2900pro artifacting, bad psu?

Hi everyone!

my setup: tagan 500w psu, e6300@ (was running at)2.6ghz, 2gb corsair ddr2 800 4-4-4-12, evga 7900gt (was sapphire 2900pro at stock speeds), creative audigy se sound card, asus p5b deluxe mobo, samsung 250gb HD, windows xp.

My 2900pro gave up the ghost a few days ago, after only 2 evenings (about 10 hours) of gaming #sigh# Ive been running it on a 500w tagan psu with 36amps combined on the 12v rails, in an overclocked system (yep it was silly!) with a sound card instead of the onboard sound. I finished a stretch of battlefield 2, went to turn off the machine and saw there were some updates to install at the shutdown screen. They installed and the machine turned off. About 20 mins later I went to turn it on again and I got artifacting right from the splash screen at startup, all the way to the desktop (win xp). Further restarts just yielded the same artifacting, but this time with my pc not willing to post until I clocked my cpu and ram back down to stock speeds, and I could only get into xp in safe mode. Swapping the card out for my old 7900gt @fixed@ the problem - kinda. After this I could oc again but the machine would crash in gaming (i mean i assumed the card was dead, had a little cry and carried on as normal) in under an hour.

Windows had become noticeably sluggish and a couple of things just refused to work properly so I took the plunge and reinstalled it to give me a fresh HD, and flashed the BIOS before hand. Now Ive got everything at stock speeds and its been totally stable so far. What id like your guys opinion on is:

if the 2900 is actually knackered? (random failure)
if the 2900 is actually knackered? (weak psu killed it)
if there is a good chance it would work again with a good higher rated psu?
Seeing as windows had a brain fart and the comp needed a windows reinstall with a bios flash for the mobo as good measure (i had some problems once that were totally cured by a bios flash), perhaps the radeons bios could be corrupted?

If youve ever heard of a change of psu making what seems like a broken graphics card actually work again, or if a bios flash ever helped a broken card work again, that would be great.

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  1. I have had similiar symptoms (7800GTs SLI'd) and replaced the PSU with complete success. PSU replacement or GPU RAM overheating can most definately be the cause of what you described.
  2. Sound like psu problem.Also how is the airflow.I just swapped out my MSI Nforce 939 board and 4800 for an MSI 790fx with a phenom 9500.I was getting BSODs.I think the Nforce did not like the 2900pro,now my system is rock solid,I just cant oc the 9500
  3. Sounds like a heat-related failure, possibly relating to the OC, but maybe not. 500W should have been enough.
    It is also possible that one of the updates stomped on something, which hosed your video drivers in some way. With everything fresh now, you could try the 2900Pro again and see what happens. Uninstall the other video drivers completely first. Shut down, install the 2900Pro, and bring it up again. If there are artifacts even on the "driverless" VGA screen, then the card has probably croaked. Otherwise, install its drivers and continue testing.
  4. Yeah, test the 2900pro again.
  5. Hey guys thanks for the feedback and sorry for not replying sooner. As a quick update to the situation after flashing the mobo bios and reinstalling windows the comp. has been stable and all appears fine. Ive been creaping up with the oc's again, going slower this time and feeling my way along and looking for any 'cracks' in the setup. So far Im at 2.4ghz on the cpu perfectly stable, just 200 mhz shy of where I was before this whole incident, and my old 7900gt is back at its original oc of 700mhz core speed. Windows is speedy and solid, finally having that 'dependable' feeling again.

    To fill you in a bit more on what happened that fateful night 2 weeks ago, I was playing with the fan speeds on the 2900 trying to bring them up to whatever sounded less obnoxious in the 50% to 66% range. I settled on somewhere inbetween to keep the card at under 65 degrees celsius under load, using a combination of rivatuner and ati tool, sometimes having both open at once. My card wasn't overheating and my case temp was around 21 celsius with my 3 case fans and zalman 9500 cpu cooler fan on full and the cards own fan at around 66%. The case was a mass of wooshing sounds but cooling appeared well and truly sorted for prolonged gaming.

    Tried a few restarts to see if the fan speed thresholds I had set still worked after a windows restart, then seeing if they kicked in when gaming, and settled down within less than a few minutes when back at the desktop again. This meant lots of restarts and arsing around with rivatuner and ati tool. Load temps were around 65 and idle temps around 15 degrees lower. I had no freezes or corruption on the screen at any point, so in short no sign anything was up at all.

    After 2 hours of bf2, I exited, the system took an unusually long time to recover, then i shut down with the option that automatically installs the updates. Thats it, scarmbled screen of death.

    Looking back at it, I had more or less the highest power draw I could generate, with all the fans going and what have you, on a cheapo power supply 50 watts under the recomended 550watt rating. The output could have been fluctuating all over the place while gaming, screwing the card and/or the windows installation via corrupt patches/patches being installed incorrectly, etc. Maybe the card is dead, or the psu can't provide a decent output anymore under heavy heavy load, (the 7900gt runs fine but that sips power rather than drinking it like the 2900pro), or the previous windows installation somehow became hideously corrupted, or hosed the gpu bios or something. Plus having rivatuner & ati-tool going and messing about with them loads without due care and attention, something could have gone badly wrong on a software level.

    After reinstalling windows things were still a little bit 'flaky' with a couple of crashes and failed installations of various programs, but after a few days I was pushing the oc's and slowly taking the kid gloves off a bit. I haven't tried the 2900 yet since the reinstall, for a couple of reasons, firstly if theres a chance the card will work but only with a very stable quality psu and being hooked up to a weak psu might just damage it some more, I'll wait till I get a new and better psu before trying it out. Secondly, if the psu really is dodgy, then im just risking the safety of the whole comp, or even perhaps just risking putting a fork into windows all over again. I dont want to spend the day watching windows download 120+ updates all over again if another reinstall would ever be needed. Ok guys thanks again for your input, the end of next month I'll get a new psu and tell u what the results were.

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