Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

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Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 10:24 am

Hi guys -

Gigabyte GTX 470; Windows 7 Pro 64 sp1

I started getting Time-Out errors and a couple BSOD a few weeks ago - asked around and determined the 470 was just about dead. I replaced the TIM, cleaned it out but still got artifacts and BSOD. I could boot into Safe Mode no problem but that was it so I deleted all the NV stuff on my computer - everything including NVIDIA registry folders.

Now I can boot into Windows but only 1 monitor is active. I have 2 HP 24" displays connected but only 1 works and (right-click desktop>screen resolution) 1600x1200 is the highest res listed, although the native resolution on these monitors is 1920x1200. Is this the limit of the MS driver? It's strange (to me) that I don't see Display Adapter or VGA, nothing related to Display Devices listed in Device Manager.

I can't afford a new card right now so I'm trying to extend the life of this 470. Do you have any ideas on how to get both displays working at their native 1920x1200 resolution? Is that even possible without installing an NVIDIA driver?

Well if you have any thoughts, ideas etc. I would really appreciate hearing them. Thank you for reading my tale of woe.

-Richard
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 10:35 am

The driver from windows update IS an nVidia driver. It'll be the latest WHQL-qualified driver certified by Microsoft so it could easily be a few months old, but it's just the bare drivers.

You'll lose the Nvidia control panel and other Geforce "driver" features like nView desktop management software and PhysX/Cuda installers but they're not technically drivers, just bloat that gets pushed out by nVidia under the guise of "driver updates". Technically you can download them seperately and run the installers individually too, if you want.

The actual driver is miniscule, and by using windows update to install the driver you'll have the same driver you'd have been using a couple of months ago anyway. The only difference is that it's older because it's taken a month or two to go through Microsoft's WHQL testing/certification before being added to the windows update service.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 10:44 am

Thanks Cr -but I think I must've confused you - or myself! :) I never mentioned Windows Update so I'm not sure why you're addressing that. But no matter, in any case I have Windows set to "never install drivers."

Right now to the best of my knowledge there is no NVIDIA stuff on my machine. One out of 2 displays is working. I want to get both displays running at 1920x1200. What I'm asking is, must I download an NVIDIA driver to do that? Or will Microsoft's native display driver allow me to run 2 displays?

OTOH if there is no such thing as a MS "native display driver" then I'm not sure what's going on.

thanks again - hope I was a little clearer this time!
Last edited by canoli on Tue May 27, 2014 11:01 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 10:55 am

Chrispy_ wrote:The driver from windows update IS an nVidia driver. It'll be the latest WHQL-qualified driver certified by Microsoft so it could easily be a few months old, but it's just the bare drivers.

You'll lose the Nvidia control panel and other Geforce "driver" features like nView desktop management software and PhysX/Cuda installers but they're not technically drivers, just bloat that gets pushed out by nVidia under the guise of "driver updates". Technically you can download them seperately and run the installers individually too, if you want.

The actual driver is miniscule, and by using windows update to install the driver you'll have the same driver you'd have been using a couple of months ago anyway. The only difference is that it's older because it's taken a month or two to go through Microsoft's WHQL testing/certification before being added to the windows update service.


I believe also that MS update drivers utilizes the stock MS openGL implementation instead of Nvidias optimized gl stack.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 11:06 am

While this would likely require the nVidia driver, you may wish to underclock both the GPU core and memory to help prolong the life the of the card. Some of those cards were shipped close to their limits and back down a notch or two could help.

Also another benefit of the nVidia driver is that full power management is enabled on the device. Using the generic VGA driver won't hurt your card but if it is near death already, using the full power management capabilities to keep things running cooler would be a wise decision.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 11:30 am

Ah interesting, lower the clock(s) - thanks THE

To do that I'll have to install NV's control panel right? No way to access the fan/clock speeds without it ... ?

I get the feeling the only reason the card is running okay is because it's only driving 1 display. Once I install an NVIDIA driver it will activate both monitors and then I'll probably have the same BSOD/artifact trouble again.

