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Dilemma (complex)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 27, 2006 6:45:57 PM

Last night while logging on for a raid in WoW after 2 mins my screen goes black and my monitor gives me a no signal message. The computer is still functioning properly (i had vent on and could still talk and hear people talking). I reset my computer (which blows cuz it takes 30mins). And it happens again. I update my drivers for my graphics card, happens again. I finally get it to stay working on WoW by resetting video options to default, and dropping the resolution to 800x600 to finish the raid. I figured my graphics card is going out. The dilema is that my system is aged a bit. The current card is a Sapphire radeon 9800 pro. I am unsure whether or not to just replace the card with another AGP card, or just bite the bullet and upgrade the CPU/Mobo to PCI-E and be done with it.

Current system specs

Athlon XP2500 barton
Asus A7n8x deluxe
1.5gig corsair XMS pc3200 pro (dual channel)
Thermal take 440w PSU
Radeon 9800 pro 128.
Seagate SATA HDD
Soundblaster Audigy.

As you can see, my system is a bit dated. I was wondering if i would be better off replacing just the card, or upgrade the whole system. My budget at MAX is 500, would prefer 400. I know back a few years ago, the XP2500/Asus A7n8X/Radeon 9800 pro was the 400 dollar bang for buck budget gamer's dream. Is there anything like that now?

More about : dilemma complex

November 27, 2006 7:18:02 PM

Why does it take 30 minutes for your computer to boot?

If WOW is all you do, then just get a new video card. A 7600GS or X1650Pro would suffice and at minimal cost. <$150.00

EDIT: You could upgrade to an E6300 C2D, cheap non-overclocking motherboard, 1GB DDR2 667 and a 7600GT for about $500 but it will most likely require a Windows re-install which mother M$ may or may not let you do without buying a new copy.
November 27, 2006 7:24:23 PM

Does this problem happen at any other time, or just playing WOW? Did this suddenly start happening, and up until now it was working fine? Have you installed anything just before the problem started, including patches to WOW?

Read the release notes for your current driver to see if anything in there about WOW or your 9800. You should also try going back to an older release of CAT drivers.

If your PC takes 30 minutes to boot, you need to fix that too. Who knows what Windows gremlins you have going on in there.
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November 27, 2006 7:45:03 PM

the problem JUST started happening, and has never happened before. Nothing was done different than was normally done. I just simply logged into WoW to start a guild raid, and the display crashed after 2 mins of play. Never had this problem before. It did this repeatedly over a span of 2 hours. I just downloaded a stress tester for my video card and ran it about 15mins ago, guess what? Yep, crashed out my display. As for the 30 min reboot, the hangup is with the windows process (lsass.exe). It takes FOREVER to finish up and eats 95% of my system resources until its done. I know there was a virus with the same name, but this isn't it (all virus software/spyware killers are up to date). It eats up all my system memory for about 25mins after a restart, after that it runs fine. I dont just play WoW, i play games in general, but im not a graphics whore, i can live with everything on medium as long as my frames is good. But some of the newer games seem like they are gonna go beyond what my card can do.
November 27, 2006 8:36:48 PM

I found this article that might help you out if you're running Win2k.

See if you can test your card in another system. It's the fastest way to isolate your problem. Be sure to check the temperature.

With your budget and how old your comp is, I'd advise getting a new VGA and saving up to buy something better next year. If you buy a so-so system upgrade now and spend all your cash, I bet you'll regret it when Vista comes out, and the new stuff might make you feel worse about the old stuff you didn't have the cash to upgrade.

Any of the higher end x8** cards or a 7600GT should fill your needs very well. With your system, spending more than that is probably a waste. Before my x800xl died, it was running WoW at 1280x1024, all details max, usually 60fps, down to like 15-20 in Orgrimmar on a weekend night around the AH. If I raided a lot, I'd probably turn down some details to raise the FPS.
November 28, 2006 2:10:34 AM

Unfortunately i have no other system to test my card in. My system is running Xp pro OS. I still have yet to come up with a good remedy for the lsass problem. I would like to be able to reboot my computer without the 30 min lag times. Makes for strenuousness in updating it with restarts required. As for the video card, probably will buy something like an X800 or along those lines (around 150ish) and get something nice when i get more money and less debt...
November 28, 2006 4:04:50 AM

Have you pulled the card to look at it? A buddy of mine had the same problem and I suggested he pull out his card and clean any dust. Once he blew out a few cob-webs/dust bunnies from the fan he was back running WOW in no time.
November 28, 2006 4:43:26 PM

hatsurfer makes a good point here.

As for the boot issue, AV programs do a somewhat good job of keeping malware from getting into the system, but they fail miserably if one gets in. I'd suggest booting into Windows Safe Mode with Networking and run a free online scanner like Trend Micro's Housecall. Chances are it will pick something up.
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