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GTX260 - strange GPU overheating

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March 2, 2010 12:04:56 PM

This one will be long :) 

Since two months I'm having a strange overheating issue with my EVGA GTX260.

For over 7 months the card was running fine - 40-60°C (fan at 40-50%) even when doing heavy work (Age of Conan, Oblivion).

Then, around December'09, the gpu fan suddenly started to speed up and the PC started crashing. I've installed Speedfan (later replaced it with EVGA Precision) and saw that when playing games the GPU temp goes to 110°C. So I started to force 100% fan speed, but even then there are times I have to alt-tab and wait for the GPU temp to drop. Right now the temp is ca. 40°C when doing some office work or surfing the internets and ca. 55°C when watching movies. For games I have to speed up the fan to 100% and then the temp ranges from 50-110°C.

Now the "strange" comes in - the temp can go up to 75°C even when I'm just working with Open Office or Mozilla. I can speed up the fan and bring the temp down to 39°C, but when I slow the fan back to 40% the temp also goes back to 75°C (even if I restart the PC when the GPU has cooled off) :??: 

It's even stranger when playing games - the temp doesn't seem to be connected to what is happening on the screen.

Some examples:

Age of Conan: when I start the updater (just a window that shows the server status and updates the files) the temp starts to go up to 80°C! How the hell? When log in to the game the temp drops to 55°C, but now and then goes very fast to 100°C (then I have to alt-tab and wait 15-20sec). During a raid (when the system has the most to do) the temp can be 55°C and 100°C when I'm standing in the village and looking at my feet. Can't see any pattern here :pt1cable: 

Oblivion: when looking from somewhere high at the landscape (with view distance at max - thousands of meters!) or going through a dungeon (lots of dynamic shadows and lighting) the temp is usually at ca. 50°C, but every time I speak to an NPC or fight enemies with invisiblity on the temp goes to 100°C. A close-up of an NPC's face overheats the card, but rendering a massive landscape is not a problem?

I have these games installed on this PC from the beginning and they always ran fine (Oblivion was also running fine on my previous PC with GF 6600GT). I've tried running some older games and even Arcanum (2D, 2001) can melt the GPU if the fan is not at 100%.

It depends on the game, but now I get artifacts when the temp goes over 60°C.

I've:
- cleaned the PC from the dust
- opened and cleaned from the dust the GFX card, cleaned the old thermal compound and put a new (Arctic Silver Ceramique)
- upgraded and downgraded the drivers

Nothing has changed.

My system specs:
Win XP Home SP3
c2d 2,8GHz
2x2GBs RAM
Gigabyte MB
550W Tagan PSU

Like I said - everything was running fine. I didn't change anything with the hardware (just updated the gfx drivers from time to time).

Maybe someone had a similar problem or knows what's going on?
a c 126 U Graphics card
March 2, 2010 12:16:12 PM

You could put the card in a friends PC (providing the friend has a 500W or greater PSU) and see if the problem remains, if it does then you know its the card at fault. If it doesn't then you can be pretty sure that the problem lies else where.
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March 2, 2010 12:30:29 PM

None of my friends has PCI-Express or a PSU greater than 350 :(  My warranty is also gone. Most likely I'll have to buy a new one (I plan to buy a new PC anyway), but before that I had to ask the interwebs :) 
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March 2, 2010 12:33:57 PM

Hey isn't the EVGA warranty lifetime? I have the same gtx 260, but mine is the 216shader one.
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March 2, 2010 6:01:11 PM

Damn that sucks. Hey maybe give them a call and explain your situation. Doesn't hurt to try.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 2, 2010 7:05:58 PM

Take the card out and blow into the vent at the slot to loosen up any dust. I assume that you use this box for every day use then if so regular maintenance is nonnegotiable. Clean the dust out and see if things get any better then if not then you might need to replace the old stock compound.
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March 2, 2010 7:12:58 PM

@tuesday0180: I've checked with EVGA and the retailer from which I bought the PC and they say I broke the warranty (I can't even check what's my S/N because I destroyed the label). Eh, the more you know...

@nforce4max: I wrote that I already cleaned the whole PC and the gfx and put new thermal compound - nothing has changed.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 2, 2010 8:40:38 PM

bozia2012 said:
@tuesday0180: I've checked with EVGA and the retailer from which I bought the PC and they say I broke the warranty (I can't even check what's my S/N because I destroyed the label). Eh, the more you know...

@nforce4max: I wrote that I already cleaned the whole PC and the gfx and put new thermal compound - nothing has changed.


