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Weird artifact problem

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 19, 2011 4:42:52 PM

Hi

System:
Dell Dimension 9200
Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor E6600 2.4Ghz
EVGA e-GeForce 9800GTX+
2GB RAM


A few months ago I started experiencing artifacts on my screen at random times. After reading a few forums, I thought it may have been down to an overheating problem. I removed the side panel of the tower case and put a desk fan next to it to keep it cool. The temperatures of my CPU and Graphics card stayed at around 35-45C and it seemed to have solved the problem. I also slightly underclocked the graphics card just in-case.

Fast forward two months and the artifacts are starting to appear again, and they appear at completely random times again also. They could start appearing 30 mins after turning on or appear instantly during the bootup process with random characters being displayed. Then after a few restarts the artifacts disappear and the computer is fine, even for 8 hours straight being powered on while watching videos and gaming. It is becoming more frequent now so I am seeking advice on what the problem is.

I do not know if it is solely down to the graphics card. I replaced the original graphics card (Nvidia GeForce 7950 GX2) that came with the computer with the EVGA 9800GTX+ for an upgrade around 2 years ago and I do not want to go forking out more money to replace the graphics card to find out the artifacts are still happening due to another component. I also upgraded the PSU when buying the new gfx card.

So far I have tried reseating the graphics card, trying a different VGA cable, underclocking the graphics card and providing more airflow to keep it cool.

Does anyone have any idea what is causing the artifacts, or any advice on things I could try? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Pics:

Artifacts appearing at login screen http://i.imgur.com/Q4Tba.jpg
On Desktop http://i.imgur.com/gNUpT.jpg
During bootup http://i.imgur.com/oGGPq.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/PjlAv.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/g4EZm.jpg

Edit: Also just to add, one day the computer can be completely normal and the next artifacts will appear all over the place.

More about : weird artifact problem

September 19, 2011 4:59:58 PM

Did you check for dust build up in your graphics card? The air passages can clog with dust. If there is a buid up try vacuuming ot blowing it out.
September 19, 2011 5:00:04 PM

sounds like either your GPU is going, or your GPU slot is getting bad.
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September 19, 2011 5:03:52 PM

It could still be an overheating problem, if you take off the fan you will probably see that the vanes of the cards heatsink are filled with dust. If this is not the cause then the next most likely cause is the capacitors on the graphics card are failing.
September 19, 2011 5:13:58 PM

Thanks for the fast replies :) 

I have given the entire inside of my system a clean and removed pretty much all of the dust. I haven't however opened the casing for the graphics card as I was afraid this would damage it. The next time the computer gets artifacts I will try this and see if the inside is filled with dust.

I am using the problem computer now and as of yet no artifacts are appearing, whereas hour to two hours ago they were everywhere. It is a very weird problem :??: 
September 19, 2011 7:06:57 PM

Artifacts appeared again so i decided to open the card up and remove the casing. I cleaned a bunch of dust out of it and gave it a clean as well as applying some paste on the chip/heatsink.

After putting everything back and turning the pc on the artifacts are appearing instantlu on thr bootup and the system freezez on the windows logo screen.

Does this mean it has to be the GPU ???
!