NVIDIA GTX 460 Black Screen

Hello all,

I have been having this issue for the past months and it's getting more and more annoying.
Very often, when I'm playing a game and I decide to ALT-TAB to desktop my computer freezes... No annoying sound whatsoever, it just goes black and the only way out is to hard reset.

I heard it could be memory related, but I ran a memtest86 for like 14 hours and it reported as "all tests passed".

Now here's the thing... I remember something similar used to happen, but the PC wouldn't crash. A small notification baloon on the bottom right used to pop-up and say: " NVIDIA display driver kernel crashed and was reset automatically", and I never saw that pop-up notification ever again...

Once it crashes and reboots it handles everything fine for the remaining play hours. Then next day, here we go again...

Here are my specs:
i7 950 @ 3.0
GTX 460 1GB
12GB DDR3 1600 Mhz
PSU Corsair HX-650W Modular

The machine used to be very, very stable. I have just updated the drivers for the 301 NVIDIA drivers (all this issues were under 295 and 275) but I don't believe it's related as it ran most of the time under the 275 drivers (like a whole year, running fine)

I'll post updates as I'll measure temps under load (I used to take a bit more care of my machine a couple of years ago, but I still clean it once in a while to keep thins cool.

All suggestions/tips are welcome; thanks in advance!
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  1. Hi ct1615, I am sorry for the delay and the mess...
    What I meant was, I had this card working stable for a year or so using both the 275 and 295 NVIDIA drivers. Then a couple of months ago things started to go bad (with the 295 - stable drivers at the time) and my PC would crash in 3D applications. I have recently installed the 301 NVIDIA drivers, but I'm out of luck. The crash happens in the exact same way. I decided to open the case and by putting my hand over the video card, I noticed it was incredibly hot. Room temperature gets a bit warm here, so I think it could be related with the temperature. I haven't ever opened the video card to clean it, but I think I just might check the heatsink and such.

    I will tell you guys how it goes if I don't break anything.

  2. I'm still stuck here guys, I have another theory now...
    I opened the card, nothing unusual with the stock applied thermal paste. Either way I decided to reapply and start monitoring my actions.

    I installed the MSI Afterburner to speed my fan to 100% during my trials. I opened After Effects and started tweaking with it, and boom... Crash at 32º. I know my card limits are way above that, so now I'm thinking I may have corrupted VRAM?

    It happened way more often in After Effects than any other game (about 3 times today, after pre-rendering any composition).

    I'm googling right now to see what I can find, but this is new to me, so any diagnosis tools you might know for testing out the GPU would help a lot... Back then I wouldn't mind to buy a new graphics card, but nowadays, if I can save the money, I will!
  3. Use the MSI Kombustor or some other stress testing your GPU. I will link you to a few. Have you tried rolling your drivers back to a non beta driver? The 280.26 is a non beta driver.

    How old is your system? What is your PSU wattage and brand? Good luck.




    Here is a little tool that might help in finding something that is causing your problem.

  4. Thank you for all the input DM186!

    My machine is about a year and a half. I assembled it myself, not knowing if the PSU was enough, so it could be a possibility that my GPU got tired of working under its requirements, but I heard that it was a fairly decent PSU.
    It's a Corsair HX-650W Modular.

    Just an update, I've been searching here and there, and I found some people complaining about a conflict between the GTX 460 and the EVGA X58 Realtek HD Audio Drivers... To be honest, I would say my crashes started when I installed those drivers (which are not required anyway, but provide some extra features). I uninstalled them and I've updated my chipset drivers to the latest and I was able to go on about two hours or so in After Effects, and I was able to render the same composition like 6 times in different formats! I know it's still soon to consider my issue resolved, but hopefully it's fixed.

    Thanks again for the tools, I'll post an update for the next day or two.
  5. I will keep my fingers crossed and you are welcome and do let us know. Good luck to you.
  6. Guys, I think it's safe to say my issue is fixed! It's been two consecutive days without crashing (the same crashing that would happen like three times in a day).
    What worked for me was removing the Realktek HD audio drivers and updating the chipset to the latest version. Even though not knowing which of the 2 fixed my issue I believe it had to be some conflict between the audio drivers and the gpu as I noticed some other folks with the same gpu having this issue.

    Thanks once again for all the input :) I'm glad I won't have to spend anything.
  7. Good job that is great news and I am happy for you. Good luck. Cheers
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