Last Video Card Blew Up. How do I prevent this from happening again?

Alright, here's the backstory:

Playing Left 4 Dead like any other night, except my friend and I decided to experiment with cheats on Helm's Deep. Little did we realize that spawning 500 zombies at once would cause my video card (GeForce 8800 GTX) would die out due to the sheer amount of action on the screen.

Fast-forward, and now I have a new MSI GeForce 9800 GT. Now, my question:

How do I prevent this from happening again? You would not believe how pretentious I have gotten over this now, especially after what happened no more than 10 minutes ago: game crashed again, but not quite in the same manner. My dad can't just magically replace computer parts every time something goes wrong, so...

I need some tips on the best ways to preserve my video card. Like, should I leave my computer on at night (especially considering I'm trying to backup my data right now and it'll take too long to finish before I go to bed)? What setting should I run on Left 4 Dead from now on? .

I'm just freaked out by all this. My computer is astounding, custom-built by my uncle who actually works for Microsoft. Basic specs include Windows 7 Ultimate (RC 7100), Intel Core2 Duo 64-bit processor, 4 GB RAM, and 2x 500GB HDDs. Could this be caused by the RC for W7? Should I cease all gaming and serious activity until I get the full version?

I just need some recommendations, guys. I'm wiggin' out at every time my computer seems to slow down, and it's ridiculous that I can't have this much faith in my computer (though my faith is definitely in something much larger, better, and more powerful ;) Thanks to those who read this nervous jarble of words and respond with their suggestions.
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More about last video card blew prevent happening again
  1. I have a feeling that your card was already dying before, and the extra and unsual load for your cheats just pushed it over the edge. High load should not kill a card. I would not leave the computer on any more than needed, and I would not worry about the game settings. Unless the card is defective, it should not have any trouble with high load. Old age eventually catches up with cards though. The best things you can do for it are:

    1.) Periodically check the card temps with a program like HWMonitor or GPU-Z. The easiest way to kill/hurt a card is by overheating.

    2.) Every so often open the case and check for dust buildup in the cards/ofther essential fans. Clean out any you find (and ask back here if you need help).

    3.) Periodically check for newer drivers and update, especially when playing newer games (this will help with crashes).

    Hope that helps some, and good luck.
  2. Also, what is your PSU (and you are using a surge protector, correct)? Poor protection(surge protector/PSU)/regulation(PSU) are also good ways to kill your system/card, so might as well double check those fronts as well.
  3. Yea, psu, especially since you now have "new" problems
  4. Best answer
    So its a custom built? What brand and model of the case your uncle chose for your
    Rig? How many Cooling fans he installed? Do you have some info if he overclocked
    your video card or not?

    - Most blown video card cases i've seen, the number 1 reason you'll expect that
    caused this is the tremendous heat and heat definitely slows your system's
    performance and heat will fry all your components big time.
    Since your video card is working double time while playing LFD (spawning 500
    zombies at once in helm's deep). Your video card's gpu consumes power way
    more then its usual load to render the complex graphics and effects that the game
    is throwing at it and along with that your video card's gpu is generating more heat
    thus if the fan coolers of your gpu cant provide cold air anymore to cool the gpu due
    to the lack of proper ventilation that your case provides, sadly that's were the frying
    of your video card starts and the most disappointing part of it you'll know it when its too late.

    If heat is the reason why your 8800GT got fried then obviously lacking proper case
    ventilation is the cause. I suggest, if you don't have any idea what kind of case
    fans your case uses then phone your uncle and ask him to add some nice high air
    flow fans in your case. If adding 2 or 3 case fans based from what your case can
    handle makes a huge huge difference, im sure your uncle knows what to do for the
    intakes and exhaust fans and it will just cost you some few bucks i'm sure when
    you explain that to your dad he'll understand it.

    -- But if not, or your video card got fried by some other issues or factory defects
    then read about your video card's warranty card on how you can be able to
    replace your blown 8800GT for a new one (if its still under warranty) without paying any extra,
    although you already have a 9800GT.
  5. @ Rock_n_Rolla, It was a GTX not a GT according to the OP.

