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Graphics Card Fault?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 18, 2009 5:54:23 PM

Hi folks,

I am having a problem with my PC, possibly a Graphics Card fault. I did forward a very descriptive report of what was happening to the seller (Komplett.ie) where I bought my card in October 2008.

I'll post my emails to Komplett so to clue you in on the problem:

Quote:
Hi,

I'm ####### (a/c no. #######). I bought a set of parts from you a year ago to build my own PC. In the last few months, I've noticed incidents of the Windows GUI going all crazy and, sometimes showing extra pixels. Nevertheless, it becomes unusable and a restart becomes necessary. After a reboot, there will be several blue pixels all over the screen on top of the memory test and hard drive seeking boot area. After a few minutes rest with the PSU switched off, it does go away, until next time it happens all over again.

Here is the exact product:
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=368358

I'm not an expert, but I would have thought such a problem could be down to bad memory on the graphics card?

I was hoping that the problem was temporary because it did happen a few times a week, and after installing a new OS, it appeared to be fine. For the last month or so everything's been indeed that, fine. But just now it has happened again, and I'm doubting the problem is with the drivers or the OS. I had considered RMA'ing it before, my only problem was that I need my PC every day and I do not have a spare PCI-E graphics card lying around or an on-board controller on my motherboard. That problem still exists now, but I would still like to know if I'd be able to RMA it? If so, what do I do, and how long before a replacement is delivered?


Many thanks.



Now, a second follow-up email:

Quote:
Hi again,

I'd like to add something for you to reference this problem.

Since I didn't take a picture of the problem (I know, I should have), I'd like to send you something I came across whilst researching VRAM issues.

http://www.playtool.com/pages/artifa...ardmemory3.gif

Imagine those pixels, the EXACT same shape and frequency, only blue, and on the boot screen before Windows even begins to load.

The problem always seems to begin in Windows, though, but I'd still argue that the drivers are not at fault as it will continue on reboot as I've already said.

Imagine this:
http://www.playtool.com/pages/artifacts/badgpu.jpg

This is how Windows can look when the problem occurs, the only difference between the screenshot there and my problem is that it's mostly out on the Windows GUI (but not always). After a reboot, that's when I see the blue pixels. Once the computer is rested with the PSU off or plug out for a few moments, it's fine again until the next time it happens. I'm not doing anything in particular at the time of each flair up, I could be out in Windows listening to music or inside a game, just like that screenshot. It's even happened inside of Photoshop on one occasion.

Here is a screenshot of my temperature stats on idle from right this moment:
http://imagestack.deceifermedia.com/...1/gfx-temp.png

As you can see, everything is fine. It's running very cool. It will never hop above 60 degrees when playing games, either.


One last thing. I had considered the possibility of the motherboard being at fault. It is a MSI P43 Neo I got from you guys, also. But things like bad system memory symptoms do not occur. No errors when installing Windows, no frequent crashes, or BSoD's. I haven't seen a BSoD in many months and whenever I did, it was a once off for a long period. I've been through many OS's from XP to Vista to 7, and the graphics problem has occurred at least once on each. With every OS, there is a new display driver downloaded from ATI and installed, and I always update on a monthly basis anyhow when ATI release a new version (with Driver Cleaner .NET, Driver Sweeper, and some CCleaner paving the way for a clean installation).

I think I've covered everything, but if you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask. So, that all in mind, I go back to my original questions (with one further one):

1. Can I RMA it?
2. If so, how long will it take for a replacement to be sent?
3. Would I get the same model? I like having the Golden Sample by Gainward, as it's overclocked out-of-the box and there's more performance in it. If not, would I be given an opportunity to choose something of equal value to my purchase price in October 2008?


Many thanks again.


After all those emails, all I got back from Komplett was, "RMA Requested". I'm not sure if the information I provided prompted the request, or if it's just policy to request an RMA with every report, even those offering very little information.

But, as you can see, the problem is not always there. It occurs on occasions, but I'm afraid it's going to get progressively worse over time, and finally go kaput once it's out of warranty.

Since writing those emails, the problem occurred again yesterday (nearly two weeks later):

After Windows started showing repetition of text and pixels on Pingtest.net and text in the Command Prompt and random multi-colored pixels in Notepad upon scrolling (it all was contained within the windows in question), I did a reboot and took a picture with my phone. I should have taken pictures in Windows before rebooting, but I panicked and just rebooted as quickly as possible.

http://imagestack.deceifermedia.com/images/1/DSC02320.J...


