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Baffling GPU Issue (Artifacts & Crashes)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 24, 2012 4:23:28 AM

Hey guys, thanks for looking,

I've got an odd issue that years of self-diagnosing computers has prepared me zilch for. Whenever my computer has been turned off for I'd say over an hour or so, there's a 95%+ chance that upon opening a browser, game, or really anything that requires my video card to start working somewhat (with exception to windows 7's aero and basic windows or flash ads like you'd see on AIM) it will cause my entire screen to turn into artifacts. It never looks the same any time it happens, but the most popular colors seem to be purple and pink in weird patterns. The computer will continue responding for a few seconds after (I know this because there's a slightly whitish block of artifacts that moves as my move my mouse) and then the video card will stop sending an image to the monitor and power save mode goes on. The computer itself keeps running until I turn it off, which requires a hard shutdown.

The real problem isn't diagnosing that, because it seems pretty clear to be the video card's problem. It's that once I turn it off and reseat a few cords, rock the CPU heatsink, reseat the video card, all sorts of things that I've tried on a hardware level it will (eventually) stop giving me the artifacts on the screen. It's gotten so bad though that I've tried every one of my previous methods on it and still can't get past this problem. The kicker is that when it does let me past the artifacts (if i can open firefox without it crashing) then I can boot up Crysis and play for hours @ 25+ fps on high graphics. Could this be a software issue? A ram issue? Or is it possible that a video card can both not open firefox sometimes and play HQ games at other times just fine?

My basic computer specs are: Nvidia GeForce 280 GTX GPU + ASUS Strike II Extreme (Nvidia Nforce 790i) MB + Intel Core 2 Duo e8400+ Wolfdale CPU + 4gb DDR3 ram, which has given me trouble in the past (it was an 8gb kit, but two sticks were removed from the line-up due to memtest failure) + 750w Thermaltake PSU
September 24, 2012 5:32:15 AM

lasherz12 said:
Hey guys, thanks for looking,

I've got an odd issue that years of self-diagnosing computers has prepared me zilch for. Whenever my computer has been turned off for I'd say over an hour or so, there's a 95%+ chance that upon opening a browser, game, or really anything that requires my video card to start working somewhat (with exception to windows 7's aero and basic windows or flash ads like you'd see on AIM) it will cause my entire screen to turn into artifacts. It never looks the same any time it happens, but the most popular colors seem to be purple and pink in weird patterns. The computer will continue responding for a few seconds after (I know this because there's a slightly whitish block of artifacts that moves as my move my mouse) and then the video card will stop sending an image to the monitor and power save mode goes on. The computer itself keeps running until I turn it off, which requires a hard shutdown.

The real problem isn't diagnosing that, because it seems pretty clear to be the video card's problem. It's that once I turn it off and reseat a few cords, rock the CPU heatsink, reseat the video card, all sorts of things that I've tried on a hardware level it will (eventually) stop giving me the artifacts on the screen. It's gotten so bad though that I've tried every one of my previous methods on it and still can't get past this problem. The kicker is that when it does let me past the artifacts (if i can open firefox without it crashing) then I can boot up Crysis and play for hours @ 25+ fps on high graphics. Could this be a software issue? A ram issue? Or is it possible that a video card can both not open firefox sometimes and play HQ games at other times just fine?

My basic computer specs are: Nvidia GeForce 280 GTX GPU + ASUS Strike II Extreme (Nvidia Nforce 790i) MB + Intel Core 2 Duo e8400+ Wolfdale CPU + 4gb DDR3 ram, which has given me trouble in the past (it was an 8gb kit, but two sticks were removed from the line-up due to memtest failure) + 750w Thermaltake PSU


hey its your gpu..its failing...if its still in warranty then you can RAM it......
here read these post..it might help you...it happened with me with brand new GPU..i replaced it...i am telling you this because you have tried most of the things..but still it ain't working then its definitely your gpu..


http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/370734-33-strange-dis...
September 24, 2012 5:55:29 AM

docxxx said:
hey its your gpu..its failing...if its still in warranty then you can RAM it......
here read these post..it might help you...it happened with me with brand new GPU..i replaced it...i am telling you this because you have tried most of the things..but still it ain't working then its definitely your gpu..


http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/370734-33-strange-dis...


