OK, so my situation. I have an XFX nvidia 9500GT graphics card. I could not upgrade my Linux driver from 177.82 to any of the 180.** series, and I also could not update my Windows 178.24 driver to any of the 18*.** series. Why is this a problem for me? Well I really wanted the 180.22 Linux driver, for two reasons. The first being that I was informed that it resolved the remaining latency/performance issues with the KDE4 series, and also because it introduced VDPAU support into the Linux nvidia driver series. And anything new, I want.
Quick Guide – The Resolution
The resolution was to upgrade my graphics card BIOS. It allowed me to upgrade to the latest stable nvidia drivers for both Linux and Windows.
To resolve, download the following zipped file:
NOTE: You will need a Windows partition unfortunately, to be able to run the 95GUDFS2.exe file, which has nvflash packaged within it. Please boot into Windows before attempting the execute the BIOS upgrade tool.
NOTE: *BIG* disclaimer here – Doing the BIOS upgrade is to be done at your own risk – they can destroy your graphics card. All I am saying in this blog is that it worked for me. It also worked for someone else (see below for description).
OK, so I was sent on a wild goose chase with this one. I hope that I can at least save one other person from the hassle I endured. The problem was initially brought to my attention when upgrade attempts to every single release in the Linux driver beta releases 180.** were unsuccessful. The behavior was such that after the boot process had completed on my Fedora machine, I would expect the nvidia logo. Instead, I heard the fan on my graphics card spinning much faster than normal. It would continue to do this until I eventually shut the PC down manually (the power switch!). Each time I would roll back to 177.82 and everything would be OK again. I had the nvidia Linux driver development team have a look at the nvidia bug reports that I was submitting. They were firing blanks, as was I. See here for the thread on their message board to see my agony:
So, they made 180.22 “stable”. It wasn’t working for me. In a google search, I discovered that the “black screen” on boot was exclusive to Linux users – Windows fanboy’s were suffering the same issue. So I started a thread on the XFX forums. See here for the thread:
This prompted them to release a BIOS update (v1.1). This did not work, with nvflash giving error: “No display adapters were found that are compatible with this update”. I informed the XFX team of this, and they provided me with the .ROM file instead. In attempting to flash in DOS with nvflash with this .ROM file, it told me that there would be no change compared to the BIOS currently on the graphics card. I flashed it anyway. Unsurprisingly, I was unable to update my Windows drivers to 181.22. I got back in touch informing the XFX team that the .ROM file was not good for me. In the meantime, the thread I started on the XFX forum was collecting a bit of a response, from other people with the same issue (see above for the link). Ultimately, another person (alias – “stupotty1210”) had received a second official update to the BIOS (v1.2). He informed that this time, nvflash reported a different BIOS version. I gave it a go (here’s the link to it again: [EDIT]). The BIOS flash utility warned me that the board ID version in the upgrade did not match the board ID reported from my graphics card. It offered me the chance the flash my graphics card anyway. I did. It reported “upgrade successful”. I then went ahead and removed (in Windows) nvidia driver 178.24 and installed 181.22. It all worked for the first time! No black screen, and no fan overdrive. I then booted into my Linux partition removed driver 177.82 and installed 180.27. For the first time, this worked for me also! After a lot of time in reporting issues (by a number of people), this issue was eventually resolved.
The BIOS version that worked can be found here: 95GUDFS2.zip
My finger, where shall it point?
It’s an odd one. I realise that I took some time from nvidia Linux driver team in trying to debug my issue, without success. The resolution was eventually found in a BIOS update. The first idea is to point to XFX to a dodgy initial BIOS on their graphics card. Of course, the nvidia driver is not open source, so I will never know, but will the XFX team point their finger at two dodgy nvidia drivers (Windows AND Linux), or will they put their hands up and accept responsibility? Which leads me onto the suspicion about the BIOS on the XFX card. The 18*.** drivers broke both my Linux and Windows systems. So there was either a new technology introduced to both drivers recently, or something on XFX’s side of the fence.
Either way, it’s fixed. If this fixes issues for anyone else, please post responses to this blog, either positive or negative, it’s valuable for other people.