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ED#38 : NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX/GTS' Killer Bug
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NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX/GTS' Killer Bug

Ever since NVIDIA released their revolutionary GeForce 8800 GTX and GeForce 8800 GTS graphics cards, users have been complaining about the poor Vista driver support and how these expensive cards have failed to improve their performance in games. That may now come to pass, in a manner of speaking.

An NVIDIA engineer, who wishes to remain anonymous, has just clued us in on the whole deal. This engineer claims that while allegations of poor gaming performance are correct, the reason is not really poor drivers. Brace yourselves for the truth.

Right after the G80 was taped out, NVIDIA discovered a bug in the vertex shader that causes the GPU to generate slightly incorrect geometry transformation data. The difference was minimal enough to escape attention but it was significant enough to render a scene incorrectly.

Now, what's the big deal about a slightly incorrect scene? After all, you can't even tell the difference between 2xAA and 4xAA. What would a slightly different scene matter when you are zipping along at 60+ fps? Well, that's what YOU think.

Here's the bummer. What it really means is that objects can be rendered off to one side. For FPS gamers, this can cause shots aimed at those objects (like your opponents) to miss when they should really hit. In RTS games, it may cause you to click on the wrong unit or send your units to attack a different target. So, yeah, you can now blame your poor gaming skills on a bug.


The Solution

There is no solution actually. NVIDIA engineers have been cracking their heads over this bug and came to the conclusion that there is no solution other than to correct the bug. So, what does this mean for current GeForce 8800 GTX/GTS users?

Well, the engineer isn't too sure what NVIDIA marketing has in mind, but s/he thinks it will be one of the following "solutions" that they have been throwing around the last few weeks :

  1. NVIDIA might recall all affected cards and replace them with GeForce 8900 GTX/GTS cards when they are released in the "near future".
  2. NVIDIA might recall all affected cards and replace them right away with GeForce 8600 Ultra/GTS cards, and offer those affected a free day-trip to NVIDIA HQ and lunch with NVIDIA CEO and President, Huang Jen-Hsun.

Understandably, Mr. Huang won't be particularly keen on having thousands of lunches with affected users. So, a more reasonable solution would be large group lunches spread over several weeks. Still, it would be quite something to sit and talk shop with him, wouldn't it?


When Do We Get The Recall?

Actually, some GeForce 8800 GTX/GTS users have already been contacted about the recall and given the option of telling NVIDIA their preference. This is because NVIDIA intends to perform this recall in stages as replacement cards will be very limited for some time. Therefore, those who actually sent in their registration cards will be the first to receive replacement cards.

However, the engineer reveals a way to beat the crowd and even get some cheap NVIDIA cards in the process. There's a hidden NVIDIA registration page meant for use by NVIDIA staff and partners to get registered early. It also includes a section that allows them to purchase NVIDIA cards at cost prices.

As this is supposed to be a hidden area, we are not allowed to directly link to it. Instead, we have set up a system to bamboozle any NVIDIA lawyers that might be snooping around. To get to this hidden page, just start here!


Questions & Comments

Please feel free to post your questions or comments here!


Date Revision Revision History
01-04-2007 1.0

Initial release.

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