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NVIDIA's Drivers Caused 28.8% Of Vista Crashes In 2007

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the it-wasn't-me-it-was-the-one-armed-driver dept.

Microsoft 344

PaisteUser tips us to an Ars Technica report discussing how 28.8% of Vista's crashes over a period in 2007 were due to faulty NVIDIA drivers. The information comes out of the 158 pages of Microsoft emails that were handed over at the request of a judge in the Vista-capable lawsuit. NVIDIA has already faced a class-action lawsuit over the drivers. From Ars Technica: "NVIDIA had significant problems when it came time to transition its shiny, new G80 architecture from Windows XP to Windows Vista. The company's first G80-compatible Vista driver ended up being delayed from December to the end of January, and even then was available only as a beta download. In this case, full compatibility and stability did not come quickly, and the Internet is scattered with reports detailing graphics driver issues when using G80 processors for the entirely of 2007. There was always a question, however, of whether or not the problems were really that bad, or if reporting bias was painting a more negative picture of the current situation than what was actually occurring."

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344 comments

Awesome! (4, Funny)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | about 6 years ago | (#22892260)

I really hope there's some way I can use those same drivers under linux!

Oh....wait.

This link may be of interest to you.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892292)

I found this article [yahoo.com] while searching Y! for the humour in your post...

WARNING - Shock site (4, Funny)

adpsimpson (956630) | about 6 years ago | (#22892362)

Parent links to shock site - do not click. This [youtube.com] is much more amusing, if you want to click on something ;)

Re:WARNING - Shock site (4, Funny)

phoenixwade (997892) | about 6 years ago | (#22892516)

Parent links to shock site - do not click. This [youtube.com] is much more amusing, if you want to click on something ;)
It's a good thing I read xkcd [xkcd.com] Or I'd have never known what "being rickrolled" meant........

Re:Awesome! (4, Funny)

garett_spencley (193892) | about 6 years ago | (#22892530)

Actually, what TFA doesn't say is that the Vista driver instability was done intentionally because they were sick and tired of listening to us Linux users complain. I guess they figured it would be easier to level the playing field rather than to fix the bugs.

Hey, at least we got through to them.

Not surprised (2, Insightful)

JamesRose (1062530) | about 6 years ago | (#22892262)

The linux drivers for nvidia suck too, nvidia clearly take a long time to get up to speed on new operating systems, it's one reason I no longer use them. Having said that, they're pretty damn solid, so its most likely becuase vistas so mucked up when it comes to drivers.

Re:Not surprised (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#22892366)

The linux drivers for nvidia suck too, nvidia clearly take a long time to get up to speed on new operating systems, it's one reason I no longer use them. Having said that, they're pretty damn solid, so its most likely becuase vistas so mucked up when it comes to drivers.
Well, from my experience (not trolling), but they historically have sucked somewhat less than the ATI drivers, which have been known to cause freezes when switching to a console, etc., due to bugs in the driver, firmware, AMD processors (ironically enough), various chipsets and all sorts of things.

The problem is that in the race to produce the biggest, baddest, fastest, video cards for gamers, ATI/AMD and NVIDIA have often overlooked stability for performance. I don't know about you, but I'd gladly trade off a couple of FPS for a card that was rock solid stable.

Re:Not surprised (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#22892620)

Which is why on my Linux box, I prefer having an Intel video card. I don't do much (if any) gaming on it, so graphics don't really matter too much to me. So I would rather have something that was really stable over something that got me 400 FPS (when the refresh rate is only 60-100 Hz).

Re:Not surprised (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | about 6 years ago | (#22892636)

Its more likely that the race for cheapness causes them to overload their software engineers because they don't hire enough.

Re:Not surprised (3, Informative)

Pyrophor (1255862) | about 6 years ago | (#22892692)

but they historically have sucked somewhat less than the ATI drivers
LINUX + ATI + Dual Display = BAD! The 169 series NVIDIA drivers are junk for all operating systems. LINUX + NVIDIA (100.14.19 driver) + Dual display = YAY! // A round of applause everyone -- I used the Preview button!

Minimal problems with 169 series (1)

pestie (141370) | about 6 years ago | (#22892844)

I'm running the 169 series on Ubuntu Gutsy and I haven't had many problems. Sure, every once in a while (maybe every couple of weeks) X will crash (but not the whole OS). That's happened since I started using the nVidia drivers. Other than that, they've worked great for me. I mostly wanted 3D acceleration so I could use Google Earth and possibly experiment with compiz at some point (which I still haven't). Maybe if I was running compiz on my desktop I'd see more frequent problems.

Re:Not surprised (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | about 6 years ago | (#22892446)

The linux drivers for nvidia suck too
Really? I haven't had the same experience. I was very impressed last week as I plugged my box into my HDTV. As X booted (which was configured for the wrong resolution of my normal monitor) the NVidia logo splashed on my screen, spun around for a second and then X loaded at the perfect 1920x1080 resolution.

