Gaming PC

AMD, Intel and Nvidia GPU Driver Sizes Compared: Feature Creep

Today, AMD, Nvidia, and Intel are three major players vying for the best graphics cards. Two incumbents recently released their next-generation GPU architectures, with Nvidia Ada Lovelace going up against AMD RDNA 3. The Intel Arc Alchemist architecture was also announced last year, but an argument can certainly be made that it was designed to compete with Nvidia Ampere. and AMD RDNA 2. Beyond hardware, however, software and drivers play a key role in getting maximum performance out of his GPU, and drivers are becoming more and more complex.

Consider all APIs you need support for: DirectX 9/10/11/12, OpenGL, Vulkan, OpenCL, etc. Then there could be multiple generations of hardware — Nvidia’s latest driver he supports 5 different architectures, AMD’s driver does… well AMD is a bit special now is a case. One driver set supports only the latest RDNA 3 GPUs and the other driver set supports only the latest RDNA 3 GPUs. set supports RDNA 2, RDNA, Vega, and Polaris, and is said to have a unified driver for the two in the future.

In contrast, the lack of a huge back catalog of GPUs to support gives Intel an advantage…unless you count integrated graphics. It supports 13th generation Raptor Lake integrated graphics with its drivers. This is a bit interesting as there is a huge difference in performance between many of these integrated solutions and dedicated Arc GPUs.

One thing I’ve noticed over the last few years is that GPU driver download sizes have steadily grown. This made me think about the current state of affairs. Nvidia’s driver also has additional features like his CUDA and DLSS that should be supported, so you might think it would be bigger. you are partly right. Here’s how download sizes currently stack up:

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Driver download size, Jan 2023
Driver version (GPU) Download size (KiB) Size (MiB)
AMD 22.11.2 (RDNA 2 and earlier) 558,886 545.8
AMD 23.1.1 (RDNA 3 only) 603,716 589.6
Nvidia 528.02 (RTX 40 and earlier) 832,540 813.0
Intel 31.0.101.4034 (Arc and Xe) 1,243,656 1,214.5

When Nvidia dropped their 3D Vision support (RIP), the download size dropped considerably, but I’m used to the large download size of Nvidia’s drivers. Besides the driver, there is also his GeForce Experience app that comes with it. It’s a 124.8 MiB download if you get it separately, but it’s usually packaged with all his Nvidia drivers.

However, the new AMD drivers feel a little strange.why the driver that’s all Do you need to support 2 GPUs which is maybe 8% bigger than a driver that supports 100+ different GPUs? Perhaps the integrated AMD driver is not that big, just a matter of tying together a few remaining pieces am.

But when it comes to driver bloat, AMD and Nvidia haven’t done anything to Intel. 1.21GB? (opens in new tab) Great scott! How could they have been so careless? But seriously, you have to wonder what is taking up so much space.

Certainly Intel is newer than AMD and Nvidia. We are also looking to add features like XeSS support and Smooth Sync. But AMD and his Nvidia also have something like that. Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder if the seemingly large unoptimized file sizes could be related to extra unnecessary unoptimized code. Also, will the drivers be even bigger when Battlemage comes out?

Thanks to you, the best SSDs are now fairly affordable. Fast 1TB NVMe drive (opens in new tab) about $85, or alternatively 2TB SATA drives (opens in new tab)Of course, unzipping and installing the drivers takes up a lot more space, but that’s not much compared to the 100GB+ game install size. Bon appetit!

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