To coincide with the Khronos release of OpenGL 4.2, NVIDIA has drivers available now for Windows and Linux. These drivers provide full support for OpenGL 4.2 and GLSL 4.20. Developers can immediatly start to experiment with the new features and performance enhancements of OpenGL 4.2.

OpenGL 4.2 provides the following new functionality:

OpenGL 4.2 provides the following new performance improvements:

  • ARB_compressed_texture_pixel_storage
    • Modify an arbitrary subset of compressed texture
    • Blizzard requested feature
  • ARB_shading_language_packing
    • Allows GLSL shaders to read and write 16-bit floating-point encodings
    • Pack small data types into one larger one
    • Implementable on pre GL 4 hardware
  • Uniform sampler initialization and Uniform block binding initialization
    • Use layout to set texture image unit, and UBO index
    • No need to call GetUniformLocation() or GetUniformBlockLocation()
    • Part of ARB_shading_language_420pack
  • ARB_map_buffer_alignment
    • Pointer returned is aligned for SSE/AVX CPU instructions
  • ARB_conservative_depth
    • Shader constructs that help enable depth testing before fragment processing

The drivers and extension documentation can be downloaded here