I've never seen any driver for Linux adjust the resolution on the fly, I've always had to change values around in Xorg.conf, but NVidia did it.

Re:Not surprised (-1, Troll)

heelrod (124784) | about 6 years ago | (#22892544)

You must be new to Linux. Everything sucks in Linux, the thing is that people will tell you it sucks, then explain how they smartly figured out why it sucks. You know, to let you know they are smart to figure out why something sucks, but not actually using something that doesn't suck. Because then you look dumb for using something that doesn't suck. And where is the smart to use something that doesnt suck

Re:Not surprised (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | about 6 years ago | (#22892614)

Same here, I built a little media centre thing last week with MythTV. I was expecting to have enormous trouble configuring X for the TV - to the extent where I had spent a while setting up dual screen, lugging a monitor down to near the TV to trouble shoot, scanning the web for mode line info about the TV etc. As it turned out I plugged in the HDMI cable, restarted X and it configured its self perfectly. Nvidia had detected it was a Panasonic LCD and got everything it needed to make it work.

I was very impressed since 7 or 8 years ago when I started off with Linux it took 3 days to get X to work properly with my monitor.

Re:Not surprised (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#22892654)

Yeah, I remember getting Linux to work on my brother's analog TV under Linux. Editing modelines to get it to look correct. Lots of fun there. Linux certainly has come a long way.

Re:Not surprised (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 6 years ago | (#22892826)

Indeed, especially since I never had to edit mode lines with Windows. That was one of those things i could never figure out; what too X so long to get that fucking feature in there.

Re:Not surprised (2, Informative)

mikael (484) | about 6 years ago | (#22893046)

I used to dread that double blue arrow icon on package-updater. It used to mean a good hour or two of searching, downloading, compiling Nvidia driver files (those NVIDIA*.run files) and editing /etc/X11/xorg.conf to get the driver working. Always having to change the module name "nv" to "nvidia", and making sure the screen resolutions were there.

At least now there is a installable kernel module which eliminates the hassle now.

Now upgrading from one release to another is just a matter of ensuring that every font/theme/style that was installed before is installed again.

Not for me! (1)

pestie (141370) | about 6 years ago | (#22892814)

I only wish it had worked that well for me. I did something very similar - MythTV machine (AMD64, dual-core) connected to LCD TV via HDMI. Huge pain in the ass to get working. I ended up having to dig deep into the nVidia documentation to find the various override switches to tell the card/driver that, yes, really, you can send a 1080p signal to this device, honest, I swear! Once I got it working it was a dream, but I spent at least two days dicking with it.

Re:Not surprised (1)

Chineseyes (691744) | about 6 years ago | (#22892626)

Agreed. It is now 2008 and the only way I've ever been able to easily have the resolution changed on the fly and easily add multiple monitors in linux was with nvidia drivers. It's ok though cause I have these really cool cubes that flip and rotate, wobbly windows, and all sorts of other useless crap that will keep me entertained so I forget about actual functionality. Weeee look at the cube spin...spin cube!!! spin!!!

Re:Not surprised (2, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | about 6 years ago | (#22892768)

And the NVIDIA XP drivers -- 100% of the crashes of my system (one every couple of days) are down to the NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT drivers, even though I've cut the settings down to their most basic. Well, at least now I know for next time.

Re:Not surprised (2, Informative)

dc29A (636871) | about 6 years ago | (#22892846)

The linux drivers for nvidia suck too, nvidia clearly take a long time to get up to speed on new operating systems, it's one reason I no longer use them. Having said that, they're pretty damn solid, so its most likely becuase vistas so mucked up when it comes to drivers.
I got a fanless NVidia 7600GS, installed the restricted drivers for it (maybe even updated it, don't rememer). No problems at all. Runs my dual monitor setup *WAY* better than my Win 2k3 machine.

YMMW!

What is the standard procedure? (1)

jkrise (535370) | about 6 years ago | (#22892268)

For a hardware manufacturer to build h/w for the Windows PC? Is there some SDK or some specified method by which the co. can write device drivers? Or is it done by guesswork and hacking, and paying Microsoft for the honour?

I'm seriously puzzled why and how device drivers can cause such major issues in Windows but seldom in Linux (identical hardware, mind).

Re:What is the standard procedure? (2, Insightful)

Chutulu (982382) | about 6 years ago | (#22892318)

ever tried installing ATI drivers in Linux???

Re:What is the standard procedure? (1)

Cley Faye (1123605) | about 6 years ago | (#22892568)

ever tried installing ATI drivers in Linux???
Yes, and although it's still lacking support for their latest cards, it's a very easy download driver, run installer procedure.
Granted, it wasn't always like this, but they really improved a lot.

Re:What is the standard procedure? (1)

Chutulu (982382) | about 6 years ago | (#22893012)

ATI in Linux sucks big time. I have a x700 in my laptop and it's a major pain in the ass to have properly installed drivers in my laptop. Many times drivers simply don't want to install properly or when they do they are so slow compared to XP drivers. And what's more interesting is that maybe in 90% of all Linux distributions i get a blank screen when i try to install them, i have to edit xorg.conf and add a few commands just to make stuff appear on my screen to install it. I bow to Ubuntu people for fixing this bug but in other major distributions like OpenSuse or PcLinuxOS it always happens this shit.
Oh and that opensource Ati drivers sucks even more than the official ATI drivers. I never got that to work properly.

Re:What is the standard procedure? (1)

esocid (946821) | about 6 years ago | (#22892970)

I've never had any problem installing ATI or NVIDIA drivers in fedora. In XP I like to stick to Omega drivers [omegadrivers.net]. But for the record the ATI card was an x800xl and the NVIDIA a geforce 7900gtoc, soon to be an 8800gts [newegg.com], today.

Re:What is the standard procedure? (4, Informative)

vbraga (228124) | about 6 years ago | (#22892326)

You can download Windows DDK (Driver Development Kit) for free. It's pretty good but doesn't play nice with Visual Studio IDE.

You must pay for testing and signing your drivers, I think.

Re:What is the standard procedure? (1)

jkrise (535370) | about 6 years ago | (#22892370)

Presumably then, NVidia used the DDK to build its drivers... which begs the question again; are these crashes to be blamed on NVidia or Microsoft again for releasing crappy DDKs?

Re:What is the standard procedure? (5, Insightful)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | about 6 years ago | (#22892488)

Well if NVidia is the only one with MAJOR driver problems....lets look at the math. 80% of the drivers work and they were built with the DDK while 20% (including NVidia's drivers) do not work and they were built with the DDK. I would think the 20% did not write their drivers correctly.

Re:What is the standard procedure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892726)

Over and over in the comments already - "I blame Microsoft."

And you Linux zealot types wonder why no one outside your circle takes you seriously...

Re:What is the standard procedure? (2, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | about 6 years ago | (#22892378)

Drivers in the kernel tend to work really well... As do the default open source drivers present in Xorg...
Nvidia drivers cause crashes occasionally, but ATI's drivers are really terrible and cause all kinds of problems.
It seems primarily to be closed source components that cause problems on linux, i used to have big stability problems with netscape (consuming all my ram and lagging the rest of the machine) and issues with vmware (not so much crashes, more leaving the keyboard in an unusable state).

Huh? (3, Funny)

jjrockman (802957) | about 6 years ago | (#22892270)

What about the other 62.2%? ATI. ;)

Re:Huh? (1)

jjrockman (802957) | about 6 years ago | (#22892304)

Doh - my math skill ain't so great, especially so early in the morning.

I meant to say 71.2%.

Or, maybe the other 9% were actually OS related...but I doubt it.

Huh? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892306)

ATI was 9%

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892322)

You sure you passed math?

But really, what's all the fuss about? 28.8% is like... 16 crashes or so.

Re:Huh? (4, Interesting)

gigne (990887) | about 6 years ago | (#22892348)

I know you say that in jest, but the article states that ATI have 9.3% of the problems. It stands to reason that it is representative of their market share.

The part that seems to have been missed is the fact that Microsoft had 17.9% of the crashes related to their own drivers. IMO this is much more significant and interesting than Nvidia beta drivers crashing and should be the real news here.

Re:Huh? (5, Informative)

Patoski (121455) | about 6 years ago | (#22892554)

I know you say that in jest, but the article states that ATI have 9.3% of the problems. It stands to reason that it is representative of their market share.
This was a little surprising to me as well, but ATI had about 20% of the market during 2007.

GPU Market Share
=================
Intel 37.6%
Nvidia 32.6%
AMD 19.5%

Source: http://www.news.com/8301-13579_3-9752280-37.html [news.com]

It would seem that AMD has managed to turn around their driver's stability and it is better than nVidia's, who apparently has a pretty poor record at the moment.

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

mdarksbane (587589) | about 6 years ago | (#22892928)

Now if only they could make their XP drivers suck less.

They may be more stable to the user, but in terms of actually programming for them.. yikes. You look at them funny and you lose your whole opengl context or start running a 1 frame/hour. Nvidia's drivers are much more likely to either a) work or b) tell you why they didn't.

Re:Huh? (1)

jtshaw (398319) | about 6 years ago | (#22892580)

I couldn't agree more. It is somewhat understandable that a 3rd party would have trouble with drivers, it is well less to stomach when the Creator has those problems.

