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DaVinci Resolve 15 - Performance loss with NVIDIA 418 & 419 driver

Written on March 8, 2019 by Matt Bach
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Summary of issue

In some of our recent testing, we noticed that we were getting much lower benchmark scores in DaVinci Resolve compared to what we have seen in the past. After trying multiple versions of DaVinci Resolve Studio (ranging from 15.0 to 15.3), multiple hardware platforms, and many other troubleshooting steps, we discovered that the issue was being caused by recent NVIDIA GPU drivers.

In particular, we found that the following drivers are causing 11% lower FPS on average in the Color Tab, although in some cases the performance drop was as large as 20% depending on the codec and grade. The NVIDIA drivers that we have confirmed to have this issue are:

  • 418.81 - Released Feb 04, 2019
  • 418.91- Released Feb 13, 2019
  • 419.35 - Released Mar 05, 2019

Note that while we have confirmed it with these driver versions, the issue will likely be present with future driver releases as well until NVIDIA, Blackmagic, or Microsoft (depending on where the root of the issue is) are able to implement a fix.

We have confirmed that this issue occurs with NVIDIA's GeForce RTX line of cards, but have not tested it with the older GTX series. It appears to be fairly universal in terms of what codecs are affected including H.264, DNx, ProRes, BRAW, CinemaDNG, and RED footage.

Solution

Currently, the only way we have confirmed to resolve this issue is to use NVIDIA driver version 417.71 which was released on January 15, 2019. You can download the driver [HERE].

While we have not confirmed it, it is also possible that this problem is related to a recent Windows update (KB4482887) that is known to cause performance loss in some games. If you are not able to downgrade the GPU driver for whatever reason, you may try uninstalling this update to see if it resolves the issue.

When installing the GPU driver, we highly recommend selecting the "Custom" option and choosing "Perform a clean install"

Tags: DaVinci Resolve, performance, NVIDIA, 418, 419

Thank you for sharing with the public!

Posted on 2019-03-09 13:26:17
Eric Testroete

I've noticed this issue with 417.71 and im back on 399.24. Resolve 15.3 studio.

Posted on 2019-03-09 20:49:43
Zackarih Hartford

Nvidia fixed a couple security vulnerabilities with driver version 419.17. It's probably unrelated since you're seeing the performance drop with drivers released before this. https://nvidia.custhelp.com...

Posted on 2019-03-09 22:53:39

That was actually one of our initial thoughts as well, but since 418.xx have the same issue, I agree that it is probably not related. What is really weird is that this seems to be solely a problem in Resolve. We've done a bunch of testing recently with a number of Adobe packages and have seen no difference with the newer drivers.

What is even weirder (I didn't get into this in the post since it is a bit too specific), is that with the newer driver, both CPU and GPU load go way up, but performance gets worse. It went from something like 50% load on 2 CPU cores (plus a smattering on the other cores) & 30% load on GPU with 417; to 100% load on 2 CPU cores & 50% load on the GPU with 418/419. It's like there is some new CUDA/OpenCL/something feature in the newer drivers that Resolve is trying to use, but failing to do so effectively.

Posted on 2019-03-11 17:05:55