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Problems with 6800GS; need general GPU advice

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 5, 2006 8:42:02 PM

hi, i'm new to the forums - i used the Short List sticky recently as a guide when looking for a reasonably priced AGP video card to hold me over until i build a new, PCI-e-based system sometime in the middle of next year. i settled on the GF6800GS, which i found (after much searching) for $169+shipping from a pricegrabber merchant. these cards are rare at this point, and i couldn't find one anywhere else for less than ~$240. unfortunately, when i received the card and plugged it in, it produced significant artifacts in F.E.A.R. and HL2:Ep1. i tried both the drivers that came with the card and the most recent ForceWare drivers from nVidia's site, but both produced the same results. interestingly enough, i downloaded one of the 6800 series graphical demos from nVidia (the boat demo), and it ran without a hitch.

at the price i found, the 6800GS seems like pretty much a slam dunk, with OpenEXR HDR compatibility and pretty good speed for a mid-range AGP card. naturally, i'm a little reluctant to send it back, because the merchant i bought it from has since sold out of the card, and i doubt i'll be able to find it anywhere else for a reasonable price. thus, i have a couple of questions.

1. is there any other explanation for the card's producing artifacts right out of the box, aside from it's being faulty? does an underpowered GPU tend to produce artifacts? i never had problems with my previous card, a 9800pro, but i assume the 6800GS is significantly more power-hungry, and my 420W power supply is already feeding a DVD+/-RW and four HDDs.

2. what could be causing the card to produce artifacts in the two games i mentioned, but not in the nVidia demo? the demo should presumably be giving the card a pretty good workout, because its description touts some relatively advanced shader techniques and such.

3. if the card is clearly faulty, what's my next best option? i had settled on the 6800GS over the x800GTO in large part because i really like the HDR effect and wanted to experience it in games such as Oblivion and FarCry, which require FP16 blending. i briefly considered an x1600pro, since it supports HDR (and simultaneous AA), but have read that these cards are really underperformers and wouldn't keep up with either of the former two cards. i suppose a good followup question would be, is either the 6800GS or the x800GTO capable of running Oblivion at a reasonable framerate in the first place?

4. given my situation (wanting a temporary upgrade to hold me over for ~1 year, until i upgrade my entire system), would it be wise to settle for an x800GTO, or to grab a cheap PCI-e motherboard (such as an Asus A8N5X, <$80 from Newegg) and a 7600GT for slightly more? it bothers me that i could get more for my money if i were buying a PCI-e video card, but at the same time, a motherboard upgrade as a temporary fix seems like a bit of overkill.

any answers/advice that anyone can give would be quite welcome. thanks in advance :D 

EDIT: i can post some screenshots of the artifacts i observed this evening, if necessary.
June 5, 2006 8:50:32 PM

In all honesty, Oblivion and Far Cry would probably choke on a 6800 GS with HDR enabled anyway.

You got a bad card my friend. Keeping it is not an option.

You could try returning it to the manufacturer instead of the merchant, they might be able to better accomodate a replacement...

Otherwise, get your money back... try an X800 GTO, or better yet - a used 6800 GT or X800 XL. Those are great deals, used. Ton of 'em on ebay.
June 5, 2006 9:08:29 PM

Quote:
hi, i'm new to the forums - i used the Short List sticky recently as a guide when looking for a reasonably priced AGP video card to hold me over until i build a new, PCI-e-based system sometime in the middle of next year. i settled on the GF6800GS, which i found (after much searching) for $169+shipping from a pricegrabber merchant. these cards are rare at this point, and i couldn't find one anywhere else for less than ~$240. unfortunately, when i received the card and plugged it in, it produced significant artifacts in F.E.A.R. and HL2:Ep1. i tried both the drivers that came with the card and the most recent ForceWare drivers from nVidia's site, but both produced the same results. interestingly enough, i downloaded one of the 6800 series graphical demos from nVidia (the boat demo), and it ran without a hitch.

at the price i found, the 6800GS seems like pretty much a slam dunk, with OpenEXR HDR compatibility and pretty good speed for a mid-range AGP card. naturally, i'm a little reluctant to send it back, because the merchant i bought it from has since sold out of the card, and i doubt i'll be able to find it anywhere else for a reasonable price. thus, i have a couple of questions.

1. is there any other explanation for the card's producing artifacts right out of the box, aside from it's being faulty? does an underpowered GPU tend to produce artifacts? i never had problems with my previous card, a 9800pro, but i assume the 6800GS is significantly more power-hungry, and my 420W power supply is already feeding a DVD+/-RW and four HDDs.

2. what could be causing the card to produce artifacts in the two games i mentioned, but not in the nVidia demo? the demo should presumably be giving the card a pretty good workout, because its description touts some relatively advanced shader techniques and such.

3. if the card is clearly faulty, what's my next best option? i had settled on the 6800GS over the x800GTO in large part because i really like the HDR effect and wanted to experience it in games such as Oblivion and FarCry, which require FP16 blending. i briefly considered an x1600pro, since it supports HDR (and simultaneous AA), but have read that these cards are really underperformers and wouldn't keep up with either of the former two cards. i suppose a good followup question would be, is either the 6800GS or the x800GTO capable of running Oblivion at a reasonable framerate in the first place?

4. given my situation (wanting a temporary upgrade to hold me over for ~1 year, until i upgrade my entire system), would it be wise to settle for an x800GTO, or to grab a cheap PCI-e motherboard (such as an Asus A8N5X, <$80 from Newegg) and a 7600GT for slightly more? it bothers me that i could get more for my money if i were buying a PCI-e video card, but at the same time, a motherboard upgrade as a temporary fix seems like a bit of overkill.

any answers/advice that anyone can give would be quite welcome. thanks in advance :D 

EDIT: i can post some screenshots of the artifacts i observed this evening, if necessary.


It's possible that it's your PSU. The nVidia demo may tax the GPU, but

maybe not using the CPU to the extent of the games...thereby increasing

the load. I hope you remembered to plug in the molex power connector

on the end of the card. If it's not the PSU, then it sounds like your card is

pooched. GL :) 


PS. I would try and install Rivatuner to check things out. There's a slight

possibility that they didn't lock the 4th quad PS, and 1 VS, from the

factory. Stranger things have happened. That would likely give you

artifacts, if they are indeed damaged.
Related resources
June 5, 2006 9:17:15 PM

Quote:
It's possible that it's your PSU.



Insufficient PSU power will cause hard crashes and lockups, never visual glitches and texture tearing.

I'd return the card if I were you...
June 5, 2006 9:55:58 PM

thanks for the advice. i'm looking into getting a replacement card from XFX, and also trolling Ebay regularly to see if i can pick up a 6800GT on the cheap.
June 5, 2006 10:45:06 PM

Quote:
It's possible that it's your PSU.



Insufficient PSU power will cause hard crashes and lockups, never visual glitches and texture tearing.

I'd return the card if I were you...
I had tearing and such once with my pcie 6800gs when i was playing wow with the case off cuz its been really hot here lately and the side fell pulling off the hdd connector out and well everything was all messed up and sloiw and the textures were all wrong but u know i turnedthe machine off real quick and its ok.
June 5, 2006 10:53:16 PM

Quote:
In all honesty, Oblivion and Far Cry would probably choke on a 6800 GS with HDR enabled anyway.


I knew you would post here and pop off with a comment like that. He came here to solve a problem with his card, not to give you a chance to slam an nVidia card...again :roll:

Far Cry with HDR is utterly and completely playable on a 6800GS, and as for Oblivion?.....all of the mid-range cards choke on that game....with, or without HDR enabled.

You sound like a freakin' broken record these days.
June 5, 2006 11:40:36 PM

well RandalFlagg, to be fair, in addition to asking about the problems i'm having with my 6800gs, i also asked how well a 6800gs or x800gto would run FarCry or Oblivion. Cleeve's response wasn't out of the blue. aside from the aftermarket HDR patch, FarCry is pretty old tech at this point, though... i was surprised at the claim that a 6800GS would choke on it, even with HDR enabled. i hope i can just get this damned thing fixed or replaced for free and get on with my life... i'm pretty optimistic about the prospects, though, as XFX has a "Double lifetime warranty" that covers its GF6 and 7 series cards not only for the first owner, but for the second owner as well.
June 5, 2006 11:41:59 PM

And I knew you'd come back with some whiney drivel.


How many 6800 GS' have you tried HDR with, Randallflag?

I've tried it with a 6800 Ultra (which wasn't enough to do it on an Athlon XP 3200+, not even close) and a 7600 GT (which pulled it off on an Athlon 64 @ 2.55 Ghz).

The 7600 GT couldn't do it in Oblivion to good effect, it could pull it off in Far Cry and Serious Sam II pretty well though. If you want to see my results, you can check them out in the article I wrote for Tom's, it's live on the front page now.

So considering this experience (not whining fanboi driven patsy-talk), and considering this fellow wants a card for Oblivion & Far Cry both, and considering the AGP 6800 GS isn't nearly as powerful as it's PCIe cousin, I think I've made a pretty reasonable recommendation.

You want to dispute it with some experience, maybe a decent argument? Or just pop in to naysay and bitch that other people don't smoke the same amount of corporate pole you do?

If I'm such an Ati whore why did I show the 7600 GT so favorably against the X1800 XL in my review? You'd think I'd have gone out of my way to hide such damaging information? Oh yeah, it's because I'm interested iun performance, not fanboy suckers.

Did you notice by the way, this fellow bought the 6800 GS in the first place because it's on my Short-list sticky?
Yeah, I'm real anti-Nvidia, recommnending them to everyone like that. And then suggesting something else when it didn't work, wow, I'm a real anti-Nvidia guy.

You fanboys are all alike, if someone doesn't drool anything but complements for your brand you assume they're haters. In the last thread I made a comment in I was accused of being an Ati hater because I said something positive about Nvidia.

Your kind is so pathetic and predictable.
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