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ForceWare 169.21 drivers released for Windows XP

Yesterday NVIDIA rolled out a new driver for Windows XP users called ForceWare 169.21 for Windows XP and XP Media Center Edition. The new driver supports everything from the 8800 Ultra and new 8800 GT and 512MB GTS to the old GeForce FX 5100.

The driver uses the new NVIDIA control panel introduced in October of 2006. This latest driver release fixes a myriad of issues for a variety of single and dual GPU NVIDIA systems. Notable fixes for all GPUs are the repair of the control panel run display optimization wizard back button that didn’t work, flickering puddle reflections in FEAR and a crash in Star Wars: Republic Commando when starting new games.

A few fixes for the new NVIDIA 8800 GT cards are added to the drivers including an issue with Bioshock where a small black square appears during part of the intro sequence when antialiasing is enabled. An issue on the 8800 GTX with Blu-ray color settings not taking effect has been repaired as well.

Issues with SLI have been addressed in the new driver as well with a fix for Stalker with SLI 8800 GTX cards where game performance didn’t improve much. NVIDIA has a PDF document that details all the fixes provided in the 169.21 driver update.

Windows XP users looking for the new driver can get it here.

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Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By kilkennycat on 12/21/2007 1:07:38 PM , Rating: 2
Iirc, the beta version of 169.21 was missing 1280x960. Hopefully just an accidental omission, since many gamers still run high-quality 4:3 CRT displays. And (iirc) the beta driver had no ability to program a "custom" setting.

169.09 beta ( previously recommended driver, especially for Crysis ) did not miss any of the usual pixel settings, including 1280x960.

RE: Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By webdawg77 on 12/21/2007 1:18:54 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't 1280x1024 the 4:3 setting?

By webdawg77 on 12/21/2007 1:20:32 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, nope. Sorry, I can't do math. What is that setting then ... 5:4?

RE: Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By retrospooty on 12/21/2007 1:24:13 PM , Rating: 5
1280x1024 was never linear, not sure why it became so popular.

4:3 std res's are as follows.

2048 1536
1920 1440
1600 1200
1400 1050
1280 960
1152 864
1024 768
800 600
640 480

By retrospooty on 12/21/2007 1:25:27 PM , Rating: 4
LOL - I just typed this table up off memory, and realized what a total dork I am... =)

RE: Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By afkrotch on 12/21/2007 1:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
16:10. All that matters now. At least for me, anyways.

By shamgar03 on 12/22/2007 3:21:34 PM , Rating: 2

By miahallen on 12/23/2007 7:22:59 AM , Rating: 3
16:9 FTW!!!

I love my 32" @ 1920x1080 ;)

RE: Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By FITCamaro on 12/21/2007 1:32:22 PM , Rating: 2
1280x1024 became popular because thats what 19" LCD screens largely are.

RE: Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By retrospooty on 12/21/2007 1:55:42 PM , Rating: 1
I dont think so. It was definitely in use on CRT's long before LCD's were in use.

RE: Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By omnicronx on 12/21/2007 2:07:45 PM , Rating: 2
its been a popular unix(x11) resolution since the early-mid 90's

By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 12/21/2007 2:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
I think this resolution came about because it fits nicely within memory limits. Back when vid cards had 512k of memory, it was a big deal.

By GomezAddams on 12/23/2007 2:43:59 PM , Rating: 4
Yes, that is correct. 1280x1024 24-bit pixels fit into 4MB of memory - 3,921,160 bytes to be exact, so it was used a lot in both color and gray-scale displays.

It is also why 1152x884 was used a lot on the old unix boxes. That resolution has 1,018,368 pixels so it was used in all different display depths because it totally filled up a given memory buffer and it had an aspect ratio of 1.3 - very close to 4:3.

RE: Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By Spyvie on 12/21/2007 3:28:32 PM , Rating: 1
1280 x 1024 was the recomended resolution of most 17" CRTs long before anyone I knew had an LCD.

By Shlong on 12/22/2007 12:41:36 PM , Rating: 2
I recall having about five 17" CRT's and all of them were 1024x768 @ 60 or 75 I believe. On the other hand some of the 19" CRT's I had were 1280x1024 @ 75.

