Image: Brad Chacos/IDG
PC gamers love performance, and that performance isn’t limted to games themselves. So when some of them started noticing abnormally high CPU usage after the latest Nvidia GPU driver update, it threw up some red flags. After a bit of investigation, Nvidia itself has confirmed the problem: Some users are seeing inflated CPU usage after closing 3D games, which persists until a reboot.
The company confirmed the problem with the latest driver update, 531.18, which was published on February 28th. An updated list of open issues (including some that didn’t make it into the full release notes) was posted to Nvidia’s support forum, and spotted by VideoCardz.com. Issue number 4007208 reads, “Higher CPU usage from NVIDIA Container may be observed after exiting a game.” Some users are showing CPU usage of up to 10-15 percent in these conditions — not enough to seriously hamper most gaming desktops, but more than enough to be an annoyance, especially if you use your PC for other intensive tasks. Like opening three Chrome tabs at once.
At the moment there’s no easy fix, so the immediate solution if you’re affected is to roll back your driver to version 528.49 from February 8th, available for manual download here. Hopefully Nvidia will be able to patch the newer driver sooner rather than later. Update: In a tweet responding to PCWorld’s coverage, Nvidia software product manager Sean Pelletier said the company will post a hotfix for the issue tomorrow, on March 7.
Of course modern GPU drivers are stupendously complex pieces of software, and Nvidia isn’t the only one dealing with bugs at the moment. AMD has a rather embarrassing issue on its hands with the latest high-end Radeon cards, which under the right circumstances, can totally tank a Windows installation. In contrast, Intel seems to be steadily improving the software side of its Arc GPUs, which are gaining surprising traction in the budget market.