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Nvidia GTX 550 ti problems

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 1, 2012 11:36:36 AM

Hi guys, new here, been having this problem for about 3 weeks.

Recently, I found that my display would go black for a few seconds before resuming or would suddenly be afflicted with lots of oscillating colored lines originating from the top left corner of my screen, and won't go away even after exiting the game. This occurs (not necessarily only) on some more recent-ish games like battlefield 3, mass effect(s) and guild wars 2.

These problems only go away after a reboot, but are consistently reproducible as long as the said games are set to a higher level of image quality. However after doing some checking the Nvidia website says that my GPU has a max temperature of about 100C and the highest I went before the problems arose was about 83C. At idle the GPU is about 40-50C which I think is a little too high.

I've cleaned the case and the GPU as well as the motherboard fan but there was no noticeable difference. The problems persisted after downgrading my GPU driver from 304.xx to the stable 301.xx build.

Help, guys? Or do I need to replace my GPU? It's only 1 year and 2 months old D:

*edit: forgot to list specs
Note - none of my computer components are overclocked
ASUS P8H67-M LE Motherboard i7-2500k (I think)
6GB DDR3 1333 Kingston RAM
Nvidia GTX 550 ti 1GB VRAM
(don't remember my case, Cooler Master or something)
Windows 7 x64

Sorry that I'm a little fuzzy on the specs, I'm not an expert on computer stuff :p 
a c 87 U Graphics card
September 1, 2012 11:47:38 AM

Try this:
Boot into safe mode, use a program called Driver Fusion (it's an updated version of Driver Sweeper) to eliminate all Nvidia graphics drivers (and if you have any Intel or Ati/AMD, those too). Re-boot. Install the latest Nvidia graphics driver. Re-boot again.

After that, check to see if you still have problems.
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September 1, 2012 1:16:42 PM

blazorthon said:
Try this:
Boot into safe mode, use a program called Driver Fusion (it's an updated version of Driver Sweeper) to eliminate all Nvidia graphics drivers (and if you have any Intel or Ati/AMD, those too). Re-boot. Install the latest Nvidia graphics driver. Re-boot again.

After that, check to see if you still have problems.


Thanks, just finished testing your suggestion, unfortunately it didn't work.

After 15 minutes of Mass Effect 2 the same problem manifested and I had to reboot. Any other ideas? :|

*edit: GPU temperature was 85C when it occurred
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a b U Graphics card
September 1, 2012 1:24:32 PM

i think u have a bad gtx 550ti
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a c 87 U Graphics card
September 1, 2012 1:31:01 PM

Your graphics card probably overheated. There are several things that you can try from here, but an RMA might be necessary.

Are you sure that your 550 TI's fan is working? Check if you're not sure.

If you are sure that it works, you can try increasing its RPM.

A more drastic measure, such as removing the cooler, cleaning off the thermal paste, applying new (high quality) paste, and re-seating it might work if all else fails. However, this probably voids your warranty. You could try an RMA instead of doing this.
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September 1, 2012 1:40:19 PM

blazorthon said:
Your graphics card probably overheated. There are several things that you can try from here, but an RMA might be necessary.

Are you sure that your 550 TI's fan is working? Check if you're not sure.

If you are sure that it works, you can try increasing its RPM.

A more drastic measure, such as removing the cooler, cleaning off the thermal paste, applying new (high quality) paste, and re-seating it might work if all else fails. However, this probably voids your warranty. You could try an RMA instead of doing this.


The fan is spinning, and I used some Nvidia program to manually set it to 77% all the time (77 seems to be the max). If I have to resort to thermal paste, then I'd rather simply get a new card than go through all that just to risk it failing again :\

Btw, what does RMA mean?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
September 1, 2012 1:42:14 PM

xuanne said:
The fan is spinning, and I used some Nvidia program to manually set it to 77% all the time (77 seems to be the max). If I have to resort to thermal paste, then I'd rather simply get a new card than go through all that just to risk it failing again :\

Btw, what does RMA mean?


RMA is when you return a part to get a refund. I don't remember the acronym's exact meaning, but that's pretty much it.

You should be able to set the fan to 100%.

What do you have against applying new thermal paste?
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a b U Graphics card
September 1, 2012 1:49:35 PM

Return merchandise authorization, basically same as claiming your waranty...

As the other said, your card had gone bad... (phisically)
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a c 173 U Graphics card
September 1, 2012 1:58:20 PM

RMA, if you have not warranty then there is still a chance that you can fix the card. First and foremost never trust the default fan profiles as they allow the card to reach high temps before adjusting the fan. It is best to leave it at a fixed speed like 80% so that it never reaches a high temp while giving parts of the card plenty of airflow to help keep the whole card cooler than normally possible.

The memory on these cards does not like getting very hot but the power vrm at the back of the card is noticeably more sensitive and that is where you need to focus on fixing. You can go on newegg or just about anywhere else and buy a pack of vram heatsinks and when they come in the mail. Remove the cooler from the card and apply the little heatsinks onto the mosfets at the rear of the card not far from where you see the power connector. Once that is done it is best to replace the original stock compound as well for better temps. Doing this will extend the life of the card by up to a few years and will make it stable when overclocking or when it gets rather hot in the room.
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September 1, 2012 2:04:05 PM

Alright thanks for the replies guys, guess there isn't much hope left for my card xD

Any GPUs to recommend?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
September 1, 2012 2:16:35 PM

Above the 550 TI or on-par with it?
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September 1, 2012 2:18:45 PM

blazorthon said:
Above the 550 TI or on-par with it?


On par with it at least I suppose.
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a b U Graphics card
September 1, 2012 2:20:38 PM

And the budget.....
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Best solution

a c 87 U Graphics card
September 1, 2012 2:22:06 PM

xuanne said:
On par with it at least I suppose.


A Radeon 7750 800MHz is about on-par with the 550 TI, although it's generally a little ahead. A Radeon 7770 can be a great buy for a superior card to the 550 Ti. The only current retail Nvidia option for better than a 550 TI at a similar price would be a GTX 560 SE, but it has far higher power consumption than the similarly performing Radeon 7770 card.
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September 1, 2012 2:47:40 PM

blazorthon said:
A Radeon 7750 800MHz is about on-par with the 550 TI, although it's generally a little ahead. A Radeon 7770 can be a great buy for a superior card to the 550 Ti. The only current retail Nvidia option for better than a 550 TI at a similar price would be a GTX 560 SE, but it has far higher power consumption than the similarly performing Radeon 7770 card.


Thanks man, I'll definitely consider those :D 
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September 1, 2012 2:53:53 PM

Best answer selected by xuanne.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
September 1, 2012 2:59:29 PM

Glad to help.
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