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Windows 7 Intel drivers support

By nawnwa · 28 replies
May 15, 2010
  1. Well I have a 3 year old pc with intel 82915g/gv/910gl chipset

    if I install windows 7 , will my chipset work

    I have drivers just for xp, I searched for even vista driver, but I didnt found them.

    plz help
    viwvere likes this.
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 6,908   +10

    They will be on the website of the manufacturer... or with help from their tech support site.
    Generally the chipset will work... but others can be a frustration.
    Chipset upgrades, if needed, are found on the Intel website... It is a struggle to find where.
    What is your brand, model, and configuration.
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,316   +3,569

    If I'm correct about the number "chipset" you've quoted, you actually have an Intel 915 chipset board. If this is the case, Windows 7 is pretty much out of the question. Drivers were not made available for Vista, nor will they likely be available for Win 7.

    The 82915 number you quote is the memory controller hub (northbridge), and 82801FB is the I/O controller hub (ICH6) or "southbridge".

    I do not know how far forward in time Intel carried these numbers, but I do know that by the 965 chipsets, the ICH7 was the southbridge.

    This is obsolete hardware, and I'm sort of surprised that you state it at 3 years of age. These boards are mostly at the five + year old mark It's also only 32 bit and can't be used with even later Pentium 4 CPUs, such as the "Cedar Mill" cores.

    It would be more informative if you could be specific about the board's actual chipset number, rather than the component controller hubs.

    Again, if this is in fact Intel 915, I've run the "Vista Upgrade Adviser" on my 915 board, and was informed that Vista would not be supported.
  4. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,657   +9

    @ captaincranky - I was just wondering what exactly the Windows 7 generic drivers are? On my system, running Win 7 x64, I have generic drivers for my chipset and ethernet. For video and audio I use the latest drivers available from their respective websites. Does having generic chipset drivers somehow affect performance? Also, if the OP were to install Windows 7 on the Intel 915 chipset, what would happen? Would it work using generic drivers?
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,316   +3,569

    Well Rit, I'm not exactly sure the Windows "generic" drivers work in all capacities. With that said in my H55 board, that drivers that Win 7 installed actually run the SATA drives as AHCI. Which is native SATA, but not SATA RAID. As you know, those drivers would have to be installed via floppy in XP.

    In my G41 chipset machine, I had to install the Realtek audio drivers since I had no sound in Win & Media Center....! This despite that Win 7 "alleged that M$ generic sound drivers were installed. Since drivers for optical drives never need to be installed, (outside of Windows), a fair but fuzzy guess/ observation seems to be that the driver issue is different for different hardware.

    Personally, I don't think that an Intel 915 machine is actually worth a copy of Win 7. Despite a better reputation than Vista, its hardware requirements are higher than XP. Intel 915 is 32 bit hardware, with DDR RAM. It's a wonderfully stable platform, and does day to day chores in fine fashion. I have a G915 machine, but I don't have any future aspirations for it. It's used for posting to Techspot and downloading programs and "such". It's good for these things and more, and XP serves me well on it.

    If I need to issue an opinion on the subject, I'd say the Win 7 on this machine would be throwing good money after bad, I'm having my own misgivings about a P-45 / E7300 machine, that I don't know if it's actually worth installing Win 7 Pro 64 bit, and the additional 2 GB of RAM to make it perform as it should. Since I tend to be foolish enough to pay for my operating systems, that would be about $250.00 for the upgrade, and likely wouldn't be as good a system as my H55 / i3-530.
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    Hi Ritwik

    I might be able to shed some more light on the subject of Windows "generic" drivers and how they fit into the Windows device driver "jigsaw puzzle"

    If you refer back to our prior discussion where [post=882884]i posted an overview of how Plug and Play works[/post] and about PnP IDs. Then i'll add:
    1. PnP IDs are assigned by the device vendors. The IDs are programmed into the firmware of each and every PnP device
    2. PnP IDs include a variety of different text ID strings including the Hardware IDs and Compatible IDs
    3. When you plug in a PnP device, Windows pings the device to get its PnP IDs
    4. Once Windows has the device's Hardware and Compatible IDs, Windows goes searching your disk and looking at every driver's installation setup file (.inf files)
    5. Each driver .inf file indicates which Hardware and Compatible IDs the driver will support. (Windows essentially does pattern matching between .inf file data and the device hardware and compatible IDs to determine if a driver is a suitable candidate for a PnP device
    6. Once Windows creates its list of driver candidates, it numerically ranks each candidate as to how good a match it is for the PnP device. Windows' ranking algorithm includes things like
      • Did the driver .inf file match a Hardware ID or did it match a Compatible ID? Note that the "compatible" IDs point to "generic" drivers that are suitable for the device
        > Windows always prefers a hardware ID match over a compatible ID match
      • How did the vendor rank their PnP IDs? You'll often see vendors offer a list of several hardware IDs as well as several compatible IDs. Vendors rank the prefered match at the top of their ID list (i.e. first ID is best match, then the 2nd, etc.)
      • Is the driver signed or unsigned? Windows always prefers a signed driver

