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Problems cooling X1900XT several months after use

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 24, 2007 9:57:22 PM

I ordered a bunch of parts for a new computer from Newegg last September. The video card at hand is an ASUS 512mb Radeon X1900XT.

Everything has been running great up until about a month ago. When I first started using the PC I was playing HL2 and any other high end game I could get my hands on at near maximum settings without any problems. As of late, however, I can't even run newer games (even HL2) at low or medium settings without reaching 95+ Celsius in minutes. Basically anything I play results in tearing and artifacts until the card can't take it anymore and freezes up the computer.

I've never messed with the video card settings so there has been no overclocking involved and I've even added an additional 80mm fan blowing directly on the card which has not helped at all. The only time I can even play a newer game on this rig is when I have a box fan blowing directly into the side of the case with the side panel taken off.

The case at hand is an Antec SONATA II. If you aren't familiar with the case, there's an internal duct system that uses a 120mm fan to pull in air from the front and blow it out of the back of the case. As I mentioned earlier, I also threw in an 80mm fan that blows directly onto the video card.

The GPU is currently idling at 58C.

Do I have any options here to salvage this card before attempting to RMA? This is a last resort as I do not have any backup card while it takes its time to process.
July 24, 2007 10:47:53 PM

If the card has been working the only thing I can think of that might be causing a heat issue would be dust clogging the heatsink, which is pretty common (especially if you have pets). Clean the card with a can of air. You can pick one up at any office store fairly inexpensive. This would be my first step, the next step might be power supply, but would be unlikely.

July 24, 2007 10:48:10 PM

check my config, but I have the powercolor version of that very card and the exact same case. (and psu I assume)

First off I assume that where you live it is winter (or almost winter) in sept and summer right now. That alone could explain why it worked then and not now... if your ambient temp is warm like mine is (currently 100 degrees F here) then that will raise temps quite a bit. Fans can only move ambient air over your system... and if it is HOT air... well, you get the idea.

I have my system in the basement of my place that stays ~20 degrees below ambient so that is a big help.

I also do not use that duct system the case includes... just got in the way and I personally think it slowed airflow. I rigged a fan at the front of my case to pull air in there and use the exhaust fan it came with right under the psu. That intake fan essentially points right at the intake of the video card which I assume also helps.

But seriously, ambient temp is the killer evil here... dunno how it is w/ you but that could explain it all. Especially when the 1900xt is already a hot card. Try the fan setup I just described and it should help, that duct just sucks IMO.

I am leaving work right now so may not respond 'til later but thought I should get this to you first.

not saying you shouldn't rma the card, but if anything I said is true for you then a new one may not help.

rock on.
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July 24, 2007 10:50:02 PM

Are you sure the fan is running on it?

If you don't want to go through the wait of RMA, your best option is to buy a decent 3rd party cooler like the HR-03 and put that on it. But I would RMA it.
July 24, 2007 11:46:30 PM

seezur said:
If the card has been working the only thing I can think of that might be causing a heat issue would be dust clogging the heatsink, which is pretty common (especially if you have pets). Clean the card with a can of air. You can pick one up at any office store fairly inexpensive. This would be my first step, the next step might be power supply, but would be unlikely.


Thanks for the advice but dust is definitely not an issue at the moment. I blow out the case regularly and I just recently blew out the card to make sure that it wasn't dust causing the problem

sojrner said:
check my config, but I have the powercolor version of that very card and the exact same case. (and psu I assume)

First off I assume that where you live it is winter (or almost winter) in sept and summer right now. That alone could explain why it worked then and not now... if your ambient temp is warm like mine is (currently 100 degrees F here) then that will raise temps quite a bit. Fans can only move ambient air over your system... and if it is HOT air... well, you get the idea.

I have my system in the basement of my place that stays ~20 degrees below ambient so that is a big help.

I also do not use that duct system the case includes... just got in the way and I personally think it slowed airflow. I rigged a fan at the front of my case to pull air in there and use the exhaust fan it came with right under the psu. That intake fan essentially points right at the intake of the video card which I assume also helps.

But seriously, ambient temp is the killer evil here... dunno how it is w/ you but that could explain it all. Especially when the 1900xt is already a hot card. Try the fan setup I just described and it should help, that duct just sucks IMO.

I am leaving work right now so may not respond 'til later but thought I should get this to you first.

not saying you shouldn't rma the card, but if anything I said is true for you then a new one may not help.

rock on.


Thanks for the info. It is definitely a hot summer here so that could very well be the issue. And where exactly did you mount the front fan with the Sonata II? I'm guessing the front panel can be removed in some way to allow for such a thing?

ethel said:
Are you sure the fan is running on it?

If you don't want to go through the wait of RMA, your best option is to buy a decent 3rd party cooler like the HR-03 and put that on it. But I would RMA it.


Fans are all running at the moment including the fan attached to the card.
July 25, 2007 5:14:30 AM

I guess I misspoke... it is not directly at the front of the case (you can remove the front panel but there is no room) but rather right behind the drive cage pointed at the end of the video card... I attached it to the drive cage so it pulls the air from the front, through the drives and blows into the end of the video card.

basically, if you count the exhaust of the video card, there are 3 fans blowing out already w/o that duct-system. (video card, case fan, psu fan) and so the air is already going to come into the case from the front mostly. That fan I placed on the drive cage just directs it better to the video card. By removing the duct and putting in that fan, temps are much lower and fan speeds stay low and quiet.

