Full article

I recently picked up a brand spanking new Nvidia GTX 980 Ti in preparation for taking delivery of the latest tech gadget. This gadget is not just another iPad or the latest OLED 4K TV, no, this is the very first true high-end consumer Virtual Reality Device the Oculus Rift.

The GTX 980 Ti replacing my aging GTX 780 feels right at home in my new rig with an Intel i7 5930k CU (The six core one with 40 PCI express lanes)

Would you think I’d be in geek heaven as I booted up the machine with the latest and greatest from Nvidia? Alas, the experience was not as I had hoped.

Day 1

Booted into Windows safe mode and removed the old Nvidia driver using a DDU (display driver uninstaller) tool and rebooted.

Installed EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB SC+ into my rig, powered up with my video card hooked up to my LG UM95 34-Inch monitor via DisplayPort and Oculus hooked up via the HMDI port.
In Windows installed the latest driver from the Nvidia site. All good so far.
Went to the Oculus configuration utility tool (0.8 SDK) or Oculus App (1.3 SDK) to try the demo scene but upon clicking the demo button, I was presented with nothing displayed on the rift. The Oculus motion tracker light is on, and Oculus headset light is on (not blue)
After about 20-30 seconds the mirrored image appears on the monitor, but it is frozen. Oh oh, this is not okay.
After another hour of uninstalling the Nvidia driver and trying five prior versions all with the same result, I start to get worried.
I then tried hooking my monitor up to HMDI instead, rebooted and upon the display of the login screen in Windows the screen goes black with no cursor, just nothing. From another machine, I can remote into it, so it is up and running.
Connected monitor back to DisplayPort and uninstalled the driver and rebooted with the monitor connected via HDMI. This time, no problem, right into Windows. So it works great with the basic Windows driver.

I called eVGA 24 hr. Technical support and amazingly was speaking to someone in a few minutes. They suggested uninstalling again but, this time, installing the driver from the HDMI input.

As soon as the Nvidia driver completed its installation while hooked up via HDMI, the screen goes black.

Ok, I think. It's either a driver problem or some issue with the HDMI port. The technical support rep suggests returning the card to the store to exchange for another in case the HDMI port is no good.

Day 2

I arrive home from the store with another EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB SC+ card.

Uninstall Nvidia driver and boot into Windows with the HDMI connected. Install the driver, and the screen goes black after installation. Oh crap, not again I think.

Repeated pretty much all the steps from Day 1 with various drivers with the same results.

Over the last few days, Google and I have become very close. It seems many Nvidia card owners have experienced the black screen problem not just with HDMI but with DisplayPort too. At least, my DisplayPort is working just fine. But without HDMI how can I use my Rift?
Looking at my video card there is also a DVI port, so I proceed to attach an HDMI -> DVI connector onto the Rift. Bring up the Oculus demo scene and hey presto it works! Just the way it should.

Both Day 1 and Day 2 while troubleshooting with my monitor and HDMI. The Rift was disconnected to avoid any multiple screen issues.

Does Oculus Rift Work with DVI and or DisplayPort?

In a word, Yes. I've tested this on the DK2 and the consumer version of the Rift.

  • HDMI -> DisplayPort WORKS
  • HDMI -> (DVI or DisplayPort) with Audio WORKS
    The Consumer Version of the Oculus Rift transfers audio via USB and DK2 has no audio.
There you have it. Even if your HDMI port does have issues similar to those above all is not lost. Assuming, of course, you have alternative ports such as DVI or DisplayPort and the necessary adapter.

The VRCircle test machine ran all the above tests with standard BIOS and overclocking disabled using SDK 0.8 for DK2 and 1.3 for Consumer Rift.

Additional sources of Nvidia black screen problems:

Manual Install of Drivers. Some have found success with this technique.
nVidia Site. First reported two years ago and STILL a problem.

Driver Versions Tested: 364.51 (Came with Video card), 361.43, 361.91, 364.51, 364.72.

Update 03/28/2016
Today Nvidia released a new driver, 364.72, which claims to provide full Oculus Rift support. Same problem with HDMI exists, DVI and DisplayPort Adapters are OK.

Update 04/03/2016
Today, I tried a different video card in the quest to finally solve this HDMI problem. In this quest I installed  the same card but from a different manufacturer, this time, MSI with the MSI Computer Video Graphics Card GTX 980TI GAMING 6G
This card booted up into Windows just fine with both HDMI and DisplayPort. When the Rift is turned on, and the Oculus software is displayed the Oculus Rift remains black. 
However unlike with the eVGA card, if I manually bring up the Oculus software then plug the Rift into HDMI, it works!
To make this a little easier, I added an HDMI extension cable into the mix, so it is simpler to unplug the Rift and Plug it back in.

Manually unplugging and plugging in the HDMI is not the ideal situation but, at least, workable. Please note however that the HDMI to DVI/DisplayPort still works just fine.