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Mixing TNT drivers for performance/stability

Posted 5-11-99

Written by: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy

There seems to be a lot of confusion to the driver mixing process and which drivers are the best for the TNT. I organized some of Keith's news and my own thoughts into this document to clear up the confusion. These steps will work with ANY TNT card. Follow these steps at your own risk! Results may vary.

 

Download the Leadtek TNT2 drivers

First you need to download the Leadtek Winfast 3D S320 II drivers (TNT2) and unzip these to a temporary directory. Download the drivers here. Do not download the BIOS.

Install the drivers as you normally would. I recommend:

  • Right click your Desktop.
  • Choose Properties.
  • Click the Settings tab.
  • Click the Advanced button.
  • Click the Adapter tab.
  • Choose Change.
  • Click Next.
  • Click "Display a list of all the drivers..."
  • Click "Show all hardware"
  • Scroll the left menu all the way to the top.
  • Choose "(Standard display types)"
  • Select "Standard Display Adapter (VGA)"
  • Click Yes if prompted about "The driver you have chosen was not..."
  • Choose Next.
  • Choose Finish.
  • Reboot your PC.
  • Once your PC has rebooted, Follow the process above, but instead of choosing "Show all hardware" click the "Have disk" button.
  • Point the system to the correct directory that you extracted the drivers to, or click browse to find it.

Once your system has rebooted, you will have the Leadtek TNT2 drivers installed.

 

Download the WHQL certified 1.15 drivers

Download the WHQL certified 1.15 drivers by clicking here. Run the file once completed, and it will extract to C:\HCLDRV\NVIDIA RIVA TNT 1.15\. Now, explore your Windows\System\ directory. (Choose Start, Run, and type C:\Windows\System\)

Copy the following files to the C:\HCLDRV\NVIDIA RIVA TNT 1.15\ directory:

  • nv4dd32.dll
  • nv4disp.drv
  • Nv4QTwk.dll
  • Nvarch16.dll
  • nvarch32.dll
  • nvcore.vxd
  • nvmini.vxd
  • nvmini2.vxd
Overwrite any files if prompted. This will mix the two driver sets in order to give you the older and in most cases, better OpenGL ICD.

 

Install the "mixed" drivers

Now you'll need to install the new drivers you have mixed together. This can be done by the same process as above with a few minor changes:

  • Right click your Desktop.
  • Choose Properties.
  • Click the Settings tab.
  • Click the Advanced button.
  • Click the Adapter tab.
  • Choose Change.
  • Click Next.
  • Click "Display a list of all the drivers..."
  • Click "Show all hardware"
  • Scroll the left menu all the way to the top.
  • Choose "(Standard display types)"
  • Select "Standard Display Adapter (VGA)"
  • Click Yes if prompted about "The driver you have chosen was not..."
  • Choose Next.
  • Choose Finish.
  • Reboot your PC.
  • Once your PC has rebooted, Follow the process above, but instead of choosing "Show all hardware" click the "Have disk" button.
  • Type C:\HCLDRV\NVIDIA RIVA TNT 1.15\ in the box that prompts you for the location of the drivers.
  • Reboot your PC when prompted again.

If you followed all of the steps above, you should now have a stable OpenGL ICD and newer drivers installed. Try some programs and make sure all is well. If it's not, you can always go back to either the original 1.15 reference drivers or the Leadtek TNT2 drivers.

ARB Multitextures and the 1.73 (and 1.76) reference drivers

A few days ago, NVIDIA 1.73 drivers were unofficially leaked on the web. From my testing, I saw no performance or visual increases, and a lack of stability in many games. Therefore I do not recommend the 1.73 drivers. However, there is one positive feature of the 1.73 drivers. Someone hacked the ref_gl.dll file (Quake II) to allow Quake II to use ARB Multitextures instead of SGI Multitextures. I tested the 1.73 drivers with the ARB hack and saw no performance increase over the mixed drivers (outlined above), and that is why I still recommend using the mixed drivers.

If you really want to test the hack yourself, download the 1.73 drivers here from D128.

The ARB hack can be downloaded here from Glide Underground. Place the file in your Quake2 directory.

Keith: The D3D drivers included in the 1.73 leak are very unstable - but as far as I have been able to tell, the OpenGL driver isn't nearly as bad. If you would like to take advantage of the ARB optimized OpenGL driver from the 1.73 (or 1.76) leak without suffering the unstability of the D3D drivers, copy the nv4ogl.dll file from 1.73 (or 1.76) into the Leadtek/1.15 driver mix above (basicially you end up using the Nvidia shell, the Leadtek D3D drivers, and the 1.73 OpenGL ICD). Then apply the Quake 2 hack as instructed. This may be less of an issue with the 1.76 drivers, which are supposed to have better D3D support.

 

Benchmarks (by Keith)

Tirtanium (doesn't support multitexturing)

OpenGL 640x480x16
1.73 - 26.0 fps
1.15 - 26.0 fps
1.09 - 25.9 fps

Direct3D 640x480x16
1.73 - 33.0 fps
1.15 - 27.8 fps
1.09 - 27.5 fps

I will post more benchmarks and driver updates tomarrow - going to play Q3Test now. ;)

 

Conclusion

Mixing drivers is a somewhat simple process, as long as you know all the steps to success. If you try mixing drivers, share your results!


--Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy 

 

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