Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Graphical artifacts, screen feezing and spontaneous shut dowr

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
Share
July 2, 2011 5:40:53 PM

Hello,
Sorry for the essay, but I'm having quite a few issues which I believe are all related.

I have an XFX ATI Radeon HD 4850 1GB DDR3 graphics card.
When I play games my screen gets covered in a load of pink squares, in a sort of checkerboard effect. And some textures get all glitched up, in addition to some shapes getting stretched all over the screen. I believe these are graphical artifacts.
This has happened in a couple of games, such as every time I play The Sims 3, and occasionally when I play Minecraft with render distance set to far.
It only seems to happen when the card is working hard, so I assume it is heat related, am I right in this assumption? I am currently running the computer with the case open, and it seems to delay the artifacts from appearing, but only for a bit and then they come back with a vengeance!

Another problem I get is not exclusive to games. My computer just completely locks up, and the screen freezes, the time on the taskbar doesn't change or anything, it just freezes. It can't be fixed with CTRL-ALT-DELETE. All I can do is turn it off in this instance. It only happens when the computer has been on for a while, so could it be related to heat again? I have a feeling it is a similar thing to what I was describing above.

Another issue I had is that my computer just shut down on its own. I was playing Minecraft, which is obviously not a very taxing game, and it just shut off in an instant. Could it have shut itself down due to overheating? That same evening after turning it back on I got the BSOD.


So can anyone help me make sense of this, is the graphics card the problem? Its updated to the latest drivers. Is it overheating, or is it just a bad card? My case is very cramped inside by PSU wires.
I bought this card on eBay a while back. I waited several months after buying until I installed it, and its way too late now to ask for a refund it was 9 months ago now, but I've been having the artifact problems ever since installing it. Am I covered by XFX warranty even if I bought it second hand?
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 2, 2011 6:59:03 PM

Ok return essay :D 

When you say pink squares, what size are they ? If they are definable squares and you don't mean pixels then yes that is a GPU issue it means the actual GPU main chip is faulty. If it was tiny pixel size squares that would be memory related.
Options for causing this could indeed be heat, as you have just installed it i assume its not a dust issue, so cleaning is not an option. have you checked the temps ? either in the CCC or you could use a free download called GPU-Z
Another option could be PSU related, what card did you have before ? and what make/model/power is your PSU. A card will stress itself trying to pull power that isn't there if the PSU is not up to powering it properly.
Also and its not a good option is that the person you got it from has overclocked it too far and the GPU is damaged beyond repair.
So check temps to see where you are with those, get back to me with the PSU ratings so we can rule that out.
Its possible that the GPU cooler needs to be reseated with thermal grease, thats something thats not difficult to do and would be a good idea to rule that out as an issue. It depends on if you want to spend a little money on the card or not.
Aiming a desktop fan at the open case is a crude but effective stop gap option if indeed the issue is heat.

Mactronix :) 

July 2, 2011 9:16:43 PM

mactronix said:
Ok return essay :D 

When you say pink squares, what size are they ? If they are definable squares and you don't mean pixels then yes that is a GPU issue it means the actual GPU main chip is faulty. If it was tiny pixel size squares that would be memory related.
Options for causing this could indeed be heat, as you have just installed it i assume its not a dust issue, so cleaning is not an option. have you checked the temps ? either in the CCC or you could use a free download called GPU-Z
Another option could be PSU related, what card did you have before ? and what make/model/power is your PSU. A card will stress itself trying to pull power that isn't there if the PSU is not up to powering it properly.
Also and its not a good option is that the person you got it from has overclocked it too far and the GPU is damaged beyond repair.
So check temps to see where you are with those, get back to me with the PSU ratings so we can rule that out.
Its possible that the GPU cooler needs to be reseated with thermal grease, thats something thats not difficult to do and would be a good idea to rule that out as an issue. It depends on if you want to spend a little money on the card or not.
Aiming a desktop fan at the open case is a crude but effective stop gap option if indeed the issue is heat.

Mactronix :) 


The squares are about half a centimetre each, so yeah they're not just pixels.
The GPU temperature at the minute is 59 degrees celsuis. Though I'm not on any games at the minute so it would probably be higher than that when I do play a game.
The card I had before was a ATI Radeon Xpress 200, its a pathetic little embedded card, it didn't have these problems, but being such a bad card it had other problems of being ultra slow trying to render anything. The PSU I have is a Corsair TX650W. It feels very hot to the touch compared to my old PSU, I had to change it for this card as my old 250W wouldn't have been able to cut it. But the problem with the newer PSU is it has a lot of wires and my case is small, so the wires take up a load of the space, and I think it could be trapping heat, maybe that's why it feels hotter than the older one?

Another problem is that could be causing the cooling issues is that the card fan faces down at the bottom of the case, and there is only a couple of inches between it and the case metal, so perhaps the air flow is bad?
Related resources
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 2, 2011 9:43:56 PM

4850's tend to run on the hot side but you are right 59 at idle is too hot. Your PSU should not be hot. Have you checked that the fan on the PSU is actually going around ? Sounds silly i know but we have to cover bases.
As you seem to know air flow is very important to a PC and if your case is a crammed full of cables as you seem to be suggesting then im not surprised you are having issues.
I have one of those PSU's and they are not small and the cables were a pain in my gaming case so i know where you are coming from. If you have crammed all of that into a standard case there can be very little room left at all.
You could try running the PC outside of the case to see if the issue goes away then you will know its heat and that you need a new case. Like this guy did http://www.tech-forums.net/pc/f77/running-computer-outs...
Its basically what a test rig is.

