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Ultrafart

NV GeForce Driver Anomaly

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Ultrafart

Hello folks,


I have an issue with a really old PC setup which has been driving me nuts for a couple months now.

It's a desktop PC so this is off-topic for a forum based on Laptop video stuff.

BUT I'm willing to bet this is the only site on the planet with the expertise and competence to be able to make useful comments and suggestions on the subject.

So here goes:

 

Basic System Specs:

- (Prehistoric) IBM Aptiva 2187 PC

- AMD K6-3 CPU

- 512 MBytes System RAM

- Onboard SiS530 AGP 8 MBytes Shared RAM Video (disabled)

- EVGA GeForce 6200 512 MBytes PCI Video Card

- Windows XP SP3

- DirectX v9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)

- Page File 1536 MBytes

 

Here's the problem / issue:

1.   Any GeForce  Series 70.xx drivers - OpenGL works fine, BUT DirectX  7, 8 or 9 apps (including DXDiag) give an instant BSOD which names NV4_DISP.DLL as the cause.

2.   Any GeForce Series 80.xx (or higher) drivers - OpenGL now fails (crash to desktop), DirectX 7 works, but DirectX  8 or 9 apps (including DXDiag) give an instant BSOD naming NV4_DISP.DLL as the cause.

I did all the right stuff, uninstalling the drivers before trying a new set, and got remarkably consistent results.   Tried a bunch of different games  - same results every time (eg, Serious Sam on OpenGL runs fine with the 70.xx Series drivers, but on DirectX it crashes immediately with BSOD.   On the 80.xx Series drivers, Serious Sam  just crashes to the desktop with OpenGL, but BSOD with DirectX).

Due diligence - the CPU temp never goes above 50 degrees C, and the power supply is brand new 350 Watt.   And to round it off, I have two of these PCs with identical configuration, and both give precisely the same results.

 

The K6 CPUs have MMX & 3D-Now, but not SSE or SSE2, but I KNOW there are plenty of people out there with GeForce FX 5700 cards running happily with DirectX 9 on sub-SSE CPUs, so why not the GeForce 6200's?.

I thought maybe the GeForce 6200's Shader Model 3 capability is causing the NV drivers to call SSE instructions, & so causing the BSOD - but Shader Model 3 isn't implemented until the Series 80.xx drivers.   So why the BSOD for DirectX on the 70.xx Series ?   And why does OpenGL (version 1.5) run fine with the 70.xx Series while DirectX (not even Dx7) won't?

If the NVidia drivers are using (requiring) SSE instructions for Shader Model 3 and OpenGL 2.0, that would go some way to accounting for the (DirectX) BSOD and the OpenGL failure on the 80.xx Series drivers,  but not on the 70.xx Series drivers because they don't implement Shader Model 3 or OpenGL 2.0.

Apart from vanilla NVidia drivers, I also tried a bunch of 70 & 80 series OEM drivers, all with the same result.   I even tried modded drivers like (eg.) Xtreme G v75.90a, which is advertised as having MMX, 3D-Now, SSE & SSE2 support - still no difference, OpenGL worked fine but DirectX gave instant BSOD with this driver.

Anyway, I know these PCs are old as the hills, but it's killing me trying to pin down why the drivers for these cards (GeForce 6200)  just don't seem to want to work with these CPUs, even though I've read in various online forums that the previous generation (eg, GeForce 5700) work happily with  the same CPUs and the same drivers.

As I lose more hair by the day, any insights or intelligent explanations would be gratefully welcomed.

Regards,

Ultrafart the Brave.

 

 

 

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mobilenvidia

Yikes this is going back.

Wonder if your 6200 has an internal issue with DX acceleration
It may have fried that part of the GPU

Had a similar issue with a CPU (original K6) and floating point, integer all was good anything floating point = BSOD
You should be able to pickup another 6000 series GPU for very little to test

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StefanG3D

Did you try the most recent driver 307.83?

http://www.nvidia.co.uk/download/driverResults.aspx/57520/en-uk

Also there is the "posready trick" to keep Windows XP up-to-date.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/registry-hack-enables-continued-updates-for-windows-xp/

I'm using it on an old XP rig since over 3 years successfully.

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Ultrafart
22 hours ago, mobilenvidia said:

Yikes this is going back.

Wonder if your 6200 has an internal issue with DX acceleration
It may have fried that part of the GPU

Had a similar issue with a CPU (original K6) and floating point, integer all was good anything floating point = BSOD
You should be able to pickup another 6000 series GPU for very little to test

Hi dude,

Thanks for the suggestions.   I actually have QTY 4 of these cards (2 with 256 MBytes & 2 with 512 MBytes), all otherwise identical.   All give the same results with these two K6-3 PCs.

You did get me thinking, though - I might try them in another PC which has a Pentium 3 with SSE and is running Windows XP (and is already running fine with an AGP 6200 video card).

If the EVGA video cards work OK in that P3 PC, then I'll know pretty much 100% that the non-SSE CPU in the problem PCs is the issue.   And if it doesn't work in that P3 PC, then I'll know it's something to do with the EVGA video cards.

I'll post an update after I try that...

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Ultrafart
15 hours ago, StefanG3D said:

Did you try the most recent driver 307.83?

http://www.nvidia.co.uk/download/driverResults.aspx/57520/en-uk

Also there is the "posready trick" to keep Windows XP up-to-date.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/registry-hack-enables-continued-updates-for-windows-xp/

I'm using it on an old XP rig since over 3 years successfully.

Hi StefanG3D,

Thanks for the links, I'll check them both out.

