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ED#108 : NVIDIA GeForce & Fallout 3 Rev. 2.0
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ED#108 : NVIDIA GeForce & Fallout 3

While testing Fallout 3 for use in our NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 review, it kept crashing over and over again. We just could not complete a single test run properly. Sometimes, Fallout 3 would crash on loading the game, or when we encounter a character. Most often though, it would crash when V.A.T.S. mode is activated.

We tried a variety of "fixes" because Fallout 3 has been known to be a little buggy. We also reinstalled DirectX 10, in case it was killed by DirectX 9. Still no go. Guess who was the real culprit?

Finally, we decided to try an older NVIDIA driver and hey, it worked! Arghhh.. So many hours of wasted time. The NVIDIA GeForce driver version 181.20 was obviously causing the crashes in Fallout 3, even though it was a WHQL-certified driver, and the first and only one at that time to support the GeForce GTX 295.

We wrote to NVIDIA about the problem and after testing on their end, they verified that the GeForce driver version 181.20 would indeed cause Fallout 3 to crash. Fortunately, NVIDIA has new driver version 181.22 (released on of Jan. 22) which addresses this very issue. So, if you are using an NVIDIA graphics card and Fallout 3 keeps crashing on you, try upgrading to the new version 181.22 GeForce driver! Remember, it does not only work for the new GeForce GTX 295 cards, but also all older NVIDIA graphics cards.


Bah! It Didn't Work!

Recently, we found time to give Fallout 3 another try. Okay, we just couldn't resist playing it again!

We tried the new GeForce 181.20 driver (Windows Vista 64-bit), as advised by NVIDIA. We found that it did indeed solve the V.A.T.S. mode crash issue. However, we discovered that Fallout 3 would still crash pretty often, albeit randomly instead of being triggered by initiating V.A.T.S. mode. Looks like NVIDIA did not really solve the Fallout 3 crash problem with their 181.20 WHQL driver.

Fed up, we looked for a newer driver, and found that NVIDIA just released a new beta driver - 182.05 Beta on Feb. 10, 2009. It promised, amongst other things, to improve Fallout 3's performance at high resolution and AA levels by up to 8%. Well, that's nice if the driver would actually run Fallout 3 without crashing!

Fortunately, the new GeForce 182.05 Beta driver did the trick. It behaved much better with Fallout 3, causing only a single crash during the last 4-5 hours of playtime. So if you are experiencing problems getting Fallout 3 to run properly with an NVIDIA graphics card, skip the 181.20 WHQL driver. Either use the new GeForce 182.05 beta driver or revert to the older GeForce 181.20 beta driver.


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