Consumers still using an nForce3 motherboard, in conjunction with a dual-core processor and an ATI-based AGP graphics card, may feel left out in the cold if they choose to install Windows Vista.
A knowledge base entry on AMD's support site
(#737-24498) states the following:
"Attempting to install the graphics driver on a system containing an NVidia NF3 chipset and an ATI AGP graphics adapter may result in the driver failing to install and the 3D engine not activating.
In Windows Vista 32bit or 64bit versions, the Device Manager will show a (!) mark and the AGP card will operate in PCI mode only. When the properties of the device are shown, the error code will show as code 43."
AMD states that it has seen a similar issue with other AGP chipsets from VIA and SiS, but both of these manufacturers have fixed the issues with updated chipset drivers. Indeed, many end users have been complaining on Microsoft's TechNet forums
and the only workaround NVIDIA customers have found is to disable one of the cores on their Athlon 64 X2 processors.
The Tech Report
managed to speak to NVIDIA's Bryan Del Rizzo, who stated that nForce3 is not a certified platform under Vista. We also called NVIDIA's UK office, who had nothing further to add.
Del Rizzo's statement suggests that NVIDIA doesn't have any plans to support nForce3 chipsets under Vista at the moment. However, the situation is a little more confusing when you realise that the nForce3 chipsets were listed as "Vista Capable" just a few days ago
on the company's website
The cached page (screenshot attached below) states that NVIDIA planned to officially support nForce3 chipsets under Vista with GeForce graphics cards, but that obviously isn't the case now, as it has now been removed. Whether or not the nForce3-based board is coupled with an NVIDIA graphics card is now a moot point - nForce3 isn't officially supported under Vista.
This U-turn is far from ideal for consumers, and it's surprising to learn that NVIDIA has chosen not to support products it said it would in the run up to (and even a few days after) the Vista launch. It's even more disappointing when you realise that many nForce3-based products are less than three years old, as is the case with motherboards based on nForce3 250Gb and nForce3 Ultra.
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