    If you look at a device in Device Manager, rt click Properties and click the Details tab. Use the pull down menu
    • Select Hardware IDs to see the vendor's ranked list of preferred hardware IDs
    • Select Compatible IDs to see the vendor's ranked list of preferred generic IDs
    • Select Matching ID (or it might say Matching Device ID) to see the ID Windows ultimately decided to use for the "best of the bunch" driver match competition

    Also note, "generic" drivers are never guaranteed to work perfectly or provide full functionality for a device. It's up to the vendor
    > It's up to the vendor if they want their device to conform to a generic driver (e.g. USB disk drives conform to a generic standard)
    > Or the vendor may need publish their own driver for things to work correctly and fully (as is typically the case for sound cards)
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    My guess is that any reference to Windows "generic" sound drivers refers to the MS UAA HiDef Audio Bus controller. Hi Def standard requires a Bus controller interface to the sound card.

    1. Most hi def sound card vendors use this MS generic driver (tho they could require and provide their own bus controller driver if they wanted to by programming their devices PnP IDs accordingly)
    2. The sound card vendors typically just provide drivers for their device functions
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,316   +3,569

    So, as one might find in "Windows for Dummies", one simple explanation might be that this could be called a "pre-driver". Or a necessary component of the HAL, not really involved with sound production, just an enabler (.) (!) or (?)
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    Hey cap!

    Thank you for asking your questions!!!

    In the process of trying to answer, I discovered I mis-spoke! In fact, I just learned when i boot into Win 7 on my dual boot XP/Win 7 machine, I've been running with a generic Windows audio device driver all this time! LOL and :blackeye: (i usually still boot into XP)

    So, yes, there ARE, in fact, both a generic Audio bus controller and generic Windows audio device drivers in Windows 7 (and btw the generic audio card driver works just fine with my Soundmax HiDef audio card! LOL ) :D

    So I'll now "re-" explain (and, uhmmm, try to explain "more correctly" :p)
    I wouldn't call the MS UAA HiDef Bus Controller a "pre-driver" as it's a Windows device itself with its own device driver.
    As i (vaguely) understand the UAA (Universal Audio Architecture) Bus Controller, it's responsible for interfacing with and controlling HiDef sound cards and all the hardware & software audio codecs that actually generate everything other then monotonic beep sounds. (As you stated, i also don't think it actually does sound production itself)​

    In pics below, it's easier to see some hierarchical device relationships in Device Manager when you click View->Devices by connection and expand the devices as i did below to reveal the Audio Driver. As you'll see (and to my surprise) i had the generic Windows Audio Driver installed!

    The Device Manager snapshots below highlight the differences you can see between generic vs. device specific drivers (in Matching IDs and driver data)​

    First note the list of Hardware and Compatible IDs that my sound card sends to Windows
        Name: SoundMAX Integrated Digital High Definition Audio
        Hardware ID's:
        Compatible ID's:
    Next, we'll look at Device Manager when the Soundmax driver is not installed so Windows chooses a generic driver as "best match"
    • Device Manager (left pane): note the device hierarchy ACPI->PCI bus->Hi Def Audio Controller-> Hi Def Audio Device
    • Device Driver info (middle pane): note Driver Provider= Microsoft
    • Device Details (rt pane): note the Matching device id= hdaudio\func_01 (and note this is a Compatible ID not a Hardware ID)

    Finally, for the case when the Soundmax driver IS installed note
    • Device Manager (left pane): You see the new audio card name Soundmax Integrated Digital...
    • Device Driver info (middle pane): Now shows Driver Provider: Analog Devices
    • Device Details (rt pane): Most important, note the Matching device id is now = HDAUDIO\FUNC_01&VEN_11D4&DEV_194A&SUBSYS_10280294
  10. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,657   +9

    Hey! Thanks for all that info LookinAround and Captain. :)

    On my next format I'll be sure to install my chipset drivers although the Windows 7 generic drivers have worked without any issues.