RE: Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By omnicronx on 12/21/2007 1:40:17 PM , Rating: 4
Weirdly enough 1280x960 is not a standard resolution. If you have ever noticed the most commonly used resolutions run in 4:3 but 1280x1024 is not one of them.

640x480 = 4:3 = square
800x600 = 4:3 = square
1024x768 = 4:3 = square
1152x864 = 4:3 = square
1280x960 = 4:3 = square
1280x1024 = 5:4 = NON-square
1600x1200 = 4:3 = square

I do not know why but many graphics cards do not support 1280x960 at usable refresh rates. I once heard that running in 5:4 meant that you could have an array of scanlines, and index them with a single byte (with no wastage)This was the reason resolution of 320x256 was used (5:4 also).

I would get the final release and check to see if they included the rez, they may have just taken it out for testing purposes.

RE: Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By Spivonious on 12/21/2007 2:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
CRT screens are 4:3, LCD screens are 5:4. Why? Who knows, but I always prefer using a more native resolution. On my CRT things look squashed at 1280x1024.

RE: Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By omnicronx on 12/21/2007 2:43:07 PM , Rating: 4
Thats totally untrue, LCD screens with a native resolution of 1280x1024 are 5:4 . Almost any other native LCD resolution will will be 4:3.
EX: 1024x768, 800x600 and 1600x1200 are all 4:3 native

It just so happens that 1280x1024 is probably the most popular non widescreen resolution for LCD monitors. Probably the reason for the confusion.

By Webreviews on 12/21/2007 3:56:58 PM , Rating: 2
This SyncMaster is being driven by an 8600 GTS at 1680 x 1050.

It makes my head hurt (buy my eyes happy!)

By theapparition on 12/23/2007 9:23:27 AM , Rating: 3
The 1280x1024 resolution was 5:4, but the display itself was still 4:3, vertical pixel pitch was just compressed.

RE: Is 1280 x 960 missing in 169.21WHQL ??
By kilkennycat on 12/21/2007 6:30:27 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the official nV graphics drivers have supported 1280x960 as one of the standard 4:3 pixel settings for "ever".

Many legacy computer games do not offer 1280x1024... for obvious reasons... LCD displays were unknown at the time.

1280x1024 is one of the standard (square) pixel aspect ratios for non-widescreen LCDs. There is no such corresponding (square-pixel) physical aspect ratio for CRTs. I have no firm idea why the LCD manufacturers chose a physical aspect ratio different from 4:3, the ubiquitous non-widescreen CRT aspect-ratio. Probably the designers could only think in powers of 2 and decided to utilize all states of the line-decoder.

I need to download and check the official 169.21 WHQL release, but the beta with exactly the same release number was definitely missing the 1280x960 option.

By leexgx on 12/21/2007 10:16:05 PM , Rating: 2
i have Never seen that menny games support 1280x960 apart from the anoying BF2142 game that only supports 1280x960 not 1280x1024 as well

and onboard video cards are the same VIA and SIS do not support 1280x960 most of them any way (as i found out trying to set an monitor to it)

By clovell on 12/21/2007 1:03:15 PM , Rating: 4
I appreciate you guys covering this. I'm running a 6600GT on XP, and it would have been a while before I thought to check for driver updates...

RE: Thanks
By mmntech on 12/21/2007 1:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
Vintage. Still got my 6600 in my Linux box.

Good news everyone.

RE: Thanks
By afkrotch on 12/21/2007 1:24:58 PM , Rating: 3
Odds are pretty high that not a single fix in the new drivers is for the 6600GT. They probably already fixed any known issues with that card and even optimized it as much as they see possible. Sure they finished that years ago.

I'm pretty happy that new fixes/updates/etc came out. I just ordered up an 8800GT 512 meg. Wanted to replace my 7900GTX with something better, while not wanting to spend a whole lot. I can feel the 8800GTX refresh right around the corner.

Only reason I'm upgrading is that the 7900GTX is starting to become dated. Ran everything the way I wanted, until Bioshock came out. Then HL² Ep 2 and it's lagging a bit with AA/AF/HDR. I haven't even tried Crysis yet.

