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Serious Artifacting in Oblivion and BF2/2142

Last response: in Overclocking
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January 22, 2007 9:21:55 PM

System:

Core2Duo E6600 @ 3.0 Ghz w/ Tuniq Tower 120
Asus P5W DH Deluxe Mobo
-all settings set pursuant to the C2D overclocking guide from these forums.
Antec Truepower 500watt power supply
2 GB OCZ Gold Series DDR2 1000 ram at default timings at 1:1
ATI X1800XT 257MB not overclocked w/ ATI silencer
2 CD drives
1 Floppy drive
Razer Copperhead Mouse
Saitek Lighted Keyboard
Silverstone TJ07 Case

I have been experiencing two related problems of late. First, occasionally, after powering down the system, I cannot power back up unless I do things like unplug the power supply and let it drain for a few minutes, or systematically remove USB devices. This problem seems to be occuring less often after I disconnected the fan controller that came with my Tuniq Tower 120 and plugged the CPU fan directly into the board, but it still occurs.

Second, I am experiencing artifacting in BF2, 2142, and Oblivion. The same type of artifacting occurs in all three games. In BF2 and 2142, there will be a thin black diagonal lines extending from one or more player into a point in the sky like a string on a puppet. Also, shimmering textures, large pillars of texture extending into the sky, and sometimes a wall of texture in sky. This usually occurs after extended periods of play, and has been consistently occuring during every play session.

Note that my system is prime stable and that rolling back ATI drivers from ATI 7.1 to the previous version did not fix the problem.

Can anyone help me troubleshoot this. Do any of these symptoms sound framiliar to anyone.
January 22, 2007 10:40:59 PM

Could a failing PSU cause the kind of artifacting I described?
January 23, 2007 12:02:51 AM

Well, speedfan indicates that when I run dual instances of Prime95, the +12 line sort of bounces back and fourth from 12.20 to 12.25. It is pretty steady though.
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January 23, 2007 1:24:13 AM

How are GPU temperatures? That is the most common reason for artifacting. Being that it happens after playing awhile, I wouldn't be surprised if temperature were the culprit. Also, I know you don't have your card OCed but maybe you should drop the core speed 10-15mhz and the memory about the same, see if that helps. Is the card factory overclocked? Stable OCs can degrade with time, my old MX4000 card used to be able to push about 30mhz higher on the core than it can now before artifacting in sweet games that it can run :p 
January 23, 2007 1:43:34 AM

According to Atitool, it idles around 45C and when I run the cube thing for a few minutes to heat it up, it goes up to about 62C.
January 23, 2007 1:58:54 AM

It's possible this could be caused by your VRAM. Underclock it and see if that fixes it.
January 23, 2007 2:11:16 AM

Yeah, temps are great, especially for the card. Anything under 100C shouldn't artifact an X1800/X1900 series.

I also suggest underclocking the GPU memory first, then the core if the memory doesnt solve the issue.
January 24, 2007 3:52:50 AM

Quote:
How are GPU temperatures? That is the most common reason for artifacting. Being that it happens after playing awhile, I wouldn't be surprised if temperature were the culprit. Also, I know you don't have your card OCed but maybe you should drop the core speed 10-15mhz and the memory about the same, see if that helps. Is the card factory overclocked? Stable OCs can degrade with time, my old MX4000 card used to be able to push about 30mhz higher on the core than it can now before artifacting in sweet games that it can run :p 


I'll second that, 9 times out of 10 heat is the cause of artifacts. Check your internals, get in there with a can of compressed air and go berzerk, also, if you have a lot of cables cluttering the inside of the case, try to get the organized to keep from prohibiting airflow. Also, make sure you hit every fan with the air duster, especially the GPU and the PSU.
January 24, 2007 5:05:48 AM

That is good advice--I didn't think about dusting. It has never been dusted and I built it in August. I'll dust it tomorrow. It seems unlikely that it would be heat considering my temps are so good.

I underclocked the graphics card memory by like 20Mhz and that didn't help. However, I changed the PCIe frequency from 33.33Mhz back to AUTO in my bios and then played a Oblivion for a good hour and didn't see the artifacting. The Tom's Core2Duo guide told me to change it to 33Mhz so I did. It also told me to set PCI frequency at 100Mhz, I set that back to auto as well.

Today I ran memtest for 2 hours and my memory tested fine.

Here is one more thought. I have read that the cooling on the Asus P5W DH Deluxe is not great and a lot of people have said that removing the heatsinks and reseating them with Arctic Silver5 drops MB temps significantly. However, I don't know if this will void the warranty or not. Do you guys think MB temps might produce that kind of artifacting?
January 24, 2007 5:08:59 AM

Its possible, but improbable. Usually that would cause system instability, lockups and such. As for the temps, your fans, especially on your vid card can really get gummed up by dust, which not only reduces cooling efficiency, but your fan speeds will suffer which will amplify the problem. If you havent dusted since august i would honestly suspect that to be the issue. You'll be amazed at how much can make it into a system like that in 5 months.
January 24, 2007 5:13:49 AM

Alright that will be my next troubleshooting step. I think I'm out of air so when I get some I'll blow it out real good and then test it.
January 25, 2007 12:02:25 AM

Ok. I have not had time to get a can of air to clean the fans yet but I will. I want, however, to emphasize something I discovered today.

When I run into the first problem I described, where I power off the system and then can't get it to power back on, I have found consistently that if I unplug the powersupply from the wall and let it sit for about two minutes, and then plug it back in, the system will power up when I hit the switch. It seems to work just about every time I try it. Does that set off any red flags for any of you PC tech guys?
!