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Graphics Card May be Fried, Please Help

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Kitapotamus, Jan 17, 2011.

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  1. Kitapotamus

    Kitapotamus Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
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    Hi all,

    I've recently had an issue with my graphics card (a XFX Alpha Dog Nvidia GeForce 8800GT 1GB) and I'm looking for some clarification on what might be wrong and if I'm taking the right measures.

    It started a couple days ago when I was playing Black Ops- the game locked up and shortly after I got a BSOD (mentioning display driver failure) and a computer restart. I began with some wishful thinking- hoping it was a software issue. I cleaned my registry, updated my display drivers (it turned out that they were a year or so out of date), cleaned the GPU fan with cotton buds and tried playing again. The problem recurred almost immediately and the computer restarted.

    This time there were some more alarming problems during boot up- the first screen of boot up that usually just lists the graphics card info was filled with exclamation marks (!) and the following screen listing motherboard info had lines of green dots through it. Once Windows started to load a BSOD occured and the system restarted.

    I shut the PC down and let it cool off. After a long wait it booted up fine and I used Rivatuner to increase fan speed from default (28%) to 80% before trying a different game (Counterstrike Source this time). The system crashed almost immediately again, this time during the game's menu screen. I let it cool off and then tried to start up again the next day, only to find the boot screens riddled with ! and graphical errors once again. Now I am in a situation where the computer will only successfully load Windows in safe mode.

    Naturally I have concluded that my graphics card has overheated and damaged itself. Seeing as the system has graphical errors even when starting up from a cold state I assume the damage is done and that it isn't a matter of heat anymore but of actual damage. It's worth noting here that the fan works and that it doesn't seem to have any difficulties spinning.

    I'm thinking that my next logical step is to replace the card.

    What I need to know is:

    1. Am I right in concluding that this is a graphics card hardware problem and nothing else? (The BSOD message about display driver failure seems to confirm this but I'd like to be sure).

    2. Is overheating definitely responsible? (the card was running at 62C-70C at idle)

    3. Might anything else be wrong as a result of this and would a new card be at risk of damage if I bought a new one now? I don't want to waste money you see as I am on a budget.

    4. What might have caused this? The fan works so I wonder- is this just wear and tear? I've racked up several hundred hours of FPS gaming so I'm hoping this is just a result of extended use rather than something else wrong with the rig. The card is three years old.

    Below I have listed my system specs. Thank you for any help you can give, I really appreciate it.


    Antec 900 Chasis
    Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit Operating System
    Gigabyte S775 Intel X48 DDR2 ATX 8Ch Audio Duel GBT Lan
    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.00Ghz 6M Cache S775 1333Mhz
    Akasa Intel LGA775 3U Heatpipe (for CPU cooling)
    XFX GeForce 8800GT 1GB 2xDVI DDR3
    Hitachi Deskstar P7K500 500GB
    550W PSU Gold 12cm SATA PFC
    Crucial 4GBKIT (2GBx2) 240PIN DDR2 PC2-5300 NON ECC
    Pioneer 20X DVD+/-RW
     
  2. Tanis

    Tanis

    Joined:
    May 29, 2006
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    First Name:
    Shane
    When you talk about the graphic errors/lines etc on boot up I am assuming this all occurs before you even get the Windows loading bar come up? If that is the case then there is a good chance the card itself is damaged.

    Firstly though, check and double check all cables and connections inside the machine. If necessary remove each and every connection in turn and reseat it.

    That is hot for an 8800GT. I had exactly the same card for several years (4 or 5) and it only reached temps like that under load.

    If an 8800GT does what you need it to do (and they are pretty decent cards) you can pick them up from Ebay pretty cheap if you need/want to replace it.

    Heat, based on the temps you have posted above. Although within the limits of the card itself the hotter it runs the shorter its lifespan will probably be.

    Is this a per-built or self built system?
    The PSU is a little weak in my opinion, exactly what make and model is it? If it's a couple of years old aswell its output will have reduced also.
     
  3. satanicguardian

    satanicguardian

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    396
  4. Skivvywaver

    Skivvywaver

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    13,948
    I'd try reseating the heatsink with some new thermal compound before I pitched it.

