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Black Screen Graphics Card(s) have 100% fan

Last response: in Systems
a b B Homebuilt system
April 21, 2010 4:48:00 PM

Hello Community,
I recently bought and built myself a new rig (specs below). Unfortunately it has been running into some problems. Originally it had the Sapphire Radeon 5870 card in it and it was running fantastically. However, one day out of the blue, my screen went black during gameplay and i heard the sound freezing at exactly the same time. I thought perhaps it was a glitch in the game (DiRT 2) but once i restarted the same glitch happened again only much sooner during gameplay.

I decided to just ignore it and stop playing the game but then it started happening even while the machine was idle on the desktop. Every time i booted up the time until it crashed with a black screen got shorter and shorter until one day it didn't even show the bios screen any more but just stayed black and i could hear my ATI card blowing its fan at 100%. I tried updating the bios, reinstalling windows 7, memtest was clear (3 passes made), checked the voltages and current on the psu which were all in the normal range. So i decided to just take out the card and use the internal one while i needed to do some work. This worked without a problem, has been stable since i started using it about 1 month ago.

So... I have RMA'd the graphx card cause i really can't think of any other reason for the problem, and i am still waiting for it to come back. In the meantime i have tried building in an older Nvidia card (GeForce 8800 GTS) which was working well... that is, until about a week after installation the first black screen hit (however the sound in the background was still working and the computer seemed to be ok just i couldn't see what i was doing). So i restart and within quick succession i was back to square one with a black screen during boot. So i take out the graphics card, start up the computer, go into the bios and set it to use the internal graphics card on boot and then put the Nvidia card back in and launched windows 7. Now in the device manager there is no reference of the Nvidia card and i cant get it to identify it. The funny thing is that this card works flawlessly on another rig.

One more piece of info, the cards both work alright if there is no driver installed at all, so i guess it would be "safe mode" in normal terms. I would appreciate any input to the matter... whether i could start checking software issues or if anyone has heard of this problem before. I really hope this isn't something to do with my mobo as its a pain in the ass to RMA that and rebuild everything.

Computer Specs:
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition C3, 3.4GHz
Kingston HyperX, 4x2GB, DDR3-1333, CL9-9-9-24@1.6V
Antec Case Performance One P183
Antec CP 850 Watt 80plus, SLI Ready, RoHS
Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Rev.2
Gigabyte GA-MA785GT-UD3H, AMD 785G, AM3, HDMI Motherboard
ATI Radeon HD 4200 internal graphics card
D-Link DWA-547 Wireless PCI-Adapter bis 300 Mbit/s
Sapphire HD 5870 1GB, PCI-E x16 2.0, DP, HDMI (RMA'd)
Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS
Intel X25-M G2 80GB, SATA-II, 2,5" (Windows Installed Here!)
Western Digital Caviar Blue, 7200rpm, 16MB, 500Gb HDD

P.S. I tried using many different versions of the graphics drivers for both cards but nothing helped. Running no drivers at all allowed me to at least boot and get into the desktop without a blackscreen. There are some print screens of CPU-Z on my system below!

April 22, 2010 3:31:34 AM

i had a 4850 that went bad about a year ago that had similar issues so i assume you just got unlucky with your 5870 and it went bad as well. The most likely reason that your nvidia card works fine in safe mode with no drivers but with drivers is not functional is that ati and nvidias drivers often conflict, so if some someone had an ati or nvidia card and then upgrades to the opposite manufacturer and then installs that cards drivers they most likely have problems with it. I think your 5870 should work just fine once you get it back. But if you would like to use your other card in the meantime google a program called "driver sweeper" and get of all your ati and nvidia drivers then reinstall your nvidia drivers. And you should actually do the same thing once you get your 5870 back to make sure you dont have any leftover nvidia drivers that could just cause another problem.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 22, 2010 11:39:46 AM

Initially thats exactly what I thought, but i installed SpeedFan to check all the voltages on the various rails and found some inconsistencies... So that got me thinking about the PSU. Although it should be more than enough for the job, I packed out a voltmeter and started measuring the various rails individually during operation. I noticed that when i had the graphics card in the computer and measured the 12V rail that it was reading roughly 8.6V. This indicates to me that the PSU is not providing enough juice at the moment. So a friend of mine had an interesting idea, what if we just try to see if we can depolarize the PSU by pulling the AC cord and closing the circuit on it using the voltmeter...

Turns out that there was a small noise like a little whistle which quickly disappeared. My friend said this indicates a bad capacitor or something that was fully charged inside the PSU and was preventing the full voltage from getting on the 12V rail. However, the interesting thing is that after discharging this thing we plugged the computer back to the power and put the Nvidia card in and it is running flawlessly again. I performed multiple 3Dmark runs while measuring the 12V rail and noticed no drop yet. This means that there is obviously a damaged component in the PSU. However, I am still monitoring the situation and will tell you if the black screens come back. I will do this test until my perfectly working ATI 5870 comes back (what a waste of time :p ) and then probably RMA the PSU since it is the obvious culprit here.

If anyone wants to have a detailed procedure for this kind of test just hit reply and I will take the time to make a step by step guide with pictures as I believe this may very well be a common problem for some PSU models. Thanks again for you input Tribulator135 (oh, by the way, I did the DriverSweeper stuff before, I just didn't mention it, but it is a very valid thing to check before trying to mess around with the voltages ^^).
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April 22, 2010 5:01:19 PM

I would defiantly rma the psu, it would just be a shame if it ended up ruining other components than just your vid card
April 4, 2011 8:26:50 PM

Hi, I'm resurrecting the thread because I seem to be having the same problem. First up, here are my specs.

Computer Specs:
Intel Core i7-920 - 2.66GHz
Dark Knight Xigmatech CPU Cooler
MSI Eclipse SLI Mobo
3x2GB DDR3 1600MHz - Team Xtreem Dark CL8-8-8-24
MSI Radeon 5870 1GB GDDR5
Cooler Master C690 Pure Casing
Corsair Modular 850W PSU
Western Digital Velociraptor 150GB 10K SATA HDD
2x Seagate 1TB SATA HDD
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanum Fata1ty Pro

I seem to be having the exact same problem. I start up my computer, all is fine for the most part. Randomly the screen blacks out, the GPU fan goes to 100% and I know because it sounds like a jet engine.

First thing I thought of was overheating, I went inside the case, true enough, my side intake fan was dusty as hell. I cleaned up the whole case, the symptoms disappeared for two days. Then again I didn't play any games during this time.

It seems that the symptom arises whenever I try to start up my games, i.e. anything that is 3D rendering basically. Now I don't know if it's the drivers (I just updated to 11.3), whether it's still overheating (Summer is coming, days are getting progressively hotter), or if either the GPU or PSU are dying. I'm e-mailed MSI but I'm still waiting for a response from them.

I agree with the poster, RMA-ing stuff is good since they generally replace it, but the time taken is quite annoying. Just hoping you guys had some input.