ALL games are too dark: is it the new GPU, the new FW driver (511.23 WHQL) or Win10?

Discussion in 'Videocards - NVIDIA GeForce' started by The Spirit of Morpheus, Jan 15, 2022.

  1. The Spirit of Morpheus

    The Spirit of Morpheus New Member

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    Good Evening,

    I'm new to G3D forums and this is my very first post:)

    Prelude:

    Yesterday, I've finally plugged my "new" Nvidia GPU (EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra) on my rig - after having purchased it late August last year but not being able to test it, because my rig has been crippled for months (until a few days ago...) by the sudden death of my motherboard...

    Before plugging the new card, I cleanly (completely) uninstalled the former ForceWare driver + GFE after having removed my former Nvidia GPU (a Turing-based GeForce GPU and the driver version must have been FW 45x.xx or 46x.xx WHQL). I also uninstalled all GPU-related software (EVGA Precision, GPU-Z, etc.) and even my Monitor driver & corresponding software. So it was completely clean uninstall.

    After having inserted the card, I then freshly installed everything (GPU driver & software, Monitor driver & software) from scratch - everything in it's latest, most actual version. The FW driver was also the latest, brand new version (511.23 WHQL, just released on 14 January).

    All driver & software installations went perfectly flawless.

    The Monitor is an ASUS XG279Q (IPS, 1440p, DisplayPort-connected to GPU) with the latest official driver and "DisplayWidget" software installed.

    The Problem:

    Immediately, I wanted to try out some games. But first, a little info on my installed system: my system is a Dual-Boot setup with Win7 being the main OS (yet) and Win10 still being the secondary OS - I intend to go directly to Win11 instead Win10 after being finally done with Win7. Since my Win7 is currently defunct likely because of the motherboard failure, I'm now temporarily using Win10 - and there I've only very old games (almost all OpenGL games based on the idtech 3/"Quake 3 Arena"-Engine) installed right now.

    The first game I tried out (RtCW) already came up with the problem of being extremely dark - I first thought, this could be just an anomaly and a gave it another Go. But after multiple Windows reboots, Nvidia CP tryouts and game config checking, the problem was still there. So, I tried out similar games (Q3A, SoF2, CoD, a.o.) and all of them had the same problem of being very dark - while on my former GPU with the former driver version on the same Win10 installation, they were not. Since all of those games are OpenGL-based games on idtech 3-Engine, I decided to try out D3D-based games. The first one (Call of Duty 2, D3D9) was very old too and surprisingly also had the same problem - until that point, I was thinking it was an OpenGL-only problem. Since that game was very old, I decided to install Steam on my Win10-setup and then installed a few much newer D3D-based games: "Half Life 2" and "Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut".

    Again to my surprise, those games also were too dark - even DX:HR, which is normally the opposite! (too bright, so I have to dial down ingame brightness setting)

    From that point on, it was clear to me that this is a general problem NOT confined to either OpenGL- or very old games!

    But what's the cause? Just a few days ago, on the same Win10 setup with my former Nvidia GPU + former FW driver, this problem was nonexistent on ANY installed game, whether it was OpenGL, D3D or very old!

    Is the new GPU or the brand-new FW driver the cause? Or Windows 10? (I've heard in recent years that Win10 has such brightness/gamma-related problems...)

    My Nvidia CP color settings:

    Brightness: 20%
    Contrast: 50%
    Digital Vibrance: 60%

    Monitor settings:

    Brightness/Luminance: 100%
    Contrast: 100%
    R, G, B color channels: all 3 @ 100%
    Saturation: 50%

    I hope that's enough info for now...

    Help much appreciated!

    T.S.O.M.
     
  2. insp1re2600

    insp1re2600 Ancient Guru

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    seems odd to try on such ancient games, but give ddu a try, clean out the old drivers. for the ancient games id put an fps lock on too to prevent coil whine and limit fps to refresh rate.
     
  3. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    configure your screen properly and stop using nvcp to configure brightness.

    jacking up all monitor sliders is not configuring it properly.

    this display begins displaying gamma artifacts at 40% brightness.
     
    alanm likes this.
  4. Undying

    Undying Ancient Guru

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    Could it be that hdr is enabled on w10?
     

  5. The Spirit of Morpheus

    The Spirit of Morpheus New Member

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    I already wrote in my OP long and detailed, that I've already did exactly that...

    All newer/actual games are installed on the Win7 partition, which is still (yet) my primary setup - Win10 is still the secondary OS, which I didn't use anymore since Win7 (Pure UEFI, no CSM) was finally up and running. Win11 will be the next OS of my primary installation/partition; I'll skip W10, so that's why so few and old games are installed there.

    And since my Win7 is currently busted, I'm forced to use W10 (and the games installed on it) on my secondary storage drive...

    All my games (old or new) are already framerate-locked and framerate is in sync with monitor refresh rate. (*without* using VSync or TB; fps limiter only)

    With the exact same setup, I didn't have any problems just a few days ago, when I had my old Nvidia GPU + older driver version still running.

    But out of curiosity: can you define "configuring your screen properly" ?

