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Computer Freezes when gaming

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 17, 2012 4:12:16 AM

Specs first:

Case: Corsair 800D
mobo: EVGA 680i Based board.
Proc: Intel QX6700 2.66GHz OC to 3.0GHz
RAM: 6GB DDR2 in Dual Channel
Video Card: XFX Nvidia 9800GTX 512MB
Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling Turbo Cool 1KW (from early 2006)
HD: 1x 150GB WD Raptor (from late 2006), 1 x 1TB WD Black, 1 x 2TB WD Green

The Raptor is the boot drive, 1TB is games drive, 2TB is storage.

So, My video card has been having issues lately. A couple months ago I was trying to play GTA IV and the computer froze. I thought it was drivers, the first couple reboots everything was fine until I loaded a game. Then suddenly the POST screen had weird blue dashes running vertically and windows failed to see my video card as a 3D device, however it still displayed windows, but only in 2D mode (Games would simply tell me they couldn't run). So, I took the card out, removed the heatsink and proceeded to bake the card hoping to revive it. It worked! For a week. Then the same thing happened again so I baked it again. It Worked again! This time lasting for about 3 months until tonight it failed again. Only this time, it crashes only in games and hasn't produced any symptoms in windows, one time displaying the familiar vertical blue lines seen on the POST screen before. I tried again with the fan speed at 100% only to still have it freeze. Yet Windows still works normally, and only when I load a game does it die. (Before you ask, I did clean and reapply thermal paste of the Arctic Silver 5 variety both times I baked the card, I also game at 1680x1050)

My question is, could it possibly be a power supply issue this time(It is kind of old now), or might it just be time to go looking for a new gfx card. I hate to though as this one still does play everything really well when it's working. Any thoughts as to something else that may be causing this issue, or if you think that card is done, a recommendation on a replacement for ~$200.
a b U Graphics card
January 17, 2012 5:44:26 AM

Maybe your video card is the issue. Ask a friend to give you his GPU to test in your PC to see what is happening.If that is working your video card is the problem.
January 17, 2012 9:42:34 AM

Umm do you have above 30a on the 12v+ rail?

Since I don't know the brand you specified, it might be that PSU is weak.

Let me rule down the possibilities -
Weak PSU
GPU Overheating
CPU OC unstable
RAM issues maybe?

Even though you wrote that cleaning the GPU booted it up, I can conclude that it might be overheating. But it might be something else, I'd suggest 1st step to change the PSU, try a friend's PSU and then post the difference.
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January 17, 2012 12:29:38 PM

I have access to an Radeon 4850 I can try, but it only uses one 6-pin power instead of the two that the 9800 GTX uses, so that may hide power supply issue too. PC Power and Cooling makes (or made, before the OCZ takeover) the best power supplies you could buy, Unless it is dying (it is 6 years old now) it has a single 72A 12V rail that can peak to 80A so it shouldn't be an issue. I do also have a 650Watt Antec Earthwatts power supply I can try. I doubt the CPU OC is unstable, but it can't hurt to drop it to stock until I figure this out. RAM, I will look into that if the other stuff fails.

I just don't see how it could be overheating though, I reapplied Arctic Silver 5 to the heatsink, and even with the fan at 100% (when idle the GPU temp drops to 38C with 100% fan) it will still hang. On top of that, the fan has never spun up faster when it hangs if I leave it on auto, in fact, on auto it has never gone anywhere near 100%.

I will try these things this evening if I have time. Thanks for the suggestions, I'll keep you posted.

Best solution

January 17, 2012 7:27:02 PM
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i had an old 8800gt with a similar issue unfortunately the only fix for me was to stick it in the oven every time it decided to die.

the only thing that i could recommend is to head on to ebay and buy another card. if you have $200 you could probably pick up three 9800 gtx's and run them in tri-sli on that 680i. you wont be able to use any of the 4 or 5 series cards as they require pci-e 2.0
January 18, 2012 3:54:53 AM

Well, I first just tried baking the card again because that has worked in the past and things seem to be fine again now(for who knows how long). I guess for the rest of the time I use that card I will always have to be prepared for it to quit. Thanks for the suggestions.

So, considering that it is working again for the time being I don't want to keep wondering. So, now I would love to hear some suggestions for decent cards that I can hopefully wait for a good deal on newegg or Tigerdirect to pull the trigger on. I would like to only spend around $200, but since I can wait for a deal, something a little more expensive that may drop within range when on sale is good too.
January 18, 2012 3:56:45 AM

I have no real interest in SLI anymore, I would rather just have a better single card. Also, if I am going to spend the money I would prefer to get something with more than 512MB frame buffer and DX 11 support.
January 19, 2012 6:18:28 PM

Best answer selected by HVDynamo.
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