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VISTA nvidia issues: a word of warning

melmoth1melmoth1 Member Posts: 762

Ok chaps. Explaining my experience may save some of you a LOT of frustration and trouble if you are intending to buy a new high-end gamers' laptop/desktop with the latest Dx10 nvidia cards SLI enabled.

If you have problems with you graphics card "stopped responding but has now recovered" you will have to trawl through gazillions of useless fixes and advice from every Tom, Dick and Harry who thinks he has the "complete solution". After several weeks of listening and trying fixes I finally understood the problem. I am not a technically savvy PC dude, but I have friends who work in the industry and who have helped me. Here is my story.

Ok, lets begin. I bought a new M9750 alienware with Dual 512MB Nvidia GeForce Go 8700M GT SLI enabled cards. I could tell you the rest of my set-up, but the main thing is these cards and the fact that I was using 32-bit VISTA.

I played LOTRO and The Witcher. I was constantly crashing out of games with the now infamous "Display driver has stopped responding and has recovered:". Sometimes I could play for 4 hours before this happened, sometimes it happens every 10 minutes; totally random.

I tried all the fixes:

(1) Uninstalled/reinstalled drivers;

(2) Uninstalled and installed new drivers (with INF files)

(3) Turned SLI off and used single GPU and/or experimented with different settings from my nvidia control panel

(4) Totally restored my laptop to factory settings;

And I avoided some of the more radical recommended fixes on the advice of a friend (who works in the computing industry with VISTA 64-bit) who said some of these fixes could actually screw up my PC entirely and kill my warranty.

Nothing worked.

Eventually I learned the problem was to do with VISTA and high-end SLI graphic cards/drivers and that it was essentially beyond my power to fix. You can see the Microsoft summary of TDR here:

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/display/wddm_timeout.mspx

And a pasted response from nvidia here:

http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=31913

So basically I bought a high-end gamers' rig that cannot play games because nvidia have not or cannot support certain cards on VISTA due to problems they were made aware back in 2006. This is not good customer service.

Alienware were very helpful and told me to try many fixes, which unfortunately I had already tried. A tech support guy at Alienware said this was a common problem because nvidia haven't been able to create drivers or fixes to fully resolve the problem. He also said it was a "strange" issue as it happens to some M9750 laptops and not to others. Summarized: no-one is exaclty sure what the problem is (hence gazillions of conflicting advice from people on the net and a muted passing-the-buck response from nvidia and microsft) and yet we are sold being sold very expensive hardware and software that doesn't do what it says on the box.

Suffice to say, I have sent back my M9750 and cancelled my order.

Now the entire experience has totally put me off PC gaming. The fact that nvidia blames Microsoft, who blames nvidia and the PC manufacturers hold their hands up and say "Not us mate" etc has just exhausted all faith I have in VISTA, nvidia, alienware etc.

Sorry to say that I given up on PC gaming due to this and will stick with lowly consoles (PS3 and XBOX 360) until it is "safe" to return to PC gaming.

Just a heads-up to all you out there who are thinking of getting that "ultimate rig" for the new mmo releases of 2008. 

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Comments

  • britzbanbritzban Member UncommonPosts: 260

    I hate to break it to ya but everyone under the sun has been aware of horrendous Vista gaming since its release! tsk tsk

  • pussaykatpussaykat Member Posts: 791

    You could just install xp and get over it.

    image

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    -Yes.
    -...

  • CablespiderCablespider Member UncommonPosts: 272

    You're giving up on pc gaming because of issues with Vista yet have the option to use XP and call it a day? OK.

    How many 'DX10 only' games exist? Vista isn't a requirement for most pc games today. DX9 and XP do just fine and you'd still realize the potential of your 'ultimate rig'.

     

    ^^^^^^Edit...You beat me to it ^^^^^^

    image

  • BaxslashBaxslash Member UncommonPosts: 234

    True, its not an issue with ur gaming rig, or, the hardware u've got in it, its Microsofts Vista, it totally trashes nearly every comp it can, I've got the Vista-32 Ultimate, and after only 1 month, I finally wiped my Hardrive of vista and went back to XP, at least my games ran more stable, and, the Video cards weren't crashing.

    Though, I've got the problem were my second card doesn't enable in XP, I still enjjoy the gaming experience far greater

     

  • melmoth1melmoth1 Member Posts: 762

    Yeh, I know this mate. But it is more than that in this case. I got plenty of mates with average out-of-date rigs who upgraded to vista and had some issues but nothing like what we are seeing with high-end SLI enabled rigs. You have to remember what nvidia et al are saying on the tin; all these promises of ultimate gaming experience when they know of an unresolved issue that will seriously inhibit and frustrate your gaming experience.

