Video: Why Intel 915 graphics don't have a WDDM driver for Vista

Video: Why Intel 915 graphics don't have a WDDM driver for Vista

This has been probably the hottest topic in this forum, and now, as I had promised, I have the video posted with the "bottom line" explanation of why the Intel 915 integrated graphics solution doesn't have a WDDM driver.

Go watch this video on the Intel Software Network blog, that I shot with Intel's Chuck DeSylva at GDC 2007 a couple of weeks ago.

The short version (if youre impatient): The WDDM Vista driver spec
came out long after the 915 design was complete and in production, and
even though it has advanced features like Pixel Shader 2.0, there is a
missing hardware feature, called the Hardware Scheduler, that 915
lacks, and without that, it doesnt meet the WDDM spec from Microsoft,
and we (Intel) cant release a WDDM driver for it.

There. Its done. I hope that answers your questions. Please link
your friends and associates to this video/post for the definitive
answer. I know this isn't the answer that most of you wanted to hear, but we're being honest and transparent here, and unfortunately, this is how it is.

As always, let us know if you have more questions! Post here in the forum, or leave a comment on the blog post - that's the best way to reach us. Thanks!

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I may only be a consumer (Customer), but I feel very aggrieved at this whole driver 'stictch up' - I can imagine the business strategy behind this - the thought process.

Intel have a onbard driver chipset out in the market place with X 000,000's of units either in build or shipped - Microsoft set the standards for the drivers and the 915 / 945 doesn't fit the spec - so there are two choices 1. be honest and ensure that machines that won't run aero don't get the 'Vista Badge' or stick a 'Vista Capable' badge on the tin and hope that the 100,000+ users don't notice until they have bought the machine and Intel have there royalties from the manufacurers and then we the consumer get stuck.


Brand identity / image should be important to companies - Intel is obviosuly so big it doesn't care! No videoed excuse will make a 600 holein my pocket go.


A disgruntled ex. Intel owner

Here's the thing: 915 graphics IS "Vista Capable". There is a driver, and Vista works just fine on the 915.

It's just not "Vista Premium Ready" - a classification reserved for high end machines that can run all of the advanced eye candy bells and whistles in Vista.

If you want to get mad at someone, get mad at Microsoft for making a distinction between "Vista Capable" and "Vista Premium Ready". They control the spec. They decide what qualifies for a WDDM driver certification and what doesn't. They determine which devices are good enough to run Aero Glass, and which aren't. See this page for more info on "Vista Capable" vs "Vista Premium Ready".

I'm not trying to point the finger at Microsoft, but the argument that this is somehow Intel's fault just doesn't hold up to me. Even if I weren't an Intel employee, I just don't think it's rational to blame Intel that an old, low end graphics chip can't run the advanced high end graphics features of an operating system that didn't even exist when it was built.

Oh so now there are 3000+ people signed a petition and people getting a bit ticked off, let's all blame microsoft....

If MS can release unofficial packs for XP etc. i.e. Tweak UI on a conditional basis and then offer no support for it why can't Intel release a Tweak equivalent for the 915 series with no support?

I am sure that with all the collective horse power at Intel you can come up with one and get it approved by MS? Even if we suffer a slight drop in performance.....

As to MAD I am not mad, mad suggest's irrational behaviour - I am rational - I am just let down in the same way if you buy a new car and it breaks you get upset - but not mad as it serves no purpose.

I admire your 'candour' for putting your neck out on the fourm and speaking up for Intel - I don't have to agree with you.

I will say it again - Intel must have the resources and power with MS to fix this - all you need it the will and I would respectfully suggest to you the 3000+ slightly annoyed customers should provide you with the will all you need to find now is the way!




BTW - when I bought my machine I a. Didn't have access to the Intel website to help me decide if the machine in front of me with a sticker on that said 'Vista Capable' really ment it or not and b. The salesman or the brouchure did'nt point out that I was buying old, low end graphics.

What about x3000 drivers, intel never says anything about it, and keeps delaying drivers indefinetly.

Are we(x3000 G965 users) also getting a "video explanation" in a couple of months? Saying how HW T&L couldnt be enabled becouse of hardware, or poor performance?

If intel is capable of getting away unpunished from all the 915 mess then whats to keep them from making the same with the 945 and 965 and even with the upcoming IGPs?

Give my Intel 915 integrated graphics wddm driver!!

i still think the reason for GMA900 lacking aero is that it's lackingREAL DX9 support. nothing more is required from microsoft.

or why can the 2003 nvidia fx 5200 run aero just fine? in 2003 noone could think of aero.

GMA950 was just modified to support at least aero. it isn't a real DX9 card either.

BTW the GMA900 isnt advrtised as a "old, low end graphics card" !!! look what intel advertises about it:

"3D-gaming, HDTV capable and Vista Ready"!!! it sucks at all three, and throwing all superlatives at this crappy card, thats a fraut to the customers nothing more!

its a shame!!!

quote intel:

"Delivers a 2 times improvement in graphics performance over the previous generation chipset, the Intel 855GME. Also supports Microsoft DirectX* 9 solution for high definition media playback and 3D games."

"Ready for Microsoft Windows Vista*"


the deceptive advertising came from intel!!! if they had it just advertised as a low end & low budget graphics soution for office machines NO ONE WOULD NOW ASK FOR WDDM DRIVERS.



OK, guys, here's the deal.