Did you clean the fan on the card? You must have crappy air flow in your box or it is a sauna in the room that has this rig.
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March 3, 2010 4:10:05 AM

I've open the card, cleaned the fan and the ducts and replaced the thermal compound. The box is made of mesh and has 3x120mm fans. Like I said - never had any problems with the temp, even in summer.

Right now when I'm typing the temp on the GPU is 75 and it's been that the whole night - even though there was only Mozilla running.
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a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2010 9:47:02 AM

The 550 w Tagan PSU may be the problem. You need 38a on the dual 12v+ rail to run the GTX 260. It says so on the specifications/system requirements.
I have a 550 watt Thermaltake Black Widow gaming PSU and it only supplies its dual 12v+ to 35, so I'm assuming yours is going to be around the same.
It's just a guess that this could be your problem, but with the rebooting and temp issues I would check the power supply first.
I just don't think your Tagan's dual 12v+ rating is high enough to run the GTX 260.
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March 3, 2010 10:06:09 AM

Hmm I have to check the specifications then - but it was running flawlessly for 7-8 months! I just remembered that shortly after/before the temp issues the system started to randomly hang up (shortly after booting or after launching a game) and sometimes I have to reset it twice (after the first one it's still frozen). Happens several times a week.

I'll try getting another GFX and then I will check the PSU and the MB...
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 3, 2010 11:15:45 AM

Load speed fan or pcwizard and check your volts in os then go into the bios and again check the volts. Report back when you do before spending a dime. Did you change or move any thing in the case prior to the cooling problems that would have changed however small to ware warm air is blowing on the card? If not then checking the volts might be of some use.
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March 3, 2010 11:25:19 AM

Ha, I'll do it when I'm back home. Which "volts" exactly should I check?

No, I didn't change anything with the box and I'm running the same software/games as before.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 3, 2010 11:51:49 AM

The 12v source.
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March 3, 2010 11:57:02 AM

Will do, thanks!
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March 3, 2010 2:44:30 PM

Here's a screenshot from Speedfan after running Titan Quest for 10min.:




And here's what I found in the BIOS:

Vcore = 1.252V
DDR18V = 1.888V
+3.3V = 3.280V
+12V = 12.048V
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 3, 2010 3:31:01 PM

The volts seam good and should be so when observing them did they fluctuate greatly or more or less stayed the same? Is the psu running hot or make odd sounds?
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March 3, 2010 3:33:09 PM

magneezo said:
The 550 w Tagan PSU may be the problem. You need 38a on the dual 12v+ rail to run the GTX 260. It says so on the specifications/system requirements.
I have a 550 watt Thermaltake Black Widow gaming PSU and it only supplies its dual 12v+ to 35, so I'm assuming yours is going to be around the same.
It's just a guess that this could be your problem, but with the rebooting and temp issues I would check the power supply first.
I just don't think your Tagan's dual 12v+ rating is high enough to run the GTX 260.

[Gah, can't edit my own posts!]

Just checked the papers - my PSU is 600W and the cables on the dual 12+ rail have 25A each (it's 50A?). EVGA states that the card needs min. 36A - so it's cool, eh?
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March 3, 2010 3:53:07 PM

Nope, the PSU is quiet and cool.

I checked the card again and the fan pumps cool air, but the other side (where the monitor cable is) is hot.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 3, 2010 3:55:28 PM

bozia2012 said:
[Gah, can't edit my own posts!]

Just checked the papers - my PSU is 600W and the cables on the dual 12+ rail have 25A each (it's 50A?). EVGA states that the card needs min. 36A - so it's cool, eh?


Those are rough estimates to rule out weaker el cheapo units but I would go ahead and maybe get a new unit from a different brand to rule it out. Tagen units are very ify to me and I don't like them. Antec it is hit or miss (luck of the draw) while Enermax is very good but pricey. I only recommend brands that I have used my self.
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a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2010 5:11:19 PM

bozia2012 said:
[Gah, can't edit my own posts!]

Just checked the papers - my PSU is 600W and the cables on the dual 12+ rail have 25A each (it's 50A?). EVGA states that the card needs min. 36A - so it's cool, eh?

Well after looking at the numbers provided you have double 25a 12v+....
I don't think it's the powersupply anymore!
I hope somehow this all works out for and I apologize that I couldn't be of much help.
Peace Out.
-Mag.
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March 4, 2010 7:29:15 AM

magneezo said:
Well after looking at the numbers provided you have double 25a 12v+....
I don't think it's the powersupply anymore!
I hope somehow this all works out for and I apologize that I couldn't be of much help.
Peace Out.
-Mag.


Thanks.

@nforce4max: the voltage was rather steady (+/- 0.15V).

