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clarkma5
So here's my computer:

Phenom II X4 945
4 Gigs DDR3
NVIDIA 9600GT video card
Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

So a couple months ago I started experiencing occasional freezing while watching videos in VLC, usually while playing minesweeper (I know I'm lame, so shoot me...). With my VLC fully up to date the issue persists so I decided to update my video card drivers. I went through the latest WHQL and non-WHQL versions from Guru3D and in both cases, upon installation and rebooting, windows freezes on startup and I have to use system restore to get my computer back. I decided at the time to just live with what I had and try again in another month or two when newer drivers may solve the issue.

Well, I just tried with the latest WHQL drivers again (258.96) and I got the same issue. I think I'm still on 196.21 and I can't update it! Now, I'm interested in getting a new video card in a few months but I'd rather wait (stuff only gets cheaper the longer you wait, and my 9600GT works just fine for me right now) but I'm wondering if NVIDIA's interest in the 200/300/400 series of video cards means that they've fucked up thos of us still on the 9000 series. Or perhaps I'm missing something else here. It'd be really nice to get the latest drivers to see if it kills my instability problem, which is the only affliction on what has otherwise been a very fine and stable computer.
clarkma5
Well this whole thing has got me looking into new video cards perhaps earlier than I had planned.

I'm looking in the $100-$160 ish range. On the low end, the GTS 250 is compelling and a very, very known quantity (all my friends run GTS 250s). Gigabyte has a very good looking example for $120 minus a $20 rebate: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16814125310

On the high end there is the GTX 260. but in the middle there is the ATI Radeon 5770. It seems to split the GTS and GTX in both price and performance, but with a more up-to-date feature set for being more future-proof. I've never owned an ATI card, the complaints for many years was that they had horrible drivers, but it's not like NVIDIA has really impressed me in this realm very much. Are they really that bad? Any thoughts from anyone running a modern ATI card?
Razor
Get a Mac. Just kidding, Apple can DIAF.
clarkma5
Actually I'm finding myself more sold on the GTX 460 1 gig http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16814125333

I'm wary about ATI and their driver issues as well as the overheating issues I'm hearing about with the 5770s. I feel like the GTS 250, while a nice card, isn't enough of an upgrade over my 9600GT and isn't really future proof enough, which makes me feel like if I get a GTS 250 now I'll end up being back on the market next year anyway. The GTX 260 costs a helluva lot more without a huge performance gain and is based on a similarly old architecture as the 250.

However the GTX 460 is all shiny and new with full DX11 support and offers up 5770-smashing performance for barely more than the 260. While $230 is more than I was planning on spending for a video card, I feel quite comfortable that I could easily get 2 to 3 years out of such a card which represents a good value over the long haul.
Aircooled
I have two 4870s and they have been very reliable for me, drivers have never been an issue. They do run hot (~75 deg C), but they never stutter or shutdown.
Flaw
Can your PSU support the 460 at full load?
clarkma5
I'm fine on the PSU front, but I don't think I'm going to bother. My 9600GT ran Starcraft 2 surprisingly well last night. I'll wait for stuff to get cheaper and perhaps look for another way around the driver issue.
clarkma5
Well my computer locked up twice before I could even finish the first Starcraft 2 tutorial, I'm 99% sure it's video related. Going to try a fresh install of windows which will hopefully fix my driver installation problem which will, in turn, hopefully fix the instabilities. If not I guess it's GTX 460 time.
clarkma5
Annnnd fresh install of windows does not enable me to update my drivers. I suppose my next attempt will be to go to the latest 100 series forceware drivers that support the GeForce 9's (the 197.45). First thing is to figure out how to make windows update stop trying to install the nvidia drivers from their site because they cause my computer to go into system restore on reboot as well...
Flaw
Have you tried a new vga bios (firmware for your graphics card) using nvFlash or whatever the nvidia tool is these days (this is separate from display drivers)? It typically voids your warranty but it sounds like you're past that stage already.
clarkma5
No I have not. Where would I obtain an updated firmware?

and for the record, the 197.45 drivers did not work...I'm stuck with the ones that windows installs for now. Also can't make my audio work at all and I'm getting 0x80070241 errors on all my mp3s (I'm REALLY hoping that goes away when I figure out the audio problem, because otherwise I've corrupted my entire music collection...which would absolutely piss me off beyond belief).
Flaw
I would look at guru3d's forums, I just looked and they seem to recommend mvktech or techpowerup and NiBiTor (for changing your device ID if the bios doesn't match yours). Basically I would google your gpu brand (xfx/bfg/asus) + model (512MB 9600GT) and the version number (e.g. 62.94.0D.00.02) of the BIOS you'd like to use; somebody will probably have asked whether they're compatible somewhere or how to edit the bios to match your gpu.

You can use gpedit.msc to change windows default option to install the standard drivers (tutorial here) and then force install a display driver through device manager (after downloading the latest nvidia one and extracting it somewhere). You'll just have to deal with the crappy 800x600 16-bit res throughout the process.
Cyclone
The ironic thing is you didn't want an ATI card because of "driver issues" smile.gif

My 4850 has been running 2 1/2 years strong with no issues.
Frederf
I've got a spare PCI-E card for video if you want to swap just long enough to make sure it's the card that's messing you up. Plenty of times it's the stupid nvidia.com drivers in an update that can mess everything up with perfectly functioning hardware. If you know what your previous version was (did problems happen shortly after an update?) you can clean-wipe the drivers (usually requires some utility) and go back to that version.

ATi is known to be as good if not the best deal for video cards over nVidia but they still have the most driver issues. nVidia may not be the best company around but they are so huge and belligerent that they get special treatment for compatibility. ATi commonly doesn't get first pecking order privileges and as a result has some of the most annoying D3D realm graphical bugs I've ever encountered.
DB9
QUOTE(Frederf @ Aug 20 2010, 02:22 PM) *
I've got a spare PCI-E card for video if you want to swap just long enough to make sure it's the card that's messing you up. Plenty of times it's the stupid nvidia.com drivers in an update that can mess everything up with perfectly functioning hardware. If you know what your previous version was (did problems happen shortly after an update?) you can clean-wipe the drivers (usually requires some utility) and go back to that version.

ATi is known to be as good if not the best deal for video cards over nVidia but they still have the most driver issues. nVidia may not be the best company around but they are so huge and belligerent that they get special treatment for compatibility. ATi commonly doesn't get first pecking order privileges and as a result has some of the most annoying D3D realm graphical bugs I've ever encountered.


So you're saying its a lose-lose situation?
Frederf
Neither is perfect; it's a question of priority.

With an ATi card you might spend $95 for a card that beats a $105 nVidia card in most categories. A lot of the ATi vs. nVidia value war depends on what part of the market you're in. Each company has some holes or weird steps in their cost-performance escalations that don't align company to company giving different answers for whose card is best at each price/performance point. However you will encounter some ATi graphical problems at some point inevitably, not that nVidia doesn't have them too but they are less common and most often fixed by the user or the company.

I'm lusting after about a GF260 myself as it's the lowest "beyond the 9800 level" card nVidia makes. However the 2XX series that's basically "a 9800 in new clothing" is definitely not a bad card purchase. It's a good value and for many of us is all we really require in graphical power. DX11 is the new standard that should be sought after DX9. DX10 and to a lesser extent DX10.1 was a bust, falling well short of the features that it was planned to have. DX11 is what DX10 should have been and buying a brand new card just shy of the DX11 spec is going to result in remorse over the long term. So there's no huge incentive to buy highend unless you cross into the DX11 level.
clarkma5
QUOTE(Cyclone @ Aug 20 2010, 10:30 AM) *
The ironic thing is you didn't want an ATI card because of "driver issues" smile.gif

My 4850 has been running 2 1/2 years strong with no issues.


I know, I know...but the driver issues I'm talking about are stuff that friends have told me about getting lots of video tears and stuff in games with ATI drivers. Also, the only ATI card I'm interested in (the 5770) has lots of reports of overheating issues which I'm not very pleased to hear...

But I'm pretty irritated with NVIDIA right now, probably more irritated that I've ever been with them. This is a problem that seems to affect many people on the 8 and 9 series as well as the 200 series from what I've read, and there doesn't really seem to be a solution. I'm going to try to go even farther back in time in terms of the drivers in hopes that SOMETHING works but I think I'm probably just going to end up buying a GTX 460...
Flaw
Is there an addendum to Godwin's law taht states any computer related questions will eventually turn into APPLE VS PC or NVIDIA VS AMD etc.?
clarkma5
Sure, you'd say that, just like Hitler would!

