***Video Card FAQ v2***

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AtomicMoose

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Video Card General FAQ
Originally posted by: cornelious0_0
Edits/Updates by: tornadotsunamilife

How to properly update your video cards drivers

*** For ATI users ***

1: Through "Add/Remove Programs" proceed to uninstall the ATI Control Panal, Display Driver, and finally the Uninstaller itself.....in this order.

2: Boot up into safe mode and run Driver Cleaner. Check the 'multiple clean filters' option and then proceed to select "ATI", "ATI CCC" and "ATI Uninstall Utility" from the drop down menu (you may also want to include "ATI WDM", "ATI MMC" etc. if your card supports such features and therefore drivers, if unsure then just leave them out) and click on "Clean". Do the cleaning twice to make sure that everything is cleared out. At this point you may also want to clean the cab files too. To do this click on 'Tools' and then select 'Cab Cleaner', choose 'Driver.cab' and then 'Start'. This is not necessary however.

3: Restart your computer (normally this time) and wait for windows to go through it's stupid auto detection of your hadware before continuing, make sure you click 'cancel' and proceed to install the drivers yourself. Install your new drivers and restart your computer.

*** For Nvidia users ***

1: Through "Add/Remove Programs" proceed to uninstall the Nvidia Display Driver.

2: Boot up into safe mode and run Driver Cleaner. Select "Nvidia" - Please note that these are seperate to the nforce driver cleaner filters - from the drop down menu (again select 'nVidia WDM' if your card has support and therefore drivers) and click on "Clean". Do the cleaning twice to make sure that everything is cleared out. At this point you may also want to clean the cab files too. To do this click on 'Tools' and then select 'Cab Cleaner', choose 'Driver.cab' and then 'Start'. This is not necessary however.

3: Restart your computer (normally this time) and wait for windows to go through it's stupid auto detection of your hadware before continuing, make sure you click 'cancel' and proceed to install the drivers yourself install your new drivers and restart your computer.


*** For users switching from ATI to Nvidia.....or vise versa ***

1: Through "Add/Remove Programs" proceed to uninstall the Nvidia Display Driver if you're currently using an Nvidia product.....or uninstall the ATI Control Panal, Display Driver, and finally the Uninstaller itself if your current video card is a Radeon.

2: Boot up into safe mode and run Driver Cleaner. Select "ATI" or "Nvidia" from the drop down menu (whichever applies to your current hardware) and click on "Clean". Do the cleaning twice to make sure that everything is cleared out.
-- Selecting "Nvidia" if you have an nforce2 motherboard will not have any negative effects, they are seperate options. --

3: Shut down your computer and swap the cards, remembering to plug in the 4pin molex power connection if your new card requires one.

4: Turn on your computer and wait for windows to go through it's stupid auto detection of your hadware before continuing. Install your new drivers and restart your computer.


*** Q&A ***

- Q1: Why all the extra work???
- A1: This is mainly an issue with Windows XP and its integrated file protection. When a person installs their video card drivers, some files are naturally stored in system folders. Anytime Windows XP detects some/one of these files missing, it will automatically replace them. As you can see, by simply uninstalling the drivers in windows you are NEVER completely getting rid of the old drivers. By starting in Safe Mode you are bypassing XP's file protection and allowing full, uninterupted access to those files. Driver cleaner is just moreso there for convienience as it knows what files to look for, and saves you the trouble of doing the job manually.

- Q2: Why would you do this if you're just switching to another version of your drivers???
- A2: I have found through personal experience that some files left behind after an install (due to XP's file protection) are basically meant for THAT driver set, as stupid as that might sound. Here's an example: From time to time I will load up the good old Doom3 alpha to kill a few minutes. The shadows in the game are spectacular, but not ALL the time. Using anything newer then the 3.9 Catalyst drivers the shadows begind to flicker sporatically, really ruining the experience. I'm sure that you have all at one time or another run into or heard of a bug in a game due to video card drivers. Truth be told, simply uninstalling the "bad" drivers will NOT always clear things up. I tried this originally, and going from the 4.3's back to the 3.9's the "quick" way.....the flickering remained. Running the Driver Cleaner in safe mode made it good as new, go figure. ;)

- Q3: Why not just format???
- A3: Look at this realistically, what are you essentially doing when you format? Cleaning out every file from your hard drive, including any trace of your display drivers. Taking a few extra minutes to follow the above process does EXACTLY the same thing, and is no worse an option then formatting. Wouldn't you like to get the exact same job done in a few minutes that would normally take an hour or more? To have to restore your entire system to it's previous state manually just to install different video drivers just isn't practical to me.

- Q4: Then why have I never had a problem just uninstalling my drivers in windows???
- A4: This is a very valid point that a lot of people make and use to back up their actions. Again, think of this in black and white.....not EVERYone has issues with certain/all games. I for one have NEVER had a problem with any retail game on the market using my ATI hardware, even when many horror stories were running rampant throughout our forums. Other people however are not so lucky. When I installed the 4.3 Catalyst drivers to test the Doom alpha and do some benchmarking it was ONLY that one thing that had changed, everything else remained, stability intact. Again, I know that I'm using the same example a number of times here, but it's the truth.....and a very easy picture to paint. Wouldn't you rather just not EVER have to worry about driver conflicts? Just because you've never run into anything, doesn't mean it won't happen. I hadn't ever seen anything like I did with Doom until that day, and now I understand that it's quite worth it to spend a few extra minutes dong something the "long way" if it means eliminating one more thing from the list of things that COULD go wrong with my computer. :rolleyes:

- Q5: Why are you taking the time to write this out???
- A5: All to often I see people having problems or running into hiccups with their system that could have been avoided. In addition to that, there are a number of people who just aren't sure what to do. I don't think I'd be alone if I said it'd be a nice thing if we could "clean" some of these posts from our forums.

The old FAQ was a mess. Here is a link to it for your reference. Any questions that you have stemming from the old or new FAQ can be answered via a new thread.

General Video Card Reference

Cooling
After market cooling poll
OC&C forum GPU air cooling guide
Water Cooling introduction

Power and Power Supplies
Power supply current draw calculator and recommendations
[H]ard recommended PSU brands and models

Drivers
ATI driver page
Nvidia drivers page
OmegaDrivers

Overclocking
ATI Tool
How to enable CoolBits in ForceWare for NV cards

Utilities
PowerStrip Useful for creating custom resolutions and other tweaks, awesome tool for HTPC and widescreen work
ATI Tool Artifact scanner, ATI overclocking
RiveTuner
DriverCleaner - automated tool for removing video card and chipset drivers, great if you change drivers frequently.

Benchmarking/Showoff your [H]ard|Ware
3DMark2006 scores ; Scores table by pxc
Show off your current Video Card
Show off your old Video Card

Multi GPU
SLI Guide

Other useful stuff
Widescreen gaming master list Resource for getting games going in native resolution on widescreen (16:9 HDTV/16:10 LCD) displays
AGP Outlook an exploration of why there are so few high-end AGP cards available now, and what your options are if you're looking to upgrade an AGP based rig.
Current Gen Buyers Guide
DX10 and You
 
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