I’ve been using NVIDIA driver version 285.62 for quite awhile. I needed to update a clients machine and noticed a new update was out for my machine, 295.73. So, I got it and updated my computer.
The install has dramatically changed. Along with the drivers and Control Panel comes 3 add-ons for Photoshop; DXT Compression, Normal Maps, and Scripts.
This is a Photoshop plug-in that allows Photoshop to open and save Direct Draw Surface (.dds) files. Simply said these are files used with DirectX to provide efficient textures, They are not much use for Second Life users, which uses OpenGL.
This is another plug-in for Photoshop. The normal map filter plug-in generates a normal map from images. The normal maps generated are useful for per-pixel lighting. These can be used with Blender to help in making textures for Second Life.
The manuals for the plug-ins can be found via the Windows menu: Start->NVIDIA Corporation->NVIDIA Photoshop Plug-ins.
These are all tools that help with the creation of textures for games and 3D virtual worlds. Second Life uses the images from these types of tools in limited ways. With the added ability in Second Life to work with free form mesh objects the nVidia plug-ins will be more useful.
The plug-ins have been around for some time, since CS2 I think. But, AFAIK, this driver update is the first that installs them. One had to download them separately prior to this.
The nVidia Control Panel has some changes. But, it is basically the same. The driver seems to work OK with SL Development Viewer 3.3.0 (248913) Feb 6. I do find if I shift the focus from the SL Viewer window it tends to crash.
UPDATE: Several people are having more frequent crashes with the new driver. I find my Dev Viewer 3.3.0 crashes with a vertex memory allocation error. It seems to be random. Some are holding off updating the driver.