Busted Video Card? Also: Motherboard talk

Well, today surfaced a problem on my system thats making it impossible for me to use any games. My theory is the video card, a GeForce 2 64MB manufactured by VisionTek thats over 2 years old, has been worn out. But before I go ahead and delcare it dead I thought I might as well ask for some second opinions. Though at this point Im probably grasping for straws, you never know.

So, last week everything was working fine. Today I started getting an odd video glitch and freeze-up situation. When playing games(Ive tested it with more than one game) and the graphics card is actually having to do work(doesnt happen when its not rendering 3D graphics, like when Im just internet surfing like right now, though it did happen a few times when the screensaver came up[its a 3D screensaver]) the system will freeze up and Ill see varying patterns of vertical straight or zig-zag lines all over my screen in colors that look like old DOS or Windows 3.1 colors. At this point my computer is frozen as well and I must hit the restart button. This is also happening when using the Elder Scrolls Construction Set for Morrowind. For those of you unfamiliar, the TESCS is a program that lets you edit the world for an RPG called Morrowind, and in it you see renderings of the world in a window. I mention this because it indicates that the problem is not limited to full screen situations.

So, what Ive done is as follows:

1) My first thought was maybe the system had overheated(this hasnt happened for about 3 years for me, ever sense I put in a second fan to create an airflow through the case, but figured worth a shot). Shut down the computer and let it sit for about half an hour. Booted up and tried it again, got same problem while playing a game again.

2) Next I attempted to isolate the problem further. I opened up the DirectX Diagnostic Tool and ran the display tests. Direct Draw tests all completed without issue(thrice). I then moved onto the Direct3D test. The first test(interface 7) passed without issue, but the glitch/freeze struck immediatly during the interface 8 test. Note: After restoring my PC as will be described in step 3 and it happened again on the interface 8 test(tried it twice, happened immediatly when the test started) I thought I would try interface 9. I skipped interface 8 and tried 9, it happened immediaty with interface 9 as well.

3) My second step was to eliminate the possibility of a software problem. I own the program Norton Ghost from Symantec. This program makes a compressed copy of your harddrive(s) on CDs. You can then restore your computer by overwriting your hardrive with the backup copy. It completly overwrites everything on your drive, including Windows. I restored my computer using this method to a backup from a month ago. Remember that this problem only surfaced today, so if it was software based it should have been cleared up. However, I got the glitch again at the same point in the dxdiag test.

4) I then uninstalled my drivers and reinstalled the latest driver from the nVidia website-no effect.

5) I then downloaded and reinstalled DirectX-no effect.

Then this morning after getting the glitch again my computer doesnt boot up anymore. The monitor light blinks like its not getting a signal from the video card and remains blank. The thinking light(light that blinks when your computer is busy) remains solid but nothing happens. I think this card finally kicked the bucket.

Fortunatly, when I dug up the old box from the basement I noticed a lifetime warranty. So tommorow when theyre open Ill give their tech support a call and see what they have to say about it. Does anyone think it could be something other than the vid card? Ive never known one to just stop working, Ive got an old as heck 8MB one in this second PC of mine that hasnt quit yet. And I couldnt have accidently knocked something around in there because I havnt opened up either of my PCs in about six months.

I was considering another option too. Before I saw that lifetime warranty I was shopping around online and noticed my local CompUSA was selling a GeForce FX Ultra 5200 w/128MB RAM for $169.99 after a $30.00 mail-in rebate. Was thinking I could buy that, then get my free replacement and sell it on eBay without ever opening the box. Problem with that is the GFFX requires an 8xAGP slot and my old motherboard has a 4x. I was looking around for motherboards and I couldnt find any that had 8xAGP and supported Intel Pentium III processors. All the 8xAGP only seem to support P4 processors. Which means I would have to buy a new motherboard AND processor, which Im really not in the mood to do unless anyone knows where I could get a combo deal for cheap.

Anyways, thanks in advance for any opinions or suggestions :)
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  1. Sounds like you tried just about everything. The only things I can think of are make sure nothing is O/C and try it in a different system if you can.

    my local CompUSA was selling a GeForce FX Ultra 5200 w/128MB RAM for $169.99 after a $30.00 mail-in rebate

    If you think that's a deal you should check <A HREF="http://www.pricewatch.com" target="_new">Price Watch</A>. Also I would buy ATI.

    Problem with that is the GFFX requires an 8xAGP slot and my old motherboard has a 4x.

    I'm pretty sure that all AGP 8X cards can run 4X, lots can even run 2X.
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