Nvidia 196.75 GPU driver burning up graphics cards

By on March 5, 2010, 11:27 AM
Nvidia has yanked the latest WHQL graphics driver release (196.75) from its website after reports started pouring in about insane temperature increases and card failures. According to affected users, their systems start suffering low frame rates, freezes or even lock downs when playing games. This includes graphically intensive titles like Crysis or the StarCraft 2 Beta, as well as older, less demanding games such as World of Warcraft.

Some users are reporting temperature increases of up to 104 degrees Celsius. The problem seems to be related to the fan controller, with fans slowing down or outright stopping while gaming, and in extreme cases could cause damage to the motherboard or the processor as well. Nvidia is advising anyone who has already installed the latest drivers to go back to the 196.21 WHQL release, which is available from the links below:

Download: Windows XP | XP/2003 64-bit | Windows Vista | Vista 64-bit | Windows 7 32-bit | Windows 7 64-bit




User Comments: 85

Got something to say? Post a comment
klpowell said:

Wow, what ever happen to doing some QA before you release? Nvida seems to have a problem with trying to move faster than they should in order to keep up with ATI and this is what happens when you let the little things like properly testing a driver get pushed aside to speed up a release.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yeah I agree, although it used to be the other way round... hence ATI's bad driver reputation.

javierkaiser javierkaiser said:

Actually, I have those drivers, with a 9800gtx+, and after a few days of normal gaming, I had no issue with the temperature or the speed of the coolers.

Timonius Timonius said:

Wow am I ever glad there is no automatic update for this. I still have 196.21. I only check maybe once a month (sometimes longer) for new drivers. I don't know what I'd do if my computer failed (got permanently damaged) due to overheated components. Hmmm...maybe it would be a good thing...maybe I would read more (lol).

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

I havent seemed to have any problems with my EVGA GTX 275.

Does anyone know when this driver that they yanked came out? release 196.75

(Maybe I never updated to it?)

Zenphic said:

Yikes, no doubt this will cause more damage to notebook users than desktop users (which usualy has better airflow and thus compensates for the lack of fan control by the drivers).

princeton princeton said:

It hasent affected me. But I do force the fan at 75% 24/7. Also im running a GTX 260 core 216

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Somewhat didn't expect this from nvidia... Disappointed :x how can they let such a big problem slip out...?

roopakv said:

a friend of mine says it heats up like crazy after he got the update... i checked up with him and yes it does.. but we have no way of measuring the temperature exactly...

fref said:

Thanks for the heads up, TechSpot! I won't be taking any chance since I don't have any problem with my current driver anyway.

ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

Looks like I've got some uninstalling to do tonight. I haven't played any games since I installed the new drivers but I don't want to take any chances.

Staff
Jos Jos said:

I havent seemed to have any problems with my EVGA GTX 275.

Does anyone know when this driver that they yanked came out? release 196.75

(Maybe I never updated to it?)

It was released on March 2

Serag said:

Woha, first of a kind damage to see caused by an official driver O.o

Haven't heard of it from friends or so, though, and fortunately I haven't updated myself..

buendia said:

Wow, that's horrible for Nvidia card owners.

I didnt' know that drivers could cause such a wreck.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I wonder if this would explain why my 2nd PC is running like crap every since I did a reformat a couple a bit ago, and installed the newest drivers for the geforce 7300 in it.....

natefalk natefalk said:

I agree. Who releases a driver without fully testing it in a development environment?

This is another reason why I will stick with ATI and recommend others to do the same.

I've had to replace so many faulty Nvidia cards (at least 5 that I can remember). IMO, ATI cards are built better and last longer.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I installed this driver the day it came out and have done some gaming, but not a whole lot. Glad I didn't end up in a 3-hour L4D2 session. Hope I haven't been frying my GPU....

DryIce said:

I would love to switch to ATI but I've been told I can't run crossfire on an Nvidia chipset.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Maybe Nvidia is trying to encourage current owners to buy new cards by melting the old ones.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I recently updated my drivers but I'm not sure if these are the ones I have or not. I have noticed some odd slow-down in some games. I need to check this when I get home. Maybe a little more time in QA is needed next time.

nazartp said:

natefalk said:

I agree. Who releases a driver without fully testing it in a development environment?

