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Old 08-05-2011, 08:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help me find the culprit

... that's responsible for killing my system while trying to play a game

My system is
Pentium CoreDuo E6750 @2.66
nVidia Geforce 8800 GT
motherboard is is Gigabyte GA-EP35C-DS3R
Chieftech 550W PSU
2gb ram ddr2 kingstone @1066

win xp sp3 & win7 x64
The system is 3,5 years old.

It all started a couple of days ago when i tried to game after some time. After playing a couple of hours my screen froze (music kept playing, but just the music no sound effect from pressing any keys etc) but in a strange way. After a dozen or so seconds my screen would blink black for half a second or so and a small part of it would change. Anyway i just rebooted and obviously the problem did not go away. Sometimes after restarting a game loading reaches 99% and I get a black screen with music. After trying a ton of stuff i realised it's not a game issue and tried to install the game on my new win7 partition (which is pretty basic, just win7 x64 and a set of drivers just a different hard drive) and game crushed while giving me a ''display driver stopped responding...'' message. I update all drivers in both partitions (even using drivers about a year old) and same thing happens.

Tried all sorts of games and same thing happens. Either black screen at the end of loading or, it loads and a couple of seconds later it freezes. Last times I tried after the freeze and blink-black my screen got filled with textures from the game. In other games when there is something rendering in the menus, it freezes while at the menu too after a short amount of time. Stress tests freeze/crash after a few seconds and the last one i tried gave me a BSOD while in XP pointing at nv4_displ (not the exact name but it's the display driver).

Memetested my RAM 0 errors found. CPU seems fine. Tried installing on different hard drives too so I guess HD is not an issue. When my GPU starts working a bit more and (reaches about 62-63 C) I get the same problem.

I think it's something (propably) GPU related . My first guess would be driver but changed lots of those and It doesn't make any sense for the problem to persist in a different OS. I'd love to hear some more ideas, maybe the motherboard is at fault? Can i test that? Might it be the PSU (besides being a possible culprit for the GPU's downfall)? Any way to thest that too? I was thinking of replacing it anyway since it's a bit old. Help this busy IRL guy enjoy some gaming at his free time this summer

Thanks in advance (and sorry for any spelling mistakes, I haven't used my english in a long long time).
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me find the culprit

I would point to either PSU or GPU.

Replace the PSU with a good brand (never heard of Chieftech; go for something like a Corsair, SeaSonic, or PC Power & Cooling) and see if you still have a warranty with your 8800GT (if you got it through EVGA or XFX and registered it, you have a lifetime warranty).
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me find the culprit

Thanks for the reply. That's what I'm planning to do, get a new PSU test it and then get a new GPU if necessary. Unfortunately the waranty for my 8800 ended about 5 months ago . Is it safe to say it's not motherboard related? Last thing I need is replacing the above and having a faulty mobo
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me find the culprit

I would doubt it's the motherboard. I would point toward GPU and/or PSU more than likely.
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me find the culprit

On a side note I also started getting bsods by watchdog.sys a few times when I press fullscreen (or exit fullscreen) during a flash video playback. The video plays perfectly though, and from a quick search I think it has to do with the last nvidia drivers and xp.
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Help me find the culprit

Yha, while a great gpu, they do run warm and can lead up to failure.

Have you checked your gpu temps lately? You can use gpu-z or even hardware monitor from cpuid.com

Have you cleaned out your system? fans ands such? They could get pretty dust ridden.

Roll back toa 26x driver and check, but i think age might be creeping in, and could be a simple re thermal paste fix.
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me find the culprit

I did try the 260.99 drivers and same results (no idea about the flash video thing though, didn't try that). Since it can get pretty hot where I live I monitor my temps 24x7 these days (even before the problems started). Idle was about 51-56 which isn't great but is ok i think considering outside was 34-38 C. I monitored the tems during games with rivatuner and temps peaked around 70 (was 65 on average) which doesn't look distressing. What about the thermal paste? I'm kinda cluless about gpu's can you elaborate on that?
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frapes View Post
I did try the 260.99 drivers and same results (no idea about the flash video thing though, didn't try that). Since it can get pretty hot where I live I monitor my temps 24x7 these days (even before the problems started). Idle was about 51-56 which isn't great but is ok i think considering outside was 34-38 C. I monitored the tems during games with rivatuner and temps peaked around 70 (was 65 on average) which doesn't look distressing. What about the thermal paste? I'm kinda cluless about gpu's can you elaborate on that?
He means you would need to take the shell off of the GPU, and then take the heatsink off, clean it and the GPU (preferably with something like isopropyl [rubbing] alcohol and a non-lint cloth [coffee filters work great and are cheap] to clean them), and then re-apply thermal paste onto the GPU and reseat the heatsink/shell.
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Old 08-05-2011, 02:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Help me find the culprit

well if youre only nhitting 70C on a nvidia gpu, its plenty fine....

I'd think failing hardware.
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I just got Newegg.com - CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply
I connected it (well everything except the extra fans) and all went well. Surpisingly (not :P ) I can now load games properly however I'm having a different issue. I can seed something like horizontal riples moving upward on my screen (you have to look closely though it's not very clear - it's more apparent in games). To expain it better it looks like an ugly refresh rate. Also my gpu tem reached about 60 idle.

Don't think it's a monitor issue. I have a monitor/TV and when i use the remote to bring up the menus the "ripples" don't appear on the menu which means it has something to do with the pc signal. Of course it's probably the gpu however I'm wondering if those ripples are a known sign of failling gpu so I can go ahead and change it without doubt. Haven't tried checking the thermal paste yet.

Thanks for the help so far!
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