Dumb Nvida driver question...

I should know this, but I don’t.

Another thread here had me looking for drivers for a Nvidia Geforce3- it’s the same card I have.

In the process of trying to find his/her answer, I ran across a new driver that I assume I hadn’t installed before.

I just upgrading the thing a month ago, so I thought I was all right.

Anyrate, I downloaded the new driver and I think I installed it.

But… but… in the instructions, or the small part of it I read, it said I should uninstall the old driver set and try again if the new one didn’t take.

Well, I can’t figure out if the new one took.

Looking at the drivers in the device manager under drivers for the card, it shows my as having file version XXX. When I check it in the monitor preferences Nvidia part, it shows me as having version 4.13.

The problem?

None of these match what I’m suppose to have.

According to the site, I need detonator 12.41 drivers for my system.

Great. I downloaded them and installed them. But it’s not showing up on my system.

Or maybe it is. I don’t know.

This is what pisses me off the most about this driver stuff. I can’t get a straight answer from anything. Everything I look at tells me something different.

Sons o… you know the routine.

So, did I get the new drivers or not? How the heck are you suppose to tell?

Finally, when they tell you to remove the old driver set, and completely remove any mention of the old drivers, what, exactly, are they talking about?

Am I suppose to dig around the registry and forcibly remove references to my video drivers? Or can I simply trash the current version from within the device manager?

Sorry this is long, and sorry this may be simple, but dammit, this is starting to really tick me off. Four hundred and some bucks later and I’m still not seeing the advantages I thought I was paying for.

Pent III 450 256 ram.
VisionTek (I think) Nvidia Geforce3
Win 98
etc. etc.


I’ve tried all avenues I know of without any success. I hate adding tech questions here, but I’m just about fed up with this stuff.

Plus, I forever, or often enough, run into driver update questions, where the software wants me to check my version and everything, but they fail to tell me where to check the damn stuff.


Hm, I think more information is needed. Information that can only be obtained by much in depth testing. Tell ya what, I know you’re a busy guy, why don’t you just send me your card and I’ll run the necessary tests (several dozen hours of, say, Max Payne) and let you know, alright?

IAOAMCG (I am only a minor computer geek)…

But I have the same video card, and the same hassles! (When I rebuild my system, I’ll get a better card for my needs, darnit!)

If I were you, I’d save the latest driver to your desktop (or somewhere else you can easily find it), go to the control panel, remove the video card, reboot, and reinstall the drivers from the downloaded installer…
I feel your pain!

Good luck!

In my opinion, you should be usiung the new Detonator XP drivers. These are version 21.81

I use them for my win98 system, and they just rock. the XP means they are windows XP compatable, and have some added stuff for XP as well. I installed them over previous versions without any trouble.

Get the self-installling EXE file here. Be sure to cut and paste the entire URL:


To see if the changes took effect:
Right click on desktop.
CHoose Properties
Choose Settings
Choose advanced
One of the tabs will be called something like Geforce3. Click it, and you will see a page with a bunch of driver details at the bottom, such as this one example:

Nvdisp.drv Display driver

The 2181 at the end means version 21.81, which you have just installed.

Good luck.

Ok the URL i gave you is acting funny.
From the above link, just click on the “Videocard drivers” then “Nvidia Detonator drivers” and then “detonator 21.81”

That will do it.

You making this more complicated than it needs to be.

1: Just go to control panel and use the add/remove programs and un-install the driver set.

2: Reboot and run the new driver set install you had previously DL’d.

Per Stupendous man the latest comprehensive XP driverset from nvidia as of 2 weeks ago reads If this is what you’ve got you have the latest install. To get to the tweaks section you got to go into the advanced spection of the video properties applet and the main tweak tabs will appear then go to Geoforce 256 and choose additional properties and the deepest tweak tabs will appear.

Also make sure you video hardware acceleration is set to “full” under the CP’s system hardware list setup perfromance options.