This is another reason why I will stick with ATI and recommend others to do the same.

I've had to replace so many faulty Nvidia cards (at least 5 that I can remember). IMO, ATI cards are built better and last longer.

I wouldn't go that far as blaming all nVidia cards. The only problems I had so far was with ATI, ironically enough. There are myriads of manufacturers with their own issues and I can't blame chip developer/manufacturer for all the faults. Driver issue is the whole other story.

CodePhoeniX said:

My 4850 ran up to 105c until i installed a aftermarket heatsink. does not get past 60c now.

PaulWuzHere PaulWuzHere said:

WOW! How did this slip through testing? Will users be reimbursed for destroyed cards?

paynetrain007 said:

and NVIDIA screws it up again. I thought ATI was known for overheating.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wow, i will have to check my version when i get home. I don't think i had updated to this yet, but will definitely want to make sure.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

this look terrible, i'd better warn my friends & customers. it also mean we should be careful with updates & wait a few days for some feedback.

cheers!

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

anyone notice their ATI cards running warmer since 10.2? all 3 of my 4850's topped out @ around 68c before 10.2, now running @80c under full load.

bcronin said:

I am glad I saw this article. I checked my temps with EVGA Precision and they were running at 100C. Sheesh. I backleveled the drivers and the temps are now back to the mid-40's. This was with a GTX285 in Win7 x64.

Vicenarian said:

Another reason not to update your drivers too soon...?

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I wouldn't go that far as blaming all nVidia cards. The only problems I had so far was with ATI, ironically enough. There are myriads of manufacturers with their own issues and I can't blame chip developer/manufacturer for all the faults. Driver issue is the whole other story.

I think both manufacturers are in a trying-to-run-before-you-can-walk situation to a degree. With a number of new technologies (Eyefinity, 3D Surround, DX11), new release card series and process manufacturing with the inevitable competition and subsequent scrutiny via benchmarking reviews over every fraction of a fps, both teams seem to be overlooking some of the basics in order to fire out better tailored driver releases. Thus we get to a point where an nVidia driver breaks overclocking (196.21) or doesn't auto-adjust fan speed (196.75). AMD of course have their own problems (GSoD, [link] , drivers optimized for HD5xxx series cards having adverse effects on HD4xxx series), so neither is immune from tripping up in this technological egg-and-spoon race. All the consumer can hope for is that both driver teams see these recurring conflicts as damaging their respective brands in the eyes of the end user. The only other alternative is that everyone migrates to.....Intel IGP's

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I almost find this comical (if not for the actual damage possible, I wouldn't wish that on any fellow computer gamers). One of the main arguments from the nVidia fanboys is always how their products are soooo stable and their drivers are light years ahead of ATi in quality and reliability...

So now nVidia's destroying their own last bastion of superiority. Kinda makes you wonder how what is going on with the leadership of the company.

goldsnake said:

.....seems that I have to do a rollback to the drivers even though I haven't experienced anything odd. But on the other hand I dont want to find out... :-)

nevertheless something odd for nVidia...

fadownjoo said:

rofl, do they not beleive in tasting their food beofre they serve it?

Chazz said:

This explains my constant system crashing while playing steam games and wow. I RMA's my vid card lawl... I guess it was the drivers fault.

boyese said:

Does anybody know their testing process for new drivers?

Do they have a fixed ammount of time to 'test' the improvements in games?

Glad ive got a HIS ATI - HD 4870 x2, ive had no problems with drivers.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Does anybody know their testing process for new drivers?

Do they have a fixed ammount of time to 'test' the improvements in games?

Glad ive got a HIS ATI - HD 4870 x2, ive had no problems with drivers.

