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8800GT problem

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February 27, 2008 4:51:51 PM

Hi.

I have just built a new rig with a BFG 8800GT 512MB OC. Initially it worked ok at 1680 x 1050 on WoW using whatever settings it had as default - I think moderately high with 1xAA. Then when I cranked it up to 4xAA with higher settings, my troubles began. I could play ok for a couple of minutes but then the card would shut down and my monitor would read 'No Signal'.

Obviously I looked into it and found out about the fan speed being 'stuck' at 29% or somesuch, causing the card to get too hot. I read that BFG released a BIOS which is meant to fix the static fan speed, so I downloaded and flashed it. Sure enough when I started up WoW I heard the fan speed get steadily louder and thought that would be that. However after less than a minute and with the fan seemingly at full pelt, the same thing happened - a few digital artifacts and then shutdown of the display.

So I decided to have a go at rectifying things with Rivatuner. I saw that the card is idling at about 52 degrees, which seems ok, and I set up some profiles to get the fan to spin at 60% if over 60 degrees, and 90% if over 80 (90% fan speed is fairly loud btw). I then loaded up WoW with the Rivatuner diagnostics running, and left it on the character select screen. Well the fan got louder and the temperature kept creeping up and up, until at about 85 degrees the same thing happened - flicker and then shutdown.

So now I'm pretty much at a loss as to what to do - I've tried both the BIOS update and the strongarm method of forcing the fan to run its nuts off via Rivatuner, and it's still getting itself too hot. Is there anything I can do here to recitfy this, or is it simply a case that I have a duff card and I should RMA it? My understanding is that it shouldn't really be shutting itself off at 85 degrees anyway. Is that right? I mean, this is WoW we're talking about here - it's not exactly the most taxing game even at max settings. I'm dismayed. :( 

Thanks in advance.

More about : 8800gt problem

February 27, 2008 7:38:42 PM

I had a similar problem with FEAR, artifacts and all but I had to force a restart. From what I found out while searching with my problem is that your core temps are "fine" but it is the memory that is overheating and causing a shutdown. The reasons for this could vary from the poor single slot cooling or a bad overclock, which some people "fixed" by downclocking the memory speeds. I had the BFG 8800gt OC2 version, and after a couple rma's I had the same problems so I got a 8800gts 512 with the dual slot cooling and no problems yet. In one RMA they actually sent me a OC version and I did not have problems with that, but its not what I payed for, so you might benefit from an RMA because the OC's are more stable than the OC2's in my experience.
February 27, 2008 8:06:44 PM

Get an aftermarket cooler and ram heatsinks.

You can try the eVGA AKIMBO or the Zalman VF-900

I have the VF900 on my 8800GT and the card idles at 35C... Stock cooling on the 8800GTs are gargabe.
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February 27, 2008 8:10:16 PM

I got a similar problem with my evga 8800GT superclocked, my temps were about 80-85° in COD4 or WIC, after a few minutes, and I was able to play for 20-30 minutes before getting BSOD. I ran rivatuner 2.06 and it was still problematic even with the stock fan under 100%. At the end I was getting the BSOD at 75°. I finally got the Thermalright HR-03GT with a 120mm fan on it, and all is good now, my peak temp is 45°C under full load for 3-4 hours. No more BSOD.

It seems like my memory was overheating too. The only thing, is that I'm still unable to get to the SSC settings, but I'm fine with the card, so I'm not pushing too much.
February 27, 2008 8:26:02 PM

Well I have dealt with this problem many times now. You can try running fan at 50% and above in ntunes and see how that goes. But really you are going to end up sending it back, get in touch with bfg and rma it. So many of these cards have a faulty ram modules its retarded. You did the bios thing, I run mine with bios fix at 50% in any game and stay in high 60's to low 70s. A friend of mine had some success underclocking his card for a bit but the problems came back. This is one of the least reliable cards at launch in a while. You can try other stuff but I am pretty sure you will end up sending it back. 40%-50% FAN keeps a properly working 8800gt cool. I never get above 72c now. If I go 100% fan its in the 50c range. And all properly working 8800 gt's are like that. There is something wrong with the card if it's heating that bad with fan on, to go to the trouble of replacing fan and then still having to rma it would suck.
Whats with the 8800 GTS stuff, 8800 GT is inexpensive that is why people get them. Ya... go get a g92 GTS for a hundred and some bucks more and get barely anymore performance and a louder more power hungry card. Thats rediculous, 8800 GT cards are great, just work through this issue and rma it then your problems will be gone. Make sure to with stock version or the barely overclocked one, all highly overclocked gt's seem to have issues
GL
February 27, 2008 8:30:48 PM

If you can I would suggest one of two things. First get aftermarket cooling, like suggested above, and it should not void the warranty as long as you put it back to exactly how it was when you got it. Second I would return it for the GTS 512 to take advantage of the dual slot cooling. I went from a BFG 8800gt OC2 to a BFG 8800gts 512 and have had good luck so far, but people are seeing success with aftermarket cooling. OR just RMA it.
February 28, 2008 10:29:33 AM

Thanks for all your comments, guys.

AFAIK, while EVGA warranty will allow the fitting of aftermarket coolers, doing such a thing on my BFG would void it. So the way I see it, I have a few options:

1. RMA the card for a straight swap and hope I get a unit that doesn't have such disastrously bad cooling (85 degrees with the fan at 100%?!).

