Nvidia has responded to Half-Life 2 performance comments made by Valve's Gabe Newell yesterday by saying that it will soon release new graphics card drivers that will significantly improve performance in Valve's game. The test numbers that Newell presented yesterday were run with the currently available ATI and Nvidia drivers, specifically the v45 series driver that Nvidia first released some time ago and the version 3.7 driver ATI released just recently.
Nvidia has a new v50 scheduled for release in the coming weeks that the company had been working with Valve to optimize for Half-Life 2. For this reason, Nvidia expressed surprise over Newell's negative comments about the v50 driver and the fact that he said that the driver shouldn't be used for benchmark testing. About the results derived from the v45 drivers, the company claimed that the "performance numbers are invalid" because they do not use the v50 drivers, which will be released before Half-Life 2 is publicly available.
One of Newell's comments that Nvidia didn't dispute is that it takes developers extra effort to create DirectX 9 effects that run well on GeForce FX cards. Nvidia has, however, created automatic optimization software for DirectX 9 shader effects and said that "the fruits of these efforts will be seen in our v50 driver release" and that "many other improvements have also been included in v50, and these were all created either in response to, or in anticipation of, the first wave of shipping DirectX 9 titles, such as Half Life 2."
Half-Life 2 is scheduled for release later this year and is one of the first PC games designed to incorporate a wide range of effects created using the DirectX 9 standard, which was designed with a more flexible and robust system for creating cinematic effects for games than DirectX 8. Microsoft released DirectX 9 late last year, and it's only been in the last year that developers have had DX9 graphics cards and tools to use during the game development process.