I agree that Nvidia driver versions are confusing, since
4xx Nvidia have introduced the concept of
Short Lived and
Beta branches, hopefully this will help make things a bit clearer.
There are a few rules of thumb that can help you:
- Major version numbers are branches (eg
430.x is the
- Branches with higher numbers are newer (
435 is newer than
- A number of different branches may be getting updates concurrently (at the time of writing both the
435 branches are being updated).
- Some branches are
Long Lived (
430) and some branches are
Short Lived (
Long Lived branches will get updates for a longer period than
Short Lived branches (this is similar to how
LTS vs non
LTS Ubuntu releases work).
Long Lived and
Short Lived are not a measure of stability they are a measure of how long the branch will receive updates.
Given the list above you can see that it makes sense to think about Nvidia driver versions like you think about Ubuntu
LTS versions. Some people choose to stick with
Long Lived (
LTS) branches so that they don't need to be upgrading all the time (and possibly they are more stable?). Other people want the latest and greatest so they install the latest
Short Lived branch, this is like running an Ubuntu interim release.
Like with Ubuntu
LTS releases sometimes the
Long Lived branch is the latest branch available.
When it comes to release cadence things are not as clear. I am not sure if there is a fixed number of
Short Lived branches between a
Long Lived branch or not. I also don't know if there is a regular release cadence.
This nvidia devtalk forum post suggests the following:
- There is a new branch every 3 months
- Releases alternate between
Long Lived and
Short Lived branches
Short Lived branches are supported for 3 months
Long Lived branches are supported for 6 months
I have not seen this actually confirmed by Nvidia themselves though.
In terms of branch numbering it looks like
Long Lived branch use even numbers while
Short Lived branches use odd numbers.
You can find the latest releases listed on this page: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/drivers/unix/. You can find the historical list of releases and release dates here: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/drivers/unix/linux-amd64-display-archive/.
The following links provide more information:
Branch types in the 4xx series
- Long Lived Branches: 410, 418, 430
- Short Lived Branches: 415, 435
There are also
Beta branches available where cutting edge features vulkan and openGL features are available.
418 branch is confusing it seems to have been a
Long Lived beta branch that was promoted to a
Long Lived stable branch and then shortly thereafter it was superseded by the
Long Lived branch.
In general it seems that Beta Driver Releases (eg for vulkan) can be released from any branch but are nearly always released from the newest branch.
Beta releases can be distinguished as they have a second level of points: 4xx.yy.zz (eg
435.19.03 is a beta release on the latest
Short Lived branch).
More information about Vulkan beta releases can be found here.