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9800 Pro and HL2

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July 9, 2006 8:16:08 AM

I'm having some problems with any gaming on my pc recently, most notably HL2 and HL2 Episode One. I find that white dots appear on some structures and such within the game at sometimes random times... its much worse in Episode One, I'm not quite sure why either. My system also seems to be under a lot more stress as a result and frequently crashes. I've also noticed the crashing in Oblivion (the only other game I've tried).

My problems started when I used system restore due to my desktop doing some random refresh every 3-ish seconds, not sure what caused it, but it made gaming/doing anything on my computer impossible. After the restore the refreshing problem was fixed but this new problem arose.

I've reformatted, reinstalled the game, changed to omega drivers, tried ati drivers, and I'm completely out of options... any ideas?

My computer ran fine before, and run both HL2 and Oblivion fine before the refreshing problem began.

WinXP Pro SP2
MSI K7N2 mobo
AMD 2600+ Thouroughbred
1 gig mushkin ram pc3200
ATI 9800 Pro 128 mb
120gig Seagate 7200 rpm 8 mb cache



More about : 9800 pro hl2

July 9, 2006 8:43:26 AM

looks like your 9800pro is past it.

get a new card.
July 9, 2006 8:46:06 AM

I'm guessing that either your graphics card has suffered heat damage or some software is (unknown to you) overclocking your card.

Try downloading ati tool
http://www.techpowerup.com/atitool/

and click on default, if this doesn't change the core or memory speeds then half each. If this doesn't fix the problem then I think your card is damaged. If it does work then you can try finding stable speeds.

Bit of a shame this happened but the desktop refresh thing makes me think spyware but who knows huh.

Do you get white dots in any other games, it might be your card is mistakenly trying to render directx 9.0c commands when it can't do it. Come to think about it, I remember people reporting dots on their screen when they wanted to play DX8 games with a lesser card. See if you can play relatively older games without problems.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
July 9, 2006 10:10:07 AM

Hey guys, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this something elses fault? The white dots showed up in a print screen, so they are being drawn BEFORE it hits the video card yes? If error shows up on print screen, anything else, if error doesn't show up on printscreen, then its the card. This is the rule of thumb I've used. Whats the temp of the system/CPU? Can you test it in another computer?
July 9, 2006 10:47:02 AM

You could be right but by my logic, only the graphics card can render the scene. Thus, the graphics card renders the scene and you press the "prt scrn" button and get an image of everything that the graphics card rendered. There's no way you can take an image of software rendered half life 2.

Now if his problem was that he got white dots in say, internet explorer, but not the half life 2.

Now, I'm not saying his RAM or CPU is not to blame, just lets go with the more obvious first.

*EDIT*
Also, if you look at the picture you can see a pattern of how the dots become more prominent on the more complex areas of the picture - they are not just spewed anywhere and everywhere. I wouldn't be suprised if it was a shader, AA,Af or lighting problem.
July 9, 2006 11:01:01 AM

Quote:
Hey guys, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this something elses fault? The white dots showed up in a print screen, so they are being drawn BEFORE it hits the video card yes? If error shows up on print screen, anything else, if error doesn't show up on printscreen, then its the card. This is the rule of thumb I've used. Whats the temp of the system/CPU? Can you test it in another computer?


if you look at the posted images the white dots are patterned across only parts of the screen an a kinda uniformed manner. its probly a error further up the line when the scene is being rendered. i have no idea why ram or CPU would cause this. ram or CPU errors would also show in windows not just in games. also, prntscrn grabs a picture of the rendered image. before it gets to the screen.

its the card. ill bet my breakfast on it.
July 9, 2006 11:05:15 AM

Actually I just did a google and the white dot phenomina is a common problem.

Here are some of the reasons for the problem I have found

1)Overclocking artifacting

2)Power supply unable to power the card

3)DX installation failure (try reinstalling the latest DX from windows website)

4)Driver problem

5)HL2, for some reason this game tops the list for white dots.

