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Help diagnose graphical artifacts

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 27, 2009 5:49:07 PM

Let me begin by saying that I am very inexperienced when it comes to hardware, so I may need some hand-holding to get all the pertinent information available to you guys.

So, I've had my computer since around early 2007, used mostly for gaming. I play a lot of MMO's, most recently Champions Online and Aion. Never had any lasting issues until recently while playing Aion using an Nvidia 8800 GTS. The display froze temporary (as I'm assuming the video card tried to recover/reset from some error) before rending graphical artifacts on the screen. I closed Aion and powered down. Waited ~15 minutes for things to cool down (initially though over heating) and loaded Aion back up. Played fine for approximately 5 minutes before experiencing the same issue; The video card would crash and recover, rendering artifacts on the screen. I rebooted the machine and now the artifacts were being rendered on the bios screen and the windows boot screen (boxes and lines of color). Waited another 20 minutes or so before booting up again, no graphical artifacts, but I didn't launch another 3D application.

I decided that the video card had just crapped out, so I borrowed an ATI 3850 HD card from a friend while at a LAN party. Loaded it up and played Supreme Commander for about 5 hours with *no* problems. Went home and went to sleep.

Woke up and loaded up Aion (thinking my video card problems were fixed) with the ATI card. Played Aion for ~15 minutes and *bam*, video card crashed and recovered with artifacts. Powered off and let the machine cool down. Booted back up and tried Champions Online (which I had never experienced any issues with before). Played for ~30 minutes or so before the video card crashed. Again, I powered down the machine and let it cool. Loaded back up and this time I tried playing Supreme Commander (played it the night before with the same hardware for ~5 hours or so with no problems) and after only about 5 minutes of play the video card began to crash the system entirely - black screen and computer crash requiring manual reboot. That's where I am currently with things.

I'm somewhat baffled... both video cards seem to initially have issues playing Aion, but once the issues begin they extend to any of my other games. Is Aion specifically ruining my video cards, or is there another possibility.

Something else I've considered is that I played fine on my computer while at a friends house, but I experienced these issues at my house. Could there be something wonky with the power supply or the outlets in my house? I'm frustrated with the whole matter and do not want to risk losing another video card if that is determined to be the issue.

Power, RAM, and Mobo:

COOLER MASTER RS-550-ACLY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC (PF>0.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171009

ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition AM2 NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131011

2GB total -- CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X2048-6400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145590

Video Cards experiencing issues:

BFG Tech BFGR88320GTSOCE GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814143086

ATI 3850 HD (I am borrowing this card from a friend and am not sure of the specifics)
a b U Graphics card
September 27, 2009 7:02:59 PM

Great description of what you did - let me summarize for clarity:

You have graphic anomalies and crashes using two different video cards. This may not have occurred at your friend's house.

Let's try to eliminate heat and your home (heat and) power.

Download RealTemp and/or CPUID Hardware Monitor from the "Monitoring" section of this list:

http://forums.tweaktown.com/f69/latest-overclocking-pro...

Install, and let your system idle - or do non-3D stuff for an hour. Watch temps. Then play 3D. Watch temps. Let us know.

What is the temp of your room and the temp at your friend's house? Which is/was hotter?

If you have a small lamp, plug it into some other outlet at your house. Note how bright. Then plug it into the same outlet as your PC. If you are using a UPS on your PC, stop using it for now. Plug your PC directly into the same wall outlet. Be aware of any dimming or flickering that occurs when you play.

It is most likely not electicity causing your problem. It could be heat. If not heat, it is psu or mobo.
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January 8, 2010 9:45:06 AM

I think i got the exact same problem as u hav... Twoboxer

Only I had a 8800 Ultra, a 650Watt power zuppy (Zalman) and 4Gs (4x1Gb) Kingston HyperX.

Im about 100% sure its NOT... the temprature or the powersupply. That is because I watercool the whole motherboard, CPU and Graphic card... The water temp does not rise above 23 :) 

I'm beginning to think its a driver / motherboard issue.

Cus i changed my memory banks and testen the old 1es. And bought an Geforce 295 GTX SLI :) . Wich also gave me artifacts!

BUT BUT BUT.

I send the Nvidia 295 GTX back to show for testing and it ran FINE... And ofcource its also watercooled. I noticed that the 295 GTX is taking a lott of power so i bought a 750Watt supply... Just to be sure. Sooooo whats left. Only the Mboard.

Did u reinstall the PC yet? And i mean compleetly? I dont have my Card back yet from the shop.

Please dont tell me you bought a new PC cus I dont think its broken! I know some1 else with the exact Mboard and its running for 4 years now.
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January 8, 2010 9:47:37 AM

Twoboxer... Woops ment hodgie404 ofc :) 
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March 31, 2010 3:46:37 AM

Hey guys. I think the problem I am having fits in pretty well with this thread.

Currently my computer is displaying graphical artifacts while im booting up and won't even load windows 7 or vista without giving me a blue screen (Reports an error with nvlddmkm.sys driver, which is obviously the nvidia display driver for my 8800 Ultra). I have to boot up in safe mode to actually run windows without it crashing.

I have tried a different video card (GeForce 9800, i think) and I still get the same issue. So I am thinking that there's a problem with the motherboard somewhere (chipset maybe?). I dunno, it is very frustrating.

Anyone been able to solve a similar issue?
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September 26, 2010 3:47:15 AM

oh god. I hvae the same. Whenever i play games i have random lines appearing . first i thought it was screen tearing but it wasnt it wouldn't stop. i cannot play games bcoz they are so annoying. i turned my fans to 60% from 25% but i put them back to 25% bcoz they were to loud and i thought: *** my pc is going to die. anyway ohh and i moved to another country and i forgot to change the Volt from 220 to 110v and i turned on my pc and a loud and distubring noise shut down my pc. THen it smelt like electric parts burned and i switched from 220v to 110v and my pc seemed to work nice but then the pc usually made some noises coming from the psu. :(  and whenver i play games random black boxes appear on : F1 2010, Metro 2033 , Team Fortress2 , Just Cause 2. HELP PLEASE!
System specs
Windows 7 32-bit
processor : Intel Core i5 CPU 750
nVIDIA GEFORCE 250 GTS 1GB
4.00GB OF RAM DDR3
and i dont know the other specs and im inexperienced. HELP ME!! :( 
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a c 272 U Graphics card
September 26, 2010 6:01:07 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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