A New Driver and nTune 5.0
New Driver Look
Like we didn’t have enough to cover this week, NVIDIA also took this chance to introduce a new driver look and feel that is universal between their GPU, MCP and nTune software. In an attempt to be more “user friendly” the NVIDIA control panel is now unified and looks more like a standard Windows application than anything else.
The home page of our nTune page here shows you what the setup looks like in general. We’ll be covering the new driver is much more detail with a new GPU release later on this month.
Since its inception, the nTune software has been constantly changing and shifting as NVIDIA got more feedback from the press, end users and the motherboard vendors. Unfortunately, most of the feedback from the motherboard manufacturers has been “shove off” and as such the nTune software has yet to really take off as I’d hoped it might. With revision 5.0 NVIDIA makes some good additions to the software suite worth taking a look at.
We are testing it on the Foxconn nForce 590 SLI board which is a direct adoption of the NVIDIA reference platform and as such all possible nTune hooks and options are available here. That may not be the case in future motherboard reviews, so we’ll be sure to check into that as AM2 boards are released.
First up, we are seeing the options that the user has to modify their system clocks including the reference clock and PCIe bus clocks. CPU multiplier is still not modifiable in this software and must be changed in the BIOS.
System voltages are highly changeable in the nTune software via these slider bars. The indicators on the right hard side that are green, red and yellow tell the user when they are leaving the safety zone of voltage specifications.
Fan speed can be controlled in this version of nTune — a big plus!
Most of the important memory timings can be changed here as well, including CAS latency, which wasn’t an option on the nForce4 series of chipsets.
GPU overclocking can be accomplished through the nTune software as well allowing NVIDIA users to have a one-stop location for all their tweaking.
One of the new features in nTune 5.0 is the ability to change BIOS settings directly and then have them applied when you reboot the system. Not everything is available, but you can see that quite a lot of it is adjustable.
Just as in previous versions, for users that don’t want to twiddle with tons of switches, you can chose to let the NVIDIA software tweak and overclock your system for you. As in the past, our experiences with this are modest at best.
The profiles system for nTune 5.0 looks much more familiar than in previous versions as it is modeled off of the Outlook method most of us have used before. Here you can set performance profiles for applications and games.
A stability test is also available to stress test your own settings and see how they hold up under the pressure.
The NVIDIA Monitor tool allows you watch over your bus speeds and voltags in one easy to view screen and also allows you monitor all your system temperatures in one simple graph.
Finally, even the new networking options we talked about including teaming, FirstPacket and TCP/IP accleration can be modified and adjusted in this universal NVIDIA control panel.