Windows Driver Mode

Configuring the GPU driver mode for Windows

Driver Mode

Microsoft and NVIDIA offer two driver modes for Windows.
  • WDDM: On workstations and laptops, this is usually the default mode. This driver mode allows shared usage of the NVIDIA GPU for display output and GPGPU computing.
  • TCC: This driver mode uses the NVIDIA GPU for GPGPU computing exclusively. It is only available on NVIDIA Tesla, NVIDIA Quadro or NVIDIA GTX Titan GPUs and is typically the default on most recent NVIDIA Tesla GPUs. As the GPU is not available for display output in this mode, the machine requires to be either headless or have a second (typically onboard GPU) available for display purposes.
To switch between WDDM and TCC driver modes, type the following command in a PowerShell or CMD window with administrator privileges:
nvidia-smi -g {GPU_ID} -dm {0|1} 
Here, GPU_ID is usually 0 for systems with a single GPU and may be identified by running nvidia-smi without any arguments. Pass 0 to -dm option for WDDM mode and 1 for TCC mode. For example, to change to TCC mode in a single GPU system use the following command:
nvidia-smi -g 0 -dm 1
Important: A system restart is required after each modification.

Although TCC driver mode is geared toward aiding GPGPU computing, the results depend on the hardware configuration and our limited tests have not shown a distinct advantage in using TCC mode as of version 2021.2.

A simple case run on a NVIDIA Quadro P2000 (mobile GPU) in TCC mode required approximately three times the wall clock time spent in WDDM mode, although utilization in TCC mode was twice that of WDDM mode. This may suggest that TCC mode is not suitable for mobile devices and could lead to throttling. A test on a NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 (desktop GPU) showed no statistically significant difference between WDDM and TCC driver modes.