The problem resolved itself again by my turning off the PC and removing the AC cable from my PSU for a moment.


The big questions:

1. Do you think it could be a VRAM issue?
2. Could it be my monitor? (LG Flatron L1917S - using a VGA to DVI converter socket into the card)
3. How about the Motherboard? (MSI P43 Neo-F - MS-7519)


My biggest fear in this situation is that I send the card back to Komplett at my own expense, and they find zip. The problem occurs so scarcely that they might not find anything. Hell, it might not even be the graphics card! That's why I am posting here, for some peace of mind, if anything.


I have also performed a stress test on the key hardware using Everest Ultimate 5.01 for 32 minutes. I will post a screenshot of the statistics, including temperatures, fan speeds, and voltages:

http://imagestack.deceifermedia.com/images/1/Everest-St...


Many thanks.

More about : graphics card fault

a c 177 U Graphics card
October 18, 2009 6:12:26 PM

Which CPU is it? For most of the Core2s the peak temperatures seem a little high.
It is also possible the CPU or GPU fan is failing, I had a similar problem with my own rig a few months back and it was caused by the CPU fan failing, it was not noisy, it just refused to start up at random intervals.
Try running monitoring software constantly to keep an eye on the GPU temperatures and if your motherboard has an CPU overtemperature alarm, set and activate it.
October 18, 2009 6:13:09 PM

Any queries about my rig, please visit:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/configuration.php?c...


Also, I'd like to note that after the incident yesterday, I tried to re-create it again. I wanted to see if the blue pixels in VGA mode on boot time would appear over or under the menu, to see if the monitor could be the culprit. Going into GTA IV and maxing out the settings to well above what my rig could handle for 30-60 minutes didn't do a goddamn thing.


Thanks again.
Related resources
October 18, 2009 6:20:36 PM

coozie7 said:
Which CPU is it? For most of the Core2s the peak temperatures seem a little high.
It is also possible the CPU or GPU fan is failing, I had a similar problem with my own rig a few months back and it was caused by the CPU fan failing, it was not noisy, it just refused to start up at random intervals.
Try running monitoring software constantly to keep an eye on the GPU temperatures and if your motherboard has an CPU overtemperature alarm, set and activate it.

Hi Coozie,

I have thought of all that and I did forget to mention that the temps are all fine when the problem is occurring. The CPU is a 45nm, but it's not too bad all in all. Remember, that's a stress test. Even if I was running a regular but very intensive application, the heat wouldn't be as bad. Stress tests usually max out your hardware more than anything else would, so I'm told. I also only use the regular air cooling that Intel provided with it, the stock fan.

I'm planning on RMA'ing it tomorrow morning anyhow. I would just like to have all the opinions here thrown at me so I can follow-up with them, especially if they should say there is no detectable fault with it. I do hope it's the card, and not my motherboard or something else. It can't really be my system RAM, as if there was a fault there, I'd be getting BSoD's and errors from different things all over the shop. A faulty RAM stick usually causes the PC to blame everything else, such as the DVD drive being unable to read a DVD, etc. Other than this graphics problem every now and again, my PC behaves itself. I just hope it is the graphics card, and then a replacement can be sent out. Problem solved, that being the case.


Thanks for your reply. It's much appreciated.
a c 177 U Graphics card
October 18, 2009 6:26:35 PM

Just mentioned the temps because my C2D runs a bit cooler, and it only takes a few seconds for either the CPU or GPU to overheat if the fan is failing.
October 18, 2009 6:51:22 PM

coozie7 said:
Just mentioned the temps because my C2D runs a bit cooler, and it only takes a few seconds for either the CPU or GPU to overheat if the fan is failing.

Oh for sure. If I was gaming in GTA IV, a game that uses a lot of CPU (it even recommends a Core 2 Quad or above - as the game does use four cores when available), the temps wouldn't be as high.

If it happens again in the future, I will check the fans there and then again to be 100% sure. But I don't think the fans or heat is the issue. I've seen PC's with CPU's that have gone up to 100 due to clogged fans or worn paste, and there were never any graphical anomalies as a result.

The real issue I have is if the card is at fault or if it's something else. If the card is the problem, and Komplett detect it, then it's as easy as sending a replacement. Happy days. But if not, then I'm up *** creek. I haven't the money to buy a new card, or any new replacement hardware (not even the cheapest low-end stuff). I am flat broke and that's why it's a big deal to me. If I had the money, I'd RMA the card, buy a new and better one, and if they replace the old one for me, I'd give it away to a friend. If not, then it wouldn't matter. It's all about the money.
!