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My graphics drivers are posessed by gremlins!

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 19, 2009 12:21:20 AM

Since perhaps last April, my computer has been refusing to run any 3d game in full screen. Partly because of this, and partly because I had old hardware anyway, I recently decided to upgrade my entire system.

But the problem remains.... to my great confusion. I am using the same hard drive as in the old computer, but it doesn't make sense to me that this would be the problem, especially since the computer (and the old one) functions fine in every other application, and even runs games fine in windowed mode.

Additionally, as I essentially have two complete computers at my disposal, I can switch out parts to try and isolate the problem, but have not found it yet.

For those who like a puzzle, here is the exact situation:

Hardware:

Old computer:
graphics card: Nvidia 7900gt
Motherboard: Asus A8n32-SLI delux
CPU: AMD 4000+ socket 939 San Diago
RAM: 2GB dual channel
PSU: Ultra modular 550W

New Computer:
graphics: ATI 4970x2
Motherboard: Asus p6t
CPU: i7 920
RAM: 6GB triple channel
PSU: Corsair 750W

For both I am using a 74GB raptor as the OS hard drive. I have tried using several operating systems. (originally XP 64-bit, now running windows 7 RC)

Symptoms:
With the ATI card, the driver crashes almost immediately after starting a 3d game (I see the first frame of the intro video), but runs windowed games fine.

THE WEIRDEST PART when using this card though is that after I install the drivers for the ATI card, games will run fine (and beautifully, this card is sweet), until I restart the computer. This is why I think the problem is somehow connected to drivers rather than to the hardware, as a game can run for hours without a problem before I restart the computer. Any ideas here?

When a game is running, I hear a buzzing sound on the card. I am not sure if this is related, as it sounds like others have had this problem as well.

The Nvidia card behaves similarly, running things fine in windowed mode, but when running 3d games it the entire screen becomes an interesting design of blue stripes, that I am not nearly artsy enough to appreciate. (not the blue screen of death)

I think there may be something wrong with the Nvidia card though, as its behavior has been getting worse with every reinstall/swap I make. The first time I had problems was after I reformatted my computer last april. The card would run a game in 3d for about a minute, and then begin to display the line pattern, though the game would (from sounds) appear to be running fine. Running a game in windowed mode solved the problem.

Then, when I installed the RC and began testing new hardware, the blue pattern began appearing immediately after I ran a 3d application. Now, when I reinstalled the drivers to try and see if it worked before a restart like the ATI card, it went blue mid driver installation. Now I cannot even get past the windows login screen with this card installed before seeing this abstract blue design. I am not overly concerned if this card doesn't work any longer as it is not worth much at this point (like $15 on ebay), but it is interesting the a similar problem exists with two separate cards from separate companies.

Temps are all normal even when running games.

Things I have tried:
-switching out every piece of hardware individually (as much as I can with the above items)
-reinstalling the operating system
-two separate operating systems
-several driver versions
-driver cleaners
-installing drivers in safe mode

The only thing I can think to try that I haven't already is installing an operating system on another hard drive, and seeing if the problem still exists. I dont have any hard drives at the moment that dont have stuff on them I want to keep.

I will try to borrow one from a friend, but until then does anyone have any other ideas? Is it possible I have two bad cards? Does it make sense for a hard drive to be the problem? Thanks in advance for any help.
a b U Graphics card
August 19, 2009 12:33:16 PM

I think you have a bad video card.
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