As the gates of Computex 2012 are about to open up, Microsoft unloaded the public preview of Windows 8. A quick check in electronics super stores will reveal that many products like printers etc are already claiming compatibility with the new OS – but not many are doing it as vocally as nVidia. KitGuru nestles a head in Dwight Diercks’ soft lap and listens to his bedtime voice.
OK. We know what you’re thinking. Who the hell is Dwight and why do we, metaphorically, have our heads in ‘ready for bedtime story’ position? Well, he’s nVidia’s Senior VP for software and he’s been giving lots of love to Microsoft recently – so we wanted to know what that story was all about.
The move past Windows XP came as a pain for nVidia. Long seen as the company with the very best drivers, nVidia had its poor Vista performance dragged into the public light when the ‘Vista Capable’ class action suits peppered the courts in 2008. Microsoft’s data revealed that almost 30% of the time, Vista crashed because of nVidia’s driver. That contrasts with around 9% each for Intel and AMD.
nVidia worked hard and fixed the issues as quickly as it could – but the whole ‘New Microsoft OS launch’ still makes them a little nervous.
So, less of a surprise that Dwight would come out swinging on Windows 8.
First up, he is an expert – but any measurement. Having joined nVidia in 1994 as a senior software engineer, Dwight was already a VP by 1999. At the time he joined jen Hsun International Enterprises, the company only had 21 employees. Things have got bigger since then.
Over the past 13 years, he has been pushing hard to maintain nVidia’s software reputation.
His opening salvo was direct, “Microsoft achieved a major milestone this past week by making Windows 8 Release Preview available to the public, enabling PC enthusiasts to give it a test drive. While their latest OS may be new to many, we’re already familiar with it. For starters, nVidia has been working closely on Windows for more than 18 years”.
So when did nVidia begin working on Windows 8 specifically? Dwight confirmed, “Windows graphics drivers are extremely complex. We’re talking millions of lines of code. We began in-house development support for it more than two years ago”.
So how hard was it for nVidia to get it right with Windows 8? One good measure of how complicated a problem is for any given company to solve, is to look at the total number of people who worked on the solution.
“We pulled out all of the stops in working with Microsoft to ensure our customers and end users get the ultimate Windows 8 experience”, said Dwight. “It’s a serious challenge that requires the resources of a big team. We had 1,500 engineers who have been involved in the effort to support Windows 8”.
1,500 engineers to get a drive launched for a new OS. Big number.
Dwight was also keen to stress that nVidia’s drivers are now mature – and that the company works hard to achieve WHQL certification. He explained, “In 2011 alone, our labs obtained more than 1,000 WHQL certifications, including systems from virtually every leading PC manufacturer”.
Which was nice.
KitGuru says: After we’ve recovered from all the bunting and cake surrounding the 60th anniversary of the monarch, we’ll have another bash at Windows 8 – hoping that Microsoft’s new OS will this time accept that Intel’s Core i7 980 is powerful enough to run the software. Click here for our last experience.
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