In need of serious graphic card help. Please help

Ok so first off I have built my own computer for the first time so I am still learning. Luckily I learn fast. I have a few questions for you all and I hope you can help, you all seem to know your **** so I have high expectations :)

I will start off with my build. This is my computer
Hard Drive
I am running Windows Vista 32bit.

This is a total budget PC I don't have a fortune to spend but I wanted something that has a little speed and can be upgraded pretty easy. That is the biggest reason I picked the GPU I did. I am a moderate gamer and do allot of multimedia work. It does the media work but not the games.

Question 1: Every time I try to play a game it freezes my whole computer and I have to do a hard reboot. It is totally random. I never know when it will freeze. I have upgraded every driver, patched everything, used beta drivers, and even drivers by other companies. You name it I have done it. I have all of vista's updates and everything. I have looked all over the web and many people are having this problem. But no one knows how to fix it. So I'm asking you all does anyone know how to fix this cause I can deal with the card I actually like it and I don't mind lowing the settings of some of the newer games if needed. If know one knows how to fix this please resort to question 2.

Question 2: What is a good graphics card for this build. Mind you this is a budget PC but I would like to be able to play games as well as multimedia work. So I do not want to spend more that 100$ I don't even really want to spend that much. But I do want a good GPU that will last me a while. I have been all over this page and many others and all over newegg reading the reviews and I just frustrated and at a loss at the moment. Someone please help.
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  1. Might be the weak PSU, but I'm no pro.
    Also, I noticed the mobo has a onboard GPU, are you using that? Make sure you don't plug anything to its slot.
    I just got a 8800GTS 512MB for $120 here: ($40 mail in rebate) and I consider the extra $30 (adding the shipping as well) would be worthwhile.
    If you need it to be under $100 then maybe a 8600GT DDR3 is for you.

    In any case, I'd say you wait for a more educated answer.
  2. no there is nothing plugged into the onboard GPU.
  3. Sorry i can't help on question 1, you've tried everything i would suggest.
    For a decent gaming card under $100
    9600GSO (used to be the 8800GS) $90 after rebate
  4. 9600GSO is a good card.
  5. install xp
  6. gomerpile said:
    install xp

    Like he said. If you can, try installing XP and running games and stuff to see if it's hardware related or software related.
    1. If you overclocked put it back to default settings.
    2. Check that there isn't some cable of sorts causing a short circuit.
    3. Make sure your PSU can power everything (I'd love to help out but I really don't know how to check it).
    4. Try to games that use OpenGL instead of DirectX; maybe some sort of Windows file is corrupt?
  7. nothing is over clocked and my PSU should be more than enough.
  8. To dirtmountain,

    I cant use that card I dont have a pci X16 2.0 all i have is a normal pci x16
  9. firespark said:
    To dirtmountain,

    I cant use that card I dont have a pci X16 2.0 all i have is a normal pci x16

    No problem, PCI-E 2 is backwards compatible with PCI-E. It'll work.
  10. Avenger_K said:
    No problem, PCI-E 2 is backwards compatible with PCI-E. It'll work.

    so what will happen then? will I just not get the full speed of the card or somthing? Also what would a step down be if I wanted a lower priced card. Is there a list of benchmarks I can see that is up to date? I found the one on this site but it does not have the series 9 cards.
  11. Also how important is the cards ram? I noticed that allot of these cards are really fast but only have 256mb I always thought the more ram the better.
  12. Oh and will the GeForce 9600 GSO be ok on my 450w PSU with 2 optical drives 2 fans and a usb powered wacom pen tablet. also is it vista compatible.
  13. it might actually be you're memory, it might be faulty...ive have a few problems with customers pc's and its most often memory...although that does normally result in the pc restarting. also, your cpu might be heating up to much under load from gaming...but thats less likely. check if you're cpu fan is spinning properly. but i'd try get my hands on some spare RAM and test it in your pc. see if it works...
    not sure if its any help :) hope you come right!
  14. * maybe try 1 dimm at a time (i saw you have 2x 1gb dimms), its unlikely that both are faulty (if its memory at all), and also try different slots when testing them 1 by 1. :)
  15. I have seen this issue with various PC's and AldoTeo hit it. It is most likely a overheating problem, I think it is a poorly ventilated case. It appears to come with 1x 80mm rear fan. I bet you keep it in an enclosed space such as under a desk or worse in a desk slot that it barely fits in.

    I see that there is a side vent to install another small fan, and an additional mount for another small rear fan. This would be your cheapest option. Actually thats not true. Try running the PC with the case sides off in an open area. Thats the cheapest, unless you spill liquid into it.

    An aftermarket cooler really is a must with older AMD chips as they run HOT. and be sure that thermal interface compound is used.

    If you add the fans and the aftermarket cooler (with thermal paste) I bet this will solve your problems.

    To be sure before you buy please download a heat monitoring appliance like speedfan and post your highest load temps and I will tell you whether they are healthy or not.
  16. I was sitting here trying to think what your problem might be and it occurs to me that there are several things you could check.

    Here are some things you could try:

    I would get a program like memtest and check your ram. Better safe than sorry. But...

    Because you mention that it freezes when you start a game, I would check the fan on your GPU to make sure it is spinning. I am thinking that your card is getting too hot when you run it in 3D mode (gaming).

    Easy test for heat. Take the side door off and try running it that way. Maybe with a room fan blowing on it if you have one available. I would definitely have more than one 80mm fan on your case to ventilate it with. I'm not sure if it would be better to have, one fan sucking cool air in and one out, or if two fans blowing hot air out would work better.

    If it were me, I'd put a 120mm in the front to suck cool air in and two 80mm on the back to push hot air out. I believe that your case is capable of this configuration.

    It is possible that it is also a driver issue. I would suggest getting a copy of DriverCleaner3 to completely remove the video drivers and then reinstall them.

    Oh! I just thought of something! You are running Vista. Have you downloaded and installed the latest version of DirectX 9.0? Vista comes with DirectX 10, but not with DirectX 9.0.

    Good luck!

  17. To all that have replied thank you so much for your input.

    I have ran temp monitor programs for both my CPU and GPU both are fine and not over heating. My case is in a nice vented area and all the fans are working just fine. Also I keep the AC in my room on almost all the time, its like and ice box in here I am surprised to see my CPU temp at 40c lol. Honestly my room is cold as the arctic tundra.

    I did not know I needed to have directx 9 if I had 10 installed. I'm going to check that issue now. Although it is a little late for this card because I ordered the 9600. OH well. As for the drivers I have installed every driver you can imagine. Clean install with each one.

    I have not checked the memory yet. I did not know that would cause and issue like this but I will be checking it soon. I searched memtest on google and found that there are many different ones. What one should I use.

    Once again thanx for the help everyone.
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