ONE FOR THE EXPERTS! a (probably) faulty 4870.. or is it????


please read this whole post, as i am really looking for a good opinion from you great experts at Tom's hardware....

so... here goes...

i built my pc about 3.5 years ago. im not a computer expert, but i managed it quite easily, with some youtube videos. i hope i did a good job. ill post all the specs in the end of this post. the main thing is this - my GPU which is a SAPPHIRE HD4870 1GB VAPOR-X has been giving me some weird problems - at least i think it has:
ever since about 3-4 months after i built my system, i was sometimes getting no display whenever i powered up the system. it first began as just not coming back properly from sleep mode - having to reboot usually after the sleep mode, then it became more and more often, and finally i was getting no display at all and no boot whatsoever. i must emphasize that the card was performing quite well on full load although if i remember correctly it was reaching rather high temps at full load - about 82 or even 87 centigrade, with a fan speed of 50%, but it would go down do like 72 on full load with 90% fan power.
when i couldnt get any boot at all, i opened the case and i found out that one of the LED's on the card was lit (i think it was the 1601 if i remember correctly).
i then tried to turn it on again and again, and suddently i found a trick that worked every time, which was really weird - whenever i turned the system on - i quicky hit the restart button or flick the on/off switch on the psu, and the system was booting PERFECTLY. :o :o :o HUH?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?! :o :o :o
ever since that the system was working quite well, until a week ago it would go on and make the same problem as it did before, this time no LED is lit and my trick didnt work anymore.

i took a simple gpu card from a friend (a very basic one, cant remember its chipset or manufacturer) and the system now works fine.

my question is this - to me it seems perfectly logic that the card is faulty and i should replace it, but since a new good gpu is not that cheap and the 4870 is still a solid card, i was thinking - that maybe there's somekind of problem with my system's configuration that's wrong, or somekind of mismatch between the gpu and the mobo, or the memory??

i would appreciate responses guys! thanks!

my specs:
Asus m4a78-e
phenom II 920 x4
Sapphire HD 4870 1GB VAPOR-X
kingston HyperX 2X2GB
OCZ stealthXstream 600W
windows 7 64bit
17 answers Last reply
More about experts probably faulty 4870
  1. try the hd 4870 in your friend system and if you got the same issue this one made is time you will have to get a new one,also did you check if the fan spin on the card and when was the last time you dust off your system
  2. yeah that was my thought exactly... i woul probably check that option tomorow, and give you guy s a feedback... should have done that THEN post in here but couldnt hold it.. hehe...
    i dont remember the fan speed, and obiously i cant chek it now... :-P
    i did dust off my gpu recently, although i didnt do that for the rest of the components...
  3. besides taking the card to your friends ( maybe his machine can run it ).. your power supply may be bad. sounds odd "jimmying" the power switch a little seems to help.

    did you pull the card and remove the shroud and clean dust build up off the cooling fins ?......... or physically blow into the exhaust port with your mouth trying to blow dust build up out of the card ? ( while card is out of case ).
  4. well it is a good thing to dust all the fans and cooler fins on the cpu also and the inside of the case and psu with the power off
  5. Well it sounds like your card just gave in. Sometimes it happens but most of the time a card should last 3-4 years.

    One question and after looking at your power supply. each 6pin should be on a different power rail. Have you tried switching the plugs on your GPU? This would in turn remove to possibility that its your power supply.

    If your in for a new card look towards a 7850 or a 7870. Those would be an upgrade from the current gen of video cards or look towards a 6850 or 6870 which are 1 and 2 steps above the 4870.,3107-7.html
  6. oh! an another thing - in the meantime, i know that there's a way to use my onboard gpu...
    but i never managed to do that or at least get a boot going...
    how do i use the onboard graphics card on the m4a78-e?
  7. page 3-20 to 3-22 of motherboard user manual for bios settings and after remove the ati hd4870 driver
  8. - swiftey and scout - yeah, cleaned the card pretty good...
    - drinkingcola - i dont really know what do u mean by "each 6pin should be on a different power rail" (duhh sorry for being stupid)... and how do i actually switch the plugs on my gpu? i mean, if u mean to try using a different 6pin pci cable - already did that - didnt change anything...
  9. That is exactly what I was meaning. Seems as though your card is bad. Might have been bad from the beginning. Or that means all 4 of your power rails, the +12v rails were bad in your power supply.
  10. but... if all the cables were bad, wasnt i supposed to not get any power at all or at least have a constant booting problem ,and not an intermittent problem?
  11. It would be very rare to have all 4 power rails bad on a power supply. The graphics card that your friend had, did it need extra power to it?
  12. nope
    it's a pretty basic card, it gets power from the mobo
  13. Ok, if you know anyone that has a card that would utilize a plug I would see if you can get a hold of it. Unless you have a multimeter to check power current coming to the plug.

    Here is a walk through to test.

    From an article on Toms
  14. ok guys - so i tried my card on my friends system - didnt work... :-(
    so basically we are talking faulty card right???
    ill go ahead and replace it...

    the thing is now.. until i get my new gpu card, how do i use the mobo display to load up windows in the meantime?

    i mean, i tried just changing the dvi cable from the monitor to the dvi output of the motherboard but im not getting any boot at all....
  15. you need to enable on board video in the BIOS........... and am wondering if your board is shot ?
  16. well... i dunno what u mean by "shot"

    BUT... anyhow.. i got my new 6850 today so.. everything is working now...

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