...does that make sense? I will get a pic if you want tomorrow night and post it if you have not figured it out by then. Stay cool man. ;) 

btw, where are you at and what temps are you sitting in? Hearing the news of the heat-waves in europe reaching that staggering 48 degrees C blows my mind...
July 25, 2007 2:10:03 PM

sojrner said:
I guess I misspoke... it is not directly at the front of the case (you can remove the front panel but there is no room) but rather right behind the drive cage pointed at the end of the video card... I attached it to the drive cage so it pulls the air from the front, through the drives and blows into the end of the video card.

basically, if you count the exhaust of the video card, there are 3 fans blowing out already w/o that duct-system. (video card, case fan, psu fan) and so the air is already going to come into the case from the front mostly. That fan I placed on the drive cage just directs it better to the video card. By removing the duct and putting in that fan, temps are much lower and fan speeds stay low and quiet.

...does that make sense? I will get a pic if you want tomorrow night and post it if you have not figured it out by then. Stay cool man. ;) 



Makes perfect sense, thanks.


sojrner said:

btw, where are you at and what temps are you sitting in? Hearing the news of the heat-waves in europe reaching that staggering 48 degrees C blows my mind...


I live in southern NJ. It's pretty cool here this week in the high 80s but it's often 90+
July 25, 2007 3:13:23 PM

ya, when europe is hitting 118 degrees you know it's hot... and 90+ is not conducive to a cool running machine. ;) 

I would try the fan setup I described... but don't remove the possibility of an RMA. I don't know how long you have left before you are past the warranty period or what-not, but if the fan setup does not solve the issue (or the purchase of air conditioning for your room ;)  ) then I would still look at an RMA.

and stupid me, I did not post my temps... I will do that for you tonight when I am back on my system so you can see where I am running just for comparison.

rock on man.
a c 114 U Graphics card
July 25, 2007 3:48:01 PM

Quote:
The case at hand is an Antec SONATA II. If you aren't familiar with the case, there's an internal duct system that uses a 120mm fan to pull in air from the front and blow it out of the back of the case. As I mentioned earlier, I also threw in an 80mm fan that blows directly onto the video card.


You also added the 92mm fan @ the cpu end right? or else your video card is sucking cpu air.

Take out the air duct for now(then your case has a larger area to dissipate heat). get some compressed air and clean the fins on the card. they are small and collect dust quite well.

Do however note that i have had my X1900 over 90 with no artifacts so it may still be a card issue. You can also use Rivatuner(works with ati too) or ati tool to max the fan speed, but that will make your Sonata II loud!!!


My X1900xt was a little too loud so i AC'd it, but do note this dumps all kinds of hot air into the case. I also had to seal those top vents(with clear tape :)  ) as the system would just suck air from there and not much from the rest of the system
July 25, 2007 4:08:10 PM

yup, where you have your fan on the drive cage is exactly what I was talking about.

I kept the stock cooler only b/c I did not want to spill all that heat into the case.

I have not needed to seal the vent as my temps all run just fine... even during a few 12 hour + gaming sessions all was good. You have a "few" more drives than I however so that can make for a hotter system. That and perhaps your mobo and such are hotter, but I doubt that is it. (that E6600 should be cooler/as cool as my oc'd 4200 w/ cool n quiet enabled.) meh.
July 25, 2007 4:39:04 PM

I have the same card with a Ds3 mobo and E6600 and my card used to get so hot! Like you said it was 95 celcius or the artifact test with AtiTool would get over 100c. That was until I got the Thermaltake CL-W0052 Tide Water. Now it idles at 40-45 and under load about 65-70 same with artifact test. Here is the link http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... r
Hope this helps.
Paq
July 26, 2007 4:30:58 AM

as I am typing this, my card is idling at 56 degrees... and during gaming will get very hot to the tune of ~90 like nukemaster mentioned. With the setup I have it drops down very quickly when I exit a game to 58-60 so I know the cooling is working properly. If, after tweaking on your cooling you still have artifacts then you will want to look at an RMA just to be safe.
July 31, 2007 9:11:32 PM

This problem is a simple remedy. Use ATI tray tools and set up different profiles for when you game and manually use the fan controller to adjust the fan speed as ATI made it so that the fan RPM wouldn't spin up until it got H O T!!!! That card is capable of some pretty crazy temps. As we mentioned above make sure you get the card heatsink cleaned especially if your front case fan has no filter on it. Its huge! That blower fan on that card PWNS anyone that tells you otherwise is a NOOB. That card runs at 40 C idle and gaming if you play your profiles right won't ever get above 55-60. Its a little loud but what is nice about the stock cooler with the blower out the back rather than all the other aftermarket coolers is that it blows out rather than inside which raises your ambient case temps. The setup you have now will help keep all other components cooler. If you install tray tools though you need to uninstall all the catalyst stuff and download only display driver, tray tools, and lastly AMD cards require the WMD or WDM (can't remember the order of last two letters). Thats at the bottom of the list when it shows you the particular files on AMD's site to get the drivers for that card. There are generally 3 files. Good luck!
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