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Old 04-01-12, 04:14 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Posts: 609
Default I want to present you with this picture regarding NVidia hardware reliability

As a result of this issue:

This stack has grown one item:

Yes, those are my dead NVidia cards, all from one single machine.

The counter-"stack" of cards that survive for any length of time in 24/7 is limited to two 240 GTs, one of which has the crappy fan these have blowing on it's last pipe, and a passively cooled 6200 which never got real use out of it (was idling as a second video card in a three-head system).

Of course the surviving cards are all the cheap ones, the expensive one all bite the dust.

In no particular order this stack has:
  • A 6600gt, my first video card that I bought with dual-link DVI. At the time my machine didn't have a 30" display, I just wanted to be prepared, and switch to 30" without downtime. As events unfolded, not only did this thing die before I ever used dual-link DVI, it took down the whole machine (bus lockup). Nice to debug, too, good scare when there's no post. Bought this one new when it was full price.
  • A 7800GTX which I actually did have when I switched from 24" to 30" and needed dual-link DVI>. Payed good money for that one, so that I get good cooling and a quality card, right? Nah. So this one has one dual-link DVI, and it tried to do dual-link (a card with no dual-link won't allow the driver to run, but it had distorted picture when this port was used at 2560x1600, although it was perfectly fine (and still is) for 1920x1200.
  • I then slammed in the GT 240. Surprisingly, this one never died. Can you believe that? A NVidia card that did not die. Sadly, however, I couldn't use it. It had working dual-link DVI all right, but the second port is VGA. In my triple-head system that meant that I couldn't put the 30" display together with my primary display on the first card. That's bad, because as I bugged earlier, xv (which I prefer to use for video) in the current NVidia drivers is broken, you can only use xv on the first card in a multi-card system. So no, go, this one had to go and as I said the fan was not up to 24/7 operations.
  • Then came the victim of this issue from this thread:

    A 7900 GTX. Expensive, too. Good card. Except for the hangs. Thanks to no official ever showing up in our thread about the interrupt issue to this day I do not know whether I was just having video hangs there or whether harddrive and other interrupts where thrown out too (aka is this a bus hang?). Anyway, dead as a doornail.

    Yes I know I should have known better than to trust NVidia, rumors of problems with the 7900 chips were there almost from day one.
  • The top one with the strange cooler is a dead 6800 Ultra which I threw in for good measure. Although it never took down this system that is supposed to pile up nines of reliability it's still just another dead NVidia card (distorted picture).

So, where does that leave us?

The excellent work that Aaron and Zander are doing on the binary NVidia drivers, and the ally they are in the fight to keep what Xorg names "Zaphod" mode alive, all goes to /dev/null. This crap just doesn't work reliably, hardware-wise.

On top of that nothing is ever done or attempted done about the little problem of optimus support. Not that I would buy a laptop with NVidia chip after this.

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