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Is my graphics card f**ked?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 4, 2008 4:42:33 AM

Hey guys,

About mid 2006 my cousin took me to MSY, a computer shop in Australia where he selected parts and MSY put it together for me.

I am really not very good with computers and there dyfunctions so I came here.

In the two and a bit years I have had my computer I have had very little problems. But recently it all gone to sh*t.

Ill first post my specs:


AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3700+@ 2200mhz

NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT

ASUSA8N-SLI SE

2G RAM (not sure which type)

250g h/d

i am running windows xp home edition.

I mainly play battlefield 2 online as my computer cant run much other games at high fps anymore. About two months ago different parts of the game started going wrong with "shimmering" i think its call and just huge strips across the screen.

I did the 3Dmark test and these were the images i got on the first two tests.

http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/8508/skimmeringas6.j...

http://img401.imageshack.us/my.php?image=stripsacrosssc...

I did the 3Dmark test and these were the images i got just on the first two tests.

its the exact same in battlefield 2 except it just get worse and worse and u end up being unable to play the game. with it sometimes crashing. i have reformatted the computer and try it again and it did not work. there are no viruses on my comp or spyware and i have tried playing with new gfx drivers, old gfx drivers and no gfx drivers. i got told to run speedfan and i did, these are the results i got.

http://img530.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjjfa2.png

it is saying my GPU is burning at 57 C idle ( i have no tried it with games or under load ). the core that is overheating aswell is nvidia and that is at 52 C.

I have a tsunami case which has two fans, side and rear, they are both running, one at around 6000 RPM and one at 3500RPM.

i have cleaned my case aswell as i can with removing the dust.

someone said to try remove ur graphics card and use the onboard graphic... i dont think my mobo has OB gfx and i dont have a spare pci card to try it with.

this happened last year in summer (in aus, which is dec to march) when i was playing tf2. so i stopped playing for ages and then it seem to repair itself when it got cooler.

its not hot yet, its only spring and the days are around 20 C. where as summer can get to low 40 C.

can anyone help me ?

More about : graphics card ked

October 4, 2008 5:08:02 AM

Ok, just so you know, a gpu core in the range of 50c is very good! I've heard of the x19xx series cards going over 85c and that was acceptable. Sometimes, I have my 9600gt going over 60c and that's considered normal.

What you showed in those pics look like artifacts which are a sign of errors in the gpu's calculations. Usually that means your card is dying or just flat out overheating. instead of using speedfan, try gpu-z. Run that and see what your gpu is at for temps. I suspect that speedfan is giving an improper reading.

also, does your rig do fine under normal 2d apps? I.e. no gaming, but in windows? If so, then it does sound like your card is on the way out. :( 

What is your psu? If you have a junky psu that isn't powering everything enough, then that could also be the culprit. If that's the case, then you can probably buy a new psu and pop that one in. Over time, psu's wattage goes down because of aging in the capacitors. although this rig is fairly recent, like my own.

First, i'd run the gpu-z app during a game and recording the temp, then while you are surfing the web.
Second, try underclocking the graphics card to see if that solves the problem temporarily and check the psu wattage and brand (post here).
Third, i'd try a new psu.
Fourth, probably a new graphics card is in order.

what does everyone else think?
October 4, 2008 5:20:09 AM

it was an inbuilt psu that came with the tsunami case. I think it might of been 350w ... 400w. sorry not sure. how can i check that? the guy said it was just enough, so yeah, that could be the problem. but does that mean because its inbuilt that i will have to buy a new case and a new psu? or is there a way of taking it out?

It runs fine when its come to running windows, or under no use of games. the only thing that happens is sometimes little pixels go different colours down the screen, if i like scroll.. i couldnt take a screen shot because you would see enough detail to see them. but i can on my monitor. its not my monitor because when i move the pixels change different places. and that only happens sometimes.

ill run he gpu-z and get back to u... thanks for the replies, keep them coming.
Related resources
October 4, 2008 5:39:49 AM

OK so I ran GPU-z and these are the logs files.

First lot is just looking up websites etc, and no games.

The second lot was under 3dMARK '06.

So yeah, it is staying around 53-54C and when under load for only like 5 mintues it got to 56-57



Date , GPU Core Clock [MHz] , GPU Memory Clock [MHz] , GPU Temperature [°C] ,

2008-10-04 15:26:22 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 54.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:26:46 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 54.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:26:47 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 54.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:26:50 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 53.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:26:51 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 54.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:26:52 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 53.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:26:53 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 53.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:26:54 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 54.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:26:55 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 54.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:26:56 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 53.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:28:02 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 54.0 ,

Date , GPU Core Clock [MHz] , GPU Memory Clock [MHz] , GPU Temperature [°C] ,

2008-10-04 15:28:05 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 54.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:28:06 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 54.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:11 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:13 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:14 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:15 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:16 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:17 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:18 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:19 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:32 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:33 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 56.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:34 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:35 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:36 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 56.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:37 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:38 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:39 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 56.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:40 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 57.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:41 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 56.0 ,

2008-10-04 15:35:42 , 520.0 , 750.0 , 56.0 ,

October 4, 2008 5:58:42 AM

Try cleaning everything out for dust build ups. The temps seem ok, but it could be isolated heat. Did you add anything to your system when it first started? Any drivers> Hardware? etc?
October 4, 2008 6:08:54 AM

ive already cleaned it out as well as i could. i also touched the card and it didnt feel hot at all...


