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Problems with graphics could be 4870, could be motherboard could be me

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 26, 2010 1:41:21 PM

I've had my system 3 years now, I bought it pre-built non-branded but have made a few changes to it. It originally came with the Nvidia 7600 GT 256mb, I changed the card out because I wanted dual dvi (for tv) to the Asus EAH3450 512mb, I had this working fine for about a year (although it wouldn't play civ 4 - or when it tried it would always go to vpu recover and eventually crash the system. I thought this might be a psu issue and because the psu was a stock rubbish thing anyway I bought a thermaltake toughpower 700w (i know not the best but i have a really tight budget). This didn't help.

Then about a year ago - in the hope of playing civ 4 - I bought a new graphics the Radeon HD 4870, I had it installed in my system for about a month (it was a really tight fit and concerned about cooling I added a couple of fans and replaced stock heatsink on cpu, but still could not get civ 4 to work (again vpu recover kept jumping in and then system would freeze up - even with game settings at lowest)

I gave up on civ 4 then and put the EAH 3450 back in and began to save my pennies hoping to buy bits at a time for new system. 6 months ago I got up one morning and pc would not get past the bios splash screen, it would clear post (cos I heard the beep) but I could not even enter bios or safe mode
So took computer apart cleaned everything put new thermal paste on and still wouldn't load.. until I removed graphics card (i have onboard) then it loaded fine.
So figuring graphics had died I put 4870 in, system has worked perfectly for last 6 months then hey presto yesterday morning it was completely dead. I reset the cmos, and now its stuck on the bios spash screen again. When I remove the graphics card it will boot fine.

My question is this. I can't afford to keep buying graphics cards, I'm not even sure if this is the problem, why are they failing?(although I'm not even sure if they are and I can't test them as only have a laptop besides) Has something else gone on the system, have I done something wrong? Please help

My system configuration (I'll put changes I have made in brackets)

ASUS M2V-TVM motherboard
(Thermaltake Toughpower 700w PSU)
AM2 Athlon 3800+ 64 X 2 processor
PC4200 DDR2 RAM 2 X 1GB
Graphics in order - Nvidia 7600GT 256Mb pcie - (Asus EAH3450 512Mb pcie) - (Sapphire Radeon 4870 512Mb GDDR5)
Running Windows XP Professional SP3 (all updates)
May 26, 2010 1:48:45 PM

That is a tough situation. I would initially suspect the PSU or Mobo power delivery issues to be killing the cards. ThermalTake is a good brand, besides, the issues occured before you bought the TT PSU. perhaps your PCI-E slot has power delivery problems that are frying your cards over time.

Without being able to test the components in other systems, it is quite difficult to diagnose such issues succinctly.
May 26, 2010 1:48:49 PM

It is possible that your PCI-E slot is defective and gets flaky over time. I would expect that your graphics cards are fine. Have you looked at your Event Viewer to review what processes are crashing? Is CCC working?

Also, could be a heat problem. Have you tried to operate the system over sustained periods of time with the case cover removed?

Bottom line, I suspect your MB may be the problem. I assume all of your drivers are up to date and properly installed.
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May 26, 2010 1:51:17 PM

COLGeek said:
It is possible that your PCI-E slot is defective and gets flaky over time. I would expect that your graphics cards are fine. Have you looked at your Event Viewer to review what processes are crashing? Is CCC working?

Also, could be a heat problem. Have you tried to operate the system over sustained periods of time with the case cover removed?

Bottom line, I suspect your MB may be the problem. I assume all of your drivers are up to date and properly installed.

Another good point: if your case ventillation is poor, then heat buildup over time could prematurely age your card. Hot air that can't leave the case would just cycle and reheat until the card starts powering itself down (like VPU recovery events) and over time this type of environment would kill cards relatively quickly. What is your case fan situation?
May 26, 2010 1:58:02 PM

JofaMang said:
Another good point: if your case ventillation is poor, then heat buildup over time could prematurely age your card. Hot air that can't leave the case would just cycle and reheat until the card starts powering itself down (like VPU recovery events) and over time this type of environment would kill cards relatively quickly. What is your case fan situation?


I have 2 intake fans on the front and 2 exhaust at the back plus a zalman fan on cpu
May 26, 2010 1:58:04 PM

COLGeek said:
It is possible that your PCI-E slot is defective and gets flaky over time. I would expect that your graphics cards are fine. Have you looked at your Event Viewer to review what processes are crashing? Is CCC working?

Also, could be a heat problem. Have you tried to operate the system over sustained periods of time with the case cover removed?

Bottom line, I suspect your MB may be the problem. I assume all of your drivers are up to date and properly installed.


Yes I got help from Sapphire with removing drivers for old card and eventually I even did a fresh install of windows. I have ran system with side off (when I was trying to play civ 4 and this made no difference to when vpu recover kicked in. Also since giving up on civ 4 system has never crashed or froze.
May 26, 2010 2:00:32 PM

If I was to presume a faulty motherboard and buy a new one, what would be a good budget mobo in which I could re-use all my other components (i have 240 pin ram) - i would probably buy an antec 300 case as well to preempt any heat problems
May 26, 2010 2:10:44 PM

JofaMang said:
That is a tough situation. I would initially suspect the PSU or Mobo power delivery issues to be killing the cards. ThermalTake is a good brand, besides, the issues occured before you bought the TT PSU. perhaps your PCI-E slot has power delivery problems that are frying your cards over time.

Without being able to test the components in other systems, it is quite difficult to diagnose such issues succinctly.


Oh, just remembered when I booted pc to bios splash screen all 3 little green lights were lit up on the 4870, does that indicate it's not fried??
May 26, 2010 5:16:21 PM

I have only seen the 3 lights on, so if they mean anything at all, my working 4870s both have the 3 lights on.
October 30, 2010 2:01:22 PM

I know it's a long time, since I updated but the problem was fixed by buying a new Mobo and building a new machine - I think the old Mobo was just too old to support the card or the Pcie slot was faulty. Graphics works fine now.



ASRock M3A770DE AMD770
Antec Two Hundred Gaming Midi Tower Case
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 PRO
Corsair XMS3 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3
AMD Athlon II X3 Tri Core 440 3.00GHz
Thermaltake Toughpower PSU (recycled from old system)
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