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Broken Card? Time for an upgrade?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 19, 2011 4:47:20 AM

Hi guys, ill get right to it. Firstly, let me thank those willing to read and respond to my post. Your techy genius will save me cash and get me the right gear, and for that, I thank you. Now, down to business.

So yesterday I decide to boot up a little Team Fortress 2 to waste the minutes until I got to play Portal 2. So I get to the main menu, prior to running anything in game, and my screen locks up. Specifically: it locks up, basically swaps the colors in the game to a series of brighter colors (though i could still make out all of the info on the screen), and had my speakers produce an odd low level buzzing. Now anyone reading up on the potato fools day ARG valve is currently running will understand this: but I was thinking maybe GLADoS finally made it into TF2 (i know, dont laugh). Once I needed to restart my box, I realized this wasnt the case, and got worried.

Over the course of 5 more restarts, lockups as per above continued. Occasionally in game, occasionally on the desktop. Most recently, it locked up, blue screened, and restarted. I did a little googling and saw this may be a dead video card...and my heat should be checked. So I did so, using speedfan, and found my gpu was running around 70 degrees C on idle. That said, my cpu was running around 65. So i realize my system needs to be cooled, because that feels all wrong. Note: I ran my comp in safemode to install speedfan, and clear and reinstall current video drivers, and did not have the comp lockup at all. May be coincidence, maybe not?

Heres what I (think I) need to do. First, get a new video card. I have no other card to test, nor any other PC to test with. I understand this can also be my PSU from what I read, though I just feel (hope) its my card. Second, I need to find a way to cool my system more appropriately, within monetary reason. After dusting my interior in an attempt to drop the heat, I found my CPU gel was dried out, so should probably clean that and reapply. Any help would be greatly appreciated, I apologize if my write up was a bit, floral, I'm just kind of worried about the sudden expense and it keeps me sane. Specs to follow:

In terms of a new card, per this sites recommendations and what I've found in my price range ($100-$175, though lower is my preference) I came up with this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or this, if i want to impulse buy and run to MC

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Thoughts?

Secondarily, I have one fan running out of the back of my machine, with the side of the case off and recently cleaned the dust out. Any thoughts on optimizing my cooling? Back of comp is open, sides have space, etc. etc., so i dont think its situational...most likely internal issue.

Specs:

Intel Dual Core 2.5
Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT
4 gigs ram
Coolermax 450w
Motherboard: Not sure, if its needed i can try and find out.

Note: This system was thrown together a few years ago because of a previous system not fitting my video card. After buying a case that said, though apparently did not, it would fit a btx board, i decided to purchase a new board and new processor. That said, I put a few hundred bucks into it, as thats all i had at the time. I already had to replace my previous crap powersupply and had to purchase another poor one just to get one. As of two days ago, this system ran just fine. Was running Crysis 2 quite decently, no stutter and decent framerate at a decent display. I dont need an amazing system, just a solid middle of the line one.

Sorry about all the info, hope i covered it all! :) 
April 19, 2011 5:22:53 AM

qmcquackers said:
Hi guys, ill get right to it. Firstly, let me thank those willing to read and respond to my post. Your techy genius will save me cash and get me the right gear, and for that, I thank you. Now, down to business.

So yesterday I decide to boot up a little Team Fortress 2 to waste the minutes until I got to play Portal 2. So I get to the main menu, prior to running anything in game, and my screen locks up. Specifically: it locks up, basically swaps the colors in the game to a series of brighter colors (though i could still make out all of the info on the screen), and had my speakers produce an odd low level buzzing. Now anyone reading up on the potato fools day ARG valve is currently running will understand this: but I was thinking maybe GLADoS finally made it into TF2 (i know, dont laugh). Once I needed to restart my box, I realized this wasnt the case, and got worried.

Over the course of 5 more restarts, lockups as per above continued. Occasionally in game, occasionally on the desktop. Most recently, it locked up, blue screened, and restarted. I did a little googling and saw this may be a dead video card...and my heat should be checked. So I did so, using speedfan, and found my gpu was running around 70 degrees C on idle. That said, my cpu was running around 65. So i realize my system needs to be cooled, because that feels all wrong. Note: I ran my comp in safemode to install speedfan, and clear and reinstall current video drivers, and did not have the comp lockup at all. May be coincidence, maybe not?

Heres what I (think I) need to do. First, get a new video card. I have no other card to test, nor any other PC to test with. I understand this can also be my PSU from what I read, though I just feel (hope) its my card. Second, I need to find a way to cool my system more appropriately, within monetary reason. After dusting my interior in an attempt to drop the heat, I found my CPU gel was dried out, so should probably clean that and reapply. Any help would be greatly appreciated, I apologize if my write up was a bit, floral, I'm just kind of worried about the sudden expense and it keeps me sane. Specs to follow:

In terms of a new card, per this sites recommendations and what I've found in my price range ($100-$175, though lower is my preference) I came up with this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or this, if i want to impulse buy and run to MC

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Thoughts?

Secondarily, I have one fan running out of the back of my machine, with the side of the case off and recently cleaned the dust out. Any thoughts on optimizing my cooling? Back of comp is open, sides have space, etc. etc., so i dont think its situational...most likely internal issue.

Specs:

Intel Dual Core 2.5
Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT
4 gigs ram
Coolermax 450w
Motherboard: Not sure, if its needed i can try and find out.

Note: This system was thrown together a few years ago because of a previous system not fitting my video card. After buying a case that said, though apparently did not, it would fit a btx board, i decided to purchase a new board and new processor. That said, I put a few hundred bucks into it, as thats all i had at the time. I already had to replace my previous crap powersupply and had to purchase another poor one just to get one. As of two days ago, this system ran just fine. Was running Crysis 2 quite decently, no stutter and decent framerate at a decent display. I dont need an amazing system, just a solid middle of the line one.

