Ahead of next Tuesday's launch of Microsoft Vista, NVIDIA has shown tech.co.uk the long awaited driver for video cards based on its top of the range GeForce 8800GTX and GTS chips.

The driver, codenamed 100.54, is still a beta version, although the company says it plans to have a WHQL certified driver ready for download to the general public on Tuesday.

At present, although the driver supports DirectX10 applications, the final version of the API hasn't been released to the public, which means GeForce 8800GTX-based systems still won't be able to run DX10 games until Tuesday - but that's OK, since there aren't any of those either.

Performance-wise, we've not run into any stability issues yet; we've played several games at several resolutions and had no problems at all. In terms of framerates, NVIDIA says it is aiming "to get Vista performance equivalent to XP performance wherever possible", but the full power of the GeForce 8800GTX may not be available on Vista at launch.

Certainly with this driver, some games are on a par with benchmarks in XP, but Half-Life 2: Lost Coast is running almost 40 per cent slower at tested resolutions, and Medieval 2 is taking a 10 per cent hit compared to an XP set-up at high resolutions.

Still, it's early days and further updates for enhancing performance are expected on a regular basis. There are already WHQL drivers available for other cards in the NVIDIA range.