He aint the only one so there will probably be a solution.
a b U Graphics card
July 9, 2006 4:07:52 PM

Looks to me like the core is overheating. I'd look into that first. Have you checked the condition of your heatsink/fan? Make sure the fan is spinning and carefully blow/clean all the dust off of it. If you still have the problem, you could try opening the side of the case and blowing a large desk fan in at it to see if it's heat related. If it is then fine, You could use ATI tool to underclock the core 20MHz, or just get better case flow, remove/clean/reseat the heatsink with AS5, etc.
July 10, 2006 2:09:32 AM

I underclocked my card and the problem persisted, so I opened my case, sure enough the fan was not spinning on my 9800 pro. I'm planning on upgrading my entire computer (well, mobo, processor, gfx, memory) when intel drops their new processors at the end of the month, but I guess I could replace it until that happens.

Any suggestions on what heatsink fan replacement I should get? (hopefully my card isn't fried, and can still be recovered; it seems to be working fine now with my case window open and a case fan blowing directly on it)
a b U Graphics card
July 10, 2006 2:16:37 AM

Yeah, figured that may be the situation. You could rig up a bracket to mount a 80mm case fan blowing on the card. Kinda making your own version of one of these: http://www.zalman.co.kr/eng/product/view.asp?idx=15&cod...

I upgraded my 9800 pro with an AC VGA SIlencer like the His Ice Q model had. It's a high performance cooler that is quieter than the stock cooler. But there are cheaper ones out there.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...
July 10, 2006 2:58:31 AM

Quote:
I'm having some problems with any gaming on my pc recently, most notably HL2 and HL2 Episode One. I find that white dots appear on some structures and such within the game at sometimes random times... its much worse in Episode One, I'm not quite sure why either. My system also seems to be under a lot more stress as a result and frequently crashes. I've also noticed the crashing in Oblivion (the only other game I've tried).

My problems started when I used system restore due to my desktop doing some random refresh every 3-ish seconds, not sure what caused it, but it made gaming/doing anything on my computer impossible. After the restore the refreshing problem was fixed but this new problem arose.

I've reformatted, reinstalled the game, changed to omega drivers, tried ati drivers, and I'm completely out of options... any ideas?

My computer ran fine before, and run both HL2 and Oblivion fine before the refreshing problem began.

WinXP Pro SP2
MSI K7N2 mobo
AMD 2600+ Thouroughbred
1 gig mushkin ram pc3200
ATI 9800 Pro 128 mb
120gig Seagate 7200 rpm 8 mb cache





If you have a buddy with the same card try switching it out. If the problem follows the card then its your card. If it doesnt then its possibly a bad driver or worst. Try a fresh reinstall or atleast check your system for viruses and adware.
July 10, 2006 3:14:59 AM

He said he formated and did a complete reinstall... anyway yeah if the fan isnt spinning that could be the problem lol its amazing that it didnt pop or crack ! see if you cant get a new fan that should fix the problem (if it doesnt you would need a new card :(  well I wish you luck )
July 10, 2006 3:41:59 AM

well my computer is currently sitting on the floor with a desktop fan blowing on the video card and I just played Episode one for about an hour without any problems. Thanks for the help, I'm guessing I'll buy a fan/heatsink for my card.
Thanks for the help.
July 10, 2006 11:03:24 PM

Quote:
He said he formated and did a complete reinstall... anyway yeah if the fan isnt spinning that could be the problem lol its amazing that it didnt pop or crack ! see if you cant get a new fan that should fix the problem (if it doesnt you would need a new card :(  well I wish you luck )

He stated reinstalled the game and for the format which is not very clear could have only been the OS. Many OS'es can do partial reinstall which leaves everything but the OS and doesn't always get ride of viruses and spyware.

He said a fan fixed his problem so I guess it was overheating.

Doing only a OS reinstall is never a good ideal it leaves everything else which can cause problems.
July 10, 2006 11:08:21 PM

Quote:
well my computer is currently sitting on the floor with a desktop fan blowing on the video card and I just played Episode one for about an hour without any problems. Thanks for the help, I'm guessing I'll buy a fan/heatsink for my card.
Thanks for the help.


