(Source: Pocket Symphony)
Drivers are created memory-related BSOD crashes across a wide range of devices; a driver rollback fixes these headaches

I've been faithfully testing Windows 10 on my day-to-day device (admittedly a somewhat risky strategy) -- an Apple, Inc. (AAPL) late-2012 MacBook Pro w/ Retina display -- since it was first made available by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).  The first couple weeks were rather rocky with crashes every couple days.  But by the end of October and Build 9860, things seemed to hit a happy place.  I remember going at least 2 weeks without experiencing a series issue on December's Build 9879.

All was golden until the latest Build rolled along.  Windows Build 9926, while creeping forward to the finish line appeared to take a big step back in terms of stability.  Most notably, the addition of DirectX 12 seemed to trigger severe GPU related errors.  Ultimately I tracked these issues down to a bad driver from NVIDIA.

DirectX 12

At first I wasn't so sure that these errors were tied to the GPU alone.  Yes, I could consistently trigger a crash by opening multiple files simultaneously (say 8 jpegs) in a GPU-compute heavy app like Adobe Systems Inc.'s (ADBE) Creative Cloud Photoshop.  But what about the more general sounding memory errors?  I was also regularly getting "MEMORY_MANAGEMENT" blue screens of death (BSOD) accompanied by "out of memory errors", which seemed a bit odd given that my system had a modest 8 GB of DDR3 memory onboard.

Windows 10 errors
The error looked something like this. [Image Source: ReviverSoft]

Over the last week or so, though, my suspicions grew that the culprit was an experimental NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) drivers update.  NVIDIA's laptop drivers have at times left something to be desired, at time disabling rendering features -- sometimes intentionally, other times unintentionally.

I grew suspicious when I compared my driver version (349.65) to the mainstream drivers publicized in the GeForce Forums -- the GeForce Game Ready Evolve 347.52 WHQL drivers.  Those drivers were just released on Feb. 9, according to the post, and should support my onboard dedicated mobile GPU -- an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M (384 Kepler CUDA Cores, up to 900 MHz) [benchmarks].

NVIDIA GeForce 650M GT

I found a forum posting on the Microsoft Community forums complaining of similar issues in their GeForce 700M part.  They write:

windows update install new NVidia drivers 349.65  .
Games like BF4 and BF3 runs smooth without frame drops . But always get appcrash with directx and "run out of memory" error . Gpu gtx 770 2Gb .

As that post states, (and as I recall being the case) the experimental driver was delivered alongside DirectX 12, direct from Microsoft last month.


Fortunately one of the posters had a fix.  Roll back the driver (duh, why didn't I think of that?).

I rolled back the driver (currently on 344.48) and it appears to be working like a charm.  So far have had no more crashes (which is promising as crashes were becoming a bi-hourly occurrence, roughly).  I suggest that other testers of Windows 10 who experience odd memory issues or GPU related warnings/crashes/BSODs on their laptops with NVIDIA GPUs roll back the driver.

Microsoft of course isn't to blame for these issues -- this is the whole point of a Public Preview is to track down these kinds of issues early.  That said, it appears that NVIDIA's experimental driver needs some TLC before it's stable enough for primetime.

In my case, the rough state of the driver seems more understandable given my machine has a WQXGA+ display and the GPU has to share a pool of 5 GB (out of 8 GB) of DDR3 with the CPU.  But the fact that a user with a desktop card and 2 GB of dedicated GDDR5 was experiencing similar issues suggests that the problem is more likely something more fundamental that's causing memory issues regardless of the exact graphics chip or the memory associated with it.

Source: Microsoft Community Forums

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki