Brand new card problem

Hello there! :)
This is my first post on this forums (altough not the first time I come here, very usefull for everything computer related :D), so I hope I'll do things well ;).

So let's start with this:
About a month ago my graphics card (a Nvidia GeForce 7600LE) just died. When I started the computer, I would get vertical stripe all over the screen and it wouldn't even get into Windows.
So I bought another one! I was looking for a cheap card, that could be able to handle some games, and I finally bought a Sapphire HD3850 (512mb). I received it yesterday, installed it (removed the old drivers using safe mode, put it in and installed the new ones) and everything went fine, I was able to install and play some games yesterday (Crysis, CoD:MW3).
So today in the afternoon, I turned my computer on and went browsing for 30min, and then started up GTA San Andreas (a fairly old game, that ran all at max with no problems at all). But after about 10min of gameplay, the screen wen't "crazy" (lot's of pixels changed everywhere), image stopped and the computer restarted about a second later. Now, when I start it, I get weird pixels right at the start (which excludes driver problems), and it gets worse while it start XP. After 5min, the VPU recovery pops up and restarts the card (and that happens every 5min or so), and the image is still full of weird pixels everywhere (picture:

So I've looked a bit here and there, and I found a couple explanations that I tested:

* Compatibility problem with the screen: no, I tested another one and it has the same problem;
*The DVI-VGA adapter may not be working correctly: tested with the digital output on the TV, same problem;
*Fan may not be spinning: nope, verified.

So well that's about it :) What I'm wondering is if my computer may be the problem, since that's the second dead graphics card in a month? And if not, any way of repairing this (doubt it)?

Anyways, here are my specs:

Sapphire HD3850 512mb (obvious)
Windows XP
Some dual core cpu (D915 2.6Ghz I think)
250Gb HD

and that's about it! THank you for your help ;)
5 answers Last reply
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  1. List the spec of your PSU. I'm not sure if this is a symptom of lack of power, but that might help troubleshoot your problem. I would guess it's a problem with the system vs coincidently having 2 cards go out on you in the last month and I doubt temps is an issue since you confirmed that the fan is spinning on the gpu, but it wouldn't hurt to check the temps within your case.
  2. 3850 is an old card. buy it used ? could be a piece of junk. any 50 - 70 dollar new card would have been better. pci or pci-e ?
  3. Yes, I forgot to say that I have a 250W PSU, my bad ^^ I also monitored the temps of the GPU yesterday, it was at around 30C at idle and never went up above 45C/50C.

    I bought it brand new for 30 bucks, as I said I am not looking for high performance at all. Also, it is PCI-e and I had to connect the PCI power with the molex adapter that was with the card.
  4. My guess would be the power supply, 250w isn't much even for an HD3850.

    Edit: I just found an old review of the 3850 and it used 186w at load, they didn't mention if it was full system or just the card.

    186w is pretty close to the max your PSU can do when new, add in Capacitor aging etc, and I'm willing to bet it's overtaxing the PSU.
  5. actually I meant pci-e or agp. doesn't matter. PS would be a good place to look also. are all the fans and all the heat sinks clear of dust and animal hair ?
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