If it doesn't work fix up a PSU powered fan to hold you till this fall. DX10 cards are comming so dont waste your money on the current DX9 cards.
July 11, 2006 8:19:15 PM

I did a complete format of my c: drive :) , so everything was deleted.
PSU fan? so just run like an 80mm on the top of the card? how should I mount it?

A quick side question, if I do wait for Directx10 cards, when can I expect them? I want to update before I go to school on August 20th, so should I wait?
July 11, 2006 9:42:03 PM

Quote:
I did a complete format of my c: drive :) , so everything was deleted.
PSU fan? so just run like an 80mm on the top of the card? how should I mount it?

A quick side question, if I do wait for Directx10 cards, when can I expect them? I want to update before I go to school on August 20th, so should I wait?


Intel will is releasing a DX10 card with T&L support maybe by end of August. Nvidia's DX10 card is comming late September to early October with SM4.0. ATI's DX10 R600 is comming out November for the slower 80nm and December for the faster 65nm.

A heat sink and fan that runs straight from the PSU because you power output on the GPU maybe the problem due to a bad resister/transister or capasitor.
a b U Graphics card
July 11, 2006 11:35:35 PM

If you have a spare 80mm, and want a temp fix, just rig up a secure way of blowing the fan onto/into the heatsink. You don't have to mount it to the card and may find that with the dead spot in the middle of the 80mm fan's air path, that mounting it to the card may not be the best airflow solution.

I had a R8500le that I put a passive cpu heatsink on it because the original fan was super loud and near death. It worked fine because the case it was in had a side mounted 80mm fan in it that blew right on the card. Anyway, when using that card in a case with a solid panel, the heatsink got too hot to hold your hand on, so I vecroe'd a 80mm low rpm zalman fan to the bottom of the case. It made a huge difference.



Here is a pic. if your card sits too high up for this (probably does), make a brackt to attach to the rear slot screws. I have one quickly done example (made from a spare slot plate) laying next to this case that held the fan just fine. Permenant mount I'd want to use two of those brackets to secure it better. But there are endless ways to make a bracket to secure it until you are ready to buy a new card. An old expired credit card could be turned into one. Or you may find you can tie strap the 80mm fan right to the 9800 pro.

If you are keeping the 9800 pro for a while, since you know it now works, the AC VGA silencer I linked to is a great aftermarket heatsink/fan if you don't mind spending the $15-20.
a b U Graphics card
July 11, 2006 11:44:24 PM

By the way, how well do you score?:

1 point for identifying the mobo. :roll:

3 points for identifying the brand of the 120mm fan in back of case

6 points for identifying the case the system is in.

The winner gets to have the 8500 if/when I ever fry it. :twisted:
July 11, 2006 11:57:26 PM

The Mboard looks like a Gigabyte I saw a few days ago ... if I could waste 10 minuts I could probably tell you the model number.

As for the case - the only thing I can say is it doesn't look like a Tt ... but I havn't seen many ;-)

Edit: Talk about being dumb ... had I wasted only a few seconds I would have seen it was an Asrock ....
a b U Graphics card
July 12, 2006 12:04:11 AM

Quote:
Edit: Talk about being dumb ... had I wasted only a few seconds I would have seen it was an Asrock ....

LOL, sorry to say but I was thinking the same thing after reading the first sentence. :lol:  You recovered well though. And here I thought the case would be the hard one. :wink:
July 12, 2006 12:09:47 AM

I didn't even bother expanding untill I got too curious ..

Any hints on the case ? color ?
a b U Graphics card
July 12, 2006 12:21:00 AM

Actual color may give it away. The manufacturer refers to the color as AMB.
July 12, 2006 1:11:16 AM

I have a 9800 pro and I had the same problem. Card working fine and then suddenly weird artifacts and games crash. Then I got ati tool and found out that my card was overclocked over the stock speeds. I just got myself a nice heatsink and now I am playing HL2: ep1 fine. I had some little white dots so I downclocked it a bit and they disappeared. It seems to be a heat problem.
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