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Insane GPU Temps + High Page File Usage

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 29, 2009 9:47:09 PM

Hi, My config is -Intel P4 3.06ghz, Intel d102ggc2 mobo, 1 gb ddr2, 8600gt 256mb ddr3.

Since the past 2 days, I've noticed my gpu temps as reported by both AtiTool & GPU-Z are insanely high, whether or not the GPU is stressed. Upon Windows startup, the temps are around 90c. Even if I keep the system idle, the temps will gradually increase & finally settle around the 120c mark! It's 120c as I type even with the fan operating at 100%. The GPU is running at stock clocks. I've checked whether the fan is actually operating & well, it is. Also checked for any dust/dirt build-up, there's none.

I noticed the problem when I experienced extremely choppy gameplay. The games start off well, but a few minutes into them, & I'm down to 2fps. When I alt-tabbed out, I found the page file usage in task manager to be as high as 1.5-1.8gb. I've set my pagefile to system managed. I've also run pagedefrag.

So please help me out. I don't know what's causing the PC to misbehave all of a sudden. In the meantime, I'll try reinstalling the nvidia drivers. Thanks.

PS- I had tried to OC the card with riva tuner, but nothing drastic. I backed out as soon as I realised that there's not much performance gain to be had.

More about : insane gpu temps high page file usage

August 30, 2009 4:00:56 AM

Replacing your gpu's thermal paste could fix the problem
i experienced same issues with my gts250 only problem was the paste.
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August 30, 2009 7:02:23 AM

Thanks BadManzz.

Really haven't done any such DIYs earlier, so
1] Is it a simple job?
2] Any particular paste I should look out for in terms of brand, composition etc?
3] Precautions while applying & after.
In other words, I need a link to a step by step guide.

Also, is the paging file usage related to the same?

& has my card already suffered damage? Or applying the TP will make it as good as it was before?

Thanks for bearing with this noob!
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August 31, 2009 11:55:48 AM

The pleasure to help is mine no need to thank but i'm sorry i can't send you a link to a guide so i'll just tell you here
hope you find it helpfull.
1] Its realy easy to apply the paste first of all buy the paste from a computers and stuff shop i preferably use zalman thermal grease its the most reliable for gpu which cost about 3$ the smallest.
2] Now you have to take the screws of your gpu's cooler and you'll be able to see the gpu's chip (processor).
3] Carefully clean the paste with a small towel or something from the chip and the cooler.
4] Then apply a small quantity of the paste to the chip and spread it till it just covers the chip's surface not more than that and only apply it on the chip (the silver square thing) nowhere else.
5] Put everything back up and you should be all set if that's actually your card's problem and yes when you apply the paste it'll be as good as before it hasn't suffered dmg.
Reply to me for the results.
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August 31, 2009 3:53:14 PM

Update: Opened the fans of both GPU & CPU. Posting pics. Not too sure whether they'll help, cos they ain't clear.

GPU & CPU respectively-




If I had to describe it, I would say that the paste on the GPU is much like toothpaste while that on the CPU is a lot drier. Also, the paste on the GPU seems to be spread more around the chip than on it. Maybe that's the problem. The paste on the CPU is like a thin film, though dry. Is that how it should be?

I'll just wait for your thoughts, & then go ahead with applying the paste. I'm thinking that maybe the CPU needs some as well. If so, will the same paste work or is it different in nature?

Thanks for the guide, BadManzz. Looking forward to your reply.
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a c 197 U Graphics card
August 31, 2009 4:32:13 PM

Personally I clean the stuff off using a paper towel moistened with alcohol, I use Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or medical alcohol (surgical spirit), both are cheap and leave no residue. Computer shops also sell specialist cleaning agents which are often citrus based and made for this purpose (they also smell nicely of oranges;) )

There should be no problems with the GPU paste, just fold the towel to a quarter size, moisten one corner with the cleaning agent and wipe the old stuff off, from outside in, using gentle pressure.
The CPU stuff will probably be much harder to remove but use the same technique and keep at it, turning or changing the towel when needed.
Obviously, clean the old past off the heatsinks as well!
Apply a spot of paste about the size of a grain of rice to the GPU centre and reassemble, use about twice as much for the CPU, again, applying it to the centre prior to reassembly.
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a b U Graphics card
August 31, 2009 5:23:17 PM

Just to mention, the very thin bit of paste over the contact region is what you want. In a perfect world, there would be perfect metal to metal contact and no paste at all. Since the two surfaces (GPU and heatsink) aren't perfect, the paste fills the small gaps due to the imperfections. Too much paste actually makes things worse. This is definitely a case where a little goes a long way. The rule of thumb I always heard for CPUs was a grain or two (uncooked) rice is all the amount of thermal paste you want. You also want to be careful because some thermal pastes are electrically conductive, which if it gets smeared in the wrong place can be bad.
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September 1, 2009 3:21:43 AM

That's a thermal paste prob alright. Using the zalman paste is the best option which isn't electrically conductive, apply to your gpu then problem solved.
From your cpu screenshot i can tell that you should need some paste for that too. Buying arctic silver 5 paste for your cpu is also your best option.
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September 4, 2009 6:49:06 PM

Thanks for all your help so far, guys. But I need your assistance some more.

[You may ignore reading about my experience below & jump straight to the cause & my questions. Just thought I'd write the points for someone else who may be having similar difficulties].