What is it specifically that you’re dis-satisfied with? I’ve got a Geoforce 256 with 32 megs (a step or two down from yours) with a PIII 500 and 512 megs of RAM and it works great for Quake Arena etc as long as the number of bots on screen is below 4 or 5. A lot of the performance of the card has to do with how you set the video hardware parameters of the game in question and to some extent how you set the AGP parameters in the BIOS.

I will also mention that the video card’s overall real world performance is strongly tied to the CPU and that 450 and 500 Mhz PIII’s are not going to cut it if you’ve got a lot of characters on screen at the same time.

If you installed the detanator drivers properly, you should be able to see them in add/remove programs in conrtol panel…removinng them from there gets rid of all the old dll’s and registry entries (in theory), then reboot and point to the directory where you’ve got the . Another way I often find to be sure your replacing old driver with new ones is to right click on desktop > properties > settings > andvanced > adapter > change…then select the directory you’ve got your new drivers installed/unzipped to. Either way should install the drivers properly.

Gluck :)…

Thank you very much.

I knew this was an easy, but sometimes easy is almost too easy and obvious for me. I figured it was more complicated than it was- I was completely missing it.

Control Panel- add/remove- Got it!

The new one is in there… apparently. I don’t see much of a change, but I never saw much of a change from the Voodoo 3000/2000 to this one, when I first got it.

I know it doesn’t take brains to see, so I should see a difference, but I fail to see why I spent all that money on this thing!!

But it’s as new and updated as it’s suppose to be, so I thank you one and all, otherwise I’d have never known.

Two very similar and small questions-

  1. In my case, I simply clicked the .exe on the updated driver and let it do it’s thing. I didn’t remove anything, or really tweak it either way.

Did I do right?

  1. Will NVMax work on this version? I like the options it has, but the utility has been removed from download for a while now.

Is it doing anything?

Again, thank you all. I try to avoid techie questions here, but sometimes you just wanna go to the source and get the damn answer.

You haven’t failed me yet!

Well, wait. There was that time…

You’re only going to “see” a substantive difference over the last video card iterations if the game supports the new functions and your CPU has the legs to fully support the card. IIRC The last few Nvidia upgrades are primarly rendering speed based so things in full motion at higher resolutions should be smoother (with a fast CPU). If you’re playing at 800x600 res and 16 bit color it’s unlikely you’ll see any substantive improvement. You also need to make sure how GL support is implemented in the hardware setup of the game.

I think there are some new games that make full use of the G3 feature set but you would probably need a faster CPU to make them (enjoyably) playable.

Forget NV max. Get yourself a prog called “Geforce Tweak”. It should be easy to find in Google.

Will do.


Let’s just come right out and say it: Is my system lame?

That is, can it handle the card? Or do I need to upgrade the whole deal?

I’m not afraid to upgrade, hell, this system was the result of not being able to play Half-Life on my old one. I got so peeved off at the crappy graphics that I went out that night and bought the system I have now.

So, it’s not beyond what I’m willing to do, to take advantage of the card… and my outlay for the thing.

Give it to me straight- does my system suck?

Here’s the details, from the system info page-
Microsoft Windows 98 4.10.1998
Clean install using OEM Preinstall Kit
Normal mode
GenuineIntel Pentium II Processor Intel MMX™ Technology
54% system resources free
Custom swap file on drive C (4731MB free)
etc. etc.

Hmmm. Pentium II? Pentium II!!! What the…

Just as an aside to video card discussions, go to madonion.com and download 3DMark2001. It is a program that will benchmark the performance of your video card.

One step ahead of you Adam.

I downloaded the thing last night. Man that suckers a monster of an app!!

In 3D 2001 I get a score of 3006.


Now what the hell does that score mean?

** I do have a Pent III, rather than a II. Why it showed up as a two in the system information page, I don’t know. Everywhere else, it shows it as a three.

Your score means that you still have some tweaking to do with your system - most likely. What screen reolution were you running at, and did you run the benchmark with the default settings?

The first run I did with 3DMark, I used its default settings with my resolution set to 1024 X 768. My score was 5265 +/- (granted my machine is brand spanking new - AMD 1.4 with a GeForce3), but I don’t think that I was running the newest driver. The higher the antialiasing is set and the bigger the buffer, the lower the score will be. You can then compare your results to others on their site. You can compare to similar video cards or similar CPUs.