    A noob question. The above only concerns more than 1 HDD right?
  11. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,357   +116

    I'd use AHCI for 1 or more drives, that aren't running in RAID. Some older operating systems won't run in this setting though (as I've found), and changing it once an operating system is installed using breaks the OS (as I've also found).

    You'd only use RAID if you were going to configure several disks in a RAID configuration.

    I believe generally there are 3 options. SATA, AHCI and RAID, assuming the motherboard is capable of RAID though. SATA is for older installs of Windows, AHCI for newer. At least thats how I understand it (briefly) so I'm happy for someone to correct me if I'm wrong. :)
  12. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,657   +9

    So where exactly am I supposed to see whether my HDD is in AHCI or SATA configuration?
  13. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,306   +577

    In the BIOS under Integrated Peripherals, assuming your BIOS is similar to mine (I'm using a Gigabyte board). Generally, the choices are IDE, AHCI (or SATA), or RAID.
  14. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    Hey Ritwik7!

    Re: Choosing between generic vs. device specific drivers

    As a general rule, IMHO, i'll usually use device specific drivers vs generic if a vendor supplied device specific driver exists (and i know about it! LOL as i didn't realize i was still using a generic Win 7 audio driver till captain asked his questions above!)

    > At best, a "generic" driver will only support common/default functionality
    > Any "special" device specific features (including any device specific performance tweaks) would only be found in a device specific driver
    > Also, as i mentioned in prior post, and captain commented on for his audio card... there's no guarantee the generic driver will work with every device. (That's up to the device vendor)

    One simple example: You can spend more $$ for a Logitech keyboard with all those extra function and customizable keys... but you can't use any of the those "extras" and enhancements using the generic keyboard driver but only by installing and using Logitech's driver.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,316   +3,569

    No, when Windows installs the SATA drivers, you can use all the SATA ports, up to your motherboard's capacity. Genuine RAID modes, are not available. What you get is a "RAID" (wink wink) mode called "JBOD" >>== "Just a bunch of discs".

    So, you can plug in more hard drives with the Windows SATA drivers, and they will be detected as "volumes", in the case of HDDs, or as whatever they actually are, such as a DVD drive.

    You wouldn't be able to use genuine RAID modes "0" (data splitting between 2 drives) or RAID "1", data mirroring on 2 or more drives. (RAID "5") is RAID 0 & 1 simultaneously.

    I think that the "R" behind Intel's ICH(number) indicates a RAID enabled controller. IE; ICH7 = no RAID, whereas ICH7R = RAID enabled.
    Get back to us if your board has the suffix letter "R" in the I/OCH designation. With my G-41 chipset, the "RAID" option isn't present.
    Most of what I've said above confirms what you believe to be true is true.

    However, "AHCI" >>IS<< "SATA". ACHI is "Advanced Host Controller Interface". Under this mode, drives are detected and run in SATA. The "ACHI" allows the serial interface. If is not enabled, then the buss must be handled as "PATA" (parallel) or IDE. So, "ACHI" allows "SATA" operation, they aren't two different modes.

    One thing that clouds the issue is the "Intel Storage Matrix" floppy disc that is required for ACHI or SATA RAID in XP. There the individual disc mode is called JBOD, and everything is called SATA.

    That's the big deal with Win 7 (Vista also), the SATA drivers that once required a floppy disc, are now indigenous to the OS itself.
  16. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,657   +9

    Hi Captain. I have one Seagate 1TB HDD plugged into my ASUS M4A78T-E motherboard. It's an AMD system. Do I go into BIOS to check whether my HDD is functioning as SATA or not?
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,316   +3,569

    Rit, there should be no need. Just cold boot the machine. If it lists your drive as an IDE device, you're in IDE emulation. If it points to the SATA controller, (and it should say "SATA", you're running in SATA. There has been some discussion that AMD based machines don't call SATA "AHCI" (in BIOS), but rather directly refer to it as SATA. I have no AMD boxes at my disposal, so I can't verify this, and I don't know if this applies to all possible BIOS manufacturers. In an Intel machine, with either Award Phoenix or an Intel BIOS, SATA mode is referred to as AHCI. BUT (big but), the hardware polling crawl refers to the controller as SATA.

    Another part of this discussion that has been perhaps a bit misunderstood, is that "RAID" and "SATA" are perceived as mutually linked. Nothing could be further from the truth. RAID can be, has been, and is used with other forms of busses, including SCSI, IDE, PATA, and of course SATA.
  18. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,657   +9

    Here's a screenshot of what Device Manager shows about my drive. I have a suspicion that something isn't right.

