Dreaded "display driver stopped responding" solved in one computer

In reading the web, it seems there's a lot of confusion, speculation and frustration about the "Display driver stopped responding and has successfully recovered" error. I thought I'd post a case of an unequivocal hardware cause in one computer I own.

Have an Acer Aspire AX1301-U9052 bought a few months ago, Win7 home premium, 4 MB RAM, factory equipped with a low profile Nvidia G210 board with 512M in the PCIe slot.

Was getting the dreaded screen blanking and "Display driver nvlddmkm stopped responding and has successfully recovered" message about once every hour or two, just running IE8 and Office and other simple apps (I do no gaming). Error would happen just on resizing or dragging a window or other simple operations. Did recover; no BSOD; but was annoying.

Tried older/newer drivers, using DriverSweeper before video driver installs, updated the BIOS, cleaned contacts and reseated the board, reseated RAM, ran RAM tester (system RAM ok), etc. Nothing helped.

Loaded nTune. Seemed slowing the board RAM bus speed by 10% (to ~450 Mhz) helped. Marginal board?

By chance the local Micro Center had G210 low profile cards on sale this week. I bought a Zotac G210 to test with the machine. Surprise...it was physically 100% identical to the Acer-supplied video card, obviously OEMed from the same manufacturer. Installed it, and ... presto ... no more "nvlddmkm stopped responding" errors.

I do note the Acer-supplied video card had Hynix RAM chips running at 500 MHz DDR2 (qualified by their markings for that speed) whereas the replacement Zotac board has 400 MHz memory speed. The change dropped Win 7 graphics scores by a mere 0.1 points. No big deal. Seems the original board has borderline RAM or other component.

Question: seems few G210 boards on the market now use the 500 MHz memory bus speed. They all seem @ 400 now. Anyone know a reason?

Finally, the machine's under warranty. I called Acer letting them know I'd like to return the bad video board for a replacement, but they wanted me to send in the entire machine. As it is now working fine with a near-identical video card to the original, I declined. I'm probably going to put the old board in the trash and eat the $42 it cost me.

I wish vendors would pay more attention to stocking replacement parts.
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  1. make that "4 Gb" RAM.
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