Sorry about all the info, hope i covered it all! :) 


first figure out why your system is running hot. Good air flow and fans? dust filled inside and such.

consider a gtx 460 or amd 6950. Make sure your board supports PCI-E.
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April 19, 2011 5:00:28 PM

Ok, again, not sure why my system is running so hot.

I'm pretty sure my board supports pci-e...when i ran my setup yesterday there was an option for PCI-E specific video options.

Any other thoughts?
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April 19, 2011 5:03:24 PM

if you can swing it upgrade your cpu cooler to a H70 or the like, get some new thermal paste as well. That may help.
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April 19, 2011 5:08:55 PM

Okay!

Wow, after reading all that (I thought it respectful since you took so much effort into writing it, which one rarely sees)..

I have to ask you to this - run a program called Prime95 or ORTHOS (I prefer the latter), then run a program called FurMark.. forget speedfan and run temperatures (at LOAD) of the CPU with a program called RealTemp. The FurMark application will tell you the temps for the graphics card on its own.

But don't do this before downloading CPU-Z and sending us a screenshot.

Also, I want to know - did you install the system by yourself?

The thing is, nothing in your computer case can take up temperatures to 65C on idle.. it would have to be very poorly applied thermal compound and a serious disaster.
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April 19, 2011 5:22:44 PM

Ok, well I'm at work until 8pm tonight, so wont be able to get to that until later. I'll definitely give it a try though!

And yes, I installed the system myself. Also placed the thermal compound myself...so its certainly possible I did a poor job of it.
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April 19, 2011 5:26:05 PM

The question is - how did you not notice that it was overheating before?

Or was it overheating? If not, that's even more peculiar. The degradation of TIM is a long-aged process.. not just something that breaks.

In fact, there is nothing I can think back to that would cause temps to go crazy in a flash. It's all gradual.
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April 19, 2011 5:33:01 PM

Well honestly I never thought to check on the temps, so it could have been this way for quite awhile. Have i noticed my box running warm in the past? Yes, though nothing completely ridiculous. Upon checking a few days ago, I realized that this may have been a problem for awhile, particularly a 70 c gpu temp when on desktop.

Any thoughts on the card being busted or it being my PSU? Motherboard?
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April 19, 2011 5:40:54 PM

I'm not sure why PSU would cause these temps. Go with the most simple first, fans/coolers, thermal pasted heatsink to cpu well, airflow. fix those then move forward from there.

What is your parts/upgrade budget?
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April 19, 2011 5:58:57 PM

I was referencing more the screen locking up, flashing colors and then blue screening. (Running Windows 7 64bit btw, dont think i mentioned that above).

In terms of upgrade, i was looking to spend 100-150/175, though I'd prefer to keep it lower than higher. That said if I'm buying a new video card ill invest some cash to keep it relevant for some time.

I havent considered buying a new PSU right now, unless you guys think its something i should def do. A coolermax 450w isnt all too powerful from what i understand.

Im mostly just worried about replacing the part that is causing the lockup, and spending the money where its needed. Dont want to buy a new vid card and keep getting those lockups, then have to buy something else.
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April 19, 2011 6:51:26 PM

qmcquackers said:
Well honestly I never thought to check on the temps, so it could have been this way for quite awhile. Have i noticed my box running warm in the past? Yes, though nothing completely ridiculous. Upon checking a few days ago, I realized that this may have been a problem for awhile, particularly a 70 c gpu temp when on desktop.

Any thoughts on the card being busted or it being my PSU? Motherboard?


Yeah, that's extremely peculiar. Did you remove the heatsink and reapply it? If not, this doesn't make sense.

Are you perhaps mistaking 70C for 70F?
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April 19, 2011 6:54:43 PM

Track said:
Yeah, that's extremely peculiar. Did you remove the heatsink and reapply it? If not, this doesn't make sense.

Are you perhaps mistaking 70C for 70F?



Speedfan said 70c. I sure hope its inaccurate...because I'd feel a lot better about it.
Nope, never touched the card. Possible the lockup is caused by something else?


And how do we feel about this card over the ones I mentioned above?
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

I believe I've read the SE isnt the way to go...The regular versions are a bit higher than I wanted to go.
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April 19, 2011 6:58:59 PM

That card would do well for your budget. BUT, get those temps down asap. New paste and better cooler for cpu.
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April 19, 2011 8:18:54 PM

templarklimek said:
That card would do well for your budget. BUT, get those temps down asap. New paste and better cooler for cpu.



Yeah, that gets me too. Now I only have one fan blowing air out of the back and a stock sink and fan on the cpu. Maybe a front fan and new cpu fan?


And you would go with that card for a recommendation?
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April 19, 2011 8:43:48 PM

i would, you get a fermi based dx11 gpu for a good price. replace your cpu fan asap and add more intake and exhaust fans. Make sure airflow is good and cables and such arent allowing cool air to get to cpu and gpu. prehaps coolmaster V8 type?

Just go get it at microcenter asap. prices are decent there and you avoid the risk of a meltdown asap.
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April 19, 2011 8:44:46 PM

Explain to the microtech tech/sales guy what your issues are and cpu specs. He will advise you as to what is needed and what is good. Don't forget thermal paste! :) 
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April 19, 2011 9:00:56 PM

templarklimek said:
Explain to the microtech tech/sales guy what your issues are and cpu specs. He will advise you as to what is needed and what is good. Don't forget thermal paste! :) 



Ok, thanks dude!
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