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GeForce 6600 garbled video

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 25, 2010 4:33:44 PM

Hi Guys,

New to the forums here. Quite a long post, but please bear with me.

I've been trying to revive my old "gaming" machine for use as a Media Center, but I'm running into problems with the graphics card.

Have a GeForce 6600 which was working just fine as long as I was using it, which was until I got my new PC about 2 years back. Since then, it's been passing in and out of dormancy, passing occassionally to friends or colleagues who were too lazy to buy a new PC :p . Even so the total usage in these past 2 years would not have exceeded 2 months.

So now when I boot up the machine, the video is all scrambled. And the funniest thing is that it is not a 'random' scramble everytime, but the same pattern repeats over and over. So in the BIOS, instead of 'Change the Internal Time', it says 'Changeainthinte l time' or something like that, but the SAME text everytime.

Now I've checked the following:

1) Kept the machine running for about 10-15 minutes, while at the BIOS. Card heated up quite a bit, but the display still did not change. So not a 'cold boot' problem.

2) Connected a different video card, works perfectly then. Tried to connect to a different monitor, same garbled result.

3) Cleaned dust off all the leads. So no 'short circuits' of any sort.

4) Heatsink (fin-based, air-cooled) seemed a little off balance (held down by some sort of rubbery screws), corrected that to some extent. So I don't think that's an issue.

5) ONE LAST thing that is left unresolved, is the question of the PCIE connector. Now when I try to screw my card to the back of the case, the 'back'side of the card (the part closer to the back of the case) is raised a little from the 52-pin connector, leading me to speculate if there could be a loose connection of some sort, especially with that first short bank of pins on the PCIE connector. A loose connection in this specific bank (or a few other pins) MIGHT explain why the 'scrambling' is repeated and consistent. But what doesn't make sense is that, this is the same case/mobo I was using earlier, and the card worked PERFECTLY back then!

So is this really something to do with the connector? Would a memory issue or some other issue with the card cause the kind of repetitive, consistent corruption I'm seeing? Could it still be a tiny dust particle of some sort screwing up a couple of specific leads somewhere on the card? Please help!

P.S: Could this also be a frequency/clock issue which might have crept up now for some reason? If so, what should I do? Haven't tinkered around with the BIOS much till now. FYI, I have an ASUS A8-NE motherboard, with an AMD 64 3200+ and 1GB DDR RAM.

Regards,
Dev "DKant" Kanchen
a b Î Nvidia
January 25, 2010 11:31:20 PM

well, try your card on different computer...
if the problem still exist then your card is probably dying, it's old enough... :) 
January 26, 2010 5:21:40 AM

Aww. I was hoping it would be something fixable. Like I said, the card is most certainly the problem, just wanted to make sure it is not dead chips but (hopefully) something like frequency mismatch or dust, anything tangible.
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January 26, 2010 5:32:39 AM

Yea sounds to me like that 6600 has painted it's last pixels.
January 26, 2010 6:58:14 AM

I'm still refusing to completely acknowledge the card's death :p  I don't want to believe it!

I tried on a different PC with the same result, but after having taken a much closer look at the card, I think I found out where the fault might be.

On a couple of pins in the PCI-E connector, the copper coating is missing from about half-way down. This, possibly coupled with the imperfect seating (both pointing to a loose/missed connection on a certain bunch of pins) in the PCI-E slot MIGHT explain why the corruption is so repetitive and consistent (and limited to certain 'bands' on the display) instead of just all over the place or why the screen isn't just all-black, one of which I'd expect to happen if the chips were indeed fried.

But, what do you guys think? Could this be the problem? Is this fixable in anyway?
January 26, 2010 7:14:10 AM

Honestly , I wouldn't try to meddle into fixing my graphics card even though it seems I know where the problem is.

Maybe you should really say goodbye to that card and move on. There are lots of choices out there. :) 
January 26, 2010 7:24:34 AM

Hm. Really not in a position to be spending on a new card, plus I can't use a spare ATI Rage (yes!) I have with me either, since that one doesn't have S-Video out (and the 6600 does) which is why I'm trying so desperately to save this card. Plus I loved that old system and it would be great to see it back on its feet. :) 

Oh well. Maybe later. Will research VGA-RCA or VGA-S-Video adapter options in the meantime.

Thanks for the help, guys.

P.S: Just wanted to inform you guys. My love-affair with unsubstantiated claims continues. Turns out those two pins I was referring to were the PRSNT#1 and PRSNT#2 pins, which are SUPPOSED to be shorter than the rest. Sorry for the misinformation there.

So that means the reason for the malfunctioning of the card is still a mystery; and I have no real option other than to get a new card. :) 
!