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Did I kill my Video Card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 13, 2011 3:51:45 PM

Finally got tired of play WOW at the lowest graphic setting and upgraded to my first big video card, a NVida GeForce GT 440.

So I pop it in and start playing WOW on the middle setting (Good). It ran fine and the graphics were beautiful. So I decided to see what it could handle and bumped it up to the next setting, still it ran fine with no lag (my old Radeon 4600 would bog down and game play would become choppy). But when I increased it to Ultra, after about 45 minutes the game froze. So I did a hard shut down and let it set overnight. Next day I turned the computer back on and everything was fine, so I started WOW back up again. Running it back on the middle setting, after about 3 hours, the screen would go black for about 3 seconds before going back to normal. This happened twice, so I shut the computer back down. Everything was back to fine this morning during normal, non-gaming use.

Is this normal? Did it overheat? Do you think it caused any permanent damage? Should I return it to the store and get another to be safe and just take it easy with the new one?

Could it be a power supply issue? On the side of the box it says only a 300 watt P.S. is required, and I have a 375 watt P.S.

And another thing. I didn't consider how much louder it would be with the extra fan for the video card. Would it be possible to use one of those overclocking programs I've been reading about to lower the fan speed during normal computer use, when presumably the card doesn't run as hot, and then turn it back up when I'm gaming?

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a b U Graphics card
April 13, 2011 3:57:23 PM

after so long use your card probably overheated, if it works fine then it should be alright, but you should take a look @ it, if it's alright no need to return, what's the exact model of your PSU? and yes you can change the fan speed in overclocking programs, i recommend MSI afterburner, it works on 90% of the cards
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April 13, 2011 4:07:20 PM

shrkbay said:
after so long use your card probably overheated, if it works fine then it should be alright, but you should take a look @ it, if it's alright no need to return, what's the exact model of your PSU? and yes you can change the fan speed in overclocking programs, i recommend MSI afterburner, it works on 90% of the cards




It's a Dell XPS 420

Is it normal for a graphics card to overheat after a certain amount of time? Shouldn't it remain stable unless you run a really graphics intense game?

I wouldn't think WOW at medium setting should over-tax it after 3 hours.

I had someone suggest boosting the card's virtual memory. Good idea?
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a b U Graphics card
April 13, 2011 4:25:27 PM

you can OC your memory, but be careful not to overvolt and not to put the clock too high, overvoltage will kill your card immediately and when OCing memory you can damage it if you put the clock too high
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April 14, 2011 4:51:26 PM

That sounds like classics signs of a video card overheating. The card itself may be well made to disperse heat, however you have it in a Dell case. I'm guessing that card exhausts it's heat into the case which means if you have poor air circulation in your case, you could run into this problem.

One test you can run (and this sounds a bit hack n slash) is to remove the side panel, set up a fan blowing into the case at an angle (force the hot air out), then try playing wow again for several hours. If it doesn't crash like usual, you can be reasonably sure you have a cooling issue.

I'm not sure how your case is constructed, but if it's an air flow issue, theres a few options. If you have a few open card slots, you could remove the covers and put a small case fan over them blowing out. You could cut a hole in the side panel etc.

Those are just a few manual things you can try out. There's always monitoring software to check temps and such, which you should do in either situation.
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a c 172 U Graphics card
April 14, 2011 4:55:21 PM

Wow isn't very demanding till you begin to multy box, having more than one wow client up at a time. First tell us more about your card such as model ect. Turn the fan speed up to 60% or greater with any choice utility while MSI afterburner is most commonly used.
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a b U Graphics card
April 15, 2011 3:00:04 PM

wdc303- I used to have an XPS 420 and it has decent ventilation for a Dell (intake in the front etc) but it seems focused on cooling the cpu. It's definitely not a high end case for powerful graphics cards. When I upgraded to an HD 5850 I was concerned about overheating so bought a couple of $5-10 case fans and installed them on the rear of the case to keep more airflow moving through the case. It definitely helped and reduced gpu temps by quite a bit (this was about a year ago so I don't have the numbers anymore).

I would use either Catalyst to keep an eye on temps periodically to see if you are getting near max safe temps. It does sound like your card is shutting down to prevent damage, but it's tough to tell unless you get into the numbers.

Your PSU should be ok, but if you rule out temperatures it should be something to look at. I would recommend that you build your own next time; I felt very limited by the locked down mobo (no OC'ing, no x-fire, no SLI) when I wanted to continue to upgrade. You will get FAR more performance for your money compared to what you can get from a big builder like Dell/HP. Plus it's fun to nerd out!
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April 15, 2011 3:12:39 PM

Thanks for the reply.

I'm going to return the Video Card and spend some time on NewEgg and get a new case, power supply, motherboard and GPU.

I should be able to take my Core 2 Quad CPU out of the Dell and put it into a 775 mobo, right?


Thanks Again for everyone's replys! What a great forum!
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a b U Graphics card
April 15, 2011 3:31:52 PM

You should be able to re-use the processor (it's the mobo that's all locked down), however I would really advise you to look at what platform makes the most sense to upgrade to. Your Q6600 (I think that's probably what you're running) would save you about $50-100 on a new processor but you'd be buying back into a several-year-old platform.

A k-series Sandy bridge is really the way you to go if you have the cash for it (about $225 plus $200ish for a mobo). What kind of budget are you looking at for everything? If you're going to be spending some money on an upgrade, you just want to make sure you're going to get a meaningful increase in performance. If your target is to buy these new components to get the same level of performance (same platform, processor, and roughly same gpu) and mitigating the heat issue, you should definitely try using some additional casefans to improve cooling in your current Dell. Doing that kept my 5850 cooled just fine and it's $20 vs several hundred for the parts you mentioned. I also found that you can accomplish a moderate overclock on a Q6600 XPS 420 in 15 minutes using just a small piece of electrical tape. If that is something you're interested in just google "Q6600 pin mod" and you can find images showing what pin to place tape over to increase speed by about 20%.

I ended up going with an X58 system with dual GPU's when I ran out of upgrade options on my XPS 420- just understand things get pretty expensive pretty quick! I actually thought about getting a non-dell 775 based system setup to save some cash, but it just didn't make sense to spend several hundred dollars for the same performance. Hope that helps.
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