    I had to dial down brightness in NVCP, because otherwise, the screen would become too bright since my monitor was cranked up to 100% brightness & contrast. (see below)

    This statement may be correct, but jacking up all monitor sliders worked whatsoever with zero issues just a few days ago - I like it as bright and contrastful as possible. And increasing monitor brightness (and then reducing NVCP brightness) yields better looking results for me than the opposite. (leaving NVCP brightness @ standard brightness/50% and then reducing monitor brightness/contrast)

    Why didn't I have these artifacts with my old Nvidia GPU + old driver combination (but exact same settings/configuration) just a few days ago, then? My former GPU may be older than my new one, but it's still Turing architecture (certainly not vintage...) and the Nvidia driver version isn't light years away from actuality, either. (FW 45x.xx and 46x.xx have been released at the turn of the year 2020/2021, so it's just over a year old)

    No, it's not. (look at screenshot #4 and #5)

    Here are screeenshots of all my color-related NVCP and Windows settings:

    NVCP1.jpg

    NVCP2.jpg

    NVCP3.jpg

    Windows Color Settings_1.jpg

    Windows Color Settings_2.jpg

    (more screenshots in my next post)

    T.S.O.M.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
  6. The Spirit of Morpheus

    The Spirit of Morpheus New Member

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    Screenshots: (cont.)

    Windows Color Settings_3.jpg

    Windows Color Settings_4.jpg

    Windows Color Settings_5.jpg

    Windows Color Settings_6.jpg

    T.S.O.M.
     
  7. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    Try without ASUS monitor drivers - I also have ASUS 144Hz G-Sync compatible monitor and those drivers did mess with colours (namely icm-file in drivers).

    (You have to dive into Windows colour management Control Panel applet. And be aware that icm-file from monitor drivers stays in system and used for colour profile even after drivers uninstallation - that was the case on my rig. So you can remove it manually.)

    PS
    Just in case:
    http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/
    http://www.photoscientia.co.uk/Gamma.htm
    https://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/Calibration/monitor_black.htm

    PPS
    Also worth to try HDMI cable, because with my monitor some colours are incorrect only on DP cable. Unfortunately G-Sync works only on DP cable, so I live with those incorrect colours.

    PPPS
    You can use https://github.com/lostindark/DriverStoreExplorer to remove drivers from so called OS drivers store.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
  8. Wolf9an9

    Wolf9an9 Member Guru

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    Listen to what Astyanax has to say. He is 100% correct. You never crank your monitor brightness and contrast up to 100% and then reduce NVCP brightness to 20%! You should only use monitor set normally (typically around 50 - 60 %), then in-game brightness/gamma settings.
     
  9. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    @Hilbert Hagedoorn might have noted down the settings he calibrated his review sample too.
     
  10. alanm

    alanm Ancient Guru

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    With a properly calibrated display, you will never find the need to use NVCP color settings. Investing in a colorimeter will bring out the best your display is capable of.
     

  11. eGGroLLiO

    eGGroLLiO Master Guru

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    This is a troll thread no doubt. Lol. Stop falling for it guys.
     
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  12. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    I wish i could concur.
     
  13. FatBoyNL

    FatBoyNL Ancient Guru

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    OP, just switch back to the old card and see if your problem persists.
    And please reset all monitor and NVCP settings to defaults nonetheless ;)

    EDIT: or try other inputs and cables etc before that. Why did you mention your card is "new" btw? Second-hand perhaps? Could be some shady business at work here :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
  14. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I recently encountered a very strange issue related to HDR that may figure here.

    Someone I know bought an HDR1000 TV but all HDR was always too dark. (SDR was always fine)
    This was with his camera (HDR capable) and BD player.
    It took almost a year for them to find that a new HDMI 2.0 cable fixed the problem.

    This was reproducible, use the old cable, HDR too dark and impossible to fix.
    New cable works perfectly.

    Its as though the 10bit/colour signal gets truncated to 8bit due to lack of b/w perhaps, lobbing off 2bits of brightness, which made some sense because it looked approx 1/4 as bright as it should.

    So op, try 2 things.
    Turn HDR off in Windows
    Try a new HDMI 2.0 cable with HDR on

    ps
    As stated by many already, reset all NVidia CP and TV settings to default first!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
    Cave Waverider likes this.
  15. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    Timing issue due to cable signal loss, highly possible.

    Good call.
     

  16. The Spirit of Morpheus

    The Spirit of Morpheus New Member

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    Update:

    It's definitely a Win10-only or a newer FW driver problem!

    I fired up Win7 with CSM enabled (temporarily!) and then installed FW 472.12 WHQL (is this the last stable official driver for Win7?) for my new card. Then, I installed the ASUS monitor driver & software and then the remaining GPU applications (Frameview, EVGA Precision, etc.). I configured the driver, NV Inspector and Windows Color settings exactly the same as Win10!

    Then I started one of the mentioned old OpenGL games (CoD1 from 2003) and voila! The brightness is as it is supposed to be! Then I tried the same with RtCW and SoF2 - again the brightness is correct!