Mactronix :) 

July 2, 2011 10:09:02 PM

mactronix said:
4850's tend to run on the hot side but you are right 59 at idle is too hot. Your PSU should not be hot. Have you checked that the fan on the PSU is actually going around ? Sounds silly i know but we have to cover bases.
As you seem to know air flow is very important to a PC and if your case is a crammed full of cables as you seem to be suggesting then im not surprised you are having issues.
I have one of those PSU's and they are not small and the cables were a pain in my gaming case so i know where you are coming from. If you have crammed all of that into a standard case there can be very little room left at all.
You could try running the PC outside of the case to see if the issue goes away then you will know its heat and that you need a new case. Like this guy did http://www.tech-forums.net/pc/f77/running-computer-outs...
Its basically what a test rig is.

Mactronix :) 


I haven't checked if the fan is turning, I assume it is, but I'll check in a short while. Whilst my case is open at the minute, its not possible to see the fan so I'll have to set it up somewhere else where I can place it sideways to get a look.
Yeah the case is pretty much crammed with the cables, I remember it being quite a problem to get them all to fit within the case, so you're probably right that its causing problems, but could that be the thing that's causing the pink squares? Due to the airflow problems it's probably causing? I think I might have a look at some newer, bigger cases.
And I might try out running the PC without the case, though I'm not sure if I trust myself to do it, I'd probably end up frying something if it wasn't protected by the case.
Thanks for the help so far, by the way.
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 2, 2011 10:20:42 PM

When I build a new PC i always run it outside the case first, usually on the motherboard box. Just put a piece of cardboard under the motherboard and it will be ok.
As far as the artifacts are concerned. Yes 100% heat would cause that, the shut downs are probably the CPU shutting itself down as that is im sure getting too hot also. It could just be the card crashing the PC but the picture of the mass of wires in my head now would certainly cause all of the issues you are experiencing.
If you really don't fancy the out of the box idea then go for the forced cooling option with the desktop fan. basically what we need to try and prove is that given decent airflow/cooling the issue goes away.
As much as i hate to bring it up there is still the possibility that the GPU is bad.

Mactronix :) 
July 3, 2011 4:36:18 PM

mactronix said:
When I build a new PC i always run it outside the case first, usually on the motherboard box. Just put a piece of cardboard under the motherboard and it will be ok.
As far as the artifacts are concerned. Yes 100% heat would cause that, the shut downs are probably the CPU shutting itself down as that is im sure getting too hot also. It could just be the card crashing the PC but the picture of the mass of wires in my head now would certainly cause all of the issues you are experiencing.
If you really don't fancy the out of the box idea then go for the forced cooling option with the desktop fan. basically what we need to try and prove is that given decent airflow/cooling the issue goes away.
As much as i hate to bring it up there is still the possibility that the GPU is bad.

Mactronix :) 


I decided to run the computer case open with a fan pointed at its insides.
When playing the Sims 3, the artifacts took quite a while longer to show up than usual, but they still came. But does this mean that they are definately caused by the heat or could they still be due to a bad card?
The card still got to 59 degrees C. But this time it was under load, last time was during ordinary pc usage.
Also something that I'm not sure if I mentioned yet, when playing the game, if the artifacts show, when I minimize the game and maximise it again, the artifacts disappear, though they come back a short while later in some form. Is that to be expected?
July 3, 2011 5:33:45 PM

jarredmorris said:
I decided to run the computer case open with a fan pointed at its insides.
When playing the Sims 3, the artifacts took quite a while longer to show up than usual, but they still came. But does this mean that they are definately caused by the heat or could they still be due to a bad card?
The card still got to 59 degrees C. But this time it was under load, last time was during ordinary pc usage.
Also something that I'm not sure if I mentioned yet, when playing the game, if the artifacts show, when I minimize the game and maximise it again, the artifacts disappear, though they come back a short while later in some form. Is that to be expected?

you say its a second-hand card maybe the person used the card before has messed up with the thermal compound.i suggest take the heatsink of the card.remove any remains of old thermal paste and clean the gpu and heatsink contacts properly and apply a fresh layer of thermal paste
July 3, 2011 7:12:17 PM

krist10kevin said:
you say its a second-hand card maybe the person used the card before has messed up with the thermal compound.i suggest take the heatsink of the card.remove any remains of old thermal paste and clean the gpu and heatsink contacts properly and apply a fresh layer of thermal paste


I'll by some thermal paste and try that, is it easy to do? I don't want to risk frying the card by applying the paste wrongly so that it doesn't conduct heat away properly.
a c 130 U Graphics card
July 3, 2011 7:34:23 PM

Its easy enough to do there are plenty of on line "How to" guides

If you are getting artifacts at 59 deg then it sounds like its the card im afraid. Try the cooler first but if that dosent work i would look at getting a different card.

Mactronix :) 
!