There's "Vista Ready" and "Vista Premium Capable". Microsoft decides which is which:

The 915 graphics chip is "Vista Ready". It runs Vista just fine. It is NOT "Vista Premium Ready". From the above Microsoft site:

Some Windows Vista Capable PCs have been designated Premium Ready. These PCs will provide an even better Windows Vista experience, including the Windows Aero user experience. Features available in specific premium editions of Windows Vista, such as the ability to watch and record live TV, may require additional hardware.

Confusing? Yes. Deceptive? Well, some people think so, and have brought a lawsuit against Microsoft for this exact issue:

In fact, since that lawsuit, Microsoft has gone back and made a change to that paragraph I quoted. Read about what it used to say:


To everyone who bought a laptop with Intel 915 graphics, because it was labelled "Vista Ready", you were NOT deceived. It IS "Vista Ready". It runs Vista just fine.


If you somehow thought that "Vista Ready" meant that you could run the cool 3D tab flipper, and the fancy "Aero Glass" high end 3D interface, you were wrong.

I'm sorry you didn't understand what you were getting when you bought a system with an old, low end, legacy graphics chip. I'm sorry the Microsoft marketing material and logo labels confused you. I really am. I wish none of us had to deal with this.

Is Intel ever going to release a "beta"/unofficial driver for 915 graphics?

I'm not the "official" person to answer this, but I'd say "no".


Because it's an old, low end, "legacy" part. There aren't any people at Intel dedicated to writing new drivers for this part. Intel laid off 10% of its workforce last year - 10,000 people. Ten thousand. The rest of us that are left are trying to get all the work done. Obviously, we can't do the same amount of work. Some things have to get dropped. Decisions have to be made about what projects are going to happen, and which ones are going to get cut. Like I said, I'm not the "official" person to say, but my guess is that there just aren't people sitting around, collecting a paycheck, that could be thrown at writing an unofficial "beta" driver. Wouldn't it cool i
f it happened? Of course. Would Intel like to do it if we had the resources? Certainly! But we live in the same reality that you do, and we have to make our budget balance just like you do. We can't always do everything that we'd like to do.

I hope this serves as a "final word" on this discussion. If you have more questions, please do continue to discuss it here, email me, whatever. But I'm hiding anything or holding anything back - I've laid it all out on the line, here, and I hope it helps you guys understand.

And if I could buy everyone a drink to make you feel better, or a brand new "Vista Premium Ready" computer to run the Vista eye-candy, I would. But there's that whole "reality" thing...

Sounds like INTEL better get in contact with MICROSOFT to get a solution to this

MAJOR problem!! Someone is going to have to take responsibility for the actions and

dollars this has cost consumers on false pre-tenses. Excuses on compatibility issues is

not going to solve the problem. Someone is going to have to re-write AERO to function

with this chipset.

To those noting (correctly) that Aero Glass worked during the Vista Beta, ask yourselves this question:

What changed between the beta and now? Vista, or the Intel 915 graphics chip soldered to your motherboard?

That being said, I'm going to try to talk to the graphics group to see if I can get them to release a "beta" or unofficial, unsigned driver for 915. Maybe even open source.

I don't even know the exact people I need to talk to about this, so don't get yourselves too excited, but I'm going to look into it.

As always, in the spirit of transparency, I'll keep you all updated.

Thanks for your honest reply.

It would be great if you could just pop a word in for a beta driver etc.

Ive not replied to any remarks about the lack of aero support as the hardware is an old architecture made for xp but ok for vistas basic using it now and its fine.

trouble is the basic themes look horrible.

appreciate the help

Dave D.

Wikipedia section under the GMA 900 was updated in regarding the Aero support.

Read here:

im sorry but i have to say the following is a outrage and a down right con, are you trying to tell me that everyone that owns a laptop with a 915 design chipset, who has paid good money for windows vista...149, can't use the full features of vista because of this.Also that these people would have to buy a new laptop thus spend more money lets say around 800+ for a decent one.

I will not be doning this and if i where to do this i will not be buying a laptop with Windows or a Intel chipset of any kind, i shall also inform others to do the same.

Or you could find a way around this problen and create the driver thus saving alot of people a heck load of money.

Fellow 915 users, I guess this is a hopeless battle. According to Marvin, the author of the Petition for WDDM for 915 said that Intel said NO.

Well I guess we all can learn a valuable lesson here - that is, NOT TO BELIEVE PC VENDORS when they come up with an AD like PC or Laptop for the future. I got HP just last year when all the excitement on Vista was coming, and we all thought that it will run Aero - so we made the (foolish) investment only to find out Intel and Microsoft will not give Aero to 915.

I suggest if you are a little tight in budget (esp home users) get a graphic card from vendors . . . or if you have the budget then just get a new PC/laptop.

If the vendor of Windows Vista is unable to act in the interests of Intel's customers then why doesn't Intel do it for them?

Intel could provide a patch for Windows to re-enable the 3D windows compositing, or at the extreme least; make your OpenGL and proper Windows Drivers available for download over the WWW.

Given the fact that this whole issue is blowing up, in terms of
mainstream coverage, talk of class action lawsuits, I've decided to
lock this comment thread. The discussion has run its course as it
pertains to Intel Software Network and this forum. I'm sure there will
be other, more appropriate places to continue this conversation. This
is no longer the place.

Please do not start any new threads discussing this topic, as they will be locked. Thank you for understanding!

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