That being said... in the graphics world there are effectively 3 main players, nVidia, ATI, and Intel. I think it would be a good idea in the future for Microsoft to ensure those companies have everything they need to get there cards working properly pre-launch of a new OS... particularly pre-launch of a new OS that includes heavy use of graphics cards...

Re:Huh? (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 years ago | (#22892892)

In my (somewhat limited) experience, the best drivers are those written by a third party. The more complex the hardware, the bigger the hardware and driver teams get. When you have a really complex bit of hardware, like a GPU, you have a huge team of hardware designers (who don't really understand software) and a huge team of driver developers (who don't really understand software). If they are both in house then you generally have pretty poor documentation because both teams have access to the other's work, but not the expertise to understand it fully. The hardware guys all think that the software team can get most of what they need from the HDL, and just fill in the gaps with their documentation.

When a third party is writing the drivers, you don't want them to have access to anything proprietary and so the interfaces need to be very thoroughly documented because the external team isn't allowed to have access to the implementation details at all. A lot of the early XFree86 accelerated drivers were developed in this way and, at the time, were a lot more stable than their Windows counterparts, as were the early Radeon drivers written by the open source community.

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

spedrosa (44674) | about 6 years ago | (#22893032)

ATI drivers don't even install without serious acrobatics. Therefore, the OS cannot report them as crashing, they never worked to begin with!

O RLY? (3, Interesting)

thealsir (927362) | about 6 years ago | (#22892276)

Well, this wouldn't be the first time Nvidia drivers are responsible for instability.

I remember when the first nForce3 drivers came out that had those IDE problems. And the continuing problem with the SW drivers. Man, I thought something was seriously wrong with my new rig. Nope, just the drivers....

Re:O RLY? (4, Interesting)

red_dragon (1761) | about 6 years ago | (#22892434)

Well, this wouldn't be the first time Nvidia drivers are responsible for instability.

At 28.8%, nVidia still has a long way to go to reach the epitome of device driver excellence that is ATI's collection of video drivers. Those extrusions of fecal material have accounted for more cases of alopecia on users than most other kinds of software. I'm actually surprised that the submitter didn't take a swipe at ATI while writing about driver crashes; the urge to do that must've been immense. In fact, ATI driver problems where the single biggest contributor to Jerry Pournelle's best writing ever in Byte Magazine's Chaos Manor column.

Re:O RLY? (1, Interesting)

thealsir (927362) | about 6 years ago | (#22892476)

I agree, ATI has taken a dump on themselves repeatedly with video drivers in the past, and it was even one of the reasons Quadros with inferior architectures were beating FireGLs. They've cleaned up their act quite a bit though I don't like the whole catalyst control panel thing. Nah well. At least they're open

Re:O RLY? (1)

NMerriam (15122) | about 6 years ago | (#22892700)

Though to be fair, only those of us over a certain age really remember first-hand the crimes against humanity that were ATI drivers in the 1990s. NVidia wasn't even around when ATI was at their lowest, they were facing off against the likes of Matrox (who made great 2d hardware and drivers at premium prices) and 3Dfx (who made great 3d hardware and glide drivers). ATI was practically the Intel onboard video of the era.

Any time I installed an ATI card I half expected it to ask if I wanted to double down before the first boot.

Re:O RLY? (1, Insightful)

pestie (141370) | about 6 years ago | (#22892910)

That's not how I remember it, actually. In the early/mid 90's I worked with a bunch of machines that had ATI Mach32/Mach64-based cards, and those things were great! They gave pretty much flawless, blazing-fast 2D performance. Of course, if you're talking about 1995 - 1997 or so, when 3D became a big deal (the era of 3Dfx Voodoo cards, etc.), that I'm not so sure about. For some reason I kept getting stuck with crappy machines that had atrocities like Trident video chipsets. Don't even get me started on how much I hate Trident.

Re:O RLY? (1)

NMerriam (15122) | about 6 years ago | (#22893002)

No, you're right, the Mach cards were good, they built up ATI enough that I guess they thought they could slack off on stability for the latter half of the decade. And Trident was indeed the bargain basement graphics in terms of performance, though I recall the drivers being just fine.

Re:O RLY? (1)

stone2020 (123807) | about 6 years ago | (#22893024)

If you RTFA, ATI has a much lower percentage. Yeah, 5 or 6 years ago ATI drivers sucked. But they are really good now and now the linux ones are getting open sourced. You talking about Byte Magazine only shows how long it has been since you used an ATI product.

The ow starts now (4, Insightful)

Goffee71 (628501) | about 6 years ago | (#22892290)

This is descending below lawsuit territory, I'm starting to think that the whole PC hardware industry should be taken out back and shot. They supported MS in the release of an OS with crap under-powered hardware with smiles and big adverts, in full knowledge that these systems would never work or just were not ready for Vista.