It involves writing a lot of code, and supposedly running the hardware to check for conflicts. A more involved explanation for (Windows) driver certification here : [link] .

nVidia usually have the inside track in gaming driver profiles simply because they have poured development funding, kits, and in some cases, game code into new gaming titles, hence the "The way it's meant to be played" splashscreen that begins a lot of game loading screens. AMD/ATI through lack of funding (and not identifying that software development kits (SDK) given to game developers can lead to a better launchday gaming experience) usually have to wait until a game is released before working on a driver fix/improvement, whereas nVidia through the TWIMTBP program have had the opportunity to optimize the driver before launch.

This puts AMD under pressure to fix problems fast if the problems arise in a popular new release game title. Having to get a fix out fast is usually not the best of conditions for writing code.

At the moment there is a lot to driver test for, in addition to DX11, new games,new cards series, Eyefinity, PhysX and 3D Surround, you also have a new OS (Win 7) to code for.

Good to hear that your own graphics experience is troublefree- long may it continue !

skitzo_zac skitzo_zac, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Thanks for the heads up TechSpot. I installed this driver on the day it was released and have been playing CoD 4 and BF: BC2 since then without problems. But upon reccomendation looks like it's time to roll back to 196.21.

Renegeek said:

Nvidia should at least pay 3/4 of a exact replacement , for a new card... if not, then nvidia should hire some employees to do just beta testing or something, or just there act together... If i had my card fryed, i would be so so mad, if i lived near nvidia, i would camp out at the HQ, till they replaced my card... (maybe not) but anyways, i would be upset ...

Guest said:

The problem with the NVIDIA drivers isn't new, it's been going on well before 196.75 and as far back as 195.62 back in November. That's when my gpu started acting buggy and then failed. Others on the NVIDIA forums indicated that the driver updates re-set the fans to less than 30%. NVIDIA has never responded or defended themselves. With FERMI coming out shortly, NVIDIA should get their act together or everyone may migrate to Radeon. There's no point to be loyal to NVIDIA.

eafshar said:

im pretty sure i have 196.75 driver on my desktop.. i left my desktop on over the weekend.. hope nothing happens to it.

pyari said:

I never have 3d card but its very bad news to the owner who purchase those cards.....company must responsible for their acts. with out testing the hardware with driver they never have to released it......it can damage their business policies.

most of the user buy the product with popular brand exceptional case is who doesn't afford brand they goes to cheaper hardware.

this is the lession for the company.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

...NVIDIA should get their act together or everyone may migrate to Radeon.

Why, because AMD drivers don't suffer from bugs ? Or because you like the idea of a discrete graphics monopoly bringing about lower costs ?

There's no point to be loyal to NVIDIA.

Was there ever?

Personally, I prescribe to the "buy the best graphics solution that best meets your needs within your budget" ethos. I'll leave loyalty to dogs and the Swiss Guard.

Chazz said:

dividebyzero said:

Why, because AMD drivers don't suffer from bugs ? Or because you like the idea of a discrete graphics monopoly bringing about lower costs ?

I don't really remember AMD drivers bricking your card and potentially your system. No one can expect to have perfect coding everytime, but I think this is a bit serious. As for the buying the best value comment, I feel people should always do that..and if they did the competition between AMD/Intel/nvidia wouldn't be historically one sided as it has been.

selphiroth said:

i had the new driver (196.75) about a few days, i just did a check on my gpu temperature which stays around 52 degree.... I must say i will roll back to older version just for safety. Another blow for nvidia again

mrtraver said:

I haven't had any issues with my GTX260 or 8800GT and this driver, but i'm going to roll back just in case!

Guest said:

My 8800GT died as a result of this. Would not be telling the truth if I said I wasn't pissed. I went out and replaced it with a Radeon HD 5770. Would be nice to be compensated for my loss. I never overclocked or stressed that card in any way. I should have gotten more use from it. Sucks...

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can't find any new driver features for my 8800, so I've stopped updating my driver version.

I guess I missed out. I wonder if Nvidia would have given me a new card if their driver burned this one up?

Yoda8232 said:

What happened to quality control Nvidia?....

blimp01 said:

I thought these drivers were awesome, i got like 40% more fps everywhere, no problems for me i keep my fans at 100% lol

AfricanTech said:

Hmm, this is why I wait at least a week before upgrading hardware level drivers.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.