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Graphics problem - PSU related?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 8, 2010 6:04:37 AM

I am currently trying to upgrade my system. It is as follows:

Antec Neo HE 380W power supply.
Asus P5B motherboard.
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz.
Emu 0404 PCI soundcard.
Lite-On DVD/RW
1x Maxtor 80Gb SATA HDD STM380515AS
2x Western Digital 1.5Tb WD15EARS HDDs
Zotac NVidia 8400 GS graphics card.

I have one extra USB port plugged into the motherboard, but nothing else. Onboard sound is disabled in the BIOS.

This is working fine. My motherboard recommends a 400W+ PSU, however I was assured years ago that my one was fine.

Now, because my graphics card is so noisy, I just want a silent one, but this is proving to be a bit of a problem. First card I tried was the Sapphire HD5450. Worked fine, except in its highest resolution, where I got distortion/wobble of images, particularly the cursor and text on screen. This only seemed to happen in the desktop environment.

Next I tried a Sparkle silent 8400GS - the same chip as my current one. This did exactly the same thing at all resolutions, and outside of the desktop environment (i.e. at startup). When I powered off and inspected the card, the heatsink was very hot. However, I've plugged my old card back in and everything is fine.

So. The question is - am I goonering these new cards, or have they come to me pre-goonered? Is my PSU undervoltaging my cards? Allegedly it has UV protection. I'm a bit flummoxed, and would appreciate your help!

Sarah
a b U Graphics card
April 8, 2010 9:13:15 AM

Try the ATI with the latest drivers from the Sapphire or ATI site.
a b U Graphics card
April 8, 2010 11:54:39 AM

You should get more power for sure. You have a lot of Hard Drives, and then you add the Sound card and Video Card and you're sucking that thing dry. Get a 500 Watt PSU and you'll get a lot better performance.
Related resources
April 8, 2010 5:42:03 PM

The first thing I tried with the ATI card was to download the latest drivers from the manufacturer's website. Then drivermax. No joy.

multiscreenz - I wasn't so much worried about performance as I was concerned that I had caused my card to overheat and damaged it, and whether this would happen again, and also whether this was directly related to my PSU. Thanks,

Sarah
a b U Graphics card
April 8, 2010 6:00:18 PM

That should not be related to your PSU as the 5450 uses very very little power and is EASILY powered by a 380W Antec. The 5450 should also not be overheating unless the ambient temperature in your case is getting hotter than the GPU likes since the 5450 produces very little heat as well. What case are you using? I would try running GPU-z and see just how hot the cards are getting too. If your cards are overheating, then most likely you have terrible airflow and a REALLY high internal case temperature.
April 8, 2010 6:15:17 PM

flyinfinni said:
That should not be related to your PSU as the 5450 uses very very little power and is EASILY powered by a 380W Antec. The 5450 should also not be overheating unless the ambient temperature in your case is getting hotter than the GPU likes since the 5450 produces very little heat as well. What case are you using? I would try running GPU-z and see just how hot the cards are getting too. If your cards are overheating, then most likely you have terrible airflow and a REALLY high internal case temperature.


Hi, thanks for your reply. I don't think my case is overheating - I have a coolermaster tower, three 120mm fans, and everything is clean and dust free. Currently have the side off so airflow is not a problem.

I should just add that I don't wish to use the RD 5450 anymore in any case, since the HDMI controller was interfering with my PCI soundcard. (I know this can be disabled in the device manager in Windows, but I'd rather not have it there at all).

I did not check the Sapphire card when I powered down with that. However, the Sparkle card's heatsink was seriously hot - too hot to touch at first.
a b U Graphics card
April 8, 2010 6:32:16 PM

IF that is that case, then there is no way the 5450 was overheating. The 8400GS I don't know about their heat output, but still- you should have enough airflow to keep them cool enough. It really shouldn't be the PSU- unless the PSU is literally dying a slow painful death lol. What was the highest resolution that the sapphire card started having trouble with? Also- it's probably still worth checking the temperatures of the GPU with GPU-z.
April 8, 2010 6:43:01 PM

flyinfinni said:
IF that is that case, then there is no way the 5450 was overheating. The 8400GS I don't know about their heat output, but still- you should have enough airflow to keep them cool enough. It really shouldn't be the PSU- unless the PSU is literally dying a slow painful death lol. What was the highest resolution that the sapphire card started having trouble with? Also- it's probably still worth checking the temperatures of the GPU with GPU-z.


I will try to get my PSU tested just to be sure.

The Sapphire card started to struggle at 1440x900 I believe. Is it worth trying to test its RAM?

