AMD, Intel and Nvidia GPU Driver Sizes In contrast: Who’s Most Bloated?

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We now have three main gamers vying to be the greatest graphics playing cards: AMD, Nvidia, and Intel. The 2 incumbents lately launched their next-generation GPU architectures, with Nvidia Ada Lovelace taking up AMD RDNA 3. The Intel Arc Alchemist structure additionally got here out final yr, however you possibly can definitely make the argument that it was actually designed to compete with Nvidia Ampere and AMD RDNA 2. Past the {hardware}, although, software program and drivers play a vital function in extracting most efficiency from the GPU, and drivers have gotten more and more complicated.

Think about all of the APIs that must be supported: DirectX 9/10/11/12, OpenGL, Vulkan, OpenCL, and others apart from. Then you may have doubtlessly a number of generations of {hardware} — Nvidia’s newest drivers help 5 completely different architectures whereas AMD’s drivers help … effectively, AMD’s a little bit of a particular case proper now, as one set of drivers solely helps the most recent RDNA 3 GPUs whereas the opposite set helps RDNA 2, RDNA, Vega, and Polaris, however we’re instructed the 2 will get a unified driver sooner or later.

Intel in distinction is better off, because it would not have an enormous again catalog of GPUs to help… until you rely built-in graphics. And Intel does help eleventh Gen Tiger Lake, twelfth Gen Alder Lake, and thirteenth Gen Raptor Lake built-in graphics with its drivers. That is a bit fascinating, as a result of there’s an enormous gulf in efficiency between lots of these built-in options and the devoted Arc GPUs.

One factor we have seen over time has been the steadily bloating dimension of GPU driver downloads. Which obtained us excited about the present establishment. You would possibly suppose Nvidia’s drivers could be bigger, because it additionally has some additional stuff like CUDA and DLSS that it must help. You would be partially right. At current, here is how the obtain sizes stack up:

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Driver Obtain Sizes, January 2023
Driver Model (GPUs) Obtain Dimension (KiB) Dimension (MiB)
AMD 22.11.2 (RDNA 2 and earlier) 558,886 545.8
AMD 23.1.1 (RDNA 3 solely) 603,716 589.6
Nvidia 528.02 (RTX 40 and earlier) 832,540 813.0
Intel (Arc and Xe) 1,243,656 1,214.5

We have grow to be accustomed to seeing bigger obtain sizes on Nvidia’s drivers — although they did shrink fairly a bit again when Nvidia killed off 3D Imaginative and prescient help (RIP). The newer AMD drivers strike us as considerably odd, nonetheless. Why are the drivers that solely must help two GPUs 8% bigger than the drivers that help in all probability over 100 completely different GPUs? Possibly the unified AMD drivers will not be a lot bigger and it is only a matter of tying a number of remaining items collectively.

However AMD and Nvidia don’t have anything on Intel with regards to driver bloat. 1.21 GB? (opens in new tab) Nice Scott! How may they’ve been so careless? However critically, you must surprise what precisely is taking on a lot house.

Granted, Intel is newer to this than AMD and Nvidia. It additionally has tried to stuff in a bunch of additional options, together with XeSS help and issues like Easy Sync. However AMD and Nvidia have that kind of stuff as effectively. Extra to the purpose, we won’t assist however surprise if the bigger, presumably unoptimized file sizes may additionally correlate with unoptimized code that is full of additional cruft. Additionally, will the drivers get even bigger when Battlemage arrives?

Thank goodness the greatest SSDs have grow to be fairly reasonably priced, as today you possibly can seize a quick 1TB NVMe drive (opens in new tab) for round $85, or alternatively a 2TB SATA drive (opens in new tab). Unpacking and putting in the drivers will in fact devour much more house, however that is nothing in comparison with 100GB and bigger sport set up sizes — until you may have a knowledge cap and prefer to obtain drivers frequently. Bon appétit!

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