My friend has a Nvidia GTX 285 desktop graphic card, and he has been using it for more than 2 years now.
Recently, I invited him to play TES: Skyrim and Guild Wars 2. Those two games are pretty graphic demanding, but I figured out that if my crappier GT 550M card can run them well, then he would be fine.
However, EVERYTIME he plays those 2 games, extreme stutters begin that he has to close them. These messages: "Display driver has stopped working and has recovered" and "Display driver NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driver Version 310.90 has stopped working" keep popping up in the bottom right corner. We noticed that the graphic card got really hot around the time the game stutters; the temp got up to 80-90C.
He and I tried to fix the problem ourselves because the card's warranty expired. Here are what we did:
1. Disable TDR, and increase delay time in the Registry Keys
2. Clean all the fans, the case, the CPU, and the GPU
3. Uninstall Graphic Driver, PhysX, and Nvidia Update
4. After uninstlal, run 2 different driver sweeper softwares in Safe Mode, manually check all the deleted files/registrys
5. Install the latest version 314.07 from Nvidia website, checking the Clean Install box
6. Disable all the HID devices under Human Interface Devices
After doing those things, we run the games again, checking the temp and fan speed using EVGA Precision 4.0. The temp now dropped to 60-75 C, which is a good sign. The "Display driver has stopped working and has recovered" and "Display driver NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driver Version 310.90 has stopped working" messages also went away.
However! When the temp got up to that 60-75 C range, the screen freezes and we have to hard restart using the button! We always set the fan speed at 100% to make sure the GPU is cool, and it's very very loud. But crashes at 60 C??? The maximum temperature of the card is 105 C according to Nvidia, and we don't even overclock the card. I'm start to think the problem is not the temperature.
Does anyone has any idea what might be the source of the problem, and how to fix it? I guess the best thing we can do now is to pray that GPU isn't made in China...
Yes, he tried all of that: lower setting, lower resolution, etc...But as I stated above, he got crashes everytime he played, no matter what he did.
I'm not sure if the problem exists in those 2 games only, or in all other games that are equally graphic demanding. I did a little research on the internet and found out that some people have the same issue. He tried everything they claimed to have fixed their issues, but he can't seem to fix his. He's at a dead end now, that's why we decide to ask on this forum.
Some other games he could play normally without getting stutter/crash are GTA IV, Crossfire (MMO), Dragon Nest(MMO), COD: Black Ops, World of Tanks (MMO), Left 4 Dead 2.
Yes, 1600x900 would be good to try.
Set in at that res in the game menu. Don't have to change the resolution in the desktop(Windows). The screen size will be the same, it just won't be as sharp. And other step down would be 1366x768
UPDATE: Few days ago I went to his house and took a look at the BIOS, changing some registries to turn TDR back on, and some other things that I don't remember. Later that day he told me that the games didn't crashed after a few hours of playing. He hasn't had any more trouble with those games since then. Apparently I don't even know what might have fixed the problem, but he could run Guild Wars 2 and Skyrim in max setting without an issue now. It might one of the things I did that day, or one of the things you guys suggested, that fixed the issue. However, he and I really want to thank everyone for giving us helpful advices.