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Weird graphics card issue - ATI HD4830

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July 6, 2011 9:33:46 AM

Hi Guys,

Wondering if anyone can help me out here. About a week ago my wife :love:  started getting weird distortion on her PC at all times - from post screen right up to Windows running. There would be vertical lines on the screen, odd pixelation etc which got worse and worse until the computer would no longer boot. At the time she had an NVidia 8800GTS installed and an MSI MS-7184 mainboard with AMD slot 939 processor and 650W PSU. The PC had been working adequately for years prior to this incident.

Removing the graphics card and booting up with onboard graphics fixed the weird pixelation and enabled windows to boot, so I instantly assumed that the graphics card was going faulty and bought a slight upgrade - ATI Radeon HD4830.

This seemed to fix the problem to start with, as there was no pixelation, and Windows booted up fine. However we began to experience random crashing, where the screen would go pixelated green, and then freeze the computer.

This was irritating to say the least, so I decided to swap the graphics card over to another PC to see if the same thing would happen. As it happened I had to switch the hard drive over as well, as the other pc had Ubuntu installed and I wanted to keep the test fair, and also the PSU as the one in the other PC was only 400W and had no 6-pin connector. The PC didn't boot at all - it got to the Windows loading screen, and looked as if it would work, but the screen went black after Windows loading screen, and the graphics card fan spinning like crazy. I swapped the PSU back out for the old 400W one and used an adapter to created a 6-pin connector, and exactly the same thing happened. So as far as I'm concerned this rules out a faulty PSU (?).

I then switched the PSU back to the 650W one and formatted the Windows hard drive with a fresh copy of Windows 7. So, now we have PC2s (Gigabyte) motherboard, 1gb DDR2 ram, AMD AM2 processor, but same PSU and formatted HD from PC1, and still the same thing happens.

So, to summarise, the PC still boots 100% fine without the graphics card in place. With the graphics card in place, the PC doesn't get past the Windows loading screen, and the graphics card fan spins wildly out of control and sounds like a jet engine. The same fault occurs on 2 different motherboards with 2 different processors, RAM, PSU etc.

The strange thing is that I can see the POST screen, and I can see the Windows boot screen so the graphics card isn't completely dead. However, having said that, have I been sold a faulty Graphics card do you think, or is something else at fault?
July 6, 2011 12:18:09 PM

Update:

I have to say I'm still stumped by the problem, but I have decided to go all-out and order some additional components to see if I can fix it.

I've ordered 4gb of RAM and a new processor because the system could do with an upgrade anyway.

I've ordered an alternative Sapphire HD4830 graphics card.

And I've also ordered a new 750W PSU to make sure the PSU is not at fault. If I'm still having the same issues, the motherboard is next, and then it'll effectively be a completely new build!

I'd still be interested in any theories as to what the issue could be. At the moment I'm thinking it has to be one of the following:

1) Faulty (possibly overheating?) graphics card
2) Faulty PSU (unlikely as tried 2 different psus, but maybe 400w one was underpowered?)
3) Incompatible Motherboard BIOS version (unlikely though as tried 2 different mbs)

So I am basically ruling out 1 and 2 with the latest purchases/upgrades.
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a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2011 12:49:32 PM

You should have asked before you ordered more parts =/ 750W is a waste on that rig and why another HD 4830?

Is the card thats giving problems overheating? Are the correct drivers installed? Sounds like the card has just given up to me..
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July 6, 2011 1:00:52 PM

Ahh yeah sorry, I probably should have asked first. Although I am aware that 750W is more than necessary, but it has 2 PCIe cables for potential future upgrades, but yeah you're right I could have saved some money and got less.

I know what you mean about why 4830. The thought had crossed my mind to get an NVidia or something to rule out incompatibility, but here in the UK, the 4830s seem to be giving the best bang for buck around this price range.

Also I don't know how to check if the graphics card is overheating if I can't get it to boot into an OS (it wont boot into Linux either). It doesn't display temps in the BIOS?

I'm glad you're agreeing with my favourite hypothesis that the card has failed. But I still have a question in my head 'If 2 cards have now failed in as many weeks in the same slot in the same motherboard, WHY?' and with my very limited knowledge, I would suggest that points to a potentially faulty power supply OR motherboard. This is why I am now using a different motherboard, and will soon be receiving a new PSU.

That make sense or am I still missing something?
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July 13, 2011 8:33:15 AM

Best answer selected by dmorison.
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