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Old 06-06-2013, 12:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bad video card(s)?

Hello,

I have a Dell XPS 6301 outfitted with 2 Intel quad core Q9400 CPUs and dual nVidia GeForce 9800 GT 512mb video cards, and Vista Home Premium 64. Not sure what the mobo is.

Yesterday out of the blue, my screen slowed down and then froze completely...I was merely surfing the web at the time with little running in the background. I couldn't get anything to work so I hard-booted the machine, and when it began to load up, the monitor was grainy and a bunch of zeroes flashed all over the screen. I tried starting it normally and after awhile a message popped up indicating there was a problem and Windows was shutting down my system to prevent damage to the computer.

I was then given the option of starting in Safe Mode (with Networking) so I did, and after it was up and running a message popped up that the abnormal shutdown was probably caused by a problem with my Display driver or card. I tried installing the latest driver and restarted again, and Windows again shut down the boot process.

I again restarted in Safe Mode and did a system restore to an earlier point prior to the video driver update. After restarting "normally", Windows AGAIN shut down and at restart I am now back in Safe Mode, writing this missive on the forum.

To make a long story short, I suspect one of my video cards bit the dust. My question is, can I replace the dual cards, which have 512mb video RAM each, with something like a single EVGA nVidia GeForce 9800GT 1 GB DDR3 VGA/DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card? I THINK the dual cards I have are installed in PCI-Express slots on the mobo, but I don't know the difference between a PCI-Express slot from whatever else there is. They are a little longer than the other slots, and they're blue. Attached is a couple pictures....

Does it sound like I'm on the right track, suspecting a bad video card? And can I replace the dual cards with one single?

Thanks for any and all help, and sorry about the length of my post....
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File Type: jpg dual vids 2.jpg (97.3 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg dual vids 3.jpg (83.2 KB, 5 views)
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad video card(s)?

9800GTs are rather old and crummy, so replacing 1 with a 1GB card (which wouldn't be the same performance) is a waste of money rather.

Take the bottom card out and try booting the PC. If one card went out, you can still use a single card to figure out which one died. You could also try cleaning them out real good. Those single slotters typically overheat really bad after a while. I would also just clean the PC out in general, because it looks like it needs it by looking at that chipset fan.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad video card(s)?

Thanks for the quick response, and I'll definitely do as you suggested. But if it turns out one of the cards IS bad, can I still replace both with a single card, and if not with a 9800GT, what would you suggest? (Those are PCI-Express slots, right?) I don't do hard-core gaming and use little in the way of high demand graphics.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad video card(s)?

Yes you can. If you game, give me an example of what you do because I don't want to suggest something like a GT640 when you in fact might need something bigger.

Yes those are PCI-E slots.

If you don't game at all, you don't even need to replace the one good card if you don't want. They don't need each other to run.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad video card(s)?

The only gaming I do is primarily AGs, and the most demanding one so far has been the Erica Reed series (Cognition, etc.) which stretched the limits of my video RAM. Everything else (any of the adventure games on GoG or Steam) has run fine. So if I replace the cards, I'd like to go with a GB if I could....
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad video card(s)?

Take note, VRAM doesn't depict GPU performance.

On that note, what is your budget?
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad video card(s)?

Let's see.....I just spent 50k on a remodel, so my funds are low at this point. $200? $250? Less....?

And I realize this is probably answered elsewhere in the forum, but what's the best way to clean out the PC? Vacuum? Dust-off?
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad video card(s)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnum4c View Post
Let's see.....I just spent 50k on a remodel, so my funds are low at this point. $200? $250? Less....?

And I realize this is probably answered elsewhere in the forum, but what's the best way to clean out the PC? Vacuum? Dust-off?
Canned air.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad video card(s)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnum4c View Post
Let's see.....I just spent 50k on a remodel, so my funds are low at this point. $200? $250? Less....?

And I realize this is probably answered elsewhere in the forum, but what's the best way to clean out the PC? Vacuum? Dust-off?
Take your pick in cards. They will all do what you want.

Newegg.com - ASUS GT640-1GD5-L GeForce GT 640 1GB 64-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
EVGA 01G-P4-3650-KR GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Newegg.com
EVGA 02G-P4-2660-KR GeForce GTX 660 2GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Newegg.com

I personally use a shop vac with a bristle end. It's the best for very caked on dust and cleaning fans without getting a mess everywhere.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad video card(s)?

Thanks! Another quick question: I have a couple other open slots (see photo). What are they, and can one of these be used for a video card, and if so, suggestions based on the above?
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