seriously, i have no idea what it could be...
October 4, 2008 6:27:09 AM

Most likely its your video ram. If it goes bad, artifacting happens, or weird lines etc across your screen
a b Î Nvidia
October 4, 2008 6:33:54 AM

It's probably dying then. Try downclocking the card. If you downclock it and artifacts don't appear, then it's time for a new card. An 8800GT (also called the 9800GT) is a good buy right now. If you didn't want to spend too much money on it though then you can go with (in order of descending price) a 9600GT, a 9600GSO, or a Radeon 4670. Since your processor is a bit outdated there isn't much point in picking up two 8800GTs(9800GT) or two 9600GTs and running them in SLi since your CPU will be a limiting factor. Of course, if you can get two 9600GTs for less than a single 8800GT then go for it.
October 4, 2008 6:53:36 AM

Or is that a G130? heheh
October 4, 2008 7:15:46 AM

1. Have you tried removing the GPU then reseating it?

2. Do you have a link to your exact GPU? Is it using a reference cooler like this one...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I know the card in the link is a different card, I just wanna know if the cooler is similiar.

The 7900gt in the stock cooler design did not have ram sinks. Overheating vram could explain your problem. I bet the fan on your unit is not pushing air as fast as it used to.

You could try finding some cheap ram sinks for it, or buying a new gpu cooler.
October 4, 2008 10:32:44 AM

I remember reading a while back that some 7900 chips were flawed and ended up dying rather fast (people would get artifacts, crashes, in games like what you described).

Don't know if that applies to the 7900GT.
October 4, 2008 11:59:56 AM

note::: if you do upgrade your video card to say an 8800gt class card or even better,,you will have to also consider upgrading your cpu,because it will seriously bottleneck any new card,and of course you will also need a new psu,in other words ,,it's pci-e time,
unless of course you can find another 7900gt,they are around but are really expensive,here in north america they go for around $200.00,when and if they can be found,scarcer than hen's teeth,one more thing,make sure that you do not have a lot of junk running in the background,that barton is a good cpu but it is still only a single core,and all the help that you can give it to do what you are focused on will help..:) 
October 4, 2008 12:31:58 PM

This is why I buy my GPU's with a lifetime warranty.
October 4, 2008 12:39:56 PM

Sorry, but I dont know how to downclock the gfx card. Can anyone help me there?

And to the person that want to know the exact card I have. Its a Nvidia XFX 7900gt/gto.

Oh and to the person that said he heard that they give out pretty easily, I am happy with the thousands of hours gaming it gave me last year and a little bit this year.

... to the person that said have you removed the gpu. do you mean have u moved the actual card?

I have not bothered to do that because i have no card to replace it with to see if it works..

I really dont need an amazing card, just one similar or slightly better then the 7900gt. This time next year after my final year of uni i will be able to maybe get into some gaming. i just dont want to go buy a card and then find out it a psu problem or something.

I still would be interested to find out what the problem so keep giving me advice... thanks for the help so far...

so how do i downclock?

a b Î Nvidia
October 4, 2008 1:17:44 PM

Remove the card and check for dust build up inside the fan area, clean it out as it could be clogged up and choking the performance.
October 4, 2008 1:31:52 PM



Go into your nvidia control panel through the control panel from your start menu. As said before by another poster, if underclocking fixes it then you do need to get a new video card.
October 4, 2008 2:33:36 PM

I like the HD4670 or 9600GT idea. You can get a really good upgrade for around $80 if you look around. I would take this opportunity to step up your system so that you can play newer games that come out. Coming from the 7900GT, you don't have to spend much to improve your graphics.

If you cleaned out your entire system and did a fresh install and still get the problems there is a pretty high certainty that your card has just reached the end of it's life.

I think JayDJ is probably right. If your GPU is running that cool I think it is pretty safe still but the VRAM may have reached the end of it's life.
October 5, 2008 3:07:05 AM

Ummm, thanks for the screen shot. but all that my NVIDIA Control Panel has in its settings is 3D Settings, Display and VIdeo & Television. There is no Performance section or System Stability. Help?
October 5, 2008 4:19:20 AM

because of your PSU i would say go for a smaller card the 9600gt or the 4670 and they would fit well with your CPU, so saving some cash on a PSU and CPU
October 5, 2008 6:45:50 AM

How do I downclock my graphics card?
October 5, 2008 10:25:20 AM

rivatuner i think
October 5, 2008 4:28:57 PM

I'd agree, riva tuner is probably your best option. You can use Atitool, that is compatible with nvidia cards now.
October 6, 2008 6:41:09 AM

OK, I downclocked the card down to the lowest it could possible go in all settings and it seems to do nothing to anything.

The desktop didnt change, it was working in the first place and is working fine now.

I started battlefield 2 and the exact same problem was happening with "shimmering, flickering and blurring".

Does this mean it is done for?
October 6, 2008 1:36:02 PM

one more thing,,you could remove your card,take the fan and heat sink off and clean both surfaces and put on some new tim ac5 ,for instance,there's only four screws to remove,just be very gentle but firm when separating the heat sink etc from the card,also while you are at it clean the contacts with a clean eraser and brush off the contacts..
now then if after all the above suggestions there is no improvement,,,, well,OTOH there is no technical reason why that system should not work happily for quite a while yet,can you test it with another psu..:) 
!