Nvidia struggles to fix TDR bug

Nvidia has confirmed that it is investigating a problem with certain models of its graphics cards that cause the display to blank out and become unresponsive due to a driver timeout, asking those encountering the problem to consider sending their cards in for examination.

In a thread on the Nvidia support forum, a company representative confirmed that those running driver version 280.xx or higher may encounter display-blanking errors when using Internet Explorer 9 or Firefox.

The bug appears to be related to a driver feature called Timeout Detection & Recovery, or TDR, which supposedly spots hangs and automatically resolves them. Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case for some users - and Nvidia is currently struggling to find the root cause of the problem.

Some users are claiming that the TDR problem can be quickly replicated by installing an Nvidia GTX 560 Ti graphics card into a motherboard featuring an Intel P67 or Z68 chipset, but Nvidia's technical support team appears unable to reproduce the error.

"We have ordered some of the retail graphics cards that have been mentioned in these threads to resolve this issue. However it would be of great help to us if anyone who is facing this problem can send us their graphics card to diagnose internally at our Santa Clara office since the cards we have been tested so far do not seem to show the TDR issues end users are reporting in this forum," the company's support representative explains.

"We can pay for shipping both ways and I can probably get some free game codes to offer you for your time. You must be in the USA however since international shipping can complicate things," the spokesperson adds.

With the next driver update expected to resolve serious bugs in first-person shooter Battlefield 3 with Nvidia boards and video playback issues in Windows, Nvidia will be keen to get to the bottom of the TDR problem before the November driver is released. As diagnosis is still proving difficult, however, the company doesn't have time on its side.