State of OpenGL 3.2 laptop drivers‏


Has anyone done any OpenGL 3.2 core profile development on a laptop? If so, can you please describe your experience with the drivers, and perhaps even recommend a laptop?

I read on that NVIDIA Forceware 195.62 WHQL includes support for OpenGL 3.2. Has anyone tried it?

I’m using a GeForce 8 on my desktop, so I’d actually prefer to get an ATI card in the laptop for extra testing - if the drivers support OpenGL 3.2 and aren’t too buggy. According to their OpenGL 3 White Paper, lots of ATI Mobility Radeon’s support OpenGL 3. But their Catalyst Version 9.12 Release Notes only mentions 3.2 support for desktop products.

If ATI is a posibility, I am considering this HP laptop with a HD 4650. If ATI isn’t a posibility, I’m considering this Sony laptop with a GT230M.

Any recommendations would be appreciated.


Under Vista I am using driver 191.07 which also has GL 3.2 support on a Toshiba and works well.

Additionally, for nVidia cards, if you use Linux, the driver for laptops and desktops are the same file download and as such, ironically, laptop support is better for Linux for drivers taken from nVidia. Under Linux, GL 3.2 support is also fine (as far as I have used it!)

Keep in mind that many of the features that are exposed in GL 3.2 (and for that matter GL 3.1 and 3.0) have been exposed as extensions in nVidia land forever.

No clue about ATI though.


I think my reply would come too late but it could be useful for future users.

If you plan on having up-to-date support of OpenGL, e.g. for developing with new features, then the only solution is Nvidia.

Please forget about ATI immediately, as I made this -huge- mistake and regret it every days. ATI Windows drivers for laptops are ONLY maintained by constructors (e.g. Sony, HP, …) and update is rarely good (6 months late or so). As for ATI Linux drivers they have been more up-to-date recently (almost more than windows ones!) but some bugs remains, and you cannot check your programs on Window since support is late.

While ATI simply refuse to provide laptop drivers, Nvidia just warn you about the absence of support from your constructor if you use Nvidia drivers, but they are available from their website. Moreover updates are known to be more frequent and the general support under linux better.

In conclusion, if you need the most recent features of OpenGL go for Nvidia, at least for laptops and/or Linux use.

Thanks for the responses.

Just so I’m clear - to get the most recent OpenGL laptop drivers, I should go directly to NVIDIA just like I do when upgrading my desktop drivers. The only difference is the laptop manufacture may no longer provide full support. Right?

Even though I’m likely to go with NVIDIA, I’d still like to hear experiences with 3.2 core profile on a laptop with ATI, if the drivers are even available yet.


I have an Ati desktop and my driver experience has been generally positive. Most things up to OpenGL 3.1 are supported well. OpenGL 3.2 is slightly more buggy, but there’s a marked improvement between driver releases. I have encountered a number of driver bugs, including a very annoying one that caused corrupted depth FBO blits, but most of those have already been fixed. Support is rather good, there’s no comparison with the Ati of old.

You can also install drivers from Ati’s site on specific laptops, if the manufacturer allows it (just like nvidia). These drivers can always be installed on Linux, but some laptop manufacturers don’t allow them to install on Windows, which is very frustrating. Unless you are sure that (a) your laptop manufacturer provides timely updates or (b) there is a way to mod those drivers and install them (ala, it might be a better idea to go with nvidia.

Finally, nvidia is ahead in terms of OpenGL support, but you really do need cards from both major IHVs to ensure proper support. If you go with nvidia now, consider upgrading your desktop to an ati card at some future point, so you can test correctly (ati on the desktop is a much better bet than ati on laptops, to be honest).