Thursday, July 19, 2012

An nVidia Beta Driver Saved the Day

I have a Samsung NP-RF711 notebook computer. It has an nVidia GeForce GT 540M video card, in addition to its integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000. It has been working OK running Windows 7 64 bit with SP1 for about a year, until my son updated its nVidia video driver to version 301.42.

First he noticed that some of the 3D images in his game were distorted. Then I noticed that the computer was getting BSOD (the blue screen of death) while refreshing Windows Experience Index.

I removed the version 301.42 nVidia driver. Then I tried all other WHQL certified versions of nVidia drivers available from the nVidia website. I also tried the older version from the Samsung website. None worked.

I so turned off the nVidia adaptor in Windows Device Manager, and set the machine to use the Intel adaptor and CPU exclusively from the nVidia Control Panel, thinking that this card was dead.

This morning, I thought to myself: why not try the latest Beta driver, since it cannot really make anything worse? So I installed the version 304.79 beta driver from nVidia:
To my surprise, it fixed the problem.

Update: Apparently the video card is having hardware problems: even though the computer no longer "blue screens" while running refreshing Windows Experience Index, there are still artifacts on the screen while running 3D games. 

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