    Some people are buying or thinking of buying new rigs that are apparently VISTA/DirectX10 compatible and ready to game with and getting a crippled machine that cannot play games for more than a few hrs without crashing. Damn, I originally bought this rig with Conan in mind and because I travel a lot; I  now feel pretty let down. I cant blame Alienware because at least they were honest about the issue; same cannot be said for nvidia I am afraid to say.

    My warning is essentially to tech-noobs like mesel who are thinking of spending cash on VISTA rigs with high-end SLI cards. AVOID spending your cash until you see headlines that say "TDR issue finally resolved by Microsoft/Nvidia/ATI". Otherwise, you'll just suffer like me and thousands of others.

    If you do buy, then get concrete assurances from your supplier that:

    (a) They are fully aware of the TDR issue as it relates to graphic cards; and

    (b) That they can guarantee that you will NOT have this issue with your set-up when you play the games you want to play.

    We are spending a lot of cash on our machines, we deserve something that works FFS.

    Sorry if I sound a bit raw, but it's been a rough few weeks.

    take on board what some of u dudes say about xp, but I am all outta love at the moment and just wanna plug in play with a nice conflict-free console.

  • RhimeRhime Member UncommonPosts: 275

    Sorry for the frustration..I think we have all been there at some point or another.

    Safe to say, my new rig is costing me around $2400(Can) and comes with XP Pro as I know of alot of other problems with Vista. Since we can keep XP for a while yet and SP 3 around the corner I suggest you do the same and wait til it becomes a necessary evil to get Vista. DX 10 can wait...

  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 17,850

    Yes i have the same issues as the OP does with intermittent stops in video but unlike others i am not quick to blame vista at all.IMO it is ALL NVIDIA and ATI that are incapable of making proper drivers to run there hardware.IMO the industry was not ready to move forward and since have not taken any strides to move forward.

    To clear a common myth it is not just VISTA it is also a problem with 64 bit xp also.

     DX10/vista was suppose to offer us tremendous bandwidth/shader 4 wich was suppose to open up gaming from it's bandwidth limitations and allow super great games.There is also the small problem with 32 bit not taking advantage of anything over 2gb of ram,so vista was to again help in this department..Where i see the problem is that games are not writing there code to truly take advantage of the 64 bit code or the video cards that in turn are pretty much garbage because the drivers are junk.What makes the whole scenario REAL bad is that i don't see this EVER fixed.I am really not sure who to blame on the SLI issues,maybe that is microsoft's fault ,maybe it's an issue with bios drivers that i don't know.

    Why do i say never?well because outside sources claim microsoft is ready to release another windows platform sometime in 2009/next year.This means they are already sending out the source and are most likely setting there resources into this newer platform.I see microsoft moving away from vista support after the next year,so we got one year to straighten out this mess.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit

    apcmag.com/7874/windows_7_to_be_released_next_year

     

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • melmoth1melmoth1 Member Posts: 762

    Actually, now that I think about it. How patronizing.

    If you have xp, cool. If you avoided Vista and stayed with xp...cool. But how can you use this as a critique against those that have been burned by major corporations ; corporations who stake a reputation on supporting gamers.

    Major corporations are selling VISTA, nvidia, ati etc. on the premise that they are good-to-go gamer friendly rigs.

    If I bought a PS3 that couldn't play PS3 games there would be a shitstorm. If I bought a HD Tv that couldn't play HD there would be a shitstorm. If I bought I ticket for "dawn of the dead" and got "Love actually" there would be a shitstorm. So frikcing HOW, for the love of God, is it ok for Microsoft/Nvidia/Ati/Alienware etc to sell me a "gamers rig" that cannot play games and that be Ok?????

    A sign of how meek the PC consumers have become.

  • swainiacswainiac Member Posts: 120

    Actually I got Vista on release and other than expected driver issues for the first few months I have pleyd various games trouble free.

    I also play them at highest settings. WiC looks amazing in DX10. VanG worked fine and that game is a BUGFEST.

    WoW without a hitch - LotRO looks great - runs great. Same for COD 4 and Crysis.

    Don't believe the neg.

  • CamisadoCamisado Member Posts: 98

    Originally posted by melmoth1


    Sorry to say that I given up on PC gaming due to this and will stick with lowly consoles (PS3 and XBOX 360) until it is "safe" to return to PC gaming.

    Can I have your stuff?

  • gamerman98gamerman98 Member UncommonPosts: 804

    the easiest fix to this is to mainly get a copy of XP, get rid of Vista. After that all u need to do is put all ur stuff back on. The only drawback is you wont have DX10 anymore. I dont mind having to go back to XP since its a more stable OS for games. Im planning on fishing out my XP disc and getting rid of Vista on this comp in the next coming weeks.

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 36,357

    Consider buying a single card solution like one of these new Gateways (due out on 1/31)

    www.gateway.com/programs/pseries/index.php

    Will be more than adequate to play AOC and cost you about 1/2 of what that Alienware rig did.