    Worth a try.
     
  5. Kitapotamus

    Kitapotamus Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    Hi all,

    Thanks very much for your advice. Yes the graphical errors are occuring before Windows begins to load, right from the first screen which usually says "Nvidea 8800GT" etc. I've taken the card out, done a more thorough clean and reseated it but unfortunately I'm getting exactly the same graphical artifacts on screen during boot up followed by the shut down.

    The system is a custom built rig but not built by myself (I paid a professional to do the scary bits). The card used to go up to 75-85C under load but after the problem occured the system wasn't stable long enough in-game for me to alt tab out and check temps.

    Afraid I don't know specifics on the PSU beyond those I've listed but for now I think I'm going to have to stick with it and hope it's working properly as I can't afford two replacements (nor would I feel confident in rewiring the entire rig to a new power supply). I guess I'll focus on the card for now and deal with one problem at a time :)

    I'm afraid I don't trust myself enough to apply a new thermal compound (and I guessing the damage is already done, given that it's showing graphical problems even when booted in a cool state).

    It certainly looks like I'm dealing with a broken card so I think I'll set out to get a new one. Hopefully if it goes horribly wrong the moment I put it in the slot I can just return it :S

    On that note- thanks for the recommendation Satanic Guardian. Can you all point me at a few alternatives that are at least as good or better than the 8800GT 1gb but not too far above £110? I find it hard to know what to look for given they're all 512mb-1gb these days and it's difficult to figure out where the 8800 sits in terms of power in the modern GPU arena.

    Ideally I want one that won't overheat haha. I also only have one six pin power supply cord but I'm guessing they come with adapters? The one you highlighted certainly looks impressive- I'm not much of an overclocker though so will it still be easy to manage for me? My friend has the GTX 260 and claims it's a good card? Alternatively can anyone point me at an up to date graphics card buying guide? I can't seem to find one that is up to date at the moment.

    Thank you again for your swift and helpful replies :)
     
  6. Tanis

    Tanis

    Joined:
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    3,969
    First Name:
    Shane
    The GTX460 is a decent card, I use one myself and I do a fair bit of gaming. I upgraded to that from the same 8800GT as you (although I changed almost the entire system at the same time).

    Have a look here (www.aria.co.uk) as I ahve found them to be consistently cheaper than places like Overclockers, I have used them many times and never had a problem. As an example, you can get exactly the same GTX460 from there for £5 less (total, including delivery).

    Assuming your PSU is OK, it should be sufficient to run that setup.

    ATI HD5770's are pretty decent cards and come in just under your £110 budget, again, these will be an upgrade from a 8800GT. What sort of gaming do you do?
     
  7. Kitapotamus

    Kitapotamus Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    Sorry for the late reply, it's been a manic couple days.

    Thanks for the advice- I did a little digging and to my pleasant surprise discovered that my PSU is actually 650w- a Sweex PS040 with an AC Input of 220V/50Hz 5 Amp and an output of:

    +3.3V +5V +12V1 +12V2 -12V
    32A 30A 17A 16A 0.3A

    I'm guessing from these stats that the PSU has a cumulative 33 Amp output on the 12V+ rails- enough to meet the GTX 460's 26 Amp needs.

    Would you say the suggested card is the best to go for rather than a 1GB card? I found a good deal here for the 768MB one:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/768m...shader-clock-1400mhz-336-cores-2xdl-dvi-mhdmi

    I play rather a lot of modern games- Black Ops, CSS, Starcraft 2, Civ 4, Farcry 2 etc. I also play many aged games such as Dungeon Keeper 2.

    My main concern now is the PSU's 6 pin connection- it only has one 6 pin plug for GPUs. Thankfully it looks like the GTX 460 comes with an adapter that converts two Molex 4 pin connections into a 6 pin one- I assume this works fine as it comes with the card? I hope there wouldn't be any negative effects of using the adapter.

    Finally, is the above GTX a decent upgrade from the 8800GT without overclocking? I'm not big on overclocking so while the ability to tinker with that card appeals- will I be able to just set it up and plug and play without making any potentially dangerous changes to its speed?

    Many thanks again for helping out :)
     
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