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help - Nvidia nForce IDE drivers.

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help - Nvidia nForce IDE drivers.

Postby dodecahedron on Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:59 am

i just recently had my motherboard replaced with Asus A7N8X-Deluxe with Nvidia nForce2 chipset.

i'm not familiar with all the drivers and stuff.

few questions to the knowledgeable:

1. how do i check which IDE drivers are installed on the computer? nvidia or MS ?
(i ran the driver installation routine on the support CD, don't know exactly what it put on the computer).

2. i've seen on some posts references to 'Nvidia SW drivers'. what are these?

3. how do i check which version of the nForce drivers are on my system?

4. when downloading and installing new/udpated nForce drivers from nvidia's website, how do i control which parts are installed? am i given options? (specifically i want to not install the nvidia IDE drivers).

5. in the Add/Remove programs list i see:
  • NVIDIA nForce Utilities
  • NVIDIA Windows 2000/XP nForce drivers.
the Utilities - what's this exactly? is this what i see in the control panel icon labeled 'NVIDIA nForce Control Panel' ? that's mostly audio stuff.
Last edited by dodecahedron on Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Boba_Fett on Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:28 pm

Nvidia's nForce2 drivers give you the option of installing the SW drivers or not. What the SW drivers are is a (in my opinion) prototype IDE driver that is supposed to releave some sort of bottleneck in the data/throughput pathway that MS hasn't decided to fix yet. What they claim and what it actually does, differs. While I did see a little increase in my average read/write performance for my HDDs, I got weird burning and misc. problems from having it on my machine. COUNTLESS other nForce2 mobo owners have as well. It is possible that nVidia has fixed this by now since their damn mobo's have been out for, what, 2 years? If you are not planing on using the SW driver, I'd personally would just go with the "regular" nVidia IDE driver over the generic MS one.

To find what IDE driver you have, go into your Device Manager and and look at the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. You should have three choices, Primary, Secondary, and Main Controller. Right click on the main "nVidia IDE Controller" and click properties. From there click on the driver tab (on the top part of the box that came up) and then on Driver Details. That will tell you what you have installed. If you want to change that, go into "Update Driver" (in the same place you found the Driver Details) and you should get a list of all the drivers MS has in its OS. You should be able to choose between standard/generic MS, nVidia IDE, and nVidia SW IDE. Hope that helped!
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:59 pm

thanks for the explanations.
Boba_Fett wrote:Nvidia's nForce2 drivers give you the option of installing the SW drivers or not. What the SW drivers are is a (in my opinion) prototype IDE driver that is supposed to releave some sort of bottleneck in the data/throughput pathway that MS hasn't decided to fix yet. What they claim and what it actually does, differs. While I did see a little increase in my average read/write performance for my HDDs, I got weird burning and misc. problems from having it on my machine. COUNTLESS other nForce2 mobo owners have as well. It is possible that nVidia has fixed this by now since their damn mobo's have been out for, what, 2 years? If you are not planing on using the SW driver, I'd personally would just go with the "regular" nVidia IDE driver over the generic MS one.

so you're saying the 'regular' Nvidia IDE drivers are better than the generic MS drivers?
from user opinions on the forums i had thought the reverse is true...but maybe they were talking about the SW drivers, i dunno.

anyone else care to chime in and state their opinion as to which are better: Nvidia IDE drivers (regular, now SW) or generic Microsoft?

Boba_Fett wrote:To find what IDE driver you have, go into your Device Manager and and look at the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. You should have three choices, Primary, Secondary, and Main Controller. Right click on the main "nVidia IDE Controller" and click properties. From there click on the driver tab (on the top part of the box that came up) and then on Driver Details. That will tell you what you have installed. If you want to change that, go into "Update Driver" (in the same place you found the Driver Details) and you should get a list of all the drivers MS has in its OS. You should be able to choose between standard/generic MS, nVidia IDE, and nVidia SW IDE. Hope that helped!

