Not too long after a driver release to coincide with the launch of the GTX Titan X, NVIDIA is back again with a hotfix driver release, version 350.05. Like previous hotfix releases, this release is essentially a beta-quality driver intended for rapid release to fix a handful of specific issues, in this particular case to fix crashes in the Frostbite engine games Battlefield: Hardline and Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Meanwhile of possibly greater interest is the driver branch itself, R349. Though NVIDIA not a stranger to hotfix drivers overall, introducing a new driver branch via a hotfix is very rare for the company. This usually only happens when they’re near ready to release a new driver branch and/or backporting fixes to a stable driver branch would be unnecessarily time consuming.

As a hotfix driver doesn’t include detailed release notes we do not know the full extent of what R349 brings, but we do know a few things about it. For one thing, R349 on Windows 10 is the first branch to include WDDM 2.0 support and has been the branch being distributed to testers via Windows Update; however that feature has been turned off for this hotfix since it’s intended for Win7/8 machines. Meanwhile it has been noted (and we’ve been able to confirm) that this driver branch also adds support for OpenCL 1.2.

First announced in late 2011, OpenCL is a point update for OpenCL 1.x that added a handful of new (but potentially important) features. More importantly however is the fact that until now NVIDIA has declined to support OpenCL 1.2, opting instead to direct their energies into the growing CUDA ecosystem and its wider usage than OpenCL 1.x. Consequently the addition of OpenCL 1.2 support at this stage comes as a bit of a surprise, but we’ll take it. And hopefully this is a sign that NVIDIA is going to be catching up on OpenCL so that they can support SPIR/SPIR-V and OpenCL 2.x.

Anyhow, as this is not an official beta release, these drivers are only available through NVIDIA’s customer support portal. NVIDIA has posted 32-bit and 64-bit drivers for desktops and notebooks, and a quick check of driver strings indicates that this build should support NVIDIA’s entire range of cards, including the older Fermi cards.

Source: NVIDIA (via SH SOTN)

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  • eanazag - Friday, April 3, 2015 - link

    I'm slightly confused. Ryan did you mean to refer to R350 as being a new branch or R349 as it is written in the article?
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, April 3, 2015 - link

    This is the 106th driver in the R349 branch. Hence 350.05.
  • tuxfool - Friday, April 3, 2015 - link

    Damn on the cutting edge here, OpenCL 1.2. I suppose that now with Vulkan they have no real choice to not support 2.x.
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, April 3, 2015 - link

    nVidia has been limited to only Core17 projects and earlier in Folding@Home due to issues with OpenCL. I can't wait to see if this driver resolves those issues; it has been a long wait for fully-working OpenCL on Maxwell.
  • Daniel Egger - Friday, April 3, 2015 - link

    Wow, that seemed like an important message, a new driver branch with all unknown features except for OpenCL 1.2. What about the stable 347.88 driver release that finally fixes that dreaded DSR bug?
  • mdriftmeyer - Friday, April 3, 2015 - link

    It might take them another 2 years to catch up to AMD's OpenCL 2.x current support.
  • Dorek - Saturday, April 4, 2015 - link

    Still crashing every time in BF4 after this driver. I'm going to roll-back to pre-Hardline drivers.
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    Wow, finally OpenCL 1.2! That will be a significant relief for cross-platform OpenCL apps which were previously held back by nVidia.
  • moozoo - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    The platform reports "OpenCL 1.2 CUDA 7.0.0 FULL_PROFILE"
    However on my hardware it reports "OpenCL 1.1 CUDA" for the device
    I only have a GT 610
    Could someone that has installed this driver and has a latest video card please run GPU caps viewer and confirm that the actual device has 1.2 support?
    Until then I don't believe it.
  • Ahnilated - Monday, April 13, 2015 - link

    I am still crashing in Dragon Age: Inquisition also so this patch didn't help at all just like the 6 patches to the game have not helped at all.

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