    Use it for a year or two and toss it.  By that time they should have video issue resolved with SLI solutions.

    I plan on buying the mid-range one this week.

     

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  • novacane111novacane111 Member CommonPosts: 5

    I've had vista on my gaming rig for almost a year and switched over to the 64bit version a few months ago and I have to say, I don't have much to say bad about it over XP (other then the 150 point drop in 3dmark). Now granted,  it really isn't an improvement over XP in anyway either. After you turn all the useless features off its basically XP with a nice UI and (in my opinion) better folder organization and searching.



    As far as the "graphics driver stopped responding" errors, yes, i do get them, maybe once every 1-2 weeks. For those of you who do game on vista, you NEED to restart after they error out, or they will just keep erroring out whenever the driver is interfaced with again.

    I'm not sure why the OP was having so much trouble other then his install wasn't completly up to date. But it seems that the vista "experience" vary from box to box. I had fun trying to get 4Gigs of RAM to work and then resetting my CPUID (which vista stores and uses for DRM purposes) after I changed processors so WMC worked again.



    So for those of you who just want a plug-n-play gaming system, XP is probably the way to go, just keep in mind, XP is going to be phased out by MS as far as updates go within the next year.

     

    Edit: I also wouldn't recommend anyone attempt to use vista on anything under 2 Gigs of ram due to its tendency of being a resource hog. (4Gb seems to be its "sweet spot")

     

     

  • GuintuGuintu Member UncommonPosts: 318

    You should have just sent it back and seen if they could give you a laptop with ATI graphics.  I know a friend who has a laptop running vista with ATI and has had very few problems.  I also heard using Vista 64 has been easier than using Vista 32, maybe MS is pushing 64 bit more than 32?  It is silly to give up PC gaming because of video card issues.  There are other options.

  • joeybootsjoeyboots Member UncommonPosts: 628

    Perhaps you're right.... I have Vista x64, and have not had these "problems".

  • GuintuGuintu Member UncommonPosts: 318
    Originally posted by joeyboots


    Perhaps you're right.... I have Vista x64, and have not had these "problems".

    I've heard this enough to think its true.  I've heard from several people that said if you're going to go the way of vista go 64 bit not 32 bit.  So when I get a new computer I'm going to go 64 bit.

    Look at it this way, XP has a 64 bit that has crappy drivers so people would go to Vista when it comes out if they wanted to run 64 bit programs.  Now Vista has crappy 32 bit drivers because MS, other software devs and hardware manufacturers don't want to make both 32 and 64 bit drivers.  Since computers are going to go 64 bit in the future anyway why not just give it a little push by making bad 32 bit drivers and good 64 bit drivers?  This way also software manufacterers can start making programs that will work with 64 bit drivers.  Its sad to have a computer with a 64 bit processor and only running a 32 bit OS anyway.

  • melmoth1melmoth1 Member Posts: 762

    To answer some of the feedback.

    I had 4GB RAM and I tried a feckload of different drivers. I also did clean uninstall/re-installs using driver cleaner programs. Damn, just forget about "did you try these fixes" here; I could list at least 30 fixes I tried. I also used all the microsoft hotfixes etc.

    The games could crash within 10 mins or 4 hours - as I said, totally random. I also restarted PC after crash - same problem.

    Let me re-state - if you have xp, good for you. If you bought a better gamer rig than my m9750 for a fraction of the price, good for you. If you have vista, "no problems here mate" - good for you. My beef is NOT with you. The spirit of my OP is not a "let's compare and contrast our rigs" competition. My beef is with industry heavy-hitters selling hardware/software that is not fit for purpose for thousands of consumers. This is about consumer rights and a wee word of caution for those thinking of buying "VISTA ready" gaming rigs or SLI graphics cards.  

    The TDR issue is fairly common and widespread, it affects thousands of gamers world-wide.  As I originally said, the tech people at Alienware admitted it was a strange problem as some M9750 machines with the same set-up have ZERO PROBLEMS while some have TDR issue from the get go. They recommended I send the M9750 back and get a new one. Basically, they were saying "why not try another roll of the dice, you may get lucky this time".

    So if you have VISTA without problems, this in no way negates my OP - you are merely confirming what I already know.

    In fact I already have a conlfict free gamer laptop I bought in Japan about 5 years ago, but it is too out-of-date to play the new releases of 2008. This is why I decided to buy a new gamers laptop. My OP is for people like me who are about to undetake a similar course of action. As I said, a word of caution. I wish someone had written an OP like mine on MMORPG BEFORE i took such a decision.

    As for "silly" to give up on PC gaming. LOL, given what I have been through it would be positively sado-masochistic to say "more please, sir". I will PC game again in the future, but, as I said, only when it is relatively safe and only when the industry heavy-hitters are treating their customers with a bit more honesty and courtesy.

