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Possible GFX Card Failure?

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 21, 2009 4:19:43 AM

Hello. First my system specs:

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 4600+
RAM: 2GB PC3200
M/B: ECS KN1 SLI Extreme
GFX: 2x (SLI) PNY GeForge 7600GS w/ 512 MB GDDR2
HDD: 250 GB, 1000 GB, 2000 GB Western Digital and 750 GB Seagate
PSU: Corsair HS520W
OS: Windows XP SP2 32 bit
Case: Aspire X-Superalien


Symptoms:
Randomly without notice, everything freezes without the BSOD. The screen will simply freeze and there is no keyboard or mouse input. I can press as many keys as possible, and the system does not even emit a beep. (Usually when pressing too many keys at once, the speaker on the M/B will emit a beep) Usually the sound will also freeze, or loop the last second or so indefinitely, but sometimes winamp will continue playing it's song.

This usually does NOT give me a minidump. The computer will require a hard reboot, and no minidump is created.


What I have tried:
I have run memtest on both sticks of RAM together and seperately for at least 9 passes. Not a single error.
Replaced PSU with the Corsair.
Checked HDD S.M.A.R.T. status' with SpeedFan and ActiveSmart. I monitor my HDD's regularly, and they haven't changed siginificanly.


First off, one of my graphics cards does not have a spinning fan in the heatsink. It burned out a while ago, but that is the card DIRECTLY underneath the case fan blowing at full speed. When I compare (by touch) the heatsink of that card with the other, they do not feel too different. Obviously the one with the broken fan feels slightly warmer to the touch.

What's weird is that this will happen when doing light duty tasks, such as typing a word document, or viewing files. So far it has never happened while doing an intensive task such as playing games. The computer could be idle for 8 hours doing nothing but playing music, and it will freeze up. But when I play games for 8 hours straight, it never happens. So I am confused on if it is a graphics card problem. I have only 3 minidumps so far, although only 2 of them are recent enough. I am waiting for more minidumps to be created, but if anybody could offer some insight, I would be most obliged.

More about : gfx card failure

November 21, 2009 4:22:25 AM

I forgot to mention that this has been occuring for the past 4 months or so, about once every 3 days. Lately it has become more frequent almost once a day.
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a c 1429 U Graphics card
November 21, 2009 2:05:29 PM

I would remove the card with the broken fan out of the system and see if that stops the freezing.
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November 21, 2009 10:59:30 PM

The broken-fanned card is removed, just the good on is in. I will update you in a week or so to let you know how it goes.

I know it to be a graphics card problem as the few minidumps I have point to nv4_disp.dll. Once it referenced firefox.exe, and the other time Steam.exe. Hopefully it's just a hardware problem, those are easily fixed.
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November 30, 2009 1:50:10 AM

Unfortunately, the problem persists even with just the new graphics card in place. The past 3 minidumps read as follows:

nv4_disp.dll

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL (a)
An attempt was made to access a pageable (or completely invalid) address at an
interrupt request level (IRQL) that is too high. This is usually
caused by drivers using improper addresses.
If a kernel debugger is available get the stack backtrace.
Arguments:
Arg1: 00000000, memory referenced
Arg2: 0000001c, IRQL
Arg3: 00000000, bitfield :
bit 0 : value 0 = read operation, 1 = write operation
bit 3 : value 0 = not an execute operation, 1 = execute operation (only on chips which support this level of status)
Arg4: 804f875f, address which referenced memory

=====================
I have googled this topic and found many people with problems. As for now, I have reboot into safe mode and completely uninstalled the graphics drivers via. device manager and add/remove programs. I have also searched for all files named nv4_disp.dll and deleted them. I reboot the computer back into safe mode to confirm all files are deleted. I then reboot normally and installed the latest nvidia drivers 195.62.

So here I wait again to see if anymore problems arise. If anybody has any suggestions, they are most welcome. :) 
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December 23, 2009 5:32:54 PM

I managed to solve this by installing SP3. If you read the list of fixes, you'll notice 3 key fixes pertaining to IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. After updating to SP3, the crashes seem to have disappeared. I'm usually of the opinion "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" hence my remaining with SP2. If anybody else is having these same problems, consider looking into SP3 as it seems to have solved my problem.
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