry corruption on GTX 900-series "Maxwell" GPUs with "Red Dead Redemption" in Vulkan; G-Sync getting disengaged when V-Sync is disabled in "Red Dead Redemption." Vulkan-related errors with "The Surge" have also been fixed. There's also a surprising bug-fix, "Quake 3 Arena" appearing washed-out when color-depth is set to 16-bit. Performance drops with "CS: GO" have also been addressed. Grab the driver from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 441.20 WHQL Drivers

AMD Also Working to Bring Integer Scaling to Its Driver Suite

With NVIDIA and Intel already entrenched in the integer scaling field, which brings improved image quality to upscaled, pixel-art games, AMD was sure to follow. Vacuums in terms of feature set between different manufacturers of the same products aren't well looked at by consumers, and so AMD really has no choice but to advance into the integer scaling game as well. Recent Linux driver patches have been analyzed and found to contain multiple references to an integer scaling feature, which means that AMD is readying it for deployment and already on their way to work on its driver-level implementation.

Integer scaling works by looking at the base image and multiplying each pixel up to your monitor resolution, which brings in added sharpness without a single pixel's color being stretched over others. This way, a base 1080p presentation can easily be upscaled to a 4K resolution simply by syncing a given pixel's color information through 4 pixels - now you have a 4K screen that's rendering the same number of pixels as a 1080p one, with a block of four pixels acting as a single one. With integer scaling being the most requested feature on AMD's Adrenalin feedback page, so it seems pretty guaranteed we'll see the feature adopted eventually - perhaps even in AMD's own yearly big Adrenalin driver release, which could be dropping by this December, should history repeat itself.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.11.1 Drivers

AMD has today released a new and improved version of their "Adrenalin" graphics card driver with the release of the version 19.11.1. The new release brings many bug fixes and most importantly a support for Red Dead: Redemption II game. Some of the improvements with the 19.11.1 are the fixes for frame rate limit of 60 FPS in some game titles that utilize Vulkan API; OBS streaming now doesn't get a heavy frame drop when using AMF encoding and error when some users try to connect to Twitch from the connect page in Radeon Settings for live streaming is gone.

Download the AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.11.1 Driver.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.10.2 Drivers

AMD has released the Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.10.2 beta drivers. These drivers bring improved support for "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," which sees up to 18% better performance on the Ultra preset when using a Radeon RX 5700 XT. "The Outer Worlds" also sees improved support and sees 8% better performance at the Very High preset again on the Radeon RX 5700 XT. Improved support and better performance are always welcome; however, this release also offers some much-needed fixes, including application hang in Borderlands 3, which will likely make quite a few gamers happy. For a full list of fixes and known issues, check the full change-log below. Otherwise, you can grab the new driver from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.10.2 Beta
The change-log for 19.10.2 follows.

NVIDIA to Implement ReShade Post-Processing Injector at Driver Level

NVIDIA is taking a somewhat unusual step in that it's integrating a popular tool at a driver level. ReShade has become well--known throughout the gaming community due to the way it can add - sometimes critically - to many games, whether it be purely in an aesthetics, filter-like level (which really takes no toll on performance), or by adding features that were never developed into the engine, such as ambient occlusion, SMAA anti-aliasing, depth-of-field, and others.

The fact that NVIDIA is integrating it on a driver-level will likely do much in putting the tool even more in the eyes of PC gamers. For now, there is no word on whether the available ReShade tools will be available on a manual-import basis, but it's likely these will be curated by NVIDIA's own engineers. You can also likely forget some of the more advanced features of the tool - NVIDIA only talks about "hundreds of filters" being made available, which seems to bypass any other image-enhancing capabilities of the tool other than color grading, contrast enhancements, and such. The new driver with ReShade support will be available next week alongside NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER launch. NVIDIA confirmed that ReShade filters will be supported through GeForce Experience using NVIDIA Freestyle and Ansel technologies.

TechPowerUp Announces NVCleanstall - Customize Your NVIDIA Driver Installation

TechPowerUp today announced NVCleanstall, its latest original software designed to give PC enthusiasts and gamers unparalleled control over the installation of NVIDIA GeForce software. Besides the actual driver for your GeForce graphics processor, NVIDIA GeForce software includes close to a dozen optional components, not all of which can be opted out of in the "Custom" installation screen of NVIDIA's installer. Among these are Telemetry, which regularly sends your usage data to NVIDIA, and drivers for stereoscopic 3D, Shield, etc. These components may not all be useless or harmful, but aren't strictly required for your GPU to work and render graphics like it should. NVIDIA treats many of these software components as an extension of the product itself.

NVCleanstall has a clean user interface that begins with a screen that lets you choose the software version you want. It can either fetch the latest software from the Internet for you, or lets you select a downloaded NVIDIA GeForce software package (installer binary) from your PC, or lets you fetch a specific driver version you want from the Internet. You are then presented with an exhaustive list of components to install, categorized under the main components, and GeForce Experience. You can also select from our curated presets if you're not sure. In the following page, the app prepares your installation. In this screen, you can select from useful additional tweaks, including disabling the installer's own telemetry, scripting an unattended install, and pre-checking the "clean install" option in the NVIDIA driver installer. After that, NVCleanstall spawns the NVIDIA installer to install what you selected in NVCleanstall, or take you to the customized driver files. NVCleanstall has been put through months of rigorous testing from our community of PC enthusiasts. The app gives you not just greater control over your NVIDIA software, but also reduces the disk usage and memory footprint of your NVIDIA software.

DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp NVCleanstall 1.0.0

Intel Releases Graphics Drivers with Integer Upscaling - Only Available on Ice Lake

Intel over the weekend posted Graphics Software 25.20.100.7155, which delivers the much touted integer upscaling feature, branded as "Retro Scaling" by the company. The feature is a global toggle in the Graphics Command Center, which when enabled, upscales low-resolution retro games in a nearest-neighbor pixel multiplication model that looks better, when compared to classic bilinear upscaling, which alters the color data of multiplied pixels, causing the upscaled image to look blurry. This is a godsend for those playing old games on emulators, or even some of the newer indie games that retain a retro aesthetic.

Here's the catch - the feature is only available for Intel's Gen11 iGPU, found in the company's 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors. Intel currently ships "Ice Lake" only in its low-voltage and very low z-height packages, targeting notebooks and convertibles. The older Gen9.5 GPUs don't get access to the feature. The only other company with such a feature is NVIDIA, and even it restricts integer upscaling to only its latest "Turing" GPUs. Both NVIDIA and Intel leverage programmable scaling filters, instead of taking the programmable shader route. Intel is marking the feature as "beta" for now. Grab the drivers from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: Intel Graphics Software 25.20.100.7155 DCH

Drivers from Over 40 Manufacturers Including Intel, NVIDIA, AMD Vulnerable to Privilege Escalation Malware Attacks

Cybersecurity research firm Eclypsium published a report titled "Screwed Drivers," chronicling a critical flaw in the design of modern device driver software from over 40 hardware manufacturers, which allows malware to gain privilege from Ring 3 to Ring 0 (unrestricted hardware access). The long list of manufacturers publishing drivers that are fully signed and approved by Microsoft under its WHQL program, includes big names such as Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, AMI, Phoenix, ASUS, Toshiba, SuperMicro, GIGABYTE, MSI, and EVGA. Many of the latter few names are motherboard manufacturers who design hardware monitoring and overclocking applications that install kernel-mode drivers into Windows for Ring-0 hardware-access.

As part of its study, Eclypsium chronicles three classes of privilege-escalation attacks exploiting device drivers, RWEverything, LoJax (first UEFI malware), SlingShot. At the heart of these are the exploitation of the way Windows continues to work with drivers with faulty, obsolete, or expired signing certificates. Eclypsium hasn't gone into the nuts-and-bolts of each issue, but has briefly defined the three in a DEF CON presentation. The firm is working by several of the listed manufacturers on mitigations and patches, and is under embargo to put out a whitepaper. RWEverything is introduced by Eclypsium as a utility to access all hardware interfaces via software. It works in user-space, but with a one-time installed signed RWDrv.sys kernel-mode driver, acts as a conduit for malware to gain Ring-0 access to your machine. LoJax is an implant tool that uses RWDrv.sys to gain access to the SPI flash controller in your motherboard chipset, to modify your UEFI BIOS flash. Slingshot is an APT with its own malicious driver that exploits other drivers with read/write MSR to bypass driver signing enforcement to install a rootkit.

NVIDIA Issues Warning to Upgrade Drivers Due to Security Patches

NVIDIA has found a total of five security vulnerabilities with its Windows drivers for GeForce, Quadro and Tesla lineup of graphics cards. These new security risks are labeled as very dangerous and have the potential to cause local code execution, denial of service, or escalation of privileges, unless the system is updated. Users are advised to update their Windows drivers as soon as possible in order to stay secure and avoid all of these vulnerabilities, so be sure to check your drivers for latest version. Exploits are only accessible on Windows based OSes, starting from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

However, one fact that's reassuring is that in order to exploit a system, attacker must have local access to the machine that is running NVIDIA GPU, as remote exploit can not happen. Bellow are the tables provided by NVIDIA that show type of exploit along with rating it carries and which driver versions are affected. There are no mitigations for this exploit, as driver update is the only available solution to secure the system.

NVIDIA RTX Studio Laptops and Mobile Workstations - Purpose-Built for Creators - Coming from Every Major OEM

NVIDIA today announced that 10 new NVIDIA RTX Studio laptops and professional-grade mobile workstations are being released by major partners, delivering real-time ray tracing, advanced AI and ultra-high-resolution video editing to the world's 40 million creatives.

The latest designs from Dell, HP, Lenovo and BOXX bring the number of RTX Studio models to 27 - including 17 that are now available. These laptops power more than 40 creative and design applications that have turned "RTX On", enabling tens of millions of creatives to harness ray tracing and AI in their workflows. NVIDIA RTX features are being shown at SIGGRAPH this week in software from a diverse set of independent software vendors, including Adobe, Autodesk and Blackmagic Design.
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