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Blue Screen of Death while playing Starcraft II (NVIDIA 8800GT)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
July 14, 2013 5:40:34 PM

I have an older machine that I put together a few years back. For the most part, it is reliable but recently I purchased Star Craft II and getting the blue screen of death or video crashes during play.

My machine is as follows:
OS: Windows Vista 64 Home Premium Edition Service Pack 2
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
Motherboard: ASUS P5N-D (Chipset NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI SPP)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (PCI-e 2.0; 512 MB Memory)
RAM: Four Kingston DDR2 2GB sticks (8GB total)
Power Supply: At least 600 Watt; maybe an 800 Watt; I lost receipt and do not want to take everything out to get to text
Case: Antec 900 (all fans are functional)

I updated video card drivers with a clean install and it worked for awhile (had a few solid hours of play for a few nights with no issues), then the problem started again. I also did things the video game suggested like capping frame-rate in variables.txt, reducing graphics, taking out and cleaning dust off video card, etc. I also monitored temperatures and when the machine reboots (few minutes later), the GPU temps are in the mid-60 range (well under 100 maximum). I also ran the game repair tool and that seemed to help.

If it is not the game, I’m thinking it's the video card. I guess my power supply could also be the culprit as the problem only happens in game, never when checking emails, doing bills, etc. but it’s worked with this card for years. I also installed a USB 3.0 card recently that has had a tough time with driver installs. It says it did not install, yet it functions. I do not think it is the card, but maybe something else causing my computer not to see hardware?

So, with this system, what is the best video card that is compatible with MB and CPU (as well as Start Craft 2)? I do not want to invest a lot of money since my computer is old and I may need to buy a new system. I’d hate to be stuck with an older card if I upgrade my entire system but if I am going to go through the trouble, I'd like a better card.

So, how can I verify for sure it is the video card and not a motherboard or power supply problem?

Here is the error message I get when I recover from crash:

Windows has recovered from an unexpected shutdown

Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: BlueScreen
OS Version: 6.0.6002.
Locale ID: 1033

Additional information about the problem:
BCCode: 116
BCP2: FFFFFA6003AF3700
BCP4: 0000000000000004
OS Version: 6_0_6002
Service Pack: 2_0
Product: 768_1

Files that help describe the problem:
C:\Users\Jacob Collins\AppData\Local\Temp\WER-259070-0.sysdata.xml
C:\Users\Jacob Collins\AppData\Local\Temp\WERF6EB.tmp.version.txt

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July 14, 2013 6:07:48 PM

I would start by running memtest, Blizzard games are notorious for finding problems with RAM that don't show up elsewhere.
July 21, 2013 4:02:26 PM

OK I'll try that. Any advice on a new video card if it is not the memory?

I've never used this memory software before, what do I look for?
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July 21, 2013 9:50:35 PM

If you end up needing a GPU, what is your budget? Do you prefer AMD/ATI, nVidia or best bang for your buck?
Your mobo has PCI-e 2.0, since the PCI-e standards are backwards compatible you can run any GPU you want (as long as your PSU can handle it as well). Upgrading your GPU would provide a nice boost in performance as well.

As for memtest, it should clearly indicate if/when it finds problems.
July 23, 2013 10:53:01 PM


If you end up needing a GPU, what is your budget? Do you prefer AMD/ATI, nVidia or best bang for your buck?
Your mobo has PCI-e 2.0, since the PCI-e standards are backwards compatible you can run any GPU you want (as long as your PSU can handle it as well). Upgrading your GPU would provide a nice boost in performance as well.

As for memtest, it should clearly indicate if/when it finds problems.

I ran all four of my memory slots (RAM) together with memtest86. It ran for 47 hours 47 minutes and 59 seconds completing 6 iterations with 17 passes (no errors). Does this mean it is definitely the video card (since I completed all steps in above post)?

Budget: Looking for best bang for the buck (8800GT was best bang for buck not too long ago). I want something more powerful than 8800GT but definitely do not want to go over $200. I’d prefer to stay in $120 - $150 range if possible

Prefer nVidia since motherboard chip is NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI SPP and I’ve always seemed to own one and always been good to me (this card is old and I’ve used the ^&%# out of it).
But does that even matter? I always assumed some special compatibility, but am I wrong here?

p.s. I was not aware I could look for a pci-e 3.0 card since they are backwards compatible. I thought I had to look for an older pci-e 2.0. Very good to know!


Best solution

July 23, 2013 11:26:19 PM

Seems like it is the GPU. Tom's has a GPU article each month for best bang for your buck at different price points:

Their recommendation at your price point is the Radeon 7790. Which should be a pretty good upgrade.

As or the nVidia nForce chipset, basically its for SLI, meaning you can run 2 or more nVidia cards together. You can still run a single AMD/ATI card though. So when running a single GPU, it doesn't matter what brand you choose.
July 24, 2013 10:50:00 AM

Thank you for your help. I will head over to Fry’s this weekend (they price match Newegg) after thoroughly reviewing everything. So far, the Radeon HD 7790 looks like a great choice. A few more questions:

Should I expect lower performance than the specs listed since I am using pci-e 2.0 opposed to 3.0?

Is it worth it to purchase an over clocked GPU? It is the same price as the standard version and OC from the factory.

Is there any benefits to using the HDMI connection over the DVI connection? I have an older monitor I may upgrade to HDMI if I can justify it. Better frame rates, etc? From my understanding they are identical except the HDMI also has audio (which I would not even use due to my speakers).

What about running ReadyBoost for Vista64; any boost to performance in video games here (flash drives faster during non-sequential reads - whatever that means)?
July 24, 2013 12:04:42 PM

Most GPU's can't even max out the speeds of 2.0 so there shouldn't be any loss there.

Most vendor OC's are mild and can easily be done by the user.Most of the time the factory OC doesn't offer much in the way of extra performance, but if you find a good deal on one, it can't hurt.

HDMI supposedly gives a sharper picture, but I personally don't see much difference, I'm running 2 1080p monitors from DVI cables and a 1080p TV off the DVI, the quality is equal from what I can see. There is no performance benefit in terms of FPS.

I have not used ReadyBoost, never saw a need. You can try it and see if it benefits you.

Lastly, I recommend ASUS, Sapphire and XFX GPU's. I have used these brands in multiple builds and have yet to get a bad card.
July 24, 2013 10:29:53 PM

When I was price shopping, I found an XFX Radeon HD 7850 1 GB for the same price as the 7790. The 7850 seems to be a better card with exception of more power use.

However, benchmark tests show GeForce GTX 650 Ti playing star craft 2 better and its in the same price range for an ASUS. So many decisions! I'll probably go with the card that works best on the game I like. Prices are just about the same.

Thank you so much for your time. Think I'm making the right choice?

July 24, 2013 10:49:07 PM

The 7850 is more powerful than the 650ti, the 650ti boost however is in the same class as the 7850. The 1gb version of the 7850 is being phased out so is probably being priced as a clearance. Basically put, performance-wise:
7790 = 650ti
7850 = 650ti boost

A 7850 is a great deal for the same price as a 7790.