Yesterday I was raiding in Age of Conan - for the first hour the temp was at 80-90 (had to alt-tab to cool it off), but the next 1,5h it was 45 (even though the stress was the same or even bigger). When I turned the game off the temp rose up to 75 and stayed like that all night (and there was only torrent running). In the morning it cooled off to 42... That would look like the readings are wrong, but I get artifacts (>65°C) and crashes/shutdowns (>100°C) and the card is really hot.

Anyway, thank you all for help - I learned a few things (mostly about warranty and dual rails :) )

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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 4, 2010 12:01:04 PM

Do you by chance have vista or win 7 and running dream scene? Because that is very strange behavior to heat up in 2D like that. Game for a few min with the side panel off and with the back of your hand gentily touch the back of the card to feel for hot spots. The gpu area should be easy to spot while the vram is also easy. Now there is one chip towards to DVI end or bracket end of the card that little chip is it hot as well? It can produce artifacts if it isn't cooled (learned that with my 8800gtx).
Share
March 4, 2010 12:22:31 PM

Nope, running clean WinXP SP3.

"Strange" is the proper word - the temperature goes up and down on a whim.

Ok, I'll try checking the card again when I'm back home.
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March 5, 2010 6:43:29 AM

The whole circuit board was hot - couldn't feel any hot spots. The outer edge of the card was also hot on the bracket-end (the fan-end was cool). All chips are covered with thermal compound and are sticking to the radiator. I have a fan blowing on the outer egde of the card, one fan blowing just over the circuit board of the card and a fan battery on top of the case that blows on the CPU, GPU and RAM (notthing else in the way). The CPU is cool.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 5, 2010 11:55:19 AM

bozia2012 said:
The whole circuit board was hot - couldn't feel any hot spots. The outer edge of the card was also hot on the bracket-end (the fan-end was cool). All chips are covered with thermal compound and are sticking to the radiator. I have a fan blowing on the outer egde of the card, one fan blowing just over the circuit board of the card and a fan battery on top of the case that blows on the CPU, GPU and RAM (notthing else in the way). The CPU is cool.


Did you say that you have a bank of fans at the top of the case blowing down? If right you need them to exhaust up and out of the case and the fans at the bottom need to exhaust into the case to rid of heat properly (cooling tower effect like at the power plant).
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March 5, 2010 7:28:15 PM

My bad, of course the top fans work as exhaust :)  Anyway, I wrote before that all chips have the thermal compound - but it's was the "default" one. It looked good, so I didn't bother to replace it (read a cleaning guide for GTX295, where some dude stated thet the compound for chips is usually good and you don't have to mess with it). I switched some of it with Arctic Silver and now the card is cooler!

Today I could slow the fan to 80% and the temp was 45-55 - much better! Now (while only Mozilla is running) it went back to 39.

I ran of the compound, so as soon as I get another syringe I'll cover all other chips that are adjacent to the radiator.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 5, 2010 8:07:17 PM

bozia2012 said:
My bad, of course the top fans work as exhaust :)  Anyway, I wrote before that all chips have the thermal compound - but it's was the "default" one. It looked good, so I didn't bother to replace it (read a cleaning guide for GTX295, where some dude stated thet the compound for chips is usually good and you don't have to mess with it). I switched some of it with Arctic Silver and now the card is cooler!

Today I could slow the fan to 80% and the temp was 45-55 - much better! Now (while only Mozilla is running) it went back to 39.

I ran of the compound, so as soon as I get another syringe I'll cover all other chips that are adjacent to the radiator.



That is good that you replaced the old compound, it may look good but once disturbed or gets old clean it and use new. :wahoo: 
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a b U Graphics card
March 5, 2010 8:37:13 PM

Try running Game Booster, a background task might be somehow doing this, F@H's GPU client will do this.

If you can I would return the card.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
March 5, 2010 8:55:41 PM

sabot00 said:
Try running Game Booster, a background task might be somehow doing this, F@H's GPU client will do this.

If you can I would return the card.



You didn't read the thread he already stated that he had solved the problem. :non:  Just above my previous post. Shouldn't be that hard to miss.
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a b U Graphics card
March 5, 2010 8:57:47 PM

You didn't exactly read his OP, he already did your first 3 posts.
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March 21, 2010 7:30:49 PM

Soooo... it took me a while, but I've managed to test it on another machine and the card was behaving the same...

Now, I've covered with Arctic Silver Ceramique anything that was sticking to the radiator and the card is much cooler, though it's still not what was before (i have to set the fan at 80-100%). But at least the temp doesn't go crazy - steady 45-55°C and cools down when not in 3D mode. So props to nforce4max for the hint about the artifacts. And big thanks to anyone who posted :) 
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March 21, 2010 7:31:25 PM

Best answer selected by bozia2012.
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