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how to tell which video card is failing

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by byoung7998, May 10, 2015.

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  1. byoung7998

    byoung7998 Thread Starter

    Dec 21, 2014
    Good day everyone -

    I have an Alienware 18x R2 beast that is about 1.5 years old. Out of warranty that I bought used a year ago. Been a great computer. I use it for business purposes - needed the big screen for my statistics presentations to customers.

    It has 32GB RAM, dual 7970m 2GB video cards, a boot 240GB SSD, 2 separate 500MB HD, etc. Pretty powerful computer.

    Anyway it appears that one of the two crossfire enabled video cards is going bad. I'm getting the horizontal lines across the screen before the machine crashes. I've already taken it apart, cleaned out the air vents. All 3 cooling fans are working fine. Sometimes the computer works for an hour, then crashes, sometimes it works for seconds then crashes.

    Is there any way to determine which video card is the culprit, so when I open it up to replace it I'm doing more than flipping a coin to guess? It is pretty involved to get to the video cards so I'd prefer to get it right the first time if possible.

    Thank you!

    Bill Young
  2. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

    Jan 14, 2010
    As I understand the situation and presuming that this is the one display using the two 7970 cards linked by the crossfire bridge, if you open the AMD catalyst control centre and if available click to uncheck as explained below

    To disable Crossfire right-click your desktop and select "Catalyst Control Center". On the upper-left click "Graphics", then "CrossfireX". In the main area of the window, uncheck the "Enable Crossfire" option. Click "OK" to accept the changes and close the Control Center.

    I think that will then switch to the primary card only.

    In view of the difference in the time element - one hour to seconds - I have a doubt that it is the cards

    When you reply with the result of disabling crossfire we can explore other possible causes.

    I presume the two HDD - not the SSD the 500 MB are GB not that this of course has any relevance to the problem

    Were it to be me I would start with a driver rollback on the graphics and I would test temps and voltages

    Which OS please if it is 8/8.1 are driver updates via Microsoft - Windows updates - if so I would most certainly examine driver dates and versions.

    When it crashes does it produce a dump file, if so send me a zipped copy of the minidump and I will analyse it for you
  3. Tanis


    May 29, 2006
    First Name:
    You say all 3 cooling fans are working fine? I would expect there to be more than 3 fans in a system like that, maybe I am wrong.

    Have you checked all the fans / heatsinks on the GPUs themselves?

    It sounds to me like a possibly heat related problem or possibly power. Have you done and temperature / voltage monitoring? A good starting point would be to download and install Speccy (its free), create a report an publish it online (there is an option in the file menu to 'publish report online' but I can't remember exactly where. If you do that post the URL in a reply here so we can see the report.
  4. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

    Jan 14, 2010
    It is a laptop - in case you thought it was a desktop

    I also suggested temp and volts monitoring

    Speccy is downloaded from Piriform
    It is as you say available free

    For your information the URL is obtained as here
    Very useful utility I use it quite often for a reasonably comprehensive analysis of the computer. however IMHO and I will stand corrected of course, not always reliable, as like any other generic temp and volts monitoring, it can produce erroneous results. Perhaps not as reliable as the included temps and volts on the Alienware 18x R2

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