Re the most recent driver 307.83, I expect that the further away from the original 70 & 80 series drivers we get, the LESS LIKELY NVidia will be to compile in any support for obsolete instruction sets like  MMX and 3DNow (and even SSE), and the MORE LIKELY NVidia will be to require SSE2 & later instruction support for their drivers to work at all.

I could be wrong, but that just seems to be the way things roll in the coders world.   As an example, MS quietly dropped MMX & 3DNow support in DirectX 9 distributables after 2008, so I would expect NVidia to take a similar approach with their video drivers (in fact, that seems to be the source of my probs with the 70 & 80 series drivers).

BUT for the sake of completeness, I will take your advice and try the 307.83 driver.

Re the XP updates, have you found doing so to be of any particular benefit?   I'll check out the link you gave, but also interested in your perspective if it's about anything more than security.

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mobilenvidia

You seem very concerned with Instruction sets
Drivers for XP will support all instruction sets, no use making a driver for an old OS then not support old technology

Probably more likely you'd waste your money running a GTX 1080 in XP than other way round

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StefanG3D
12 hours ago, Ultrafart said:

...Re the XP updates, have you found doing so to be of any particular benefit?   I'll check out the link you gave, but also interested in your perspective if it's about anything more than security.

Yes,  mostly security fixes, but also other bug fixes. E.g. .NET framework is an epic issue.

Unsurprisingly you get no new features.

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Ultrafart
23 hours ago, mobilenvidia said:

You seem very concerned with Instruction sets
Drivers for XP will support all instruction sets, no use making a driver for an old OS then not support old technology

Probably more likely you'd waste your money running a GTX 1080 in XP than other way round

Hi there again,

Seriously I hear what you're saying.   IMO the NVidia drivers SHOULD support all instruction sets current at the time of their creation - and  in the case of the 70 & 80 series drivers, that would include MMX, 3DNow, SSE & SSE2.

That's why I was confident in purchasing these EVGA GeForce 6200 PCI video cards to put into some old K6-3 PCs.   Sure, they'll work .   Why wouldn't they?

But from my experience, it appears that what SHOULD be the case, is NOT the case.

Every attempt to run any DirectX app using any 70 series driver results in an instant BSOD, with "KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED" & pinning NV4_DISP.DLL as the problem module.   Yet all OpenGL apps run happily.

And using any 80 series driver, OpenGL no longer works (crash to desktop), DirectX 7 apps now work, but any DirectX 8 or 9 app gives instant BSOD, again with "KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED" & pinning NV4_DISP.DLL as the problem module.

I gather that the "KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED" means that the appropriate code to recover from an invalid instruction sequence is missing.   Hence my suspicions about MMX & 3DNow support.

This is consistent with reports & advice on various Internet forums etc, eg:

http://www.amd-k6.com/os-support/

https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/396996/geforce-drivers/bsod-stop-error-cpu-require-sse-need-help/post/2808685/

So it really does look like, starting at least from the 70 & 80 series drivers (and maybe even earlier) NVidia has neglected to properly implement MMX & 3DNow instructions in its drivers.   That's been my experience with these EVGA cards, and apparently also with other people, using K6-2/3 era CPUs.   If NVidia really did just choose to "forget about" MMX and 3DNow support in these old drivers (which appears to be the case) then upgrading to later drivers is unlikely to fix the problem.

I know this is kind of like beating a dead horse, given the vintage of these systems and drivers, but I was hoping someone might have some insight on the subject - or maybe even had access to 70 & 80 series drivers which specifically include MMX & 3DNow support sufficient to  get DirectX and OpenGL working on Windows XP with a K6-2/3 CPU.

By the way, I really do appreciate your comments.   It's an issue from prehistory, and not your problem, so IMO any advice or suggestion is a gift.

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Ultrafart

Hi again,

Just to follow up on this subject - I have done more testing & confirmed that no-one on Planet Earth currently (or at any time in past history) has been able to run an NVIDIA Geforce 6200 series video card with DirectX 9.0c on a K6-2 CPU PC.   Apparent reason is lack of proper 3DNow & MMX support in NVIDIA 70 & 80 series drivers [ specifically in NV4_DISP.DLL ] (& presumably any later driver series, eg, 90 series gives same problem).

Tested [ 256MB & 512MB EVGA Geforce 6200 PCI cards ] in a [ 850MHz PIII / 512 MB RAM ] PC - worked perfectly with full DX & OGL support, using NVIDIA 70, 80 & 90 series drivers.   Using  multi-boot, W98, W2k, Wxp - worked flawlessly on all.

Also tested a generic [ 512MB non-EVGA Geforce 6200 PCI card ] in the same PIII rig - worked perfectly with full DX & OGL support, using NVIDIA 70, 80 & 90 series drivers. Ditto multi-boot, W98, W2k, Wxp.

BUT with BOTH 6200's (EVGA & non-EVGA) in a [ 500MHz K6-3+ / 512 MB RAM ] PC - using NVIDIA 70, 80 & 90 series drivers, using multiboot W98, W2k & Wxp - basically nothing DirectX works, eg:

* on 70 series, OGL works, but Dx7/8/9 give BSOD.

* on 80 series, OGL crashes, Dx7 works, & Dx8/9 gives BSOD.

* on 90 series, OGL crashes, & Dx7/8/9 gives BSOD.

So IMO it's conclusive - NVIDIA dispensed with proper 3DNow & MMX support for DirectX 8/9 in 6200 cards with their 70 & later series drivers.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Thanks again to those who offered their thoughts.

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mobilenvidia

Well done in all that investigating.

Pity that the 6200 is like us trying to support stone tablets
I went from Geforce 2go to a go7900GS bypassing all in between

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