Thanks for your feedback and the very comprehensive list of cards you provided.
I can confirm that there is an issue with these cards which we are currently looking into as these never drivers perform badly (sometimes extremely badly) on big designs. We will provide updates on this forum once we learn more.
For now our recommendation is to stick to the 276.xx drivers (276.28 works fine on our side), we will reflect this with the upcoming releases highlights.
Some drivers/video card software needs to be updated for optimal security. However, new drivers perform (very) badly. We do not want to have to buy new hardware every time video card software needs updating.
Either Mentor needs to work with NVIDIA/AMD-ATI to produce update drivers that work well, or Expedition needs to be updated to take advantage of new hardware/drivers.
That's true and we are working on this. On the other hand with drivers it's not really the same as with normal software and it's important that we consider the difference.
If a card is older and a new driver release comes out supporting the current generation of cards and this older card, it's probable that problems may creep in while the vendor is focused on their current generation, examples of this we see time and again.
When I researched this in the past (we previously suggested using latest drivers until life forced us to change our recommendations) I found that most people/sites suggest a golden rule of: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It or Don’t fix what isn’t broken.
The Internet in general is full of stories of people troubleshooting problems after upgrading their drivers and then waiting for updates fixing problems introduced in previous updates etc.
Even for security reasons unless the driver is specifically labeled as fixing a security issue installing it may just as well introduce new security problems.
In a perfect world we wouldn't have any of these problems but unfortunately we do and as Mentor we do our best to work well with all the cards, check the newly released drivers on as many cards as we physically can and report what we find and it's a significant effort for us given the amount of cards multiplied by the number of our supported platforms. On the other side with an issue like we have here we need to accept reality and use the driver that works well while we work with the vendors to help them fix their problems.
You may also find this article series interesting touching on very similar topics: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/2d-windows-gdi,2539.html
A small update to keep this thread complete - while working with NVidia we identified the performance problems and saw that they can be eliminated by changing settings in the NVidia control panel - please find the details in this thread and let us know what your results are: