The announcement comes just after Microsoft unveiled its Windows Vista logo program, which is designed to help encourage compatibility in partner software and hardware. One of the products showcased by Microsoft is the line of Nvidia GeForce graphics cards, and Nvidia has qualified for the logo for upcoming products as well.
The release of the new drivers will support over 100 different products and benefit users in a number of ways, according to the company.
The GPUs that will be Windows Vista-ready—Nvidia GeForce, Nvidia Quadro and Nvidia GeForce Go—will deliver crisper photos and videos, and improve system performance for consumers, professionals, and mobile users.
The WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) certification is essential in helping PC users plan for the move to Windows Vista, Nvidia said. Certification identifies products that are easy to install and work well with the operating system.
"By providing this Windows Hardware Quality Labs certified graphics driver for Windows Vista, Nvidia is allowing our OEM and graphics cards partners to get ready for the upcoming release of the latest graphical operating system from Microsoft," said Lew Wagman, strategic marketing director at Nvidia, based in Santa Clara, Calif.
OEMs and channel partners can now start building systems with a wide range of graphics cards based on the companys GPUs, Wagman said, and they will now be certified for Vista, since the cards and supporting drivers are available.
Nvidia expects that a full range of products, from low-cost mainstream options to higher-performing gaming and workstation GPUs, will be available to OEMs and system builders, he said.
"Windows Vista is the first operating system from Microsoft that requires a GPU to get the best end user experience, and this is a big step in getting both our partners and end users ready for Vista," Wagman said.
The drivers support Windows Vista x86 and x64 as well as processors that have been built for the last four years, ranging from the GeForce FX 5100 to the current graphics processor, the GeForce 7950 GX2.
In terms of broader support, partners like BFG Technologies, EVGA and XFX will offer Nvidia products at several major retailers, Nvidia said. This level of support is key, the company said, since it helps consumers determine whether their PCs are ready for Windows Vista.