Strange gaming problem

I'm putting this in video cards because that seems to be the main problem but I'm honestly not sure. I just bought a GTX 550Ti a couple months ago. Installation went great, everything was fine. I flip on my PC, play a game, and it starts acting funny. I'll get weird graphical tears and screw ups and eventually the game crashes. I get driver crash messages every once in a while as well. The strange thing is a problem with a specific game (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion) where if I'm in menus or conversations it sounds like a wire is coming into contact with a fan inside my computer. But there are no wires around fans (I've looked) and it only happens in menus and conversations. It's weird. Only on Oblivion as well, no other games do it (Although other games crash and such). Any ideas on what it could be? I'm hoping it's not a defective GPU, I doubt I could get a refund/replacement at this point.

My specs if they're needed:

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Intel i7 2600 3.4GHz
Galaxy nVidia GeForce GTX 550Ti 1GB DDR5
26 answers Last reply
More about strange gaming problem
  1. What is the exact model of your power supply?
    Describe that wire-fan sound in more detail.
    Check your temperatures under load with applications like EVGA Precision for the GPU (gives you an overlay so you don't have to switch out of the game) and Hardware Monitor while running Prime95 for the CPU. Do you have a third-party heatsink on the CPU?

    Also, whatever convinced you to get a non-K 2600?
  2. what convinced you to get a 550 ti as well?
  3. I'll have to get back to you on the power supply model, don't have a screw driver handy (at my dorm). I'm fairly certain it's a 450W PSU though.

    For the wire-in-fan noise, it sounds as if a some stray wire is just barely coming into contact with a fan. Not like a grinding sound as if it were obstructing the fan, but as if it were being grazed by the fan or something. It could be something completely different but that's what it sounds like to me.

    I'll have to download those programs in a minute and I'll get back you on the results. As for third party, everything in my computer came with it with the exception of the video card.

    As for the why would I buy ___, the answer is money. The computer I got came with the i7 and it was really cheap, so I bought it. Compared to my dual core HP I had before it, it was well worth it. The 550 was cheap also and came with a 20 dollar rebate so again, money. I'd have gone a bit higher on the video card but just couldn't spare the money at the time so I took the 550Ti.
  4. The power supply model should probably be visible from the back, without taking the case apart.
  5. Just to clarify, is the base computer here is store bought? If so, it's very possibly overheating. Download EVGA Precision and take a look at the temperatures during a game (you just have to leave it running and you can see the graph it runs for a minute or so of history). You should also have manual fan control from there somewhere... It's been a while since I used it, but crank up the fan speed and try it then. That card will run hot, and those cases HP or Dell put their stuff in have very little ventilation to get rid of the heat... I know Galaxy loves putting ambitious overclocks on their cards that can heat them up quickly.
  6. I checked the back of my PC and it didn't list the PSU brand unfortunately.

    I did however download Precision as suggested, I messed with the fan speed and scared myself. Put it to 70 and it was running really fast. xD Never heard it that loud. Is there an optimal speed there? I set it to 60 and I'm gonna check it in a couple games to see if it runs better.
  7. You should set up a stepped program, which is easy in Precision. Hit the little gear under the graphs and go to the "Fan" tab. Use the default until you think you can do better.
    I have mine so that under heavy load, at just about the highest temps it hits (my 460 doesn't pass 59 in the winter, or 62-3 in the summer) it runs at the highest fan speed that is not obviously audible over the case and processor fans when I'm in my chair in a normal position (not right next to the case). For me that happens to be 57%, but you should experiment.

    What are your load temps like?
  8. Started up Oblivion (the one that seems to give me the most problems) and it seems to run my GPU up to 60-ish. Hovered around 59-61. I set up the stepped program on default, but the weird noise still popped up and the game would consistently crash within a couple minutes. None of my other games (minus TF2 which just crashes, no graphic errors or anything) give me this much trouble so I'm not sure how severe the problem is.
  9. If your PSU was a cheap generic, it may not be up to the task of running that card. Does it have a little voltage switch on it? If so, it could easily be an older, overrated design, or one that doesn't put enough of its available wattage on the +12V rail(s). I would not run your system until you confirm the PSU; if the crashes are because you are exceeding its capacity, very likely it is passing out-of-spec voltages to your system, which could damage it.
  10. Yep. Don't go in other directions until we eliminate that one.
  11. I'm at my house right now so I can't confirm or deny anything, but I'm gonna snake a screw driver to take back to my dorm when I leave so I can check. I also have access to a "Cooler Master" power supply, 500W. It has the +12V specs that I'm not sure my other has. It's used, so that's a little worrying, but to my knowledge there's nothing wrong with it and it's probably the only power supply I'll have access to for a while minus the one already in my PC.
  12. Hmmm, a CM "500W" PSU is probably only good for 450W at best, but may be better than what you have.
  13. I'll take it with me when I go then, just in case.
  14. Yep. The CM should be reliable enough to test with.
  15. Installed the cooler master. Played Oblivion for a few minutes (leaving for class so I couldn't check it for long) and it seemed to be running better. The noise was still there but much more faint, and it didn't crash while I had it up. I'll check it a bit more in a few.
  16. Run Prime95 for twenty minutes and then Furmark or similar for another 20.
  17. Sorry for the super late reply, been really busy lately. Anyway, I ran those two programs and neither presented any problems. Furmark ran fine for 30 minutes, and Prime95 ran for 21 minutes with no errors or warnings. I've still had some crashing problems with games (Oblivion, Skyrim, etc.) so I'm not sure if the PSU really fixed the problem.
  18. CPU temps?
  19. I didn't catch my CPU's temp, but during the Furmark my GPU got up to around 70 degrees or so.
  20. Check now, then. Do some more Prime95. 70 shouldn't be too high for a GPU.
  21. Just ran it again, and it's around 61-69 degrees or so. Core 0 is typically lower than 1-3 by about 5-8 degrees.
  22. 69 is high, but it's not high enough to be causing your problem. Is the crashing with the current PSU identical to the situation on the old one?
  23. Oblivion/Fallout 3 seemed to run better, went longer without crashing whereas Skyrim seems about unaffected and still crashes/wacks out about the same. So slightly I guess, but not by a lot. The power supply was old so I don't want to rule out PSU just yet. I should hopefully have enough to buy a new PSU soon, which I plan on doing.

    I'm thinking I may need to clean the inside of the PC, at least around the heat sink to the CPU. I noticed when I was changing the PSU that the heat sink was dusty as hell. Kinda odd since this computer is only a few months old, so it must have been like that to start with. I'm sure that would affect the CPU temps so I need to get something to clean that with.
  24. Sure, go for it. A can of air should work fine, and you can get one at any hardware store.

    A good 500W PSU is probably the way to go, unless you plan to go SLI/Xfire sometime relatively soon. This one's excellent and $50 after rebate:
  25. Use the pressurized duster rather than a vacuum cleaner. The latter can generate an incredible amount of static as dust whooshes up their plastic hoses. A tiny spark from the nozzle end (less than you could feel) might still kill something.
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