Horizontal artifacts in display after computer freeze.

Hey guys,

First off my specs:

EVGA Nvidia 9800gtx
2GB Corsair Ram
forget the psu but I know it's sufficient/good
Asus p5E deluxe motherboard
Intel Q6600 cpu

Anyways, this computer has been perfectly fine for the 2 years I've had it, until just recently.
I was playing Team Fortress 2, a not very graphic intensive game compared to most for this card, when my computer froze and the screen went all green with some pixelated artifacts here and there (white dots in a small formation).

I restarted the computer, and damn...there's artifacts in my BIOS.
My display was reset to 800x600 and my device manager had a "!" next to the 9800gtx. The card was basically not working.

First thing I did was reinstall the video driver. I believe a restart or 2..and BAM...everything is back to normal. Perfectly fine.

I then checked it in a game, and after about 3 minutes ARG...another freeze.

I restart...everything is fine..wonder if it's overheating.

I decide to open the Nvidia control panel to see if I can up the fan speed incase of overheating (I've never overclocked in my life, first time ever opening/downloading the control panel)

BAM..freezes instantly

I restart, artifacts in BIOS again, this time it looks worse (little green blocks etc. in the bios during startup. I think I even saw a smiley face somewhere in there LOL). I reinstalled the driver again, no change.

It's currently stuck with bad artifacts but this time the artifacts are completely different looking. They USED to be little thin lines and white pixels in the small squarelike formations. As of now they're thick horizontal lines.


I checked a visual referance for different kind of artifacts and for the first scenario (first artifact look, not second), I didn't see any comparable ones to what I was experiencing.

I'm guessing the card is the problem, I've heard of VRAM causing artifacts. I just find it odd that after the first occurence everything went back to normal and even ran a game for a few minutes perfectly. It was perfect during internet browsing.

Just out of curiosity though, it wouldnt be the cpu/ram would it? I don't have another card to check out, and I really don't even want to spend another 500 for an equal card right now, I might as well just buy a laptop until video card prices go down for a significant upgrade rather than a replacement. Best case scenario is it's the memory RAM, worst case..the video card :(

BIOS artifacts point to hardware for me, just no idea why the problem fixed itself and only occured during gaming/nvidia control panel.

5 answers Last reply
More about horizontal artifacts display computer freeze
  1. exactly what psu are you running? and post it's specs please.

    does it only happen on games and graphic intensive apps, or also randomly just browsing the internet or watching videos?

    it's most likely the card that's bad, but try running prime95 or memtest for awhile and see if the same thing happens
  2. I'll get the PSU specs a bit later, it's 550W though.
    Also running vista 64-bit.

    Before I was stuck in perma-artifact mode (before it fixed itself and the artifacts were different patterns), browsing was fine over the internet/videos. I mentioned that after fixing itself I played a game again and it froze after a few minutes, then restarted with no problems. Upon opening the nvidia control panel, it froze once more, and now it's permanently artifacting unless it fixes itself again.

    Is it possible for BIOS artifacts to occur if it's not a hardware problem? I thought that it'd be a driver issue or something since my computer crashed ingame.

    Also that day I had an AVG trying to restart my computer every 60min but I kept postponing it. I played a game, and maybe after 60min it tried to restart the comp in game and caused a crash or something? Which led me to believe at first that it was a driver.

    I also thought maybe it was overheating, but even when I know the system is cooled down and restarting, it's still artifacting.

    I'll try memtest/prime 95 when I feel like getting another headache haha, just using an old computer for the time being.
  3. What about the card temps?
    Maybe it's too hot for a long term and that make your card dying...
  4. After you have let the video card cool down do you still get corrupted text during the motherboard's Power On Self Test? If you do then I would suspect a damaged video card.
  5. I always recommend taking apart your system once every 6 months to a year, if you have cats like I have, every 3 months.
    That is cleaning your entire system of dust and pet hair, that cat hair can get nasty. Clogging up fans and wearing them down.
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