it's not clear.
device manager -> IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers -> NVIDIA NForce MCP2 IDE Controller -> Properties -> Driver tab, it says:
Driver Provider: Nvidia
Driver Date: 5/13/2002
Driver Version: 6.1.2600.0

clicking on the Driver Details button, it says:
Driver files:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\atapi.sys
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\pciide.sys
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\pciidex.sys
Provider: Microsoft Corp
File version: 5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158)

so what drivers are these? MS or Nvidia ???

also:
clicking on the Update Driver button, i get the Hardware Update Wizard. if i select to Install from a list or specific location (manual choice not automatic) and then select Don't search I will choose the driver to install (this is what you had meant, right?) i get 2 choices:
NVIDIA NForce MCP2 IDE Controller
Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller.
am i right in understanding that the 1st is the Nvidia driver (from the support CD i guess, or from updating the NForce drivers from Nvidia's website) and thte 2nd is the generic MS driver?
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Postby Boba_Fett on Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:21 pm

Heh heh, sorry about that. That description was the best I could do from memory. Actually, with the information you provided me, I know for certain you have the regular nVidia (non-SW) IDE drivers installed. If there was a choice for all three drivers in the "Choose which driver to install" category, that means the SW driver would be installed (it wouldn't be on your system if you told the nVidia mobo driver set you DID NOT want the SW drivers installed. And since your Driver Details said the driver was made by nVidia, that elimiates the last two choices. If that evidence doesn't sound to your liking, you could always choose again which one you want to install at the "Choose which driver to install" prompt ;)

Also, the driver date for your stock nVidia IDE driver looks very old. I would suggest if you haven't already to go to www.nvidia.com and download the latest nForce2 Driver set :)
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Postby LoneWolf on Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:18 pm

The best drivers for NForce2 IDE are the original bundled ones that came with Windows XP. Make sure you have rolled back to these, and every time you install the NForce driver bundle, do the advanced install and uncheck the IDE driver installation option. It is easy to see if your NVidia drivers are Mcrosoft because it will say the drivers were provided by Microsoft under the Driver Properties in Device Manager.

NVidia drivers have caused me issues with DMA transfers not working right at all, which can screw up CD/DVD burning and PVR software, like ATI's Multimedia Center or other video edit/capture programs. I recommend staying far far away from them.
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:30 pm

thanks, but things are still not very clear.

as for SW drivers not on my system, i wouldn't know since all i did was run the motherboard's support CD and it installed drivers, i don't really know which (i guess it's a customized driver install routine, because it didn't ask me any questions).
anyway i think the nForce drivers on the support CD is 2.97 or something, really old.

i updated to the latest 4.27 for Nvidia's website.

1st thing:
in Control Panel -> Add/Remove programs list i see now:
  • NVIDIA Drivers
  • NvMixer
not what was before. so i guess i was right, the 'utilities' from before was just the audio stuff now named NvMixer.

2 indeed when running the driver install routine i am given a choice of what to install. so the IDE part, if i chose it, i get an information screen about the SW drivers, and then given a choice - to install the SW drivers or not. if i choose no, then nothing is installed (i think - it doesn't say anything!)
so again i'm not clear - how do i choose to install the Nvidia 'non-SW' drivers? how do i choose to go back to the MS drivers?

also from my description above of the Driver Details info of Device Manager
dodecahedron wrote:device manager -> IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers -> NVIDIA NForce MCP2 IDE Controller -> Properties -> Driver tab, it says:
Driver Provider: Nvidia
Driver Date: 5/13/2002
Driver Version: 6.1.2600.0

clicking on the Driver Details button, it says:
Driver files:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\atapi.sys
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\pciide.sys
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\pciidex.sys
Provider: Microsoft Corp
File version: 5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158)


this info is still the same, after having run the nForce driver update and choosing not to install the SW IDE drivers.
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:35 pm

@LoneWolf:

how do i roll back to WindowsXP's original drivers?
indeed i unchecked the IDE part of the nForce driver.
then, for experimentation, i reran the nForce driver installer, checked only the IDE, and then chose not to install the SW drivers. from what i could see, nothing happened.