Maybe I better just run 1 monitor for the time being. One more paycheck and I should be able to buy the 770...at least my system is free of NVIDIA stuff now, won't have to worry about any conflicts with the new card!

Thanks again T!
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 11:40 am

canoli wrote:Thanks Cr -but I think I must've confused you - or myself! :) I never mentioned Windows Update so I'm not sure why you're addressing that. But no matter, in any case I have Windows set to "never install drivers."

In that case you are probably running whatever the current nVidia driver was as of late 2010 or early 2011. Nothing wrong with sticking to that provided you're not experiencing any stability or performance issues with your GPU; but you're missing out on any optimizations nVidia has added to the driver since then. Given that it is an older card, it is hard to say how many of the optimizations would actually apply to you, but if you play newer games at all it would probably be a good idea to run the latest from nVidia's site, or at least allow Windows Update to install whatever it considers to be the current version.

In your case, it really does sound like the card is dying. Drivers aren't going to make a huge difference, though underclocking may buy you some time depending on the nature of the failure. I'm a little surprised the Windows driver does not recognize the second head.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 11:43 am

canoli wrote:I never mentioned Windows Update so I'm not sure why you're addressing that. But no matter, in any case I have Windows set to "never install drivers."


Well, the drivers included with Windows came from Nvidia too. By default, windows update will update them. If you've disabled that you'll be using older ones.
Without compatible drivers, you GPU will be listed as a "standard display adapter" or similar and it probably won't run anything other than basic windows desktop.
I would imagine your graphics card is detected as a Geforce GTX 400-series though. If you are using the standard display adapter, there's a whole bunch of stuff that you can't do - it's an extremely limited driver.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 12:26 pm

Yeah there is no NVIDIA stuff on this computer now. None of the monitoring SW detects the card, GPU-Z, RealTemp, CPU-Z - all blank where the GPU info should be. And nothing in Dev Mngr indicating graphics.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 12:34 pm

Sounds like it is falling all the way back to the generic VGA driver. If this is the case you will have very limited functionality until you install the nVidia drivers (like Chrispy_ said).
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

Yeah JBI that's exactly what's going on. I manually removed all the NVIDIA stuff with the idea that running the basic VGA would be easier on the card. I never anticipated being quite this limited though - 1 monitor instead of 2, 1600x1200 instead of 1920x1200...

still, it beats running in Safe Mode. At least now the audio works and the resolution is good enough till I buy a Kepler card.

Thanks for your help Everybody!
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 1:52 pm

Hell, if you can't play games anyway, you might as well just grab a $30 GeForce 210 in the meantime. Then you could keep it for a spare/testing card once you upgrade.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 1:59 pm

canoli wrote:Now I can boot into Windows but only 1 monitor is active. I have 2 HP 24" displays connected but only 1 works and (right-click desktop>screen resolution) 1600x1200 is the highest res listed, although the native resolution on these monitors is 1920x1200. Is this the limit of the MS driver? It's strange (to me) that I don't see Display Adapter or VGA, nothing related to Display Devices listed in Device Manager.


Yes.

The generic VGA driver for windows only uses standard(ish) VESA modes. Widescreen resolutions like 1920x1200 aren't among them (but a big 4:3 resolution such as 1920x1440 likely is). Windows is giving you the best resolution available between what your monitor's EDID lists and what the driver can provide, which is 1600x1200.

Likewise, you only have a single monitor because the generic VGA driver doesn't have any dual-head support either. There isn't any "standard" way to do that, I wouldn't think, certainly nothing VESA was involved with. It's probably completely manufacturer specific and it comes from a very different era than the VESA modes did. If you had two physically separate adapters you could use both displays, but the generic driver is very, very "basic" as you yourself put it.

