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Are The Latest Drivers Really The Greates


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#1 0kloaker0

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 06:56 PM

[font=Arial][size=2]I have always wondered if installing the latest drivers (example the video card) is really the best choice?
Many drivers have been created since I purchased my ATI Radeon 9800 Pro. Everybody has always said to install the latest drivers. Everybody being Microsoft Updates, some Websites, driver programs that search
your computer and tell you what drivers need updating, etc.
I usually perform a clean install when I have problems that various antivirus software cant take care of. I have about 4 different drivers for my video card downloaded not including the disk that came
with the card. I have tried them all , running mostly synthetic benchmarks afterwards. I am not a pro but I have dont this at least 1000 times in my lifetime. It seems that catalyst 4.6 is better than 2.0, 4.0, 5.1, and my disk.
For my last computer, nVidia always made me download their latest drivers and I had the GeForce 3 Ti 200. The drivers I downloaded was I believe for ( or made around the time of) the GeForce 7600. These cards are not similiar at all are they? How do you know what drivers are the right ones?

AMD XP 2800 Barton 333
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro R350 128MB
Catalyst 4.6
2D Ver. 6.14.10.6451
Packaging Ver. 8.02-040515a-015958C-ATI
WHQL Certified
DirectX 9.0c
512MB PC2700U DDR 2.5-3-3-7 by SPD (2 x 256MB) Single channel mode.
ASUS A7N8X E Deluxe BIOS Rev. 1008
NVIDIA nForce2 ATA Controller (2.6)
Audigy 2 (driver 5.12.4.522) with no problems
80GB Seagate Barracuda 8MB
BIOS IDE Detection options available LBA, CHS, Large and Auto. Set to LBA.
Sectors per cluster 8
Bytes per sector 512
Cluster size 4kb
2 Partitions

LITEON DVD-ROM LTD 163 ( IDE 2 slave)
PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-109 ( IDE 2 master)
Device Manager/IDE ATA Controllers/Properties/Primary Channel
ST380013A hard drive using ULTRA DMA 5-ULTRA 100- with -Enable write caching checked.
IDE 2 has let BIOS select transfer mode checked on both DVD drives.

Windows XP Home 5.01.2600 Srv. pk. 1
278MB Free Physical RAM
1.2 GB page file with 85% free
Resolution 1024 x 768 32bit 85 Hertz

Actiontec V.90 PCI modem
Hauppauge WIN TV PVR ll (driver 2.0.18.22280)

HDTach Random Access 14.6ms
CPU 4%
Average Read 46.9MB/s

Bootvis has dllhost loaded
Aquamark 3 with setting high 38539
MadOnion 2001se 10517
first time I have ever seen 262 fps
GunMetal Benchmark 2
min frame rate 11.63 fps
average 30.17 fps
max 60.10 fps
I must be doing something wrong.
Sorry if this was too much info.

Thanks

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#2 Mr Alpha

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 07:24 PM

Some take a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude to driver updates, which makes sense, but display drivers might be a exception since they tend to add performance optimizations. I generally try to keep my display driver up to date. Usually newer games won't run on older drivers (and sometimes old games won't run on newer ones). Example: ATI has been significantly improveing their anti-aliasing performance over the last few years.

nVidia don't release their drivers for different products separately but have them all in their ForceWare package. Here is the list of the products supported in the latest ForceWare package.

Both ATI and nVidia list the changes in their release notes, where you can see if anything which might be important to you has been updated.

nVidia's lates is ForceWare 91.31
ATI's latest is Catalyst 6.7
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