also, as in my previous posts, the Driver Details information is confusing, in one place it says the provider is Nvidia, in another it says Microsoft.

can you figure this out for me?

bottom line - right now i can't figure out if there are indeed 3 driver options, libe Boba_Fett says (Nvidia rerular, Nvidia SW, MS) or just 2 (Nvidia SW, MS) and how to choose between all available options.

sorry if i'm sounding like a noob, but things aren't very clear.
at least they're a little better than VIA's 4-in-1's explanations of a while back - even more confusing than this.
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:44 pm

LoneWolf,
i rolled back the drivers by clicking on the Roll Back Driver button on the Driver tab of NVIDIA NForce MCP2 Controller Properties.

the info (driver dates, providers) as in my previous posts remained exactly the same. so i don't know what this action actually did, or maybe because i chose not to install the SW drivers, the drivers that were installed were the same (??) as the original MS drivers?

more clarification will be greatly appreciated.
i want to figure thhis out thoroughly before i reinstall windows and get this done with once and for all.
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Postby LoneWolf on Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:13 pm

Go to Device Manager. Select your IDE ATA/ATAPI controller and click the plus sign to drop it down. Now do Properties on the controller (not the channels). Click on the Driver tab. Who is the driver provider and what is the driver date and version?
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:42 pm

already did that, see 3rd post in this thread:
dodecahedron wrote:device manager -> IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers -> NVIDIA NForce MCP2 IDE Controller -> Properties -> Driver tab, it says:
Driver Provider: Nvidia
Driver Date: 5/13/2002
Driver Version: 6.1.2600.0

clicking on the Driver Details button, it says:
Driver files:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\atapi.sys
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\pciide.sys
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\pciidex.sys
Provider: Microsoft Corp
File version: 5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158)

so what drivers are these? MS or Nvidia ???
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Postby bill on Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:08 pm

I had to set up a hard drive tonight, here is what happened-


Starting from the beginning with a clean install of Windows XP.

1) After installing Windows XP if you look under the controller/properties you will only see the General tab without any drivers listed. This is also true with service packs 1, 1a and 2 installed.


2) The Nforce 4.27 Unified Driver Package will provide the following-

A) The basic Nvidea IDE driver ( no SW ) is dated 5/13/2002

B) The SW driver is dated 1/13/2004. The SW driver has, in the past, been a problem.

To my knowledge you won't have any trouble with the 5/13/2002 driver.

Bill

PS LoneWolf, would this be you? http://techreport.com/ja.zz?comments=6707
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Postby LoneWolf on Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:41 pm

BigMonkey, yep, that is me. I've been on quite a few forums over the years :)

Dodec, if your driver version is 6.1.2600.0 as you listed, it should be the original Microsoft bundled driver with Windows XP (note the version number compares favorably to the WinXP original version number) You should be fine. Just double-check that DMA is enabled for all devices on the Primary and Secondary controllers, and you're set. :D
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Sep 13, 2004 9:49 pm

after quite a bit of experimenting (and a lot of rebooting :evil: ) i come to these conclusions. i might be wrong of course, but it seems to me that both of you LoneWolf and BigMonkey aren't quite accurate in what you said.

there are 3 IDE drivers i can set up on my system:

1. Generic MS drivers.
when these are installed the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers entry in the device manager has 3 items under it:
  • Primary IDE Channel
  • Secondary IDE Channel
  • Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
clicking Properties of the Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller gives on the Driver tab:
Driver Provider: Microsoft
Driver Date: 7/1/2001
Driver Version: 5.1.2600.2180

clicking on the Driver Details button, it shows 3 files:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\atapi.sys
Provider: Microsoft
File Version: 5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158)
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\pciide.sys
Provider: Microsoft
File Version: 5.1.2600.0 (XPClient 010817-1148)
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\pciidex.sys
Provider: Microsoft
File Version: 5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158)