    Attached Files:

  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,316   +3,569

    This is all well and good, but you have to open up the "IDE ATA ATAPI Controllers AND "Storage Controllers" tabs to see what's going on. All that "Disk Drives" is telling you is that the drive "exists". Even if you open up those panes I mentioned, that may only tell you what the SATA is, and not how it's being used. Why not try what I suggested and cold boot the machine and read the screen crawl. That will tell you immediately what mode the drive is in. Must I say "pretty please"...? Try it, you'll like it.
  20. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,657   +9

    Just cold booted the system right now. (I presume cold booting is turning-off and then turning-on the system again.)

    The first thing that is displayed is the ASUS Splash Screen. After that it just boots into Windows. I shut the machine down and booted up again. Pressed <Tab> to see what details come up but the screen displayed for less than a second. I couldn't read a thing.

    Am I doing this the wrong way? And now I'm sounding really stupid. :)
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,316   +3,569

    This thing is too fast for it's own good perhaps? I don't know why it speeds past the polling, but I suppose it time to go into BIOS. Do you know whose BIOS is in the machine? I can only map Award- Phoenix for you. (4 Gigabyte boards with Award- Phoenix BIOS and a locked down Intel/Emachines). The Award BIOS always displays the IDE channels and designates the devices on those busses.
  22. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,657   +9

    Ok. So I went into BIOS and this is what I got:

    Primary IDE Master / Primary IDE Slave Not Detected.

    SATA2 -> Lists my HDD model.

    I went into Storage Configuration:

    On Chip SATA Channel - Enabled
    On Chip SATA Type - IDE (The other modes listed were AHCI and RAID).

    Should I simply change that to AHCI or are there other pre-requisites.

  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,316   +3,569

    First Rit; I'm sorry for conking out on you last night. It was 2:00 AM here in Philly.

    The bad news is that you must reinstall the OS to have the drives function in ACHI. If you don't do it this way, you get all sorts of goofy results such as the necessity of forcing Windows to redetect eSata HDDs every time you plug them in.

    Some boards have limits for the number of drives that can be run in IDE BUT, that is something that is a bit fuzzy in the manuals I've read. TMagic has told me that even SATA optical drives can be run as IDE. (I've always bought IDE DVD drives, since I figure why waste a good IDE buss when a SATA optical would waste a perfectly good HDD port). With Blu-Ray the data transfer rate is much higher, so those drives might benefit from the speed of a true SATA interface.

    I believe that IDE is the default mode for BIOS by most manufacturers, since it can be run without 3rd party drivers by Win XP. Yes, there's so much XP out there, it still must be catered to.

    If reinstalling Windows 7 is something you don't mind doing. there may be an improvement in boot time with the HDDs running in ACHI, but I'm not really sure. At least you'll take full advantage of the controllers in your board, in being able to use them to their full capacity. Now all you need is a few more HDDs to fill the sucker up......
  24. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,657   +9

    Hi Cap! No problems.

    I had been reading a little on the subject. Most people seem to think that if one is running a single HDD the default IDE mode is the most suitable. There are no perceivable benefits in switching to AHCI from IDE. I had thought that data transfer rates would be dramatically different but it appears I was wrong.

    What are your opinions?
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,316   +3,569

    Well, many people are sort of stuck in XP thinking, The aggravation of installing SATA drivers during XP install sort of of points everybody toward IDE emulation.

    This works and works well. But, there are certain limitations. IDE emulation runs @ ATA100 (100MBs), this is not the fastest PATA mode. Before SATA became the norm, the fastest PATA drives were "ATA-133".

    At 100MBs a second you do start to run into mechanical HDDs that can read this fast.

    So, IDE emulation is certainly not better than AHCI. And I suppose that only you can determine if it's worth the trouble to reinstall the OS to take advantage of SATA 300.

    I can say I wouldn't ever run a new machine with Windows 7 with the HDDs in IDE, it's become too damned easy not to.

    With the SATA controller in SATA you would be able to use it's full capacity, plus the normally supplied 2 device IDE buss. In most boards that's 7 or 8 drives total.

    I don't know the the idea that it's not worth it because there's only one HDD holds water, since it may not always be this way, and you get hot swap with ACHI. You can plug in external eSata HDDs on the fly.

    In fact you should be able to hot plug internal HDDs in AHCI also. With that said, I'm much too inhibited to try this, nor do I condone others attempting it either.
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