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Ok, so explain this driver thing to me like I'm a 6 year old...


bbz_Ghost

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Well, I do understand most of this stuff; been using modded drivers and inf files since oh, around 2000 or so, but I honestly don't get this one aspect that I'm going to ask about, so bear with me a bit as I explain, and yes this will be a rather lengthy and wordy post. New member, figured after lurking around this place and using the drivers and inf files people have created for so long that perhaps it is easier to ask the question(s) - note that I have done considerable research the past 2 weeks into this particular subject which is about to be revealed.

First the info:

I currently own a near-mint condition HP-Compaq nx9420 workstation laptop I found at a pawn shop recently. By near-mint condition I seriously mean that: it doesn't have a mark on it. It's got the 17" Bright View display (it's not really that bright, but the color reproduction is outstanding), 1680x1050 WXSGA+ resolution, and it's glossy unfortunately.

It's coupled with the very rare Nvidia Quadro NVS 510M 256MB 256-bit GPU (MXM, and I don't even want to get into the whole MXM thing - it works, that's what matters, and no I ain't interested in trying to get something better 'cause I don't think it's possible on this HP machine).

Now, my day to day OS is Windows 7 Enterprise x86 - I decided not to run the 64-bit version for several reasons: this machine shows 3.37GB of usable RAM regardless of me running x86 or x64, I'm not interested in double-installing a lot of things (Flash Player for one, needs the 32 and 64 bit components installed, and so on). I have no beef with using the x86 version of Windows 7 Enterprise, so please don't bring the choice of version into this.

Anyway, after a clean install of the OS obviously there's no video driver support natively (just the simple SXGA driver - Windows Update has the 179.67 drivers and they install and work without a hitch, nothing at all. But... if I gave up there you'd all despise me (probably do anyway for this long post, so...).

I go looking all over the place for newer drivers, obviously. I can live with the 179.67, really, but my primary web browser is Firefox, and in Mozilla's infinite lack of moderate intelligence (or they're simply crappy developers, I don't know) they preach up that Firefox nowadays has hardware acceleration to offload rendering from the CPU to the GPU on today's (and yesterday's, like my 510M) higher powered video chips that spend most of their time doing nothing at all.

Ok, all great, fantastic, but... apparently because Mozilla appears to be loaded with untalented programmers or they just choose to do this religiously, they blacklist hardware acceleration (read: they disable it) on any Nvidia drivers pre 257.21 and tells me about it on the about:support page:

Blocked for your graphics driver version. Try updating your graphics driver to version 257.21 or newer.

It disables the Direct2D and DirectWrite potential acceleration also.

Now, the funny thing about all this is I have a Dell Latitude D630 with an Intel GMA965 aka X3100 GPU onboard, and THAT video chip is weak by comparison to the Quadro NVS 510M I have in this nx9420, big time super weak like a baby that can't even stand up weak but the X3100 has proper hardware acceleration in Firefox as long as the driver is up to date.

Ok, so what's my beef with all this walls of text you're reading (or not)?

I found a driver on Windows Update (and later confirmed its existence at several forums including this one, Guru3D, etc) - 259.47 - that installs just fine and works because it has the proper entry in the inf file for this 510M (Device ID: 0299). It's a certified driver since it came directly from Windows Update (found the cab file download link, extracted the cab, rolled back the 179.67 to the native SXGA Windows driver, then did the full setup.exe install of the 259.47 driver) and it works.

But it's got some issues, one in particular that is nagging me to death is that when I load a video with MPC-HC, there's a 2-4 second hard freeze of the entire laptop - everything stops dead, even Task Manager, no mouse, no drive activity, audio ceases, everything, for 2-4 seconds then it picks right up where it left off.

I'm almost done, seriously.

My question, in spite of all this stuff - mind you I can get a completely functional 259.47 installation without any issues save for that one with MPC-HC (doesn't stop like that with WMP, VLC, etc) is this, so brace yourselves:

Why is there a point where the drivers simply can't be installed anymore on Quadros? Why is there that mysterious cutoff point at 179.47 or 179.48 - that's the last ones apparently released by Nvidia for this particular series of NVS mobile GPU - and then the jump to 259.47 as are available here using the Driver finder (and they're the same as the ones from Windows Update and install just fine but have that MPC-HC glitch I'm trying to resolve)?

Is it absolutely impossible to improve on the drivers anymore past those cutoff points, so no amount of inf modification will help at all in going a litle farther? I mean, I'd love to get the latest drivers and mod the inf and get them installed but, I know there are always going to be limits. Hell, I'm peeved right now that this laptop and GPU combination probably set the original owner back $3000 or more and this 256MB dedicated video RAM 256-bit wide memory bus powerhouse GPU based on the Geforce Go 7900GTX can't do DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) - that just seems so wrong to me, and I can't say why, really. So much capability and yet, so close and so far away at the same time. Damn.

Oh well, I suppose this is more of a rant, so I apologize if you read this far. Just seems like such a waste of a great GPU and not taking advantage of the potential it has for doing stuff. It's fast, and I can even get some gaming done on it and benchmarks are nice to mess around with but, no DXVA for videos, and Firefox can't make use of the damned thing unless I use a driver that breaks something else.

Guess I just need to find a balance... anyway, thanks for reading if you did, I doubt anyone can "help" since it's obvious there's nothing that can be done about installing newer drivers so, I'll make the best of it.

Have fun, always...

ps

One good thing: the battery in this thing is brand new, apparently, or never ever used. BatteryBar shows it as having 49,810 mWh of capacity (8 cell) - it has zero wear on the battery, absolutely nothing, and holds a perfect 100% charge. I'll consider that a major bright spot after buying this machine last week... runs for about 2:45 with all the power management in play and brightness at about 25%.

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