    @ CallMeLightning, What kind of HSF does the new card have?, single or double slot?
  6. btw, stick the base of your old card in the oven at 250'F for 7minutes, and see if that can fix your old card.
  7. Mousemonkey said:
    @ Rock_n_Rolla, It was a GTX not a GT according to the OP.

    Oops! Sorry for that dude. Yeah 8800GTX. :)
  8. Kari said:

    Oh dang! Repaired by Heat?! Hah! :o :D
  9. CallMeLightning said:
    You would not believe how pretentious I have gotten over this now
  10. Alright, thanks for all of the responses, guys, I truly appreciate it!

    @EXT64: Yeah, the GTX was quite old (I think my uncle purchased it new when it first came out) and already tired from all the gaming my uncle's done, so it probably was just a matter of time. I have no idea what PSU he installed in my comp, though :(

    @Rock_n_Rolla: Well, there's the CPU fan, the fan on the card itself, and then two other fans in the back of the case. No idea what brand the case is, and the system is overclocked to 6.3 GHz I believe (w/o overclocking I think it's 6.0 GHz).

    @mousemonkey: I believe it's a's the info on the card itself if that helps:

    @WR2: Whoops, shows how much I pay attention to vocabulary O_o I think I was going for something starting with "pre" that means "to be wary of; second-guess" or something ^_^;

    Sorry it took me awhile to respond, haven't been home all day (band practice, grandma's birthday, moving furniture O_O;) I think I'm not going to be too afraid of game crashes or anything anymore. Looks like my video card should be able to handle the occasional 4 hour Left 4 Dead session, you think?

    The only thing that troubles/ed me was, when I first got the computer back, every so often the sound would freeze up (very reminiscent of what happened before the GTX blew) for just a bit. This would happen at somewhat periodic intervals I think, but only happened twice: once while listening to music with the Zune media player, and another time while playing L4D (not counting the time the game just crashed). Anything to be concerned about? To me it was just the card "warming up" or something to my system...I dunno, I like to make it sound like I know what I'm talking about ^_^; I'm still learning about how computers work, though I certainly think I know how to make them work most of the time ;)

    Thanks again for all your help. Any last suggestions about what to do to make sure nothing crazy happens again? I don't game all the time with my computer; most of the time I'm just browsing the web, watching videos, listening to music and the like, but when I have a good chunk of free time I play L4D for about an hour (only PC game I play; I also have COD:WaW but haven't reinstalled it since upgrading to the RC). Casual gamer, but hardcore PC user XD
  11. That is a double slot cooler and as such should be OK, the single slot coolers are half the thickness (less efficient) and a lot louder.
  12. Alright, something different is happening now and it's really unnerving to me, as this has happened when my last video card blew up and when my old XP computer had hard drive problems.

    Now, I didn't mention what happened when my old card blew. What happened was this:

    -Game froze, system crashed
    -Reboot, bunch of artifacts on the screen & yellow lines across the screen
    -Next day, watching anime on full-screen, lines randomly disappear
    -Couple of reboots later, graphics back to normal

    Now here's the thing:
    -Next reboot, computer does not exceed the boot screen, and continually restarts and never full boots up

    Now, that problem is reoccurring, however only once. The last two times I've turned my computer on, it would fail the boot process once, then boot up like normal.

    The question is, is this anything to be concerned about? The computer is booting up, but the last time this happened the computer eventually wouldn't boot (and before that, as alluded to above, my computer would not boot up when I had a hard drive failure). Could the GTX that blew up also caused other components to become wounded or something?

    I dunno, I'm just freaking out at any signs of my computer not doing what it's been programmed to do, or just acting weird in general. Once bitten twice shy and all that stuff. Am I just paranoid or do I have a source for concern, cause a computer not booting properly seems like a concern in any respect. What do you all say?
  13. When something goes in your rig, anything can be effected, and usually is.
    Someitmes its not enough once the bad part is replaced to see further problems, but sometimes you may see problems when high room temps happen, or anything that could impede power, making the effected components work harder at the time show their weakened state.
    Id advise you to try a different psu. It could be anything at this point, your mobo also. I wouldnt point to the gfx card as your problem, because we know that the card wasnt exposed to this, but the older components were, which all are effected when it occured.
    A power spike, protections in place or not, can have bad effects
  14. It could even be power coming in, and your particular circuit from your home power is unstable or somewhat overloaded
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