RE: Thanks
By omnicronx on 12/21/2007 1:56:57 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to say exactly the same thing. Sometimes older drivers versions may be better, as newer driver are usually optimized for newer cards.

I have downgraded my ATI drivers many times after getting worse results with newer drivers.(I had an original radeon, when 9*** series was released)

RE: Thanks
By StevoLincolnite on 12/22/2007 3:49:37 AM , Rating: 2
Well, remember the old Geforce 4 MX cards? By using the 53.xx drivers you could enable Hardware assisted Software Vertex Shaders which actually boosted performance allot.
The old Cat 5.6's actually allowed you to overclock the Radeon x800/x850 series higher than the 5.9's at the time.

RE: Thanks
By pattycake0147 on 12/21/2007 1:57:36 PM , Rating: 3
Notable fixes for all GPUs are the repair of the control panel run display optimization wizard back button that didn’t work, flickering puddle reflections in FEAR and a crash in Star Wars: Republic Commando when starting new games.

Although it's not much there are some improvements for the 6600.

RE: Thanks
By omnicronx on 12/21/2007 2:12:07 PM , Rating: 2
Notable fixes for all GPUs are the repair of the control panel run display optimization wizard back button that didn’t work
Thats about it.. Unless of course you like playing fear at 3.5fps ;) I would rather not update for changes like these.

RE: Thanks
By clovell on 12/22/2007 1:06:11 PM , Rating: 2
You're probably right - I still have issues with one of my games every now and then, so I'll probably end up upgrading just to see if it helps.

RE: Thanks
By Hlafordlaes on 12/26/2007 7:22:40 AM , Rating: 2
My 7-series card still benefits from the latest releases. I play around with drivers a lot... whql, beta, and 3rd party tweaked. So far, the 169.xx series beats any other drivers in benchies and most games, including some old 8x.xx ones I tested the other day. I believe 6-series are also still receiving attention if one is to believe NV's release notes, tho I can't test that assumption. The FX5500 in my son's computer, however, still does best with the 77.20c from XtremeG, indicating that the 5-series has definitely stopped recieving any meaningful attention.

Vista WHQL (Dec. 20) also released
By AmbroseAthan on 12/21/2007 1:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
Here is the new WHQL drvier - 169.25

RE: Vista WHQL (Dec. 20) also released
By AmbroseAthan on 12/21/2007 1:15:00 PM , Rating: 2
The above was 32bit. Here is the WHQL 64-bit Vista Driver:

By Mitch101 on 12/21/2007 1:49:45 PM , Rating: 3
ATI released drivers yesterday.

# 3DMark2005 performance improves 5% or more with largest gains noticed when Anti-aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering are disabled on systems containing either an ATI Radeon™ HD 2400 or ATI Radeon™ HD 2600 series of products

# Company of Heroes DX10 performance improves up to 5% on systems containing an ATI Radeon™ HD38x0 series of product

Release notes are here

How about the BSOD issue?
By fri2219 on 12/21/2007 4:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
You know, the one where it crashes Windows Vista running Media Center once every 3-5 hours?

Every time I install NVidia's drivers, I wind up rolling back to the MSFT supplied drivers. They're way too buggy. I know it could be worse, they could have been written by ATI.

RE: How about the BSOD issue?
By EnzoFX on 12/21/2007 6:45:49 PM , Rating: 2
i had that issue with the nvidia drivers back in june-ish, went to an ATI card, much more stable. Then that card died, went back to nvidia about 3 months later, by then the drivers were much better, actually, they were beta drivers. Ever since then, its been rock solid, and haven't updated them yet.

Latest Drivers Crash my 7600GT
By GTVic on 12/22/2007 3:56:27 PM , Rating: 2
The last couple of XP drivers from nVidia cause my computer to reset (instant reboot) just when the nVidia icon is about to appear in the system tray. I guess I can't prove it is the drivers but ...

It only does this if I allow the computer to sit too long at the boot options screen (I boot either XP or Vista). I have to manually terminate the countdown or set the countdown to shorter than about 10-15 seconds. Also does a reset when coming out of sleep or suspend mode.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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