Amusing but deadly crash with 9800 GX2

I recently finished assembling my new machine, and it runs like a dream. Here's the core set-up:

PSU: BZ800
Mobo: P5E
CPU: Q6600 (OC 3.0 GHz)
RAM: 2 x 2GB Mushkin DDR2-1066

On this platform, I'm running a BFG 9800 GX2 with latest drivers. I have not OC'ed it.

I am getting a baffling crash. It is baffling in the fact that it ONLY OCCURS IN OBLIVION, and only under particular conditions.
When this crash occurs, sometimes the system ends in a black screen, or a random "texture collage", but sometimes it just stutters and I am able to keep playing, but with nearly all the textures scrambled and confused. I have come to call this phenomenon an "Oblivion acid trip". I'll try to post some screens soon.

The risk of crash seems to go up the longer I play, which originally led me to believe it was an overheating problem, but I used RivaTuner to crank up the fan RPMs, and this seemed to help it not at all. In fact, it seems I can do nothing to make the game more stable, but the crash only ever occurs (though not every time) when certain things are happening in-game: particularly when someone casts a spell or when a new cell is loaded.

So, I can sit and do nothing forever and ever, if I please, but the sudden introduction of new effects and textures can kill it. Any ideas? Driver issue? Some tweak I should try? RMA the card?

16 answers Last reply
More about amusing deadly crash 9800
  1. I had the same issue with one of my older cards, a Geforce 6600. Strangely enough, it turned out to be the PSU, but at that point I just replaced the whole machine.
  2. I had a problem like this playing Battlefield 2. The textures would change randomly and the vehicles would vanish from veiw when you got in them and it looked like you were scooting across the ground. It was pretty funny.

    It turned out to be a driver issue.
  3. i would try one driver back. maybe they made a mistake, if that works send nvidia a email so they can fix it in the next driver(i have seen them break things. they DID fix it in the next driver, so i am happy).

    Also it never hurts to use ATItool to heat up the card and check for artifacts. If you see yellow dots you should RMA the card.
  4. Well, I tried the artifact scan in ATI tool... It finds no errors, because the system hard freezes when the GPU reaches ~75 degrees C. Uh oh. GX2 owners, does yours get this hot / does it crash at that temp. 75 degrees is astronomical for other cards.

    I'm about to get some screens of the crash up so that some clever diagnostician can save me.
  5. i get 80+ on my 8800GTX. That temp should not trigger a shut down or freeze, but there is something wrong.

    max the fan and try again.

    Now this is hot...ran like that for over 2 hours before my girl friend noticed the tray icon numbers where overlapping. it was a software fan issue

    Almost looks like you may need to rma it....damn
  6. 75 degrees is normal. for load temp that is.
    sounds like the crap that would happen with my revision A 7900gs.
    sounds like bad memory on the card. if it is, it will get worse. If you have registered the card, BFG will replace it.
  7. Starting to sound more like a bad card than drivers.
    First thing, as suggested, roll the drivers back a notch or two.
    Temps shouldnt be an issue @75c
    My POS work gfx card (6200) has a thermal shutdown temp of 145c
    Also try underclock the card.

    If u bought it from a store (which nobody does these days) take it back, or try put the card in another pc see if the same happens.
  8. And then I realized... I AM THE ONE.
    Shop. Jensine is hairless.

    Hmmm... the memory explanation sounds plausible. I just got the card, so I'll register it in case I have to get it replaced. I'm going to try rolling the driver back, just for kicks, but I'm increasingly convinced the card is fubar.

    *Edit* BTW, the above temps were with the fan already maxed.
  9. You know I have seen this kind of thing happen only once before. It turned out to be the wrong Critical Temp that was programed in to the Graphics card BIOS (7600GS). Instead of being in the 100C or so, the card was actually maxed at 84C or so. An edited BIOS flash fixed that.
  10. Would it also void my warranty? I don't think it should, since its a soft mod. If it doesn't, where can I grab a BIOS and flasher?

    PS: If the card simply thought it had reached a dangerous temperature, wouldn't the artifact scanner freeze at the same temp every time? It variously freezes at 74C and 75C.
  11. I experienced something similar in Oblivion while I was in the sewers (water and fog displayed at the same time would cause it).

    Turned out that my HS was touching one of the capacitors. Reinstalling the stock HS solved the problem (wasn't a seating issue as I swapped aftermarket and stock several times) but I had to drop my overclock. Oblicion went from 30+ fps to 25 :(.
  12. I ran the artifact scanner again, and this time I got a massive cascade of artifacts beginning at 65C. (Oddly enough, after I stopped the scanner at 76C I was able to play Oblivion without incidence, but I think that's a fluke.)

    Case closed, for me. RMA the card. Thanks.
  13. plfx said:
    Would it also void my warranty? I don't think it should, since its a soft mod. If it doesn't, where can I grab a BIOS and flasher?

    PS: If the card simply thought it had reached a dangerous temperature, wouldn't the artifact scanner freeze at the same temp every time? It variously freezes at 74C and 75C.

    FYI For everyone: A BIOS mod (no matter what manufacture): WILL VOID THE WARRANTY.
  14. Hi, I'm having this exact same problem. Also a new system, except with a 9800GTX instead of GX2. Same trio of problems: 1) sometimes black screen, 2) sometimes slows to ~1fps, 3) usually the "texture collage"/purple mesh in the above screenshots.

    plfx, can you tell me if a new card solves this problem for you? Also, were you forcing anything on the nvidia control panel? eg, I noticed this is much more likely to happen if I force HDR and antialiasing on at the same time, or run a texture replacement mod like Qarl's.

    if the new card is all it takes, then I'll RMA my 9800GTX, but I want to be sure as this only happens in Oblivion and other games seem fine.
  15. Hey there. Don't know if you're still watching this thread, but I haven't RMA'd the card. The newest nVidia driver (the one they took down because it was causing so many problems) seems to have momentarily fixed my crashing problems (irony, right!?). However, it also seems to have made my antialiasing look like crap. I'll probably RMA eventually, but I want to see what the next driver does for me.
  16. They take for ever to update drivers.

    Or at least they do for the 8800GTX, took a year before i even had the option for TV-out overscan(makes sure you have no black around your image, you loose a bit of image over the edge, but that is how i like it[same thing you get with a dvd player] for watching video)

    Then there Vista drivers black screened(City Of Heroes), crashed, gave video corruption(City Of Heroes, LOTR : Online), low performance in Quake1 full screen mode(Yes i said QUAKE 1[winquake]) and just outright locked up solid(Random MMO games and when folding with it). Ohh what a pain. pop in my old X1900XT and everything works like it should(slower, but stable).

    Anyway, Try the drivers listed here(unsupported and inf modded), they fixed allot of problems for me. Even Quake1 runs without slowdowns on item pick up[like that should have ever happened], but now its limited to 800X600. Some games still mess up, but it was less.
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