"The Wow Starts, oh around 2009 if you'll just let us fix this, upgrade that and force you to buy some new stuff" Should have been the tagline for Vista.

Re:The ow starts now (3, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | about 6 years ago | (#22892792)

> They supported MS in the release of an OS with crap under-powered hardware with smiles and big adverts, in full knowledge that these
> systems would never work or just were not ready for Vista.

I can assure you, having worked in a place which designs cards and writes drivers for Windows, that the release of a new Microsoft OS is not met with whoops and `alrights` etc. It marks the start of another tedious cycle of testing, fixing and dealing with customer problems. People want to be able to plug in a card and have it `just work` and there's absolutely nothing in Vista* which makes any amount of hassle
worth it.

*I kept hearing about Aero. Am I missing something, or are the new features which require powerful hardware and plenty of ram limited to just the pseudo-3d task manager, and semi-opaque frosted-glass around the borders of active windows? That's it? Why can't this be done adequately using low-powered CPUs? Are Microsoft's coders that inept?

I can concur. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892350)

I can verify this problem. I bought a new Dell XPS 720 with the fancy shiny new Nvidia 8800 GTX, and let me tell you it crashed all the time. I tried playing Crysis, and found my screen would go totally black. Next thing I know I'd get the windows message that my video driver has crashed and was handled by Vista. For the longest time just watching DVD's through Windows Media Player I'd get the same thing, working with VS 2008, or anything that required using a monitor I'd sporadically get video card crashes. My blog is full of rants from those times periods when I had to swich over to my XP laptop just to do anything other than get pissed off at Vista. So now I can be pissed off that I didn't buy an ATI. Oh well, it's a giant quagmire either way you look at it.

nVidia Drivers are not the issue (1)

canuck57 (662392) | about 6 years ago | (#22892374)

First, given the popularity of some of their chip sets, this probably isn't bad. Quite a few systems out there with the 6100 and 6150 UMA chipsets. And what about the other 71.2 %

Could be the UMA in Vista is unstable? I am using a 8500 GT and I haven't crashed once. No UMA in use though. I question those running UMA for Video on Vista, Vista needs a beefy video.

I do have slow disks, slow network I/O and slow... but no video issues. And the best part is that it also works with Linux/Solaris. (8500GT).

Re:nVidia Drivers are not the issue (1)

balthan (130165) | about 6 years ago | (#22892450)

Bullshit. When Vista was first released (retail, not betas), Nvidia's drivers were horrid. They were very buggy and lacking SLI and other functionality, even for their flagship card. They've been greatly improved since then, but I believe Nvidia's early driver releases are one of the biggest reasons Vista has such a negative reputation.

Agreed (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 6 years ago | (#22892562)

There was a time back in the Detonator days that Nvidia had the best drivers going. Each generation has gotten a bit buggier. My first Vista machine has a 7900GS, not even an nv80 series chip and it had horrible problems with rendering and stability. It never brought the whole OS down but the number of times the driver itself would crash and restart (a neat feature in Vista by the way) was beyond count for the first few months.

They've gotten far better now at least, but they (Nvidia) really dropped the ball on that one.

Nothing new here (3, Informative)

spasticfantastic (1118431) | about 6 years ago | (#22892396)

Nvidia have a shamefully lax attitude to the stability of their drivers even under XP. Try searching google for NV4Disp.dll and you'll see that there is an issue that still causes BSOD's years after it was first reported, ironically the latest drivers only make the issue worse. This latest news will only make sure that my next card will not be from Nvidia.

Re:Nothing new here (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 6 years ago | (#22892770)

Yeah, I had problems with that a month or two back; was getting BSOD city (actually, reboots, since that's what XP defaults to now instead of giving you a BSOD) every time the card tried to do 3D or accelerated rendering. Can't really blame it on NVidia, though, because what caused it was being stupid enough to let Windows Update udpate my video driver. Reinstalled the latest NVidia driver from NVidia's website and everything worked again.

Misreports (1)

Meor (711208) | about 6 years ago | (#22892400)

Quite often hardware overheating issues will cause the kernel to crash in the nVidia driver. This will probably be the first thing nVidia claims and it's pretty true.

Sounds a lot like finger pointing to me (0)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | about 6 years ago | (#22892420)

Perhaps there is some blame on nVidia, but there would have to be equal blame to Microsoft for not being more compatible with windows XP drivers and spending far too long in development.

Re:Sounds a lot like finger pointing to me (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | about 6 years ago | (#22892518)

equal blame to Microsoft for not being more compatible with windows XP drivers
I will assume you are talking about Vista? If that is the case, Vista is a new os, it is not XP. So they changed the structure of the drivers. So with that out in the open why should Microsoft Vista be more compatible with Windows XP drivers? If you had a car that used leaded gas and you bought a new car that only works with unleaded gas you would not blame the auto maker for not supporting the use of leaded gas would you? So why do you blame Microsoft?

