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I threw $700 at a problem ... and it didn't go away!

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 15, 2009 7:03:29 AM

I am desperate for help here!

Here is the story. I originally had a C2D on a P5KC mobo running an n8800GT. I was happy with my rig, until the graphics card started crashing the computer. I replaced it with an BFG GTX260 maxcore OC. The crashes stopped, however, I started to encounter a bizarre error. 1-3 times an hour, my monitor will go blank for about 2 seconds. After the short time as elapsed, computer function continues as normal. There is no noticeable lag or problems with software related to this, and it happens both when I'm gaming and when I'm in Windows.

I have tried the following:

- send GTX260 back to BFG. They said nothing was wrong with it, but sent me a new one anyway. Same problem. I took the new card to a friend's house, and installed it into his hardware, and the problem did not occur on his system, so I have concluded it is not the graphics card.
- updated the BIOS on the mobo
- reinstalled Windows XP, and then Windows 7
- tried both DVI outputs on my graphics card
- plugged my monitor (a rather large power eater) into a separate wall plug

Finally, I figured it must be my motherboard. So, this weekend I went out and bought:

- Intel mobo and Core i5
- 4 GB DDR3
- A nice new case ...

I installed a fresh Win7 installation. I was so excited to game without these annoying interruptions.

And then it happened again!!!

I don't know what else to do. Here is the details of my current system:

Core i5 750, Intel P55WG motherboard (BIOS settings are all at default, no overclocking)
4 GB DDR3
BFG GTX260 MaxCore OC
(it just happened while I was typing that line!!)
Antec TruePower 550W PSU
WD Caviar Black 640GB HD

Please help me!!!!!! I'm at my wit's end, and I'm really upset about this problem ...

More about : threw 700 problem

a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2009 7:13:36 AM

Considering all of that, I would say its your monitor.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
November 15, 2009 7:20:11 AM

A faulty, failing or underpowered PSU would be more likely to cause a crash than the monitor would.
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November 15, 2009 7:22:06 AM

My Guess would be the power supply. Although Antec is a good brand and 550W is sufficient power, it still may be the problem. Are you stressing the GPU when the problem occurs (gaming), or is the computer relatively idle? You may want to tests your power supply to see if it providing the required power.

Also, have you checked your temps? What are they? I don't suspect that's the problem buts its always good to check.
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a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2009 7:22:47 AM

He didn't say he was experiencing crashes, he said he was experiencing times when the monitor would go blank for a few seconds, then come back. This is either due to a faulty monitor, or a short in the dvi/vga cable running to the monitor. My recommendation is to try someone else's pc on your monitor to confirm this.
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November 15, 2009 9:34:55 AM

Its the monitor..... Check your system with another monitor or else check your monitor with another system.
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a c 180 U Graphics card
November 15, 2009 9:41:41 AM

Also check the powersaving faetures in the Nvidia drivers, I have seen instances where similar problems were cured by turning them off.
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Best solution

a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2009 9:48:42 AM

Turn off screensaver.

Check power options for the monitor.

Wiggle your VGA or DVI cord very slightly to check for loose connections at each end.

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November 15, 2009 10:08:15 AM

i sometimes get nvidia 170 driver crashing on my windows 7 and it recovers after about 2sec and there's a message saying it's recovered. it always recovers and never fully crashes.
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November 15, 2009 2:58:06 PM

That is a lot of good suggestions! I will try them out today and let you know how it goes :) 
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November 18, 2009 7:42:42 PM

It was a faulty DVI cable. After all that ...

If my wife knew, she'd kill me. I feel bad! I spend $700 on a $10 problem.

Speaking of $10 - I am currently using an old VGA cable w/ a DVI-VGA converter to hook up my GTX260 to my 1920x1200 display. It works fine. Are there any substantial benefits to using a DVI cable? The monitor has inputs for DVI, VGA and HDMI.
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a b U Graphics card
November 18, 2009 7:51:21 PM

Doh! Next time come here before you start buying parts, hah, I know thats why I started coming to Tom's. :D 
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a b U Graphics card
November 18, 2009 8:11:37 PM

jordster said:
It was a faulty DVI cable. After all that ...