This is intentional. It is only there to provide you a display should all else fail, it's not really meant for anything else. I suspect support for the higher resolution optional-but-still-somewhat-unofficially-standard VESA modes :wink: was just provided because lower resolutions like 640x480 et al can break UIs and/or be generally unreadable. That's really the only difference (other than 32-bit color support), graphically, between what you are doing now and actually running in safe-mode.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 3:02 pm

To give you some drawbacks of using the MS driver vs the vendor driver...
MS has some pretty good generic drivers that work... but not to say that they work well...
with the MS driver you don't get all your resolutions... usually capping out under 1080p (yes under)
performance suffers with the MS driver as there are likely not even DX9, 10, 11 ready as they really don't know the underlying card..
also features vanish... just recently I did an AMD APU system to Win 8.1... it overwrote my vid driver with the MS standard one and I lost HDMI audio.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 4:25 pm

Glorious wrote:The generic VGA driver for windows only uses standard(ish) VESA modes. Widescreen resolutions like 1920x1200 aren't among them (but a big 4:3 resolution such as 1920x1440 likely is). Windows is giving you the best resolution available between what your monitor's EDID lists and what the driver can provide, which is 1600x1200.
...............

That's really the only difference (other than 32-bit color support), graphically, between what you are doing now and actually running in safe-mode.

Likewise, you only have a single monitor because the generic VGA driver doesn't have any dual-head support either.


Thanks for the info - Arv too, thanks. I thought about buying a cheap card but it's better to wait, put the money toward something good. Meanwhile even a single display at 1600x1200 beats Safe Mode by a mile...antivirus runs, audio works, i get updates, installers work, etc.

I can "baby" this 470 for another couple weeks, drive just the one display, don't do any graphics-intensive stuff. It's already struggling to play a movie full-screen. But at least the artifacts and BSOD have stopped.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 4:34 pm

Hmm... Does your card give a code 42 in hardware monitor? I had a 560 ti that "died" and it sounds a lot like what's going on here. It's weird too, it boots fine but doesn't seem to be acknowledged by anything; it states its name but drivers won't install because there's "no installed card."
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Wed May 28, 2014 6:35 am

No for me all the monitoring sw is blank for GPU info. I got rid of everything from NVIDIA on my system. I was getting artifacts and BSOD for a couple days before I stripped out all the NV stuff. Now it boots normally but as other posters described, the generic display driver doesn't offer much functionality.

i can't imagine what's going on with your 560 but start a new thread - maybe someone can help.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Wed May 28, 2014 8:51 am

Have you checked your system for malware? Someone in my house once had bsod problems with a gtx480, was a piece of bitcoin mining malware.

malwarebytes got rid of it.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Wed May 28, 2014 11:56 am

While running on the fully-software MS driver, your card will be in a very low clock and low voltage. Aside from the resolution and single monitor issues, it should work well enough. I would get a card ASAP, though.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Wed May 28, 2014 12:18 pm

Symptoms could also be related to your power supply going bad. Have you checked your voltages? Perhaps just the PCI express rail?
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Wed May 28, 2014 12:59 pm

The system is clean, free of malware etc., i'm not worried about that. But I guess a bad PSU is always a possibility. The thing is, given the symptoms and the age of the card (plus how I was using it just prior to the artifacts and errors) it seems like a classic GPU card failure.

Guess it can't hurt to try a different PCI-e slot though. I have 2 PCI-e x16 slots.

It's always a little strange when HW just suddenly fails. OTOH I was stressing the card pretty heavily in the weeks before the symptoms started. I started running this plugin for Cinema 4D, a fire/smoke sim and it really makes the GPU work hard; temps went into the high 70s / low 80s every sim. It never occurred to me to take it easy on a nearly 4-year old card...guess I'll know better next time!
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Wed May 28, 2014 1:27 pm

Have you tried lower clocks yet?
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Wed May 28, 2014 1:39 pm

Do you have a builtin GPU on the CPU or motherboard? It would likely be better to default to the integrated graphics than limp along with (what appears to be) a ticking time bomb.
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Re: Running w/out NV Drivers...limitations of MS driver?

Postposted on Wed May 28, 2014 4:22 pm

no, no integrated graphics - X58 chipset, 1st gen core i7. But I won't be using it much until I buy a new video card. I use it for image/video editing, 3D modeling and some mograph stuff. With the 470 on its last legs the machine is hardly worth firing up.
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