Hey docxxx, thanks for the post. That's pretty much exactly what my problem is except that restarting isn't as helpful to me. The link on that link was also very helpful. I think the "corruption" guy on the internal link had a good point. Maybe I'll give it a little bit more time.

It looks like GPU is gonna be the problem. Unfortunately I can't really afford one for a while :/  I was planning to get a laptop when black friday came around, not sure if that'll all pan out now.
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September 24, 2012 5:59:37 AM

For now I've been running in safe mode with networking and it seems like it doesn't "engage" the card quite like normal mode does. I got a registry hack to enable sound so it's not too bad. Did you replace your card with the exact same card at the conclusion of that forum?
September 24, 2012 6:00:39 AM

lasherz12 said:
Hey docxxx, thanks for the post. That's pretty much exactly what my problem is except that restarting isn't as helpful to me. The link on that link was also very helpful. I think the "corruption" guy on the internal link had a good point. Maybe I'll give it a little bit more time.

It looks like GPU is gonna be the problem. Unfortunately I can't really afford one for a while :/  I was planning to get a laptop when black friday came around, not sure if that'll all pan out now.


yup its your gpu buddy..hope you will get your new laptop soon...
its plesure to be helpful
tell me how it ends..
peace!!! :) 
September 24, 2012 6:03:22 AM

lasherz12 said:
For now I've been running in safe mode with networking and it seems like it doesn't "engage" the card quite like normal mode does. I got a registry hack to enable sound so it's not too bad. Did you replace your card with the exact same card at the conclusion of that forum?


yea lasherz..i am going to get the exact same gpu ,but i am still waiting for my gpu to arrive..it will come by tomorrow....
September 24, 2012 6:08:13 AM

Ah alright, I'll try a few driver versions and just general stuff in the mean time, but I'd really like to see how that works out for you. I'll probably downgrade my video card if the replacement fixes all the issues so I can use the computer in the meantime.

Edit (saw that your thread had been closed) feel free to post on my thread if you'd like or pm.
September 24, 2012 6:24:03 AM

lasherz12 said:
Ah alright, I'll try a few driver versions and just general stuff in the mean time, but I'd really like to see how that works out for you. I'll probably downgrade my video card if the replacement fixes all the issues so I can use the computer in the meantime.

Edit (saw that your thread had been closed) feel free to post on my thread if you'd like or pm.

sure i'll let you know as soon as my gpu will arrive.... ;)  waiting for it very desperately... :bounce: 
September 25, 2012 6:05:55 AM

Thought I'd give a little update here. I worked on it last night for literally almost 11 hours, trying virtually everything. Here are some things that alleviated it.

Disable visual themes in safe mode so that when I come back to normal mode I won't immediately get artifacts.
Underclock my GPU to around 50% on graphics clock, memory clock, as well as shader clock using nvidia's performance tool. I hoped that I could use their automatic boot up service, however it caused my computer to freeze so I have to do this all manually every time.

I don't even want to list all of the things that I tried to arrive at those two steps, but that's all you need to continue using a video card that's broken apparently. Obviously the 50% downclock is a pain, however the games I play are all somewhat friendly about it so far, I'm not even going to try to load up Crysis. Once it's turned down I can actually use any program though including enabling themes. It just has to be set on manual in the services window so that I can choose when the video card's ready to start.
September 28, 2012 7:57:11 AM

Another update provided for those looking for a solution to the same problem I'm having. I found out through trial and error that the memory clock is the value most in need of lowering. At the moment I can't run my memory clock at over 55% the factory clock (which is based on the SC edition, so I can't really speak for all 280 GTX's). However, The other two values I can push up past 75% efficiency. I would go higher, but constant crash/reboots have already corrupted a few files and I'm happy with these settings for now.
October 5, 2012 1:57:02 PM

Hey guys.. Yesterday my video card finally gave out. I was playing a game at the time with all of my settings under 50% capacity when I started getting little flashy artifacts. They weren't horrible or anything, but I decided to restart since I was getting tired of them. When I restarted windows failed to load, I then loaded safe mode instead and was greeted with the same freeze. Looks like my only option now is to buy a filler video card until I can afford a real replacement. Felt like I should come back and update this for any lurkers. Don't really have any plans on what to do right now, I'm on my back-up laptop but things are sure going to get boring around here quickly. If I get a new card soon I'll post here again and let you know how it's working out.
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