Nvidia 320.18 WHQL Display Driver is Damaging GPUs

320.18 Display Drivers

Nvidia 320.18 WHQL Display Driver is Damaging GPUs

It seems as soon as Nvidia hit an all time high with their GPU’s, there is evidence that the 320.18 WHQL display drivers are killing off GPUs.  Fortunately it hasn’t killed every card it’s touched (It’s actually a very low amount), but there is hardly any good news to report about the 320.18 WHQL display drivers.

It simply started with users going to the Nvidia forum thread to give feedback on the 320.18 display drivers.  On 05/23/2013 at 02:31 PM Nvidia 320.18 WHQL display drivers went live.  Below is a timeline of how the release of the 320.18 went down, it’s not pretty.


  • 03:58PM – The first complaint came in that the display drivers were still killing user experience in Battlefield 3. 
  • 09:25PM- The following image is uploaded to the forums, showing BF3 literally unplayable.320.18 WHQL Display Driver


  • 06:26AM – First user reports after installing 320.18 WHQL display drivers using Geforce Experience, and restarting his system, system failed to POST.  After removing his GPU the system would boot.  GPU Dead.
  • 07:07AM – First user reports actual improvements in BF3. (All other posts were complaints that it either was unapproved or had worsened)
  • 07:44AM – User with GTX 460 reports intermittent complete lock up of PC using 320.18 display drivers
  • 08:08AM – User with GTX 680’s in SLI reports computer will not boot with 320.18 display drivers installed.  Disabling SLI or reverting back to 314.xx fixes the issue.


  • 02:23PM – User post YouTube video displaying artifacts in BF3 on a GTX 660 OC while using 320.18 WHQL Display drivers.


  • 04:09PM – User reports after installing 320.18 WHQL Display driver with GTX 570, system BSOD.  User reverted back to 314.22 but has horizontal lines across the screen and can only make out text in 800×600 resolution.  GPU likely damaged
  • 04:55PM – User confirms his GTX 570 was destroyed by installing 320.18.
  • 05:21PM to 05:37PM – Users provide the following screenshots of artifacts in Bioshock Infite, Metro Last Light, BF3, and Assassins Creed.320.18 WHQL Display Driver Assassins Creed Glitch320.18 WHQL Display Driver BF3 Texture bug320.18 WHQL Display Driver Bioshock Infinite Artifacts320.18 WHQL Display Driver Metro last light artifacts


What You Should Do If You Installed 320.18 WHQL Display Drivers

First, don’t panic.  Users with damaged hardware was really minimal, however that is scary thought.  I’ve seen reports from users that the issue was related to corrupt installers, faulty VRM (Voltage regulator modules), and a number of other things.  The bottom line is, Nvidia hasn’t figured it out yet, so your best bet is to protect yourself before you wreck your…hardware.

I’d write a guide to help you, but forum member Sting101 over at the Nvidia Forums has already done that, here’s what he had to say:

What you’ll need: A little bit of patience..!
*Compatible/Working geforce driver for you GPU extracted from Nvidia installer to a newly created folder on your desktop.
*Installed Driver Fusion, aka Driver Sweeper Link: http://www.treexy.com/media/30691/driver_fusion_1.6.0.exe
*Installed CCleaner Link: http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download/standard

First: Boot into Safe Mode follow instructions below!
*Win7 -Restart PC and keep hitting F8 on your keyboard until you see an option to select Safe Mode.
*Win8 -Open Notepad, copy and paste the following command line: C:\Windows\system32>shutdown /r /o /f /t 00
-then save-as this text file with the following name onto your desktop: SafeBoot8.bat
-Now once you run this created batch file your PC will reboot into SafeMode Menu, select option 4 for Safe Mode.

Second: Once in Safe Mode Go to your device manager!
-1- Win7/Win8 hold down Windows Key on your keyboard & simultaneously press R, paste the following command and hit OK: devmgmt.msc
-2- Now expand Display adapters by clicking on the small triangle then right-click on your Nvidia GeForce GPU and select Uninstall.
-3- Then open Driver Fusion Utility and select/mark Nvidia Display & Nvidia PhysX & hit analyze, delete what ever it finds but don’t click on reboot just yet.
-4- Open CCleaner and scan registry several times until it finds nothing once finished reboot your Win7/Win8 PC back into Safe Mode.
-5- Repeat step 3 & step 4 above until Driver Fusion finds nothing, rebooting into Safe Mode each time until finished.

Third: Installing working driver from Safe Mode!
-Open GeForce Driver folder that you had created previously from an extracted driver at the beginning of this guide, and right-click on setup.exe & run as Admin
-Click Agree & Continue & select Custom/Advanced option & deselect everything that you don’t need or have use for like 3D crap but make sure you select clean install.
-Finish Installation and reboot normally this time back to your desktop and continue-on with your life 🙂

PS: Try not to be too hard on Nvidia Support Guys, they’re not the one’s who made this decision on releasing somewhat embarrassing piece of unfinished work/driver. The new Nvidia Geforce 320.49 drivers have been released that are listing a fix for these issues.


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