EXPERIENCE
I re-applied thermal paste [Tuniq TX 2] after cleaning up with isopropyl alcohol & here's what happened -

1] Spread it with a plastic bag & found temps rising to 150c. Concluded that application was wrong.
2] Cleaned up & simply re-applied it to the GPU & allowed the heat sink to spread it. The idle temps were now 57c & on load temps were around 80c. So I thought - a job well done.
3] On the next boot up, however, the temps were again back to insane levels.
4] So re-applied again, this time spread with a credit card. Again, insane temps BUT the temps came down drastically after keeping the PC idle for an hour. Subsequent gaming session went off with temps under control.
5] Re-applied last time with heat sink method when temps reached insane levels upon next reboot. Though temps were great to start off with, the next reboot brought trouble again.

So this got me thinking that it's either my PSU or case cooling that's probably the culprit or the GPU itself. Hence I thought that I'll try & work on the case cooling first as that's the cheapest pursuit of the lot.

CAUSE DISCOVERED
So I just changed the cabinet's orientation & kept it on it's side while the PC was running to pinpoint any obstruction to the airflow. & here' what I discovered. The GPU fan had stopped working! [I'd checked it earlier & had found it to be spinning. So it doesn't always work]

I checked the wires. They were intact & firmly in place. I lightly tapped the fan with my finger & the fan started spinning immediately. The temps consequently came down rapidly to normal levels.

WHAT NEXT?
So my questions are - Is there any simple fix to prevent the fan working erratically? Obviously, it's not working at every boot up. Is it the hardware or the software which is culprit?

Can I install a fan some distance from the GPU & have it blow air onto the heat sink & thus have it counter the heat if the fan stops working? Will such a setup work?

Is it simply a case of claiming warranty? [Might be a hassle as it's a 2nd hand card & hence want to use it as a last resort]

Thanks a lot for your time & patience. Looking forward to your replies.
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September 8, 2009 5:10:19 PM

Alright, here's what I've done so far-

1. Reverted to previous drivers - 190.62 to 190.38
2. Set fan in RivaTuner through low level as well as driver settings
3. Uninstalled RivaTuner & AtiTool

Nothing's made a difference, so now there's no option but to RMA the card, I guess.

What is peculiar though, is that once I've prodded any fan blade gently with my finger, the fan starts spinning & works flawlessly, bringing the temps down with it for that entire session of PC use. It doesn't stop spinning for the entire session. Even rebooting immediately doesn't create any problems & the fan works optimally. However, if the PC is kept idle for a few hours, then the fan won't spin upon the next reboot unless gently prodded again.

So, any ideas?
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September 8, 2009 8:19:53 PM

RMA the card... your fan is dying. That is your overheating problem, not necessarily the thermal compound. It doesn't hurt to reapply it though, if the card is pretty old. Another option is to purchase an aftermarket VGA cooler. But if you can RMA it and get a free replacement, do that instead.

The paging file is a seperate issue, but would also hurt your overall system performance. Increase your RAM to prevent the page file being utilized. 1gb RAM is not enough for most gaming these days (depends on the game). If your page file is up to 1.8gb, you should at least try to run 3gb RAM in your system.

Good luck.
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September 9, 2009 4:23:18 PM

Thanks for your reply. Will try & RMA the card. In the meantime, will also try fitting a case fan close to the gpu to see if it helps. If both of the above don't work, then I'll try & see if the fan bearing can be oiled. If all else fails, then I'll continue using the card as I currently am - by prodding it to life!

Not too confident anout the RMA as 1. It's a 2nd hand card [though I have the bill] & 2. I've re-applied the thermal paste [that too Tuniq TX 2 which is grey - a dead giveaway]. Anyway, fingers crossed.

The VGA cooler seems to me to be an expensive option. I'd rather save up some more & get another card. As you can probably guess from my choice of the 8600gt, I'm not a gamer who demands cutting-edge. So I think this is possible.

The high page file usage happens to occur when the card overheats, not on other occasions. At least the gameplay is not affected [though the page file is accessed]. For instance, Ashes Cricket 2009, which requires a minimum of 1 GB, will use up to 1.3 GB of memory [actual & virtual combined as indicated by task manager]. So I think adding a Gig of RAM ought to be enough.

Anyways, thanks to all those who've responded. I really appreciate all your help. Needless to say, I'm open to further suggestions. I'll update the thread as & when something concrete happens. Ciao!

PS: Will RMA'ing the card mean that the fan alone will be replaced, or the entire graphics card?
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September 11, 2009 12:26:15 AM

Depends on the manufacturer... most would just replace the whole card... from my own experience.
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September 15, 2009 4:06:17 PM

Still trying to RMA the card but in the meantime here's what I did.

I bought a 230v AC 125x125x38mm fan from the local hardware store, plugged it into the wall socket, & placed it so it was parallel to the 8600gt fan & blowing air onto the card, some 2-3 inches away. Now the idle temps are ~60c & ~78-88c while gaming [depending on the game?]. So I guess I got a working solution for $5.

Now I'll monitor the situation for a few days & also work on getting the thing RMA'ed. Will keep you'll in the loop.

Of course, do give me your feedback, especially if there's any risk or cons involved in the current set-up.

Update: The AC fan seems to work by prompting the GPU fan to spin [much like I was nudging it earlier] cos I can hear it spin [sounds like a movie projector now]. I'll have to remove the GPU fan to actually know whether the external fan will cool the card sufficiently. So I guess I'll have to wait for the RMA attempt to fail for me to try that.
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