Is my video card dying?!

Hi guys!

I have an Athlon 64 3000+ Sk754, 1GB RAM and a GeForce 6800 128MB/256bit 325/700mhz stock frequencies (I know, old stuff - girlfriend's computer).
Vent speed is set to AUTO and at 40% all the time. Temp - about 48-52° C idle and ~65° C in games.

Yesterday I started noticing strange polygons in Half Life 2. Don't know if I can call them artifacts...
http://i50.tinypic.com/16lldld.jpg
http://i49.tinypic.com/jzbix3.jpg
http://i45.tinypic.com/21cz89c.jpg

Same thing with Xpand Rally, Call of Cthulhu and generally any other game.
I restarted the system, ran HL2 again, no polygons but experienced low FPS and suddenly the system restarted but with no video input.
After another restart, everything was OK.

Scanned for artifacts with ATITool - no problem after 30 minutes. Max temp - 67°.
Ran FurMark for about 20 minutes - no problem also. Max temp - 72°.

Today I had the same problem all over again. Movies run fine though.

Could this be a sign that the card is dying? Why can't I trigger the same behavior with ATITool or FurMark?
Could it be a driver problem instead?!

Thank you!
14 answers Last reply
More about video card dying
  1. Well, there has been some problems with the latest drivers from Nvidia killing chips, but i don't know if that applies old GPUs.

    Did you download the new drivers? If you did, you're GPU is dead due to that fan speed glitch thing.
  2. Before you write off your graphics card as dying did you recently update your drivers? If yes try downgrading them. Aside from that suggestion your card could be dying.
  3. It's most likely to late. Download those drivers, fire a game and the magic smoke starts to come out of the case. The good news is that now you can build a better build.....
  4. Thanks for the replays.

    The driver version I used was 196.21, currently the last one, because Nvidia took out the 196.75 until they find out what's wrong.

    ANYWAY, regardless of the driver version, I have no problem with the card overheating or the fan not working properly. I never get more than 68C in games.
  5. Looks like Builderbobftw is two for two on wrongly blaming the 196.75 drivers, great job. :lol:
  6. My first thought on this problem was driver problems, but as you have changed the driver to an older version without curing it then that can’t be the problem.
    The next logical step would be to try the graphics card in another computer and if it works fine in the other computer then I would suspect the power supply in your girlfriend’s computer.
    Have you tried installing the latest version of DirectX?
    If you take out the graphics card does it have any bulging capacitors on it? Failing graphics cards fail normally due to bad capacitors that are easy to change.
  7. pjmelect, there was a misunderstanding. I never used the driver version with problems - 196.75.
    I had the 196.21 version while these problems appeared.

    If it would really be a hardware problem, it shouldn't go away with one restart...
    When the polygons appear in games, I'm still able to watch movies without any problem, any resolution/quality level.

    I changed the driver version yesterday. Now I have the 195.62 running and no problem so far. But as I've seen already, this tends to be kind of random...

    The power supply is 2 weeks old (Raidmax 500W - not one of the really good ones, just a basic PSU) and I have DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904) installed.
  8. It could be the memory on the videocard is starting to fail.. When you run Furmark, it doesn't have to put a full load on the videocard as far as drawing new scenes a million times a second. Furmak stresses the GPU itself and perhaps not so much the VRAM.
    Check and compare your artifacts with this:
    http://www.playtool.com/pages/artifacts/artifacts.html

    Please vote me Best Answer. I absolutely love it when I see Mousemonkey monitoring. I'd vote him Best Humor if they had the award.
  9. hundredislandsboy said:
    I absolutely love it when I see Mousemonkey monitoring. I'd vote him Best Humor if they had the award.

    Why thank you, unfortunately this thread was started as a discussion not a question so there is no best answer to be awarded but I might be able to change that if the OP wishes.
  10. hundredislandsboy said:

    Check and compare your artifacts with this:
    http://www.playtool.com/pages/artifacts/artifacts.html

    Thanks for the link.
    From what I see, the things I am experiencing don't really match something on that page. I have a lot of unexpected spikes and bad coloring but in HL2 the gun is always displayed correctly, in Xpand Rally/RBR the car is always OK, etc...
    And also I have no problem in Windows, no artifact. When the problem appears in 3D games, I can still watch HD movies without any worries.

    The more I think about it and the more I test, the more I'm lead to believe it's a driver problem, but I've never seen a driver doing this kind of things and still generally working.

    Anonymous said:
    unfortunately this thread was started as a discussion not a question

    That's right! A simple yes/no answer won't help much. Sharing some expertise, now that's the true gain. :D
  11. Keep troubleshooting the problem. Can you duplicate the artifacts at pretty much the same points and time frame in the games? Are you recording your temps during gaming? Is your videocard and CPU fan dusty? Temps could spike high enough just for a few seconds to shut it down. Can your clean the fans, reapply thermal paste to CPU. GPU, and reseat?

    Try this: Dumb down the resolution and details settings. IDo you get the artifacts?

    Up the rez and details, max out the AA. If the artifacts come back, I would say it's a hardware problem more than it is an issue with software or driver.

    If it isn't your videocard dying or overheating, the only thing I can think of is your game files data got corrupted (bad HD sectors maybe).
    Keep us informed.
  12. HundredIslandsBoy, I was not able to duplicate the problem.
    In both cases it went something like this: playing for a few minutes without problems -> 1-2 hours system idling -> opening any 3D game - artifacts right from the start (even in the menu animations) -> restart -> no problem.

    The fan speed is set to auto and it's maintained at 40% all the time.
    I've recently cleaned the dust in the case, reapplied thermal paste on the CPU (changed the cooler), changed the power supply.

    Regarding the suggestion of lowering detail settings and resolution: already did that. Once, after some problems with the artifacts, I restarted the system. When loading HL2 again I noticed the artifacts were gone, but I experienced low FPS from time to time. I lowered the resolution, disabled AA and AF, FPS got back to normal but the system restarted by itself. This didn't happen again.

    Another strange thing would be that in GTR2 and Race WTCC I would get high fluctuations of FPS, from 40 to 5 at almost any detail level, making them unplayable. With an older Radeon 9550 I would constantly get 35 FPS in GTR2.

    Yesterday I had about an hour of Riddick EFBB with no problem. Good quality, 35-60 FPS at max detail levels, 1280x1024.
  13. Have you tried uninstalling and reinstalling the games?

    Are you overclocking anything, CPU, RAM, the PCI-E bus?

    Are your Mobo BIOS settings all on auto or default?

    How much background tasks are there while you game? Antivirus, disk cleanups, etc, maybe some schedules tasks come on during that time?
  14. Haven't tried reinstalling the games because generally they run OK. This is the same reason why I ruled out bad sectors.

    Nothing is overclocked, the card is AGP 8x and everything in BIOS is set to auto.

    I have Nod32 and Zone Alarm running in the background all the time.

    Played HL2 and Riddick EFBB for about 3 hours yesterday without any problem.
    I think it's too early to say the problem is fixed and that the 196.21 driver version generated it. However is it possible to have a driver version working as it shoud about 90% of the time and generating some of those weird artifacts 10% of the time?

    If it were a driver issue, is it something that could trigger it or in this case software problem = random problem?

    I've read about people complaining that some Nvidia driver versions give worse performance than previous versions. Makes me want to try some Omega drivers again...
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