+ No extra cost involved

- Might not work and I'm back where I started only it's another few days with no video card

2. RMA the card and swap it for an EVGA Akimbo.

+ Better 'GTS-style' dual slot cooling on the Akimbo and excellent OC speeds (although these could probably be attained on your own with a good cooler anyway so that's almost irrelevant)

- Would involve an additional outlay of £50 (approx $100), which is almost a 40% increase in cost from my BFG OC card. That's way too much, IMO.

3. RMA the card and swap it for an 8800GTS 512MB

+ Basically the same dual slot cooler as the Akimbo by default, and should be overclockable to at least similar speeds with roughly a 10% performance boost over the 8800GT

- Going to a BFG OC 8800GTS would involve spending a further £34 - which is roughly a 25% increase - over what I paid for the 8800GT. An EVGA card would be an extra £50 (40% more), although it does come with Crysis and could be 'stepped up' to a 9800GT in a couple of months if I wanted. Still, 25-40% more for only a 10% performance increase isn't that good a return.

4. Keep the card and fit it with an aftermarket cooler

+ Would probably solve all my heating issues and elt me push the OC higher to boot

- Would void the warranty on the card. Would also involve spending about £25-35 for a fan and some RAM heatsinks.
February 28, 2008 11:51:23 AM

yeah, it seems problem with the RAMs in the GT. rma it.
February 28, 2008 2:43:18 PM

Pretty much my experience with the 8800gt OC2 is that its performance, considering it was overclocked, was pretty much the same as that of my 8800gts 512 oc with a difference of 1 or 2 avg. fps (but the 8800gt OC that I accidentally got fell behind). SO pretty much you can overclock a GT to match a GTS at either near stock or with a slight overclock. I bought mine because of the cooling, but the EVGA Akimbo looks interesting, but I would get a GTS if you are looking at that though.
February 28, 2008 3:05:59 PM

If you install an aftermarket cooler what you should do is keep the original and if you ever have to send the card to BFG install the stock fan back on the card. If you are cautious doing this BFG will never notice that you took off the stock cooler and that way you will not void your warranty. I did that with three cards, a 6800gs, 7600gt and 7900gs and when I sold them the buyers never noticed that the stock cooler had been taken off. If you go that way remember to be very cautious, take your time, and don't break anything ! If you do not feel comfortable doing this then don't !

BTW I have a eVGA 8800GT with a vf-900 on it, extra sinks for the ram and I have had no problems at all with it yet, idle @ 39 under heavy load around 55 and that is with an oc of 675 core 1100 memory (yeah not the highest oc I know ... didn't get lucky with this one ! )
February 28, 2008 3:44:23 PM

The problem is that your memory on your card is probably overclocked to the point of being unstable. I have an EVGA 8800GT SSC that had the memory overclocked to 2000 MHz(effective). When I started playing a game, the card would artifact as well. Just use RivaTuner to underclock the memory a bit and see if that helps. Of course, I RMAed my card for one that was stable at that speed. RivaTuner told me that my memory was clocked at 1000 MHz and I underclocked it to 900 MHz. Never had a problem since.
February 28, 2008 5:05:03 PM

ccox86 said:
The problem is that your memory on your card is probably overclocked to the point of being unstable. I have an EVGA 8800GT SSC that had the memory overclocked to 2000 MHz(effective). When I started playing a game, the card would artifact as well. Just use RivaTuner to underclock the memory a bit and see if that helps. Of course, I RMAed my card for one that was stable at that speed. RivaTuner told me that my memory was clocked at 1000 MHz and I underclocked it to 900 MHz. Never had a problem since.


Perhaps JohnnyGuru's warning of setting the Memory at or above 1Ghz can cause the card to fail... I personally have the BFG 8800GT OC quite a bit but I put aftermarket cooling on it...I chose the AC accelero S2 and the turbo module with it and never had a problem. I was even able to volt-mod but that didn't provide much of an increase. This was back in November when alternate cooling solution for the stock 8800GT did not exist. But with MSI's after market cooler setup it looks like a good bet. Especially since it's just under $200 after rebate. With the stock cooler at stock speeds and stock fan settings I would idle at 60C and go into the mid 80's when gaming. With my accelero I idle around 38~40C and during gaming average around 47C.
February 28, 2008 5:13:56 PM

This is a classic example of how BFG and EVGA are leading the industry's RMAs.

NEVER buy a factory OCed peace of hardware especialy a graphics card. There are several brands with high quality monitoring software and fan controls for OCing and every day use that give you these cards at stock speeds like Asus for one.

Every BFG and EVGA OC card will amost always pass the top of the temp limits destroying the hardware before they clock down.
February 28, 2008 6:37:05 PM

Looking at other 8800GTs on the site I bought the BFG card from, I can see a few with what looks like aftermarket cooling:

Asus - stock speed; looks like a Zalman 900? (out of stock) - £160

EVGA - heavily overclocked; 'Akimbo' dual-slot cooler - £180

Gigabyte - semi-heavy OC; Zalman cooler - £135

Leadtek - moderate OC; Zalman cooler - £135

Anyone got any recommendations out of those cards? I'm leaning towards to the Gigabyte but not for any particular reason. :) 
February 28, 2008 7:14:03 PM

PS. No dx10.1 support means the card will perform badly now and forever. ATI is a much better buy atm. By all estimates when dx10.1 releases the 3870 models will pass the GTs pretty easy and will get updates for years to come.
!