NVIDIA's Current Driver Mess
February 12, 2007 7:32 AM
comment(s) - last by
NVIDIA currently offers various drivers for different hardware and operating systems. On the Windows OS alone, it offers 7 different drivers...
Last fall I heavily
ATI for not supporting their latest video cards in their latest drivers available shortly after the release of new hardware. I received a fair amount of criticism as there were quite some people who didn't agree with me. ATI told me that they ship a WHQL certified driver with those new cards that's newer than the monthly release so the whole thing shouldn't be a problem. Anyway, thats not the topic for today, as NVIDIA currently is in a far worse driver mess.
For several years now retrieving a driver for NVIDIA's video cards was fairly easy. You just wet to their website, selected download drivers, GeForce, the operating system and download, here you go. They always touted the ForceWare
Unified Driver Architecture
which basically meant that there is one driver for all GeForce cards. Until some months ago it didn't matter whether you still used a dusty old GeForce 2 MX or a shiny new GeForce 7950 GX2, you could install the latest ForceWare driver on any of these cards and all models in between.
In November 2006, enter GeForce 8. This new GPU changed quite a bit in terms of driver support for NVIDIA. Up to now, NVIDIA didn't manage to release a driver that supports both the old GeForce 2 - 7 series and the new GeForce 8 series cards (not counting their latest beta driver for Vista). They had to release separate driver releases for different hardware generations. This is where all the problems began.
In January 2007, enter Windows Vista. This new OS changed...familiar, eh? Basically NVIDIA was caught by the release of the new OS which introduces a new display driver model, as it was not able to provide a WHQL driver for all its products until now. Due to its new rather disunified driver architecture it had to develop separate drivers. It managed to release WHQL certified drivers for GeForce FX and GeForce 6/7 series. To my astonishment there are separate driver releases for GeForce FX and GeForce 6/7. On top of that, the GeForce FX drivers are not properly advertised in their download center. I only found them after stumbling over their
site. For their latest GeForce 8 series though, all they have to offer is a beta driver release one day after Vistas official launch. This is the first driver to date that supports GeForce 8 cards and with GeForce 6/7 at least some previous generation cards.
In a grand total, this leaves us with no less than 7 different driver releases for the current Windows OSes XP and Vista, not counting 32-bit and 64-bit versions separately. You don't believe me? Here is the list:
ForceWare 93.71 WHQL (XP 32-bit and 64-bit): GeForce 2 - 7
ForceWare 93.81 Beta (XP 32-bit and 64-bit): GeForce 2 - 7
ForceWare 96.85 WHQL (Vista 32-bit and 64-bit): GeForce 5 - 7
ForceWare 97.46 WHQL (Vista 32-bit and 64-bit): GeForce 6/7
ForceWare 97.54 WHQL (Vista 32-bit and 64-bit): GeForce 6/7 [note: from nForce IGP package]
ForceWare 97.92 WHQL (XP 32-bit and 64-bit): GeForce 8
ForceWare 100.54 Beta (Vista 32-bit and 64-bit): GeForce 6 - 8
To cut a long matter short, NVIDIA's Vista drivers are a mess. I was somewhat surprised to find that their nForce 15.00G package contained even another graphics driver, although the 97.46 one would also support the IGP parts. Additionally their Vista drivers are far from complete. SLI for GeForce 6/7 is a no-go and quite a lot of other features are not implemented yet or are far from completed. NVIDIA lists those in the "Limitations in this release" section of their release notes. To their credit, they set up a site where users can
with their various Vista drivers.
not the first
NVIDIA driver rant these days and certainly not the last. Word has it that NVIDIA is working heavily on a solution. They better do so quick, as a
class action lawsuit
was already filed against the company. Apart from that, NVIDIA may introduce monthly driver updates just like ATI does for a couple of years. I'm still sceptical whether monthly updates really provide a benefit over random updates when they are needed, but let's see what NVIDIA will do to fix that mess.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
The Sword 88
The Sword 88
2/13/2007 1:56:21 AM
Is there support for the Geforce Go 7 series?
RE: Geforce Go
2/13/2007 7:15:44 AM
Not directly. Due to contract terms with OEMs ATI and NVIDIA are not allowed to release generic notebook drivers. Both have special drivers for participating OEMs. I often criticised that in the past, but it's a support issue and the OEMs don't want their customers to install drivers that might introduce a problem their support has to deal with.
Though you can always modify the desktop driver by adding the proper device ID to the INF file. In 99% of cases these were just fine.
“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads
Where are the GeForce 8800-series Windows Vista Drivers?
January 30, 2007, 9:03 PM
Catalyst 6.10 lacks RV560 / RV570 support
November 5, 2006, 4:32 PM
Latest By Marcus Pollice
Intel Lowers Quad-core Power Consumption
April 27, 2007, 1:07 PM
AMD Outlines Upcoming Mobile Platform Details
April 20, 2007, 1:40 AM
AMD Talks Multi-chip Modules for "Fusion"
April 16, 2007, 8:41 AM
AMD Talks Details on K10
April 14, 2007, 11:46 AM
Intel Readies Merom-L Core
April 7, 2007, 9:16 PM
Intel's Response to "No Netburst on Bearlake"
March 26, 2007, 4:18 AM
NVIDIA Holds Back "G84, G86" Cards
March 23, 2007, 7:08 PM
CeBIT 2007: GeForce 8600 Spotted
March 14, 2007, 1:19 PM
NVIDIA Not Present CeBIT
February 25, 2007, 7:36 PM
NVIDIA's Current Driver Mess
February 12, 2007, 7:32 AM
Testers Trolled by Promise of Uninstallable Windows 10 Preview Build 10061
April 16, 2015, 2:52 PM
Rumors Heat up About 2016 Windows 10.1 (Windows "Redstone") Release
April 8, 2015, 9:26 PM
Report: Windows 10 Successor is Codenamed "Redstone" After Minecraft Item
April 7, 2015, 2:03 PM
Windows 10 Build 10049 Installation May Take Hours, Will Fail if You Have < 8 GB
March 31, 2015, 2:59 PM
Windows 10 Build 10049 Airs, Complete With Project Spartan Browser
March 30, 2015, 7:12 PM
Office 2016 Preview Comes to Mac w/ Retina Support
March 6, 2015, 3:32 PM
Most Popular Articles
Windows 10 Build 10056 -- What's New in the Latest Leak
April 13, 2015, 10:38 PM
TSMC Hypes Its Upcoming 10 nm Process, Amid Struggles to Hit Volume at 16 nm
April 10, 2015, 7:57 PM
In California Hippies, Religious Right Find Common Enemy in Vaccine Science
April 9, 2015, 4:42 PM
Death and Dragons -- Report Claims Game of Thrones Hit by Piracy "Tidal Wave"
April 10, 2015, 8:37 AM
Sharp Unveils World's First "4K" Phone Display at Mind-Boggling 806 PPI
April 13, 2015, 11:24 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information