2. the so called 'regular' Nvidia IDE drivers
when these are installed the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers entry in the device manager has 3 items under it:
  • NVIDIA NForce MCP2 IDE Controller
  • Primary IDE Channel
  • Secondary IDE Channel
clicking Properties of the SNVIDIA NForce MCP2 IDE Controller gives on the Driver tab:
Driver Provider: NVIDIA
Driver Date: 5/13/2002
Driver Version: 6.1.2600.0
clicking on the Driver Details button, it shows the identical information to that displayed by the MS drivers!!! same 3 files, all provided by MS!!!

i can't say if these drivers are identical to the MS ones, or just a slight variation. visually they are the same (same tabs etc.)

3. NVIDIA SW drivers.
when these are installed the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers entry in the device manager has just 1 item under it:
  • NVIDIA NForce 2 ATA Controller (v2.5)
note no Primary/Secondary IDE Channel!
clicking its Properties gives a totally different looking properties page, different that the 2 previous ones. on the Driver tab:
Driver Provider: NVIDIA
Driver Date: 1/13/2004
Driver Version: 5.10.2600.412

clicking on the Driver Details button, it shows 2 files:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\nvatabus.sys
Provider: NVIDIA
File Version: 5.10.2600.0412 built by:WinDDK
C:\WINDOWS\system32\idecoi.dll
Provider: NVIDIA
File Version: 1,0,0,1

quite different.

now here's the interesting part:
running the latest NForce driver update from Nvidia, the installer lets you install IDE drivers, only the SW drivers. it asks if to install the SW drivers (after a few warnings) if you say no it does nothing!

even if i had installed the SW drivers, trying to change drivers using the Update drivers button i only had 2 choices - the regular Nvidia drivers and the MS ones. you were wrong on that point, Boba_Fett.

i somehow got the regular Nvidia drivers removed (and couldn't get them back by Update drivers button). i could only get them back by reloading them from the support CD! which has the NForce drivers verison 2.96 (the current is 4.27!)

my conclusion is that the 'regular' Nvidia driver is not 'regular' but 'old'. you don't have an option to use it if you run the current nForce drivers, only the SW.

BigMonkey, i think you are wrong in what you said on point 2 (at least that has been my experience). the 4.27 driver will only give me the SW driver of 1/13/2004, and not give me the option of the 'regular' 5/13/2002 Nvidia driver. that i could only get from the old nForce drivers.

LoneWolf, there is some mixup in your info, the 6.1.2600.0 driver is the Nvidia 'regular' (old) driver, not the MS driver!

i would still like to know which drivers you use, LoneWolf, the MS (7/1/2001) or the Nvidia (5/13/2002).


wow, long post.
i really only botherd to post it so:
1. maybe LoneWolf, Boba_Fett, BigMonkey would bother to reply and comment on my findings - point where i'm wrong or corroborate my conclusions.
2. if anyone in the future runs into these issues this might help.


(should learn my lesson, go with such issues to places like HardOCP or Anandtech or some such... :o but CDRLabs is one of the few forum i frequent, and my favorite place. and i always got help here when i needed it, whether it was cd/dvd related or not :D )
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Postby LoneWolf on Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:19 pm

Unfortunately, Anandtech is not a good place for this information. This piece of info has mainly been discovered by those who burn DVD's, as it tends to cause the biggest problem with DVD burning, where DMA transfers are critical. This has been discussed many times at CDFreaks.com; if you want real detail on it, you should find it there.

