I couldn't any other posts about this so I hope this haven't been brought up before.
I'm not very competent on this area so please bear with me. I have a two year old computer that generates artifacts and wrong color correction and usually just freezes up my computer after 10 minutes of 3D-gaming applications like Call of Duty 4, Team Fortress 2 and even Penny Arcade Adventures.
My specs are:
Windows Vista 32-bit SP1
Intel Pentium D 940 3.2GHz Socket
PowerColor Radeon X1900XT 512MB GDDR3,
Chieftec 450W PSU
2 gigabyte Ram(Corsair)
Like I said I built this computer for about two years ago, it make quite alot of noise since I had to purchase a 450W PSU just for the graphics card, but it handled great.Except around christmas 2007 I was brave enough(dumb enough?) to try out Call of Duty 4, Crysis and Gears of War on it. While they went smoothly for a while it wasn't long untill I discovered my first artifact and I noticed that the Atitool and catalyst control center displayed a temprature of above 100 degrees celius on my graphic card. I cleaned the computer and updated drivers and it seemed to work fine again.
Then now, a half year later it suddenly just freezes up or generates vast amount of artifacts in about any game using an 3D engine. One exclusion though is that when playing World of Warcraft in window mode I reach 50 fps in most areas without a single artifact. I recently tried to guess the temprature on the graphic card by toucing it after if froze up, after removing the power cord I nearly scorched myself on it so I guess it was over 100 degrees at least.
So I just wonder if anyone else have ever encountered this kind of problem or have any idea on how to find out whats the problem? I might suspect the PSU, but I don't know how well(or bad) they age in terms of performance after two years.
Artifacts could lead you into, the video card is trying to die, bad drivers, but you said you had a newer psu, usually those just let go with no warning, so i dont think thats it. Sounds like the fan on your card may slowly be dying to me. No worries though, there are plenty of ati fans that will have some trouble shooting ideas for ya.
Come to think of it it, I haven't checked the state of the cooling paste on the GPU. Will try to see how it is later today, but is cooling paste an important factor in terms of heat generation on components that use it?
I would take the card out and blow out the fins on the heatsink, make the fan is still running while on as well. When you blow out the fins make sure you don't spin the fan too hard with the compressed air, that can damage the fan. I would be willing to bet either the fan has stopped working or there is dust in the fins.
After taking out the fan I noticed there were a thin layer of dust on the fan blades, I removed it using some q-tip and some compressed butan\propan to blow it away. After putting it inside the pc again I tried out Team Fortress 2, Counter-strike: source and Call of Duty 4.
While it went very smooth for a while there was a point (after about 15-20 min with a 3D-application) that the card sounded like a airplane taking off, and I was thrown out in Vista to be notified that "Windows have lost contact with the graphic driver). This has happend before right after artifacts started materializing, but this time I didn't encounter any artifacts, so I guess I'm making progress.