    One thing I'm familiar with, though: When starting up an OpenGL game (at least the old ones) the screen is initially too dark, like the main menu. When loading a level, then the screen finally brightens up to correct brightness. One notable case for this is Unreal Tournament (the first one from 1999), which I still play in OpenGL mode. The screen (main menu) is initially too dark and brightens up, when I load a map - but when I start the game with D3D9 renderer, the brightness is correct from the very beginning. This phaenomenia also still occurs in Win7...

    At this point, I have to ask a question first: Shouldn't I install the monitor driver after having installed the GPU driver? I mean, it's a driver like the name says, and ASUS surely wouldn't have provided a device driver for nothing. Bundled software (in the case of my ASUS Monitor: "ASUS DisplayWidget") is not that important, but I always thought drivers are essential. Just my thoughts on that...

    I'll try out your solution - I'm just wondering, why my former GPU didn't have any problems with either the monitor or it's driver... I guess, it's either a driver issue (GPU driver) or Windows 10 borks up something.

    I didn't disagree with his statement - it just works (worked...) for me and it's only a temporary solution (at least I hope so... see below). Did you ever compare setting ingame brightness higher (and then reduce monitor brightness/contrast instead) and vice versa? Does it make any difference to the quality or look of the game? I don't know about lowering ingame brightness but I can definitely say lowering NVCP brightness and increasing monitor brightness & contrast looks better than vice versa.

    Does Windows have it's separate brightness/gamma/contrast settings? I ask this, because if I decide to leave NVCP brightness settings at default (50%), then Windows becomes too bright with monitor brightness & contrast cranked up to the max - so I would need to lower Windows settings instead.

    That's already on my schedule since many months, but I didn't have the time opportunity to do it yet. I definitely want to calibrate my monitor correctly and if then the display looks the way I want without having to mess up with NVCP settings, then the case is closed;) However, I don't have the money to afford a colorimeter - from what I've heard, a Spyder colorimeter costs a whole fortune!

    I'll probably do that, if necessary. I guess, WITHOUT uninstalling the actual driver? Just swapping the GPU, right?

    No, it's not second-hand, it was purchased brand-new from a German hardware store. Like I wrote in my OP, my motherboard died unexpectedly last September and my rig was crippled for months (sending the board to RMA, then ASUS rejecting my RMA and sending it back to me unrepaired, then Me spending weeks to find a proper replacement) until I could finally procure a replacement just a few weeks ago - that's why my new card lay around unused for such a long time. It's just about a week or so since my rig is up and running again and Win7 still doesn't work when CSM is disabled. (I'm working on it...)

    Was the picture/brightness fine again, once he swapped the GPU while still using the old cable?

    I'm using a high-quality DP 1.4 cable since I bought my current monitor (over a year ago, but the monitor itself only supports DP 1.2 max) and with my old GPU never had any kind of problems with it.

    That thought came up my mind, too, so I tried switching to 8bit down from 10bit (in NVCP), but even after a Windows reboot, it didn't fix my problem.

    Like shown in the screenshots I provided, both Windows HDR settings and monitor HDR settings are already off.

    Side question: Does using HDR in Win10 for games make sense, anyway? My monitor is HDR-capable (DisplayHDR 400) and has a peak brightness around 500cd/m2 @ maximum brightness settings. Do games really look better like one would expect with HDR movies from a full-fledged OLED-TV? If I revert to 8bits/channel then the maximum selectable refresh rate increases from 120 to 144Hz on my monitor.

    I do not have a HDMI 2.0 cable, just a cable with HDMI 1.3 which I use for my PlayStation 3.

    *All* settings or just the color-related settings?

    T.S.O.M.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
  17. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    He wasnt using a GPU.

    8bit doesnt disable HDR but it will help a bandwidth issue.

    Looks like HDR is off though.

    Depends on the monitor, its great here (on CRG9 HDR1000 and Q9FN TV HDR2000).
    I havent heard anyone make a good comment on an HDR400 display though and only occasionally with an HDR600.

    Your issue doesnt look to be with HDR so my cable advice probably wont help.

    Who knows what you have changed, best to start from scratch.
    And dont mess with any of those settings until you have sorted the problem at least.
    They are meant to tweak the image to suit taste.
     
  18. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    Under HDR operation windows exposes a SDR brightness slider,

    someone did mention the 511 driver was switching displays automatically to hdr in some cases.
     
  19. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    You should not. Video cards work with all monitors through generic display driver. Display drivers were crucial in CRT times - because of very different modes and parameters.
    ASUS just bundles inf-file with icm-file, and that icm-file is not individual colour profile for your display, it is not even individual colour profile for your model. I tried it and it screwed colours on mine display.
    I managed to grab a display colour profiler (by very low price) and since then I use a custom made icm-file.
     
  20. tsunami231

    tsunami231 Ancient Guru

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    monitors have "drivers" i have not seen monitor have drivers since forever? And i only ever seen Asus do it, and any time I tried such drivers for my asus monitor it tend to frack them up.

    Change setting on monitor only ever do it NVCP if you can change such monitor settings which should not be issue these days.
     

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