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Confused by driver recommendations


oneeyedhobbit

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Hey folks,

Forgive my extended absence. The last time I was actively posting here I got a driver that seemed to serve me well for a long time. However, recently my laptop was REALLY dogging it--I was playing a flash game and my cpu was at 100% use, everything was really slow and seemed almost "laggy." I tried a bunch of things with the help of some friends, but nothing worked, so I gave up and ended up reformatting/reinstalling windows.

I want to get a good, stable driver for my card (GF FX 5200 Go), so I've been reading around trying to determine what would be a card that lets me eke out the best performance I can without making things really screwy. The quick start guide mentions 84.25, but this link seems to imply that 67.66 would be ideal for my card, despite its age. Are either of these going to fit the bill, or should I be looking elsewhere? I'm not looking to play any insane games--KOTOR I and II, Max Payne I and II, AoE, things like that. Thanks for your input!

Oh, also: should I consider any of the inf mods (sideband addressing or what not)?

Edit: My system info is no longer accurate. The LCD on my laptop died, and University has me broke. I ended up getting a Samsung SyncMaster 753DF 17" CRT, if that makes any difference.

Edited by oneeyedhobbit
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84.25 is recommended for general use and yours is not an exception. However the optimal driver means that it will be best for speed and DirectX version your GPU supports and goes nicely with those time games. However with 84.25 you will have better compatibility with new games but you might lose little bit FPS. In your case going with 67.66 is good if you are planning to play the games you have listed, but if you don't mind a little performance drop and want better compatibility use 84.25.

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84.25 is recommended for general use and yours is not an exception. However the optimal driver means that it will be best for speed and DirectX version your GPU supports and goes nicely with those time games. However with 84.25 you will have better compatibility with new games but you might lose little bit FPS. In your case going with 67.66 is good if you are planning to play the games you have listed, but if you don't mind a little performance drop and want better compatibility use 84.25.

What do you mean on compatibility? With respect to more recent games? What about using the most recent version of Directx (9.0c), does that change your opinion? (Opinions on sideband addressing and other tweaks also still appreciated).

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What I mean by compatibility is games are sometimes very sensitive to driver, take HL2-Source engine for example. Most users complain about crashes and warnings when using old drivers and problems are solved by using new ones. Another example a game might run but not as expected like bad textures, very poor performance and things like that.

I don't have much idea about sideband addressing and fast writes. You don't pretty much need any other tweaks if you are not having any specific problems, they are mostly 'fix' tweaks.

My suggestion: try 84.25 and go with it if you are happy, otherwise try 67.66.

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Side Band Addressing will only cause you more problems probably.

SBA can cause instability and lock ups, it would be bad if a flash game locked your PC up. :)

I doubt you would get much performance either, I have always heard 1% speed increase.

You would get more performance from overclocking.

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the newest 91.31 forcewares should do the trick

they enable direct x 9.0c support for nvidia cards and even fixed the problems i was havving with The Sims 2 lagging and stalling all over the place =)

also, the nvtweak tool enables the overclocking features and many other neat side options of your video card's manufature provided (or modified, whatever =P) drivers from within the nvidia control panel

the nvidia control panel overclocking utility even comes with a "detect optimal frequency" button so you know you wont go wrong! :)

have fun, and thank you laptop video 2 go for the sweet nvtweak tool =)

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Real Nvaders hand edit the registry to overclock, you have much to learn Apprentice. :)

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\NVIDIA Corporation\Global\NVTweak\CoolBits 0xFFFFFFFF

You must master the force to stay ahead of the n00bs. :)

Nvtweak is still a nice program though. :P

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So I guess the question becomes one of 91.31 v. 84.25--what are some of the pros and cons of each? It would seem if I get DirectX support I should go with 91xx, but am I gaining this at the cost of some stability?

Also, will look into nvtweak--what is the "Detect Optimal Frequency" tool, something to aid in overclocking?

Finally, a personal question to Bill: way back when I first heard of SBA and several other nifty tweaks because I believe you (maybe someone else) were using almost the same set up as me computer wise, and (at the time) had a custom inf with some nifty little tricks. You never had any problems. Do you know what might be causing my computer to suck so hard (assuming you had the same machine)?

Edit: Not that anyone else with advice who isn't Bill shouldn't respond to the last query.

Edited by oneeyedhobbit
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DirectX 9.0c support came with driver 61.77... so DirectX wise the "only differences" between the drivers 67.66 and 84.25 drivers are compatibility fixes and performance boosts for newer cards.

Since you have a FX 5200 the last gaming issues fixed for your graphic card were in driver 81.98 concerning CrimeLife and in 77.76 concerning Halo.

The driver 67.66 (and above) covers all the aspects of DirectX 9.0c... since the 9x.xx drivers bring nothing but SLI and GeForce 7950 there is no point using those. Plus a lot of users report BSOD... they might work... if they don't, please don't come complain.

Sideband addressing and Fast Write are the most pointless features ever implemented on the AGP bus. Not only they bring little (read tiny tiny ridiculous) performance but come with lots of compatibility issues. Luckily they need to be activated in the GPU BIOS, in the BIOS and in the driver to work...

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Why don't you use Larry's 5150 special INF? I see people are quite happy with it and you can get nice support from him.

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Honestly Larry provides world's best Video Driver support for DELL's 5150/60. We strongly recommend to use his INF for Full Mobile Support.