I am trying the BIOS from techPowerUp with nvFlash btw...just have to figure out how to use nvFlash first X.gif

EDIT: I think my lack of a driver is preventing me from doing anything with the firmware...so it would appear that I can't change the firmware to help my driver issue! L'argh.
clarkma5
Success! In a fashion...

I successfully flashed the VGA BIOS from 62.94.11.00.00 to 62.94.11.00.81, which enabled me to successfully install driver version 186.81 (though I suppose there is some chance that I could've successfully installed this driver version without the VGA BIOS update...)

However, now that I have real drivers, it is telling me that there is insufficient power, to make sure the supplementary 6-pin power connector is connected (it is), and that it will run in a low power mode to protect against damage. I've got an OCZ 500 Watt ModXStream PSU (here) which has two 12 volt rails with 18 amps apiece. The PSU has two outputs for 6+2 PCIe connectors (it's a modular PSU) and I have tried both plugs on this video card as well as reseating it in its slot and reseating the supplementary power in the video card. I get the same error. While I cannot find the exact power requirements for the 9600GT (I've seen 400W minimum PSU and an insane 26A-for-the-12v-rail requirement...I'd have to presume that's for a machine with only one 12v rail, while I've also seen numbers from 350W to 600W as well as a maximum 5 amp draw at load, so I dunno what to think), I'm pretty confident I've got totally adequate power.

For the record, this is what else is going on in my machine power-wise:

95W Phenom II X4 945
3 hard drives - 1 7200 RPM 200 gig Maxtor system drive, 2 7200 RPM 1 TB Seagate drives in a mirrored RAID array
9600GT 512 meg
2 80 mm fans and 1 120 mm fan
1 DVD-RW drive

I can hardly believe I'm running out of juice here...
Flaw
Yeah I wouldn't say your PSU is inadequate for your setup, the card draws 200W at full 3d load, MAX. That leaves you with some watts to spare given everything you've got, and that's only when the card really pushes your system. When do you get the insufficient power message, during boot? Right after booting? In-game?

Then again, your PSU might have seen better days and is slowly on its way out...I guess you could try rivatuner or some other monitoring software to watch whether those rails can actually carry the amps they need to at the proper voltages.
clarkma5
I get the message when windows starts. I bought the power supply in march when I built the system. I guess I'll try rivatuner but I'm more inclined to believe that the video card is detecting a low power situation that really doesn't exist...

EDIT: Any idea how to make RivaTuner tell me voltage information? I can't find anything...
Flaw
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Aug 21 2010, 02:01 AM) *
I get the message when windows starts. I bought the power supply in march when I built the system. I guess I'll try rivatuner but I'm more inclined to believe that the video card is detecting a low power situation that really doesn't exist...

EDIT: Any idea how to make RivaTuner tell me voltage information? I can't find anything...

Does it show up under Hardware Monitoring, like this:
clarkma5
Not by default, how do I set that up?
Flaw
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Aug 21 2010, 05:29 AM) *
Not by default, how do I set that up?

Easier shown than said, here's a quick guide.
clarkma5
It no work...I can see PSU voltages, but I guess there's nothing to monitor them because I get no readings.

EDIT: Ordered the 460 GTX. I hope the "insufficient power" warnings die along with this 9600GT...if not I guess I'll be buying the 600 watt version of my power supply and swapping it in X.gif
clarkma5
460 GTX received and installed. It took the latest WHQL drivers just fine and there are no power warnings. And it runs Starcraft 2 on full ultra settings without a hint of a stutter...
fiber optic
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Aug 25 2010, 07:03 PM) *
460 GTX received and installed. It took the latest WHQL drivers just fine and there are no power warnings. And it runs Starcraft 2 on full ultra settings without a hint of a stutter...


Sweet, 460 is on the short list for my next build. Did you end up with the 1GB version?
clarkma5
Yes I did get the 1 gig, the 768 seems like the unloved stepchild of the family.
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