Second Life: Nvidia Driver 516.40 Issues

Update: the issues described blow have also been noted on Nvidia drivers 512.95 and 515.48. If you encounter similar issues please check for driver version (go to Help → About in the viewer and then look for the line “OpenGL Version: X.X.X NVIDIA YYY.YY”,  where Nvidia YYY.YY is your installed driver); if you note a different driver to 51.6.40, please consider adding a note to the two official Jira linked to below, and in a comment on Beq’s NvidIa forum report, so other can see potentially affected drivers. Thanks. 

It is being reported that the latest Nvidia driver version 516.40, issued on June 15th, 2022, is causing issues for Second Life Users running either Windows or Linux who have updated to use it. As a result, the general advice is not to update to this driver for the time being.

In summary:

  • The issues are apparent when running the viewer with Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled.
  • They can cause objects to flash or blink in and out, or can display rings or lines across in-world objects (as shown in the image below).
Image showing some of the artefacts created during scene rendering following an update to the Nivida 516.40 driver. Image courtesy of ermanart / BUG-232264

The following bug reports provide further information on the problems reported thus far:

  • Firestorm:
    • FIRE-31746 – “Updated nVidia Drivers now ambient occlusion causes graphic issues”.
    • FIRE-31747 – “Graphical Glitch that’s too distracting to ignore”.
  • Official Jira:
    • BUG-232264 – “Nvidia driver update causes rough lines in Second Life rendering”.
    • BUG-232268 – “NVidia driver 516.40 causes visual issues on latest viewers with ALM enabled”

In addition, Beq Janus of the Firestorm team has reported the issue via the Nvidia forums – see: Driver 516.40 Causing visual artefacts on Windows and Linux for Second Life viewers (OpenGL).

For those who have updated to driver 516.40, two courses of action are currently available to try to correct:

  • Minimum: disable ALM (Preferences → Graphics → uncheck Advanced Lighting Model. Note that this may not work when under Linden Water in Second Life, per BUG-232268 (above).
  • Recommended: revert to an earlier driver version or use the Nvidia Studio Drivers instead.

Again, please note that the issues are driver-related, and so not something either Linden Lab nor TPVs can address themselves.