Way back in the old-timey days of 2007, when senators were looking for airport glory holes, the iPhone was pre-fanboy, and China was just poisoning us with lead instead of economic policy1, this blog was making its first crawl out of the primordial goo. One of my earliest posts was a juvenile rant directed toward 3D-graphic hardware and software company Nvidia. Well, it seems a tiger don't change its stripes, and four years later, Nvidia is back to their old tricks of shoving undesired bloat down its customer's throats.
I'll try to keep this brief and to-the-point. There's no real reason to pad out a rant like this, and most of it would just be excessive fucking cursing anyways. Basically, with its most recent iterations of ForceWare (Nvidia's drivers for its GeForce series of video cards), Nvidia has seen fit to include HD audio drivers as part of the standard installation. These would allow you to use the HDMI-out on your video card for audio as well as video output. Not a terrible feature, in theory. In practice, it's completely nonsensical. I realize there are some people out there who want such a feature, but the vast majority of PC gamers are using a dedicated sound card or onboard sound on their computers. Using the HDMI instead would, afaik, require you hook your computer up to an HD audio receiver, which would then presumably go to some surround sound system. This would go well with using an HD tv as your monitor. Because, you know, every PC gamer likes to sit on their living room floor when they play.
Even despite the current impracticality of the feature, it wouldn't be so bad — that is, if it didn't cause your computer to BSOD2 all the goddamned time. That's right: due to one of those really difficult-to-isolate driver conflicts, the installation of this superfluous HD audio driver causes computers to say "fuck you," often as soon as you log in to Windows (since the "log in sound" plays). Other times it will crash when you are watching a video, or sometimes when you are just twiddling your thumbs and admiring your desktop wallpaper. Basically just whenever the hell it feels like it.
Lest you think this is just some problem isolated to my own PC configuration, go ahead and Google "gtx470 hd audio bsod." There are message boards full of other angry, ranting nerds.
The worst part about this? The solution would be incredibly simple: just include it as an option to un-check during the driver installation process. Nvidia already do this with their 3D Vision drivers (which are useless unless you have a special monitor & glasses). Yet for some reason, they have forced you to install these HD audio drivers for the entire past year of driver releases. There are some complex workarounds and processes you can go through to try and fix this problem, as outlined on those aforementioned nerd forums. I've tried a couple, and the thing still rears its ugly head (plus you have to repeat the painful fix process every time you update the driver). Thankfully, it never seems to occur during actual gameplay, but it still happens with enough frequency that it is murderous-rage-inducing.
Come on Nvidia. Seriously. Fix this bullshit.
1. For some reason, I originally wrote this section for 1997, saying "Way back in the old-timey days of 1997, when scientists were busy cloning sheep, Heaven's Gate was spiking the punch, and boxers were eating each-others appendages..." Man, 1997 was such a cooler year than 2007. Oh yeah, China has been screwing us with economics since before 2007, but saying it this way was funnier.
2. BSOD = Black screen of death (formerly, blue screen of death). Basically a system crash where your monitor goes black and you are forced to restart your computer.