Graphics problem I've been having and have no idea how to fix

I apologize ahead of time if this message is long, but for gods sake hear me out. This problem I`ve been having for two years now has absolutely stumped me. I`ve submitted support tickets before to EVGA and XFX, but nothing has helped. Not suggestions or anything. I`m still experiencing the same problems I`ve had with my system since when I first built it (August 2009), nothing has changed. I`ve taken such drastic steps to remedy it, it`s almost unfathomable I`d still be having this problem. I`ve been experiencing very random crashes, artifacting, BSODS, and GPU error messages with particular computer games and actions such as Wolfenstein, Crysis, Mass Effect, generally any Unreal Engine 3 game though not all, and sometimes putting a lot of stress on my GPU. The list of games that are absolutely incompatible to run is very random. I`ve done so many things to fix this so I will list a few: I`ve changed slots, cables, positioning, I`ve exchanged my GPU, I`ve exchanged my Motherboard, I`ve upgraded my PSU from an 850w to a 1000w, I`ve done RAM tests and individually tested out all my sticks, I`ve run stress tests on my GPU and other components, I`ve used a different GPU which had no problem (8500GT), I`ve downclocked my GPU, I`ve improved the cooling, and I`ve upgraded / rollbacked / reinstalled multiple drivers and firmware,

I`ve consulted XFX support (my gpu manufacturer), online support, anecdotal support, and even more. For quite a while, I was certain the OS was causing my problem since I`d researched that Vista had certain functions that can cause GPU failures. I managed to shell out 150$ for a version of Windows 7 and did it fix it? Nope. I`ve put in 1700 $ + on this gaming system only to have it game whenever it feels like. I don`t want to waste anymore. I`ve tried selling it but can`t for a manageable price. What's crazy is that when I first sent in my GTX 285 in october 2009, they confirmed there was a problem and replaced it, yet, I did it again just this past month and they couldn't find anything wrong with it I don't know what do from here. I've checked temps on everything and it's all normal. Any help at all would be much appreciated.

The following are my parts:

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Patriot Viper 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model PVT36G1600ELK
Microsoft Windows 7 ultimate
XFX GX285XZWFF GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
EVGA E758-A1 3-Way SLI (x16/x16/x8) LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920
RAIDMAX RX-1000AE 1000W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V
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  1. I've seen a few complaints about XFX cards on various sites. The fact that a different GPU has run with no problems strongly indicates that the problem is isolated to the XFX GPU. The PSU, Motherboard and RAM seem to have been eliminated. If the machine only fails in 3D applications such as games and never in 2D mode then the problem is almost certainly due to the XFX GPU.
  2. I see, but as I said, I sent it back to XFX just this past month and they couldn't find a single problem with it. They told me that the fact that I could run the 8500GT without any crashing proves that it wasn't a software problem, but I would need to test it with a much stronger card before I could confirm that being the problem.
  3. That sounds very perplexing and very frustrating. Looks like you have already tried all the obvious things - and then some.

    Have you only used two GPUs - the original and one replacement?
    How about swapping with a friend with a similar size or faster card for a dual test of your system and your GPU in his system?

    Does anything work correctly consistently? Any particular games or other applications? Does the problem only occur with heavy gaming? Does it matter what game settings you use? Were all the stress tests negative or did they cause some of the same issues?

    The problems you list can be cause by a bad PSU (among other things) - and while 1,000 w should be overkill I am not familiar with the quality of Raidmax - course this would mean issues with 2 PSUs. What was your old PSU?
  4. It's downright frustrating, I feel like I'm stuck in a hole here.

    I've only used my XFX GPU and my 8500GT. The reason I haven't been able to use a more recent card is due to the fact I know no one else who has one.

    The only time I encounter this problem is with games, or in other words, 3d applications. Some games I've never had crashes. Some have crashed once before and others all the time. It does not matter what settings I use, games like Wolfenstein and in general Unreal Engine 3 games will always crash either after loading the main menu or just after starting the game. Stress tests were always positive.

    The only thing that has remotely helped was downclocking my GPU which for the games I encounter the crashes only delays when the crash happens.

    I wasn't familiar with Raidmax either, but I sort of doubt it would be the PSU due to the fact I had the exact problems before and after I upgraded it. The one I had before was a 750w Seventeam PSU.
  5. Hmmmm, I am not sure that just because the supplier says that there is no problem that there is no problem with that GPU. That assessment does not fit with my experience in these matters. If the system crashed in 2D mode as well I would point to the HDD BIOS being suspect.

    We have situation where PSU and Motherboard appear to have been eliminated. Why? Well both were replaced and the problem does not appear when using the 8500 GT. RAM has been tested and also the problem is not replicated when using the 8500 GT. The HDD seems to be OK as HDD problems surface across a wide range of applications yet your issues are limited to 3D. You have even eliminated the OS though I would have been surprised if the problem had been Vista related this late in its Service Pack History.

    I cannot see how it can be anything but the GPU or GPU memory causing your issues.
  6. Two more things you may want to try.

    1) Open up the side of the case and blow a fan into the system to make sure the system remains cool. Run your games and see if it holds up. If there is no problem then you may have a cooling issue. Make sure all your fans are clean. Dust on the edges of the fan blades remarkably reduces their ability to keep things cool.

    2) Go to this link

    Make sure that your DX requirements are met by updating your DX at this MS site to ensure backwards compatibility for earlier DX versions. This is a requirement for all WIN 7 users as WIN 7 does not come with certain DX 9 and 10 components installed.
  7. I've done that, lol, and even the fan thing. Thanks for your help so far, I'll try to see if I can somehow secure a Radeon card of similar performance and test that out. I couldn't possibly imagine that it was anything other than the GPU either, but XFX refused to replace it with a Radeon card like I had asked and insists that the card is just fine. I thought it didn't quite add up if they said that the first one I sent in had a problem, yet the second time around it didn't. I can't tell for sure unless I try another card.
  8. Yes I am afraid that is the only way. Good luck with that.
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