You know, it’s not like I’m going to want to beat someone up if they tell me my system stinks. But ever since I asked what others thought of my system, it got awfully quiet.

Maybe that in itself is a sign.


I’d say my system needs a little more than ‘tweaking’. A twenty-five hundred point spread between systems?


I ran my in the default mode and with a higher screen size (I think it was at 1024 x ‘something’, I don’t remember), and since I’ve run that test, I’ve taken it off my comp. I have it on a second drive, so it’s not gone, I just don’t want to have to go through installing it all over again unless I do something drastic to it.

Besides, what do I do if it comes out worse?

Your system isn’t “lame” but it’s getting somewhat long in the tooth to be dropping a G3 into it and seeing a big difference over a voodoo or a TNT /TNT2.

A MB + CPU upgrade to anything over a gighertz would be a big help and the faster BUS and AGP option would probably also help the card perform more efficiently. Having said this what exactly is it you are expecting to see with this card vs the voodoo or older TNT’s. Smoother video, sharper graphics …what? IIRC what the G3 has over the older nvidia units is primarly rendering speed improvements and hardware support for some new effects functions that games are only starting to implement. Unless you are pushing the resolution or color depth envelope with a new hardware resource hungry game, it’s unlikely you’re going to see a “wow” difference.

Most Nvidia compatible games have a host of video settings you can tweak and play with to maximize display quality and performance. Have you played with these? Is GL hardware support fully enabled in the game or are you playing with a default driver? Is your directx version the latest one?

As a last point your “54% system resources free” is very low assuming you were not multi-tasking 10 other things at the time you ran sysinfo. You should be in the 70’s or 80’s at least re the percent of free system resources. You may have a lot of junk running in the background that you can get rid of. Trying to run a game with resources at that level will suck no matter how great your video card is. You need to use the system information config applet to knock out unnecessary junk that’s loading at startup and sucking up resources your system needs.

Thanks astro.

You’re right. My system is running on empty. I somewhat knew that when I bought the card, that I’d be putting it into a new one down the road, but I thought until then I’d see some difference in the current set-up.

After I typed up that from earlier where it says 54% free, I went around and started checking things out and disabling things. I also had some other larger apps going that affected those numbers at the time.

It’s back around 73%, for now. It never stays that way for long, but it’s there now.

But never fear, I’ve since found some new resolve and have been back to the Alien Ware site a person here mentioned a while back and am setting up a new system.

Believe me, from what I want and the cost of it, I’ll let people know when she shows up.

Thanks again- it confirmed my thoughts.


Q: ‘What do I want out of the card?’

A: Blazing fast graphics with incredible detail. I want to see experience the feeling I first had when I upgraded the last system to the current one, and the change in the HL game that came out of it- stunning.

That’s not a lot to ask for, is it?

blazing fast speed – more ram, faster processor, and a geforce 3 card.

if you would like to completely uninstall and then reinstall your video driver in the future you can follow this process (its long to type out, and I allready did it once tonight, so check this thread)


also – the easiest way to get system resources is to look at the startup tab inside msconfig. Nothing on that list is required for windows to work, and if you uncheck an item it isint deleted, its just not run automatically on boot – you can still find it and run it later. You also can always come back and add a check if you want.

CnoteChris, for the record, I updated to the latest drivers for the GeForce 3 and my benchmark score jumped up to over 6400.

Astro is probably correct in saying your system is a little old. It is not that the computer isn’t good for some things, just a bit weak for high end gaming. If you can set aside a few dollars, building a new system should help you. Also, put it this way, if you do decide to build a system, you have already spent the biggest chunk of change that you would have to, on the video card. You could find a motherboard and CPU combo for less than the GeForce 3 card costs.

I root around in sys config quite a bit, Kinoons, but apparently I’ve been lax lately.

Thanks, adam, thanks. I’m so happy you told me that.

Nah. I’m going for the whole schmere, as good as I can afford. And I’ll let someone else fuss with building it.
Thanks all again, I appreciate it.