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BSOD Video Problem

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 17, 2012 10:41:12 AM

Hey everyone,
I built a computer in the Spring of 2007 and it has finally given me a problem. This was my first computer build and am by no means an expert on the subject. Feel free to correct me if something was done wrong.

Almost 2 months ago I noticed that my screen became "fuzzy" one day. It was a slight distortion of the pixels. It happened quite infrequently until my video card began restarting itself. Sometimes the fuzziness would recur after the video restart and sometimes it would not. It continued to get worse until my computer would crash on a regular basis, forcing me to restart in safe mode. While in safe mode, the screen still gets fuzzy, but the computer won't crash. There were no hardware changes, but may have been software changes in the form of automatic updates.

After reading several posts, I began running diagnostics on my ram using Memtest86. After about 3 hours, no errors were found. However, it should be noted that the screen turned fuzzy while the memtest was running. Windows was not loaded because I had booted memtest from a usb drive.

I started taking out Ram modules to test them individually. Each stick will still turn the screen fuzzy, but I find that it sometimes would take longer to happen if there was only one ram module in the computer instead of two.

I have the Dump files uploaded (Link at the bottom) which are saying driver crashes. I don't believe it is a driver problem, because the problem would happen while memtest was running, immediately after the computer restarted with the ASUS POST message screen and also while in the Bios. These three situations should not have any drivers loaded. I posted this problem in another forum and someone suggested updating some drivers that were not digitally signed. Some of the drivers were uninstalled, while others were updated. I'm not sure if this worked properly, because the computer crashed towards the end of the install.

Sometimes while in safe mode, the screen would go back to normal if the computer was left on for several hours.

I have AVG Internet Security on the system that is updated daily. A virus scan came back negative. The monitor itself is not a problem because the no signal and menu functions are displaying properly.

A report from CPU-Z is also in the download link. It is reporting that my PSU is undervolted, which could cause problems. After some research on this, I double checked the hardware monitor in my Bios and it's reporting the 3.3V at 3.20V, 5V at 4.96V and 12V at 12.25V, indicating my PSU is working properly. Some people have found that CPU-Z can sometimes report false results. A voltmeter would be the best way to test it, but I don't have one.

I am leaning towards a problem with the Video Card. That was the only part that was previously owned when I built the system. Ever since I first installed it, it would make a strange ticking noise and sometimes a faint screeching sound with some games. For example, if a blinking cursor was on the screen and nothing else was moving, it would tick every time the cursor blinked. It was not terribly loud, so I've been able to ignore it. I have tried to research it, but could not find any information on the subject. When the computer is in safe mode, the video card makes no sound whatsoever (besides the fan.) I'm starting to wonder if this card was faulty from the day I got it, and has now really given problems. When the screen saver comes on in Safe mode, a message appears that Direct3D (I think) is not available and to update my card. Would the clicking sound come from a function on the card that is disabled in Safe Mode? Would changing the slot the video card is installed in make a difference? A bad PCI-E slot may also be the culprit.

I found a video on YouTube of my problem. The only difference between my problem and his is my machine will not display the BSOD anymore, but will restart my system instead. However, at one point, it was displaying the BSOD. It appears the problem has worsened since then. A post on the bottom of the video says the card was replaced and his system began working properly again. The video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNWRc5afbNc

Memory Dump files, two pictures of the fuzzy screen and the CPU-Z report can be downloaded at http://www.2shared.com/file/whWFBoVM/BSOD.html

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. Any help with this problem would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Antec Nine Hundred
Asus P5B Deluxe Wi-Fi edition
2 x 1GB Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400
Sapphire Radeon X850XT PCI-E
360GB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM
500GB Western Digital 7200 RPM
Intel Core 2 Duo e4500
Antec Earthwatts 500W
Windows 7 Ultimate SP1

More about : bsod video problem

February 17, 2012 10:55:19 AM

Hey, I think you should try your system on an alternate monitor or test your current monitor on a laptop to check whether its running properly.
Its crazy, but there may be the slight possibility of your monitor dying out.

About the other factors, I've not heard something like this before, so I'm afraid I won't be able to help.
You should put up a system spec. Use Speccy.
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February 17, 2012 11:13:37 AM

Try using your video card on a different computer, this could a case that your video card is on its last limbs. Drivers could be a issue to, i never heard of a driver issue so bad but anything can be the cause of a BSOD, from a power supply down to your SATA ports on your mobo being bad. Now i am not certified yet in Hardware A+ but i will by the end of this summer. I hope this helps
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February 17, 2012 12:34:50 PM

Thanks for the replies,
I don't think drivers are the issue. I'm using Windows Drivers and they were not updated before this problem started. Unfortunately the possible cause of the problem could be anything, which can make it very expensive if I start replacing parts.

For now the best I can do is put it in a different PCI-E slot to see what happens. I don't have another card to test in my system, and I don't have another system to test my card in. Maybe getting a new card is my only option.

The monitor has been checked on another computer and is working fine, so I've ruled that out as a cause.

An updated zip file with the latest Dump and a detailed system information report is at http://www.2shared.com/file/LtwC0x-8/BSOD.html Thanks.
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February 24, 2012 12:55:23 AM

Hey everyone,
I have an interesting updated. I decided to take the video card out and give it a good cleaning. This included taking off the fan assembly and heatsink. While there wasn't enough dust to restrict airflow or clog everything up, it did appear that the thermal paste had degraded. It's almost as if it never quite attached right. I applied that thermal past about 2 or 3 years ago. So anyway, I put on some new paste and put everything back together. Everything worked fine for about 2 days and then the problems started happening again and in the same progression. First the screen went fuzzy, then eventually the BSOD started appearing again and am being forced to start in safe mode again.

I downloaded ATI tool and the temperatures were within reason, staying at about 30 degrees celsius. However, once put through a stress test I watch the temperature climb up to 75 C before I stopped it. The card did not display an error or malfunction during the test. I was thinking there was some correlation between heat and the problem occurring, because it would always happen within a certain timeframe after the computer started up. A restart would show the problem again, while a shutdown and short wait would make the problem disappear for a few minutes. If the card heated up to 75, then it pretty much proves this hypothesis incorrect.

So for now, I'm at a loss as to what to do. While everyone has been helpful, I have been unable to find a cause or solution to the problem. The best thing I can go on is the fact that a youtube post said the card was replaced and the system worked fine. So, I'm going to replace the card and see what happens.

This system is 5 years old, but is working fine besides this video issue. I don't want to spend the money on major upgrades. Does anyone have any suggestions towards a suitable card for me? The X850XT may have been overkill originally, because I don't do a whole lot of gaming. I mostly use low res flash games, but occassionally feel the need to bust out Flight Simulator X. There's some DVD authoring thrown into the mix here too. I was thinking of trying to track down a card on eBay or something that's a few generations newer (I'm seeing a lot of x2400's out there.) I haven't looked into the current generation of cards, but am aware that there's a pci express 2.0, and of course that is a newer technology than what I have. Will a new card supporting 2.0 be backwards compatible with my machine? Thanks.
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