Re:Sounds a lot like finger pointing to me (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | about 6 years ago | (#22892864)

Thanks for the car analogy that really has nothing to do with how software, interoperability, and change work. I mean gas has been the same for how many year? And how quickly does software change?

Anyway to the point is that one of Microsoft's biggest concerns should have been compatibility with existing hardware, to make it easier on vendors to update/convert/create drivers with little fuss, and it seems they did little. I'd have to imagine their big code redux 2 years or so before release certainly didn't help either since you know nVidia had to have been working with them all along the process of the creation of Vista.

As a programmer, there's things I can admit to being my fault as I'm not perfect, but then there's many things that are simply out of my control because of dependencies on a certain other piece of software, operating system, database, process, and so on ad infinitum. I'm not saying nVidia is completely out of blame, I'm just saying maybe nVidia had crap to work with from the beginning.

Re:Sounds a lot like finger pointing to me (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 6 years ago | (#22892936)

Well they decided they wanted to improve reliablity or security, and to really make progress they had to make breaking changes. There's nothing wrong with that. It's up to hardware vendors to make sure their drivers work with the new model. Given that ATI and Intel seem to have been able to make stable Vista drivers, I don't see why you'd blame MS for Nvidia's failings. At the end of the day, the graphics card and drivers are THEIR products, its soley THIER responsiblity to make sure it works. It's not like MS pushed a patch that broke everything; Nvidia had plenty of time, and they choose to release drivers that weren't stable. Its poor quality control.

Stop being a zealot MS hater, and start thinking rationally.

I'm relieved (4, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | about 6 years ago | (#22892456)

28.8% of Vista's crashes over a period in 2007 were due to faulty NVIDIA drivers

Well then it's a good thing their driver support is so crappy with Linux!

Oh wait...

More seriously, I rag on Nvidea for poor Linux support, and this is more of a chance to bash them, but their drivers work fine under XP. If Microsoft provided better documentation of their APIs, as the EU has been demanding, perhaps writing drivers wouldn't be such a pain in the ass?

I also wonder why closed source vendors don't open their code. They don't have to release it under the GPL, they can reatain all their copyrights, just publish the source. How could it hurt them? They retain copyrights and presumably patents so it's not like anyone could copy them.

Is closed source closed so that nobody will realise just how abysmally shitty their kludges are?

If your OS crashes, your OS is crap. Microsoft, fix your OS and publish the code. Nvidea, fix your shitty drivers and open the code. Don't give up any rights, just open it.

I'd like to see copyright law changed so that executables can't be copyrighted unless the source is also provided. How can IBM tell what parts of their code they stole from SCO? Of course the answer was "none". Time to reboot copyright law!

-mcgrew

Re:I'm relieved (1)

Metaphorically (841874) | about 6 years ago | (#22892532)

their drivers work fine under XP
We haven't seen the numbers for XP.

Re:I'm relieved (1)

sm62704 (957197) | about 6 years ago | (#22892894)

Ok, they work fine under XP on my box. But you got me thinking... I have it set up for dual-boot, and if my C: drive ("/windows" under Mandriva) is too full or defragmented it will boot over and over until Windows finally comes up. I've been blaming the hardware, but I guess there's a tiny chance it COULD be the video drivers.

Especially since at one time it got so bad it wouldn't reach Windows at all (but Linux ran fine) and reinstalling Windows fixed the problem.

Hmm....

Re:I'm relieved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892610)

This has nothing to do with the API documentation. Hardware vendors use Driver Development Kits provided by Microsoft. The public API is well documented and no vendor should use undocumented features anyway. Seems to me you are confusing drivers with applications where indeed the API is not fully documented so Office has an advantage over competitors.

Re:I'm relieved (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 6 years ago | (#22892730)

In a lot of cases, the drivers contain proprietary information that they licensed. It doesn't belong to them, and they've signed contracts pledging that it will not be disclosed.

Re:I'm relieved (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | about 6 years ago | (#22892950)

Which begs the question of why the people they licensed it from demand that it not be disclosed. What are they ashamed of?

The rest were caused by ATI. (2, Interesting)

neowolf (173735) | about 6 years ago | (#22892466)

I tried Vista on two machines running ATI cards- a desktop and laptop. They crashed an average of 2-3 times a day (BSOD). In all cases- Microsoft blamed the ATI video drivers, which I kept updated from ATI and Microsoft's own updates. I got fed up with it after a month.

I dropped Windows completely and went with Ubuntu Linux. It has issues with video cards too, but aside from not being able to enable some eye-candy- it almost never crashes. (Usually the only time it does is when I try to tweak video settings or try new drivers.)

Video card drivers are probably the number one problem with computers right now, in ANY operating system. It wouldn't surprise me if they are responsible for a lot of game console crashes too.