    Phew, I have calmed down now. Peace out. 

  • NazarosNazaros Member Posts: 215

    You are one of the few responsible consumers outhere Melmoth. Thank you for your feedback.

    I am myself about to buy 2 new rigs to play War Hammer, and all that shit about Vista is really making me think twice. DX10 and 4gig of ram would be nice, but not at the price of crashing constantly for no damn reasons.

    Thanks a lot.

    What deserves to be done, deserves to be "well" done...

  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 17,850

    Originally posted by melmoth1


    Actually, now that I think about it. How patronizing.
    If you have xp, cool. If you avoided Vista and stayed with xp...cool. But how can you use this as a critique against those that have been burned by major corporations ; corporations who stake a reputation on supporting gamers.
    Major corporations are selling VISTA, nvidia, ati etc. on the premise that they are good-to-go gamer friendly rigs.
    If I bought a PS3 that couldn't play PS3 games there would be a shitstorm. If I bought a HD Tv that couldn't play HD there would be a shitstorm. If I bought I ticket for "dawn of the dead" and got "Love actually" there would be a shitstorm. So frikcing HOW, for the love of God, is it ok for Microsoft/Nvidia/Ati/Alienware etc to sell me a "gamers rig" that cannot play games and that be Ok?????
    A sign of how meek the PC consumers have become.
    I agree 100% with you dude so don't get mad at me but....There was an uprising when the ps3 couldn't play some ps2 games.On the TV part there is also a ton of misleading info out there and salesmen who are just as misleading.You might get a HD tv but in reality it might be HD ready or in most cases only reading interleaved scanning,wich is every other line.Your TV might also be of low resolution,again how can that be high def?so much misleading info out there in alot of stuff that is sold.

    How bout dual core?is there one game on the market that actually makes use of both cores?SLI?any game that has coded into it to make use of multi gpu?they will sell you anything they can,it's just like the car salesman to use an easier analogy.

    Don't worry i am in the same vista boat as alot of other users who got ripped off,i chalk it up as a learning mistake.I am usually VERY cautious about my spending but when i built a new rig ,i was given the option of adding vista for a cheap price sop i took it.Add to the fact i have already bought windows platforms a few times and didn't see re-purchasing XP again as a smart option[at the time lol]besides i had used XP upgrade so to use it again i would have to dig up my original win95 disc then win 98/upgrade then xp upgrade lol.So i figured easier to just buy the vista full disc.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • YusukeYoungYusukeYoung Member UncommonPosts: 57

    Have you even check this page for Vista fixes for your problems by any chance http://www.nvidia.com/object/windows_vista_hotfixes.html

    Took me 1 minute to refind this page, I have all those fixed applied and the game run pretty smoot on my Nvidia 8800 GTS 512meg under Vista 64bit.

  • OrcaOrca Member UncommonPosts: 629

    It has nothiing to do with Vista.

    It's the drivers Alienware/Dell uses.

    You are only allowed to install the ones they supply you, but unfortunately for us users, they are terrible outdated.

    So you need to search google for some cracked Drivers.

    EDIT: You could install WinXP, and then you will be rid of the Dell/Alienware supported drivers, but that leaves you nowhere.

    Futilez - Mature MMORPG Community

    Correcting people since birth.

  • SpathotanSpathotan Member Posts: 3,928

    Your issue has nothing to do with Vista. Its Nvidia/Dell(who owns Alienware). Nvidia has not put out "working" SLi drivers...ever, for any OS. Nvidia continues to support SLi but they refuse to fix any of the issues regarding it.

    "There's no star system Slave I can't reach, and there's no planet I can't find. There's nowhere in the Galaxy for you to run. Might as well give up now."
    — Boba Fett

  • Varlok91Varlok91 Member Posts: 396
    Originally posted by pussaykat


    You could just install xp and get over it.

    Exactly what I was thinking...

    --------------------------------
    Desktop - AMD 8450 Tri Core, 3 gigs of DDR2 800 RAM, ATI HD 3200 Graphics, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
    Laptop (Dell Latitude E6400) - Intel P8400, 2 GIGs of RAM, Intel X4500, Windows XP Professional

  • daelnordaelnor Member UncommonPosts: 1,556

    OP bought an Alienware.......

    an Alienware....

    You started getting ripped off as soon as you logged onto that website.

    D.

    image

  • darkraptordarkraptor Member Posts: 178

    Originally posted by daelnor


    OP bought an Alienware.......
     
    an Alienware....
    You started getting ripped off as soon as you logged onto that website.
    D.
    Ha.

     

    Sad but true, you can build and set up much more powerful and better PCs for like half the price, at best. Even with a top of the line watercooler that does better than testing machines via overclocks will cost far less than an alienware, sadly.

     

    With that said, their systems look awesome.   

    /rant

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