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Installing the Right Graphic Driver Makes a World of Difference

I reformatted my hard drive recently and reinstalled Windows XP. Windows XP is wonderful in that it install all the drivers it knows about for you. And it knows about my ATi Radeon 9600 graphics card. But when I tried running Neverwinter Nights (NWN) on it, the game was slow from the get-go. That was strange, since it's an AMD Athlon 2200+ with 1.5 GB of RAM! And I had played NWN on it before, when the game play was fast and smooth. What's going on?

I opened up Device Manager and looked at the graphic driver. Device manager reported "RADEON 9600 PRO Family (Microsoft Corporation)". It looks right. But what's this "Microsoft Corporation" about? And my card is a regular 9600, not a PRO. That's when it occurred to me that I had re-installed Windows and not the ATi Radeon graphics driver.

So I did. I downloaded the driver from ATi. Now Device Master reports the driver as "RADEON 9600 SERIES". NWN also runs extremely fast and smooth now, even when the graphics setting is set to the highest. I guess there is a difference between drivers supplied by the manufacturer and driver supplied by Microsoft Windows XP.

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Chieh Cheng
Sun, 11 Mar 2007 20:20:17 -0800

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