Friday, February 2, 2007

More NVIDIA Vista driver problems

I don't know whether to cry or laugh.

I am using the NVIDIA ForceWare Beta Driver Version 100.59 for my BFG 8800GTS graphics card on Vista Ultimate x64 (RTM Build 6000). Both Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer intermittently crashes with the typical "Window has to close... and checking for solution" message. The only saving grace is that Vista does not crash with the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).

I must have suicidal tendencies.

I downloaded and installed the NVIDIA nTune Utility Version for Windows Vista x64 Edition since I wanted to see how my BFG 8800GTS graphics card is doing in Vista, temperature-wise. The beta version of Everest Ultimate I am using doesn't detect and display the GPU temperature.

As you can see from the image above, the NVIDIA Monitor, which is part of the nTune Utility, detects and displays the GPU temperature, GPU core speed and GPU memory speed.

However, running the nTune Performance Utility results in an undecipherable message. I wasn't sure whether it was an error message or a prompt to continue. I did not have much of a choice so I clicked on the OK button.

The mysterious dialog box went away and nothing much appeared to be happening, except that I noticed the CPU was running at 50% utilization. And I had nothing else running except the Vista Sidebar. What the heck!

About 1 minute and 15 seconds later, an empty window titled "NVIDIA Control Panel" appears with the busy pointer indicator. Alright! Something is happening.

Another 1 minute and 10 seconds later, something appears in the NVIDIA Control Panel window: a prompt to "Select a Category..." but with no categories to select from! At least the CPU is now down to 0% utilization. I poke around in the NVIDIA Control Panel, but it soon becomes apparent that there is nothing to be accomplished here.

I close the NVIDIA Control panel and it disappears, but the CPU is at 50% utilization again.

I open the Task Manager to find out what process is working the CPU. The culprit is a program named "nvcplui.exe" from NVIDIA Corporation. It continues to run for 1 minute and 15 seconds before it finally terminates.

I tried this several time and the timings were consistent. It takes the NVIDIA Control Panel approximately 2 minutes and 25 seconds to load, and approximately 1 minute and 15 seconds to terminate! And one gets no satisfaction from this exercise.

There is another program bundled with the nTune Utility named "Stability Test" but, frankly, I did not have the guts to run it even on my Nighthawk test computer. I guess I won't be overclocking my BFG 8800GTS graphics card in Vista anytime soon.

It is apparent that the NVIDIA ForceWare Vista Driver Version 100.59 is very much a Beta driver, a buggy beta driver.

I feel the pain of NVIDIA 8800GTX or 8800GTS owners who have made the jump to upgrade their "daily computer" from Windows XP to Vista.

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