I meant to mention in my last post that the reason I have not come back to you with a GPU result yet is that the Sparkle card has been sent back to the supplier for testing, and, though I still have the Sapphire card, I didn't want to use it because of the HDMI controller conflicting with my PCI soundcard. Unless you know of a way to disable HDMI at low level!

Sarah
a b U Graphics card
April 8, 2010 6:48:58 PM

I've never been a sound person, so I've not had a dedicated sound card, so can't help ya with that conflict. One good way to check out the GPU is to run Furmark. If you put it up to 1440x900 and furmark runs without artifacts (it'll run slow though) then the card ought to be fine. It is worth trying the card in another PC as well, if you have that option available.
April 11, 2010 8:28:00 AM

flyinfinni said:
I've never been a sound person, so I've not had a dedicated sound card, so can't help ya with that conflict. One good way to check out the GPU is to run Furmark. If you put it up to 1440x900 and furmark runs without artifacts (it'll run slow though) then the card ought to be fine. It is worth trying the card in another PC as well, if you have that option available.


Okay, I'm experimenting again with the 5450. I've tried it out in Furmark, after 20mins+ on the stability test the temperature plateaued at 70C from 53C idle. No major problems as far as I can see (i.e. artifacts, etc...)

The problem is still there, however. Seems to be a bit intermittent. It's quite hard to describe exactly what the problem is, but I'll try - text or anything that has straight lines flickers and jumps around in a distorted way. I've noticed that on startup it is almost unnoticable but worsens when I am using more memory-intensive tasks (i.e. Firefox with tabbed browsing).

Googling around I haven't pulled up much, but I've read that faulty memory can cause this kind of distortion. I've run a full memtest on my RAM and there were no errors. Could it be my GPU memory? Are you sure it is not getting UV'd?

Unfortunately I cannot try the card in another motherboard - but it seems too much of a coincidence now that I've tried two new cards in my system and they have both come up with the same problem.

Thanks for all your help so far,
Sarah
April 11, 2010 9:19:30 AM

P.S. - further experimentation with Catalyst has shown that if I change the refresh rate to 60Hz (from 59Hz) - there is no difference. BUT. At 60Hz I have a 1680x1050 resolution available, and this works with no problems. This is very weird. Could this be an issue with my monitor? I am using an ASUS VW193S.

Thanks!

Sarah
April 11, 2010 9:36:53 AM

P.P.S. (ach, sorry for all these....) the problem *is* still there, it's just not very noticeable at this resolution. My monitor also does not officially support this resolution (1680x1050) and it is naturally a little small/unclear, so I don't think this is a permanent solution.
a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2010 11:12:18 AM

Try some other drivers, even older. If that isn't working, try only the display driver with no CCC. Run driver sweeper first to get rid of all the old drivers in your PC.
a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2010 6:14:44 PM

It could be a possible issue with your monitor. Do you have another Display that you could try? Seems like the graphics card is working properly since it did the same thing with 2 different cards, 1 from ATI and one from Nvidia, that pretty much rules out drivers. So it sorta comes down to either the display, or possibly something to do with your motherboard.
April 12, 2010 7:50:26 PM

i will go looking for some older drivers and report back asap.

actually, i have a major update in the middle of this submission!

i just loaded the ati drivers on my ubuntu partition, to see if this threw any light on it. after a while, i started to notice the same problem again, only it was very slight. i don't know what i was thinking at the time, but i started to jiggle around the vga lead at the back of the monitor, and this suddenly made it 10 times worse! i have checked to see if my card is seated properly (actually i've already done this a number of times....) and everything is very secure. but when i jiggle the vga lead...it gets better or worse, depending on where i jiggle it.

the next thing will be to try another vga lead, which i will do as soon as possible.

Sarah
a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2010 8:00:40 PM

Looks like you've got your problem pinned down. :-) Like I said- you ruled out the cards when 2 did the same thing. A new cable should work :-)
April 13, 2010 6:36:33 PM

flyinfinni said:
Looks like you've got your problem pinned down. :-) Like I said- you ruled out the cards when 2 did the same thing. A new cable should work :-)


Okay, I have tried another VGA cable, and I am going to go ahead and say: SOLVED. I don't know if it's because this new lead is screened, or if one of the pins on the old one was faulty, I can only speculate. Is it true that different resolutions go down the cable at different frequencies? Possible interference? Anyway, I am just happy it is working. I have been losing sleep over this.

Thanks for all your help everyone. You have helped me eliminate every other possibility. I would never even have thought before about checking the cable!

Sarah
a b U Graphics card
April 13, 2010 6:41:40 PM

Glad you got it working, and glad we could help a bit:-)
!