Today I got the chance to finally play around with a mighty GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card, or so I thought. I am running a copy of Vista RTM and despite plenty of driver related efforts, there was no way to get nVidia's newest G80 series operating under the new OS.
We tested using an XFX GeForce 8800 GTX and despite spending plenty of time searching Google for drivers, they just don't exist and the ones that do cause an endless amount of blue screens at Windows boot. Folks in several forums around the world have tried modifying .inf files and all sorts of other tricks, but nothing works properly. In a last ditched attempt to get G80 up and running under Vista, I thought of one idea. After looking at the XFX retail box and noticing it mentioned support for Vista, I thought I would actually try the driver on the included CD for a change.
It turns out if you run the XFX autorun setup program in "XP SP2 compatibility mode", it allows you to install the XP driver in Vista - ForceWare 96.85, to be exact. We couldn't be sure if XFX engineers modded the file in anyway but that could be the case. Unfortunately though, while the driver works, it really only lets you run at full screen resolution and nothing much else. When you attempt to do anything 3D related (from watching a DVD to launching 3DMark), the system hard reboots instantly. Excitement was soon turned to disappointment.
We hit up nVidia here in Taiwan with an email about the still outstanding issue and they mentioned they have a driver but are not allowed to hand it out to even their closest partners or press;
In regards to your inquiry about Vista drivers for the GeForce 8800, I've been instructed not to provide these drivers externally. Our Vista drivers that support all of our other products are the first that have been WHQL certified, so please be assured that we do not neglect our driver development. Also, for our Reality Tours and Press Tours, we've demonstrated that the GPU and drivers work under Vista while demoing DX10.
We are waiting on an answer for an exact date of release for the DX10 Vista driver but it's looking like it will be around the middle of January according to our sources. Bad luck if you've just spent a huge amount of money on a G80 and want to use Vista - you'll just have to wait till nVidia release their driver, whenever that might be.