Choice #2 in your post is the correct choice, Dodec. It's what everyone I know who is in the know is using. NVidia drivers made available from their website seem to have problems implementing DMA transfers; even though they say it is on, multiple programs (ATI's Multimedia Center, and some CD/DVD burning programs) say it is not enabled, and have lots of problems when burning, or writing video out to hard disk. The NForce MCP2 drivers that come as part of the original Windows XP install do not have these problems, for whatever reason, and are considered the most stable.
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:24 pm

OK, thanks LoneWolf.

but it's strange.
while playing around with the various drivers, i seemed to have removed these (#2: NVIDIA NForce MCP2 IDE Controller) from my system, and could only get it back by using the support CD :o

even now, going to device manager -> IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers -> Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller -> Properties -> Driver tab -> Update Driver button -> Install from a list or specific location -> Don't search I will choose the driver to install , the only driver listed is the MS one (the current one) :o
i guess i'll reload it from the support CD (from the nForce 2.96 drivers).

are you saying, that despite what i wrote above #2 (NVIDIA NForce MCP2 IDE Controller, 5/13/2002) are the default WinXP drivers for this chipset?
i guess i'll see when i reinstall WindowsXP and then SP2.
(just got myself a good reason not to slipstream :o ).

thanks again for your explanations and help.
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Postby bill on Tue Sep 14, 2004 12:01 am

Dodecahedron,

Funny, I've been sitting here tinkering and realized my mistake a couple of hours ago. I was just wrapping up another fresh install of XP and was hoping to get back with a correction before you started calling me harsh names. :wink:

-You are correct in that it appears that the Nvidea 5/13/2002 drivers may be the same (they look identical) as the 7/1/2001 MS drivers. I can recall an old VIA motherboard that used MS usb drivers while displaying the VIA name...

Heres the mistake I made,
-While the new hard drive was being set up on a second computer I installed an old Nforce unified driver package by mistake.
-I then installed the 4.27 package and the 4.27 SW driver giving the 1/13/04 driver.
- I then did a roll back to the previous driver which of course reloaded the 5/13/2002 driver. I couldn't roll back any further than the 5/13/2002 driver.
- It was then that I thought the 5/13/2002 driver was the Nvidea 'regular' driver for the 4.27 Unified drivers when in fact it was an old driver from a previous Nvidea release.

Sorry about the confusion.

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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Sep 14, 2004 4:35 am

BigMonkey wrote:Funny, I've been sitting here tinkering and realized my mistake a couple of hours ago. I was just wrapping up another fresh install of XP and was hoping to get back with a correction before you started calling me harsh names. :wink:

bad monkey! bad! :wink: :D

anyway, the question remains:
which drivers do you use:
the MS drivers (7/1/2001) or the 'old' Nvidia drivers (5/13/2002) ?
which are better in your opinion/to the best of your knowledge ?
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Postby LoneWolf on Tue Sep 14, 2004 6:36 am

The NVidia drivers dated 5/13/2002, version 6.1.2600.0 are indeed the original Windows XP drivers; they are the ones I am using on my machine.
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Postby bill on Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:11 am

"Bad monkey bad" LOL, I was thinking something more like, BigDummy!


FYI, I have several computers so don't let me confuse you with the following..

-I just fired up an old Epox EP8RDA mobo that is used solely for burning and video editing. It has the 7/1/2001 drivers and never had a problem. This computer was built on 1/8/2003.

-On another mobo, Epox EP8RDA+ ( again, an older board ) I've been using the 5/13/2002 driver. I never had a problem with large file transfers or burning an occasional cd..

I can only assume that I used different versions of the unified driver packages when setting those two computers up. That likely explains the varying driver dates and controller names.

I had read at several locations shortly after Nvidea released Nforce2 chipset to stay away from the SW drivers. Based on my experience both the 7/1/2001 and 5/13/2002 drivers work fine. At this point I am willing to accept ( unless proven otherwise ) that 7/1/2001 and the 5/13/2002 are the same driver except that the 5/13/2002 drivers identify the controller as Nvidea's.

I'm going to work now but will check back tonight to see if you have any hair left. :D
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Postby bill on Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:32 am

I made a quick google search yesterday for info on this topic. I thought it was funny to find you.

BigMonkey, yep, that is me. I've been on quite a few forums over the years



You posted quicker this morning, thanks for confirming the 5/13/2002 drivers.

Bill
bill
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Postby CignaXI on Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:03 am

Maybe you already got your answers and already know about this, but you can also find more info in http://www.nforcershq.net/
Still burning with my LTR-16101B.
Image
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