Nvidia releases upgradeable notebook drivers, finally!

Well, it’s about time. Nvidia has announced that it is now providing drivers for graphics processing units in notebook PCs, independent of the OEMs that designed and sold the notebook. This is a long-awaited development that solves a big problem for notebook owners who are sometimes stuck with ancient drivers because the hardware manufacturer doesn’t provide updates.

The current download offering is a beta release of GeForce version 179.28, covering Windows XP and Windows Vista (x86 and x64) on the following GPUs:

GeForce 9800M GTX/GTS/GT/GS
GeForce 9700M GTS/GT
GeForce 9600M or 9650M GT/GS
GeForce 9300M or 9500M GS/G
GeForce 9200M GS/GE
GeForce 8800M GTX/GTS/GS
GeForce 8700M GT
GeForce 8600M GT/GS
GeForce 8400M G/GS
GeForce 8200M G

I installed the driver successfully on my Dell XPS M1330 without problems, after first updating the system BIOS per Nvidia’s recommendation. (If you have a Dell Inspiron 1420, Dell XPS M1330, or Dell XPS M1530, be sure to read this note first.)


And now the bad news. Some fairly large players in the notebook market have chosen not to support this release. If you own a Dell Vostro, a Lenovo ThinkPad, or a Sony VAIO with an integrated Nvidia GPU, you’ll have to get an updated driver from the OEM.

Also, if you have a hybrid SLI notebook (the Nvidia download page has a detailed list), you’ll need to wait a little longer. That configuration isn’t supported on the current beta drivers.

ATI/AMD? The ball’s in your court.

8 thoughts on “Nvidia releases upgradeable notebook drivers, finally!

  1. I hope to god that ATI releases drivers aswell. Having to use modded drivers just because Asus has given up is… not the best option.

  2. I’m not surprised that Vostro laptop users are still out in the cold. And if you dare to put Vista x64 on your Vostro (Dell will not sell you one with x64), you have to hunt down about a half dozen separate drivers (including Nvidia video) just to get the yellow bangs out of Device Manager. Dell not only doesn’t supply x64 drivers for Vostro, it hasn’t even cooperated with MS to get them into Windows Update. You have to resort to using x64 drivers from other similar Dell models, which fortunately work (at least the ones I’ve used), though there’s no way of knowing that ahead of time.

  3. Heh, heh, yellow bangs in device manager. I keep forgetting that Windows is the preferred hardware platform, owing to superior hardware support!

    On a somewhat related note, I must remember to NEVER let Windows Update install drivers for my LaserJet 1320. (Of course, I marked the box telling it not to show me that one.)

  4. Just a head’s up…

    The Nvidia page mentioned in the article only mentions Vista 32bit. The actual driver release notes specifically mentions Vista 64bit along with 32ibt.

    No need to worry, just an omission on Nvidia’s part.

  5. Hello Ed,

    Thanks for the heads up on the notebook drivers. 🙂
    One correction that you may want to make.
    There is no such thing as a 9660M GT/GS but there is a 9650M GT/GS.

    [That was a typo, which I’ve fixed, thanks. Also, I deleted the duplicate list of supported GPUs included in this comment. My list is a condensed but still complete version of the one on the Nvidia page. – EB]


  6. Dell’s support for Windows Vista x64 on the Latitude D820 has been appalling. In my view, the laptop is labelled ‘Windows Vista Capable’ so should be supported on either ‘bitness’ of the OS.

    The only video driver that is available for the Quadro NVS 110M, is dated January 2007, version 97.46. The early nVidia drivers for Windows Vista were known to be horribly slow and buggy. I’m currently running a hack of, I think, 169.12 – it’s possible to add new hardware IDs to the .inf file. Dell have utterly refused to make updated drivers available. There is one dated October 2007 on Windows Update, but no detail on the exact version this is.

    nVidia have also published drivers for the Quadro NVS family but unfortunately state that Dell Latitudes aren’t compatible. This probably means that the Dell circuit board isn’t quite the stock nVidia design – but these existing drivers seem to work.

    The original audio driver used a lot of CPU and stuttered a lot (WMP seamless playback wasn’t), and there’s still no driver for the touchpad and pointing stick which permit them to be disabled (as under the XP drivers) when an external mouse is connected. This is useful when typing because it’s very easy to accidentally tap the touchpad. Also, my pointing stick seemed to have broken, causing the pointer to jam in the upper right or lower left unless the pointing stick were steered hard in the opposite direction. I’ve finally performed a pointing-stick-ectomy by removing the keyboard, flipping it over and cutting the auxiliary membrane connection from the stick to the main connector.

    Dell do build pretty good hardware, but don’t try running an OS that was released after the computer went out of production.

  7. Although it is notable that nVidia is providing notebook driver of its own accord, for the past 5 years those of us with unique nVidia chipsets in our laptops (Quadro Fx Go 700 in a Dell M60 laptop) have been using modified INF files to install the latest drivers for our video cards. Many of these sites started as pet projects but they have mostly come together onto a few central repositories. One such site is: http://laptopvideo2go.com/ (I’m in no way affiliated beyond being a happy end-user for years). There forum is very well organized and they post both official and beta drivers very quickly into version-designated topics.

Comments are closed.