Certified (5, Interesting)

fozzmeister (160968) | about 6 years ago | (#22892494)

Did MS certify they drivers? If so, it's still _their_ fault

Re:Certified (4, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | about 6 years ago | (#22892720)

Indeed. And its why you had to see internal mails to know that MS were saying it was Nvidia's fault. Considering anytime Windows crash, MS gets the blamed (even if a significant amount of times its not Windows' fault directly...Creative, I'm looking at you), if they felt it REALLY wasn't their fault, they would have said it reeeeally quick.

If they didn't, its partly because they took the blame, as they should.

'Windows Certified'? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892504)

I assume the drivers for such a critical component were officially 'certified' by Microsoft. In that case, it's not NVidia's fault alone and Microsoft should also be jointly accountable for the problem - since such certified drivers are supposed to be thoroughly tested by MS.

/That or Windows should just stop warning users while installing uncertified drivers, since it doesn't really mean anything either ways.

that's nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892564)

That's nothing. ATI's driver caused 100% of my crashes on Sunday. I picked up an AGP 2600XT on clearance ($60) for my old MCE machine. The machine successfully booted once with the new driver installed. After it crashed I couldn't get it to fully boot again (only safe mode worked). Spent about 4 hours screwing around with it. Back to the store it went. I think I've only had one ATI card that worked well, and that was a 9800Pro.

As a developer (1)

ZP-Blight (827688) | about 6 years ago | (#22892574)

As a developer, I was forced to upgrade my work environment to vista in order to support users. During pretty much from when vista shipped till about a month ago, Vista would BSOD at least once or twice a day, very frustrating. Since I don't play games and the 3D hardware's only use was to display video (certain video rendering modes in windows use the 3D hardware) it was quite frustrating. However, after several updates from both NVIDIA and Microsoft, Vista has been very stable for me over the last month. However! NVIDIA's Vista driver are no where near complete compared to their XP drivers. There's a lot of missing functionality, especially when dealing with analog (S-Video) output. Considering vista was released over a year ago, this is very frustrating.

Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892602)

Intel has highest marketshare of video adapters probably around 40%. Their video is mainly used on laptops and the most intensive thing they do is check email and surf the net. Comsidering that number would include a lot of wireless drivers though it's probably a good figure for them.

Nvidia has about 35%, Ati has about 20%. So obviously Nvidia will get more crashes because they have higher market share. People who buy NVidia and ATI probably use their computers a lot harder, play games which are always likely to crash something and may overclock too. People who own Nvidia probably upgrade their drivers 3x more often hoping to eek out that extra .05% performance, i doubt anybody bothers to upgrade their intel drivers.

The point is the stats mean nothing when you take usage, market share and all the other factors into consideration. Give me a graph detailing the of number of crashes per cpu/gpu instruction.

This is unsurprising.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892612)

..given that drivers have always been windows's leading cause of instability. The only performance-impacting difference between datacenter and other editions of windows servers (a difference of two 9s) is that datacenter only ships on OEM hardware with signed drivers.

Frankly, given that Microsoft are effectively the OEM for the majority of drivers that ship with windows, I'm amazed the figures for crashes involving their drivers are so low. I think this demonstrates clearly the amount of pain consumers suffer through vendors (nvidia) not adequately investing time and money in training and R&D for driver development on a new platform. I know I've been feeling the same pain on linux for years.

How about Nouveau ? (2, Funny)

should_be_linear (779431) | about 6 years ago | (#22892632)

Maybe MS could contribute some developers to Nouveau project and then insert hooks into it for their specific kernel?

28.8% of Crashes.. (1)

jagilbertvt (447707) | about 6 years ago | (#22892648)

.. but what percentage of Vista PC's have Nvidia cards (and what percentage of those pc's reported a crash?) You can't really compare it to the percentage of crashes reportedly caused by other drivers without knowing that.

Not the whole story... (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | about 6 years ago | (#22892658)

NVidia has been really good in the past for me, for drivers, especially compared to ATI. Until recently. I run Vista Ultimate 64 with twin 750GB Seagate HDDs running in RAID 0 via an NVidia raid controller. I used to run with windows update on and set to automatically update at 3AM each day. Until NVidia released new RAID drivers a week or so ago.

I would wake up each morning to find my computer constantly rebooting. It would blue screen and I couldn't even make out the error before it was off the screen. I managed to get Vista running with Last Known Good configuration (amazing to me, I never see this work) and the first time I checked the last update and it was the NVidia RAID drivers. I figured what the hell, maybe it was a fluke.

Well, the third day in a row of finding the computer in this state in the morning and I finally cancelled the RAID driver install. The next morning, the computer was fine.

It was the NVidia drivers... and possibly Vista.

