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Lines and weird characters on my display.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 2, 2009 4:28:37 PM

Ok so this just started happening this morning, but I get the feeling my graphics cards (I have 2 Geforce 8800 Ultras in SLI mode) are simply damaged or dying and I'm gonna have to replace them, but I wanna hear what you all think. Anyway the problem is whenever I turn my computer on in the BIOS I will see lines that go horizontally and slightly up all across the screen. When it shows letters I get random characters all over the screen (generally the character "g" with a symbol next it that sort of looks like the pie symbol), but I can still tell that everything is loading properly as there are parts of the screen that show all the normal BIOS stuff. Once I get into windows I see essentially the same horizontal lines all across my screen and my resolution is locked in at 800X600 (normally I have it set to 1900X1200). I also get an error message at start up saying windows could not load the graphics driver as they are incompatible with the OS (I have Vista if it matters). When I look in device manager under the general tab under device status I see this message:

Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems. (Code 43)

Click 'Check for solutions' to send data about this device to Microsoft and to see if there is a solution available.

So far I have tried:

Uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers
Putting on older drivers
Taking out the graphics cards, unplugging them completely from the system and putting them back in
Resetting the BIOS CMOS
Turning my computer completely off (shutting off and unplugging the power supply) and turning it back on

None of these have helped unfortunately, and I have never seen this problem before so I'm not sure what else to do. Any ideas are welcome. I'm 99.9% sure my monitor has nothing to do with it (it's a 24" BenQ), but I could be wrong Also if you believe the graphics cards are simply damaged and need to be replaced I'm open to your suggestions as to what I should replace them with. I like Nvidia but I won't lie, I was a bit disappointed with SLI, never seemed to make a huge difference in most games, so if do have to replace them I'd probably just get one powerful graphics card.

One last thing that maybe relevant is I had my computer in sleep mode last night and it randomly turned on in the middle of the night. I simply walked up and held down shut off switch till it turned off. Thanks in advance for all your help.
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