NVIDIA Yanks Latest Forceware Drivers Amid Complaints Of GPU Failure

It's not often that we hear credible reports that a driver may have caused actual, physical harm to a video card, but that's precisely what an unhappy group of users has done. According to reports, the latest series of Forceware (196.75) caused certain cards to overheat or fail altogether due to a fan control problem. NVIDIA has pulled the driver and issued the following statement:
We are aware that some customers have reported fan speed issues with the latest 196.75 WHQL drivers on NVIDIA.com. Until we can verify and root cause this issue, we recommend that customers do not download this driver. Instead, please stay with, or return to 196.21 WHQL drivers. Release 196.75 drivers have been temporarily removed from our website and we also are asking our partners and others to remove temporarily this 196.75 WHQL driver as well.
Obviously we recommend you fall back to whatever driver release you were running before, but we also wanted to see if we could demonstrate the difference between the 195.62 drivers (the set I was personally using) and the 196.75 series. To this end, we uninstalled the 195.62 drivers, ran DriverSweeper (from Safe Mode), and then installed the newer problematic driver series. We measured temperatures using Furmark 1.8 for OpenGL and World of Warcraft for Direct3D. GPU temperatures were measured using SpeedFan.

Furmark is a GPU heating utility that both tracks and graphs temperature; our GTX 295 hit a maximum temp of 105-106C while running the utility. Here's what we saw:

Forceware 195.62

Forceware 196.75

As you can see, swapping from 195.62 to 196.75 made no difference to either the steepness of the temperature rise or the maximum temperature value. Our World of Warcraft tests were similar—in both cases, the GPUs hit a maximum temperature of ~100C with a 2-4 C variation between them. The glitched Forceware's were only online for about 48 hours, but we'd still recommend double-checking if you recently updated. There's been no reports that any series besides 196.75 were affected, so anything else should be safe.
Via:  Hot Hardware
3vi1 4 years ago

New definition for the computer dictionary:

Forceware: Software that forces hardware replacement.

Inspector 4 years ago

HA lol, shouldn't Nvidia like pay the customers that got their chips fried by this thing... -.-, i can see people just frying their GPU to get a a new one if so xD

Super Dave 4 years ago

And I thought ATI had driver issues!

Nethersprite 4 years ago

You know, I am SO glad HH posted this. I was just about to dig out my older PC (nVidia card, of course) and upgrade the video driver... O_o

Although, how does that even happen? Do they not test their new drivers on the ten GTX480s they're running in those offices or something? How the heck can a mistake like that even happen? Everyone knows that you can't find all the bugs in a software just by theoretically looking for them, you only find some by actually running the thing: that's what QA is for. Maybe that should be applied to drivers as well.

And come to think of it, this isn't the first time I've heard of a Forceware update screwing up systems. Maybe not to the point of physical damage, but still...

rapid1 4 years ago

Yup and there also about to release the next big video card with no drivers as well! Right! I wanna know who took over Nvidia. They were at one time one of the most efficient groups.

Now they have been "developing" there new card forever now, and basically many of the last release over the last year or more have been flawed, in both hardware (remember they almost so it's said lost a lot of money replacing faulty hardware over the last 3-4 versions of there GPU's, which were basically rebuilds of old tech on updated (and badly updated) hardware on the same designs).

Now there becoming ATI of old and releasing drivers which burn out there GPU's. WTH

Joel H 4 years ago

Um. WTF? I tested the driver myself and saw no problem. That's proof enough that this issue, whatever it is, doesn't occur on every system. I tested both my own OS build which is about 18 months old and a fresh install.

Obviously "testing on ten GTX480's" is not proof of a problem in and of itself. Furthermore, it's possible that the issue is actually caused by a conflict between the 196.75 driver and a third-party utility. I'm not saying this is the case, mind you, but it certainly could be.

As for Fermi, it's been heavily delayed by problems at...TSMC. So again, how is this NVIDIA's fault? Don't trust everything you read on the Internet, especially if the anti-NVIDIA bile can be traced back to a single original source.

What we know at this moment is that NV released a driver that either had a problem or caused one on March 2. By the morning of the 4th, they'd yanked the driver down. That's proof that the company listened pretty quickly when users started complaining. That doesn't make this sort of slip-up ok, but it's a lot better than some companies have done when it came time to own up to problems.

shanewu 4 years ago

LOL @ Forceware: Software that forces hardware replacement. :-)

Joel H 4 years ago


One other bit: I've been paying attention to ATI since the days of the Rage 128 (~1997). I'm unaware of any drivers that actually burned up cards.Can you provide any info on which GPU/driver series was effected?

(I remember when ATI's drivers were so bad you might want to set the card on fire personally but that's not quite the same.) ;)

cheezit 4 years ago

Fastest cards on the market, enthusiasts jumping camps and your main rival frying cards if ATI loses the momentum they have now I won't be sad if this is the last series of card they put out.

Der Meister 4 years ago

Im running my 275's with that driver, no problems to report though the fans do seem so kick on at a rather high temp. nothing Evga precision cant fix...lol

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