If my wife knew, she'd kill me. I feel bad! I spend $700 on a $10 problem.

Speaking of $10 - I am currently using an old VGA cable w/ a DVI-VGA converter to hook up my GTX260 to my 1920x1200 display. It works fine. Are there any substantial benefits to using a DVI cable? The monitor has inputs for DVI, VGA and HDMI.


Stock with the DVI cable if you're using the DVI port. The fonts are slightly crispier if you don't use the adapter.
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a b U Graphics card
November 18, 2009 8:35:15 PM

Throwing $$$ at a problem to make it go away only works for the Federal government... XD
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November 18, 2009 10:37:58 PM

You also lose the audio when you convert it, which is not part of the VGA standard. Most of us don't use that anyway.

:) 

Its not a "wasted" $700 since I am sure you bought upgrades while you were at it ...
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November 18, 2009 11:05:03 PM

atleast you have a new system hehe
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November 19, 2009 4:29:21 AM

pepperman said:
He didn't say he was experiencing crashes, he said he was experiencing times when the monitor would go blank for a few seconds, then come back. This is either due to a faulty monitor, or a short in the dvi/vga cable running to the monitor. My recommendation is to try someone else's pc on your monitor to confirm this.



People don't read.

Rule of Tomshardware Forums

1) Don't expect people to read.

2) Don't expect people to comprehend.

3) Don't expect people to brain.



I'm amazed that 2 people immeditely said it was the psu, not the monitor, when it is CLEARLY the monitor.

Are people so lazy they can't even read the topic title before posting what they don't know about?
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a b U Graphics card
November 19, 2009 12:45:47 PM

I think you mean it was the VGA cable and NOT the monitor?

Are people so lazy they want to proofread what they write?
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November 19, 2009 1:06:36 PM

OMFG - I can't believe another person had this same problem.

If you think you had it bad - try building a PC for your friend - having him hook it up - and then complaining about your fail skills because the monitor blinks off and on at random times. We reformatted the PC reinstalled all drivers - no success. Took the comp to my house - no problem. Brought PC back - while plugging it in decided to change cable to analog instead of DVI for video. Walah success no more flash for two hours straight.

Wish I had seen this post earlier - I could have told you right off the bat about the damn cable. Funny thing he had a fail DVI cable from DELL so he swaps out the DVI for the analog and uses it instead of buying a new DVI cable - that's just how cheap he is.
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November 19, 2009 1:44:57 PM

I always start with the cheapest part and work my way up, after doing the exact same thing, and it turned out to be a faulty supply that was saying it was fine.
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a b U Graphics card
November 19, 2009 5:26:25 PM

hundredislandsboy said:
I think you mean it was the VGA cable and NOT the monitor?

Are people so lazy they want to proofread what they write?


It doesn't matter; it wasn't something wrong with the system itself, and technically the DVI cable is part of the monitor, just like a modular molex connector is part of a psu.
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a b U Graphics card
November 20, 2009 4:01:23 AM

pepperman said:
It doesn't matter; it wasn't something wrong with the system itself, and technically the DVI cable is part of the monitor, just like a modular molex connector is part of a psu.


You are right and I agree. Any monitor that blacks out or flickers, the first thing checked should be the VGA/DVI cable and connections.
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November 27, 2009 12:37:47 AM

It was a particularly troublesome thing to troubleshoot because the problem happened intermittently.

In the end, all is well. I have a Core i5 system where my Core 2 Duo used to sit. Between the new case, a new fan and a better motherboard, it's quiet, it works well, and so far I've been running it for two weeks with absolutely no problems.

Thanks again everyone and your constructive replies.
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