Re:Not the whole story... (1)

alen (225700) | about 6 years ago | (#22892976)

anyone who's been using windows for more than 2 weeks knows not to ever, ever update drivers via windows update. you only use drivers from the manufacturer website.

don't know why MS still insists on distributing broken drivers after years of complaints

I'll vouch for this (4, Interesting)

aldousd666 (640240) | about 6 years ago | (#22892668)

We're a dell hardware shop. We buy on a 4 year cycle, every machine gets replaced every 4 years with the latest latitude line shipping model of laptop. In this past few cycles they've been NVidia based. They all have 2 gigs of ram, sata hard drives, dual core higher end processors and of course, NVidia Mobile chipsets. So, all 800 people at my company with nvidia chipsets cannot deploy vista until a) the drivers are fixed. b) the hardware cycle comes up in 4 years. All the people getting new machines right now are perfectly happy because the hardware is supported, but just those purchased 6 months ago and before (D820's) are not capable of running vista with dual monitors without gambling on whether or not they will be alive after a weekend on screensaver.

No such problems for me (5, Funny)

td04impostor (1200577) | about 6 years ago | (#22892688)

This is why i use my computer without graphics card. Nor screen. I am guided purely by instinct.

Re:No such problems for me (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 6 years ago | (#22892796)

Nor screen.

Upgrade to Lear Siegler ADM3A on your serial port - at least you will have a half functional screen!

Warning: Unix not included.

I'm not buying all of this (1)

LM741N (258038) | about 6 years ago | (#22892806)

Nvidia drivers have been working perfectly on my Sony VIAO SZ460NC laptop with Vista right from the start. In fact, I even have an Nvidia driver that works on my FreeBSD partition.

When I had Acer laptops with their crappy ATI graphics, OpenGL never worked. I had 3-d modeling programs that only worked in 2 dimensions. It didn't matter what ATI driver you had. You could only spin the objects in the x and y dimensions. Ubuntu's ATI drivers never worked either on the Acer laptops.

Now with Nvidia, I get true 3-d on all the OS's on this laptop.

It's a cultural problem... (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#22892840)

What's comical for Microsoft is that they would go and change the driver models for everyone for their new OS, and then blamed the resultant bugfest from the imposed change over on all of its business partners. Way to go Microsoft! You guys are a bunch of class acts!

Come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892848)

Alright listen up you numbnuts. The percentages basically equate to the market share. ATI causes just as many crashes. The total percent is lower because more people have nVidia cards.

By the way, I had absolutely not a single problem with my G92 based card in December/January running Vista 64-bit.

Is It Just Me.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892888)

...or are the Vista users on here beginning to sound almost as rabidly fanboi-ish as the Apple ones?

I'm quite sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892896)

...Microsoft told us that this wouldn't happen on Vista.
Something about moving graphics drivers out of kernel space or something like that.

Doesn't suprise me (1)

nxsty (942984) | about 6 years ago | (#22892902)

I tried vista when it was new. After installing nvidia's driver the system would crash whenever I tried to change resolution or play a game. Apperantly this was a common problem with the Geforce 7900. I tried some workarounds but none worked very well. I ended up removing vista (not only because of the crashes).

A few weeks ago I tried installing vista again. I hoped that the problem would've been fixed with SP1 and nvidia's latest driver. But no, the problem still remains after over a year.

I also submited a bug report to nvidia a year back but never got any response.

Linux users unite! (4, Funny)

scubamage (727538) | about 6 years ago | (#22892946)

Since apparently you can have a class action lawsuit for drivers not working, lets open up the floodgates and punish the manufacturers for not having compatible software! And why stop at video drivers? Lets sue all the makers of legacy hardware. And wifi hardware. Have an OLD 5 1/4 floppy? Sue! Have one of those old HP video-now PCMCIA cards? Sue!
Sue sue sue!!!

No surprise there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22892988)

My only serious problems with Vista have been related to NVIDIA drivers. The latest driver update crashed my machine on a regular basis. I reverted to the previous version (that was in early January) and haven't had a crash since. My laptop has been more lucky - the latest NVIDIA driver update hasn't affected it (different card, of course.)

What makes me wonder... (2, Informative)

scubamage (727538) | about 6 years ago | (#22893038)

Most of these driver incompatibilities were actually caused because microsoft changed the driver structure at the last minute which basically shot a lot of the manufacturers in the foot at the starting line. If this class action lawsuit goes through... how likely do you think NVidia and ATI are going to be to jump on the bandwagon for Windows 7? I mean, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I can't imagine being the victim of a multimillion dollar class action lawsuit because of microsoft's incompetance is going to make them the best buddies.
Then again, I wonder if nvidia and ati have the right to sue microsoft in response should this current class action lawsuit go through? They developed to the specs microsoft had given them, so if microsoft changed those specs at the last minute... seems kind of uncool to me.
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