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Thanks, guys - I appreciate the good words!

I know oneeyedhobbit has used my inf in the past and is probably just looking to upgrade to the 8 or 9 series drivers. Fabrice Roux is spot-on with his advice about newer drivers. I'm even using 67.66 with Oblivion now and it's working great. Games don't come much tougher than that. Framerate is pretty slow, but the game does render correctly and more recent drivers would be even slower.

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Thanks for the hints. In the interim, I installed 84.25. I'm considering going to Larry's, because I've had success with it in the past (and it seems to be recommended for my computer, and apparently the tech support is bar none). Larry (or anyone) where would I get your INF, and do you have any driver recs if your machine is largely the same (you were who I meant in an earlier post addressed to Bill, btw)?

Also: I installed KOTOR and was playing around just now. It was mostly fine, but during busy moments got a little laggy. I'm playing at 800x600 with everything set to low. I know in the past I either did 640x480 with moderate settings or 800x600 on low, but with less lag. Two caveats: first, at present, 640x480 isn't even available! What gives? Is this an INF issue, or would switching drivers fix it? Also, what drivers would potentially give me better performance with KOTOR (eventually II) and games of that ilk?

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Just to let you know about my minimal resolution... with Dell official 84.30 the minimal resolution is 800x600.

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My infs are at the bottom of the first post here. Let me know if you have any questions.

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So two questions: to get down to 640x480 resolution I'd have to backtrack drivers (probably to 67.66)? Also, Larry's INF works with any driver's correct?

Edit: I was also just looking at NVTweak. It looks like the tools it includes are mainly useful for overclocking? I've never overclocked before, should I consider giving it a go considering my system? I will say that I've had problems with heat before on this machine, as has a roommate using the same laptop. Are there any other reasons why I should get NVTweak?

Edited by oneeyedhobbit
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The 5150 can be overclocked in summer and winter... summer with the laptop sitting on an air conditionning vent... and outside in winter when you can pee yellow iciles.

Focus on one issue at a time. Otherwise if you hit a wall you won't be able to know the cause.

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Well I was going to just throw it in a bucket of ice...that being said, I'll try the 67.66 driver with Larry's INF and see what happens with KOTOR. Thanks much for the quick replies. Back to my Latin homework, I suppose.

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Note that I have different infs, customized to work with different driver requirements. For 67.66, use nv4_disp.inf. Low resolutions are supported (I use 640x480 with Oblivion) and you can overclock by changing the Coolbits line in the inf from 1 to 3 before you install.

I really don't recommend overclocking the 5150 or 5160. The poor machines throttle down from heat already, without any extra help from us.

Here's a tip for 5150/5160 owners: Change the number of frames to render ahead from 2 (my default setting) to 0. It boosts framerate on most games and eliminates mouse-lag on most games I've tried. I'll probably make 0 my default setting in future inf versions.

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Hey Larry,

I actually did most of what you said (minus the tweaking, which I'll do). However, I installed 67.66 with your inf (the one you mentioned), and on my device driver page it says I'm using 71.44. Also, KOTOR still won't let me go below 800x600. What gives? Should I be considering a different driver, or do I need to change something to make the driver recognize its 67.66?

Edited by ®®®
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Still haven't gotten KotoR to let me go below 800x600. Do I need to reinstall since I switched to a driver that supports lower resolutions? Its really jumpy and laggy at present, and I've got everything low, the card set for high performance, and shadows disabled.

Edit: Actually, I can't switch my resolution to 640x480 at all. I'm using 67.66 with Larry's INF, which should support it--what gives? Am I setting something wrong? Bear in mind my laptop has a broken LCD, so I completely removed it and am using a Samsung SyncMaster 753DF. Please help, as KoToR is running terribly at 800x600 (which also boggles me...in the past, I could run it at 800x600 with low settings alright. Now, however, its terrible--not unusable, but very frustrating. When trying to run accross a map, all of the sudden the game seems to "freeze" and even if I've stopped running, I'll end up on the extreme other side of the map).

Edited by oneeyedhobbit
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Try uninstalling the driver in the Control Panel's "Add/Remove Programs." It shows up there as "Nvidia Drivers."

Then reinstall, making sure my inf replaces the inf that comes with the 67.66 driver. It definitely supports 640x480, so if it still doesn't work after the uninstall/reinstall, we need to figure out the reason.

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Did exactly as you said Larry, but no such luck. Lowest available resolution is still 800x600. Could it have something to do with the way the card is reading my moniters? It only gives me two options, "multiple monitors" with one blanked out, and "plug and play" monitor, even though left-clicking the nVidia icon in the toolbar and scrolling to nVidia display just shows my monitor.

Edit: Actually, was tinkering around and saw this: If I go into the nVidia control panel, under the "Screen Resolutions & Refresh Rates" tab I can switch it down to 640x480. However, right clicking on my desktop and going to properties or even left clicking on the nVidia icon in the toolbar and selecting resolution only goes as low as 800x600, so I assume it still won't be available in game. So, if I force it into 640x480 via that tab, this resolution choice is open to me. But as soon as I switch above it (my usual resolution is 1024x768) it disappears and 800x600 is as low as it lets me go without going into that tab again. How do I make the low resolution permanently available, at least for gaming?

Edited by oneeyedhobbit
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