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GTX 550 TI crashing on several games

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 18, 2012 10:05:39 PM

Hey everyone i'm in desperate need of some help here. I have an Nvidia gtx 550 TI that keeps crashing and recovering whenever i play games. What will happen is my screen will go black, then it will minimize and pop back up. once it does it once, it starts doing it over and over again. Sometimes i can see in the bottom right corner of windows saying that the graphics driver has crashed and then recovered, well i had the most recent driver for my card then i started going back and seeing if any of them work. every time i get a new driver i do a clean installation by using software to remove any trace of other drivers and a clean installation through the nvidia installer. I have tried to get support from Zotac (the company who made my card) but so far all the troubleshooting tricks they have suggested haven't worked. I have also been reading around and some say it could be my RAM because they are two different brands. took out 4gb of one brand and just used the 4 of my gskill and still get the problem, did the same with the other corsair. So right now i have kind of hit a wall and am not sure what to do... any help would be much appreciated as i would love to start gaming again! :( 


Here are my computer specs:
AMD Phenom Quad core 3.2ghz Black edition
Asrock 870 extreme3 Motherboard
Nvidia gtx 550 TI
8GB RAM
Windows 7 ultimate
550 Watt power supply.

More about : gtx 550 crashing games

a b Î Nvidia
October 21, 2012 4:48:07 AM

Since this happens on several games, we'll have to assume it is not the game causing it. It could be a faulty card. But before troubleshooting, be sure your system is clean of registry errors, junk files, and resource wasting crap. Run CCleaner and do the Clean and Registry both. That alone may solve it.
http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner
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October 21, 2012 5:48:36 AM

Thanks for the reply on the post, anyways, I downloaded CCleaner and did cleaned and did the registry. After doing both of these, making sure i got everything, i tried a few games out, unfortunately the problem still persists... :/  I am starting to believe that my card could be faulty... Any other suggestions?
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a b Î Nvidia
October 21, 2012 5:49:16 PM

When you uninstall the old driver and perform a cleaning of the system of old registry entries as you said, do you do run the driver cleaning pgm from Safe Mode? That's a necessity.

You might also look into how much stuff is running in the background when you're trying to game. look at System Configuration/Start Up and see how many items you can uncheck. For comparison, I have 5 that I allow to run. Use a site like Sysinfo.com to check on what is OK to eliminate. (Look in the Command column and type in the executable name.exe followed by any parameters.)
http://www.pacs-portal.co.uk/startup_search.php

Another thing that should be eliminated, is spyware, malware, or viruses. Run a scan with your virus checking pgm. And use a pgm like Malwarebytes to rid the system of malware and spyware.
http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/malwarebytes_free/

The RAM would have been my first suggestion, but you said you already did some testing by swapping out pairs. To be 100% certain, run Memtest for at least 1 full pass on individual sticks.
http://www.memtest.org/

Finally, see if it is possible to borrow a 2nd card to test with to see if the same issues arise.
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October 21, 2012 8:57:41 PM

okay well i just tried all the other options, now im on the memtest before i try out the games again, only problem is i dont know how to download memtest... lol im having trouble with the zip file... lol some help on that would be much appreciated.
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a b Î Nvidia
October 21, 2012 9:14:21 PM

I would download the pre-compiled bootable ISO file rather than the .zip file. Then simply burn a CD from the .iso file. It will produce a bootable CD that will auto run memtest for you. Have it test each stick at least 1 pass.

If you want a simpler less sophisticated way of checking RAM, run Windows memory check: Windows Memory Diagnostics. It won't be as thorough as memtest but you won't have to burn a CD.
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October 21, 2012 9:48:17 PM

well i found a download for memtest that i didn't have to use a cd, anyways, it told me to run more than one and split the ram up so i did, well one of the tests within the first 5 percent game up with 8 errors! i guess now i just gotta find which stick it is. this is gonna be a long process....
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October 22, 2012 1:59:39 AM

Well after testing the 3 of my RAM sticks all of them have no error... maybe it is one of the slots on my motherboard?
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a b Î Nvidia
October 22, 2012 2:11:04 AM

That's why you should run the test with individual sticks. Takes less time per stick. And how many passes did you let it complete? Yes, it can be a long process sometimes.

Wait. 3 sticks? 8GB? How are your 4 slots populated? 2GB + 2GB + 4GB + empty slot? Do the sticks have matching specs... timing, voltage, etc?
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October 22, 2012 3:42:02 AM

i just ran them individually and let them each go for a couple hours or so, each was way past 100%. and yes i have 3 sticks, 2 sticks are 2gb and one is 4gb. im unsure how to check if the specs are matching... do i just check on the RAM itself or in settings of some sort?
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October 22, 2012 5:10:39 AM

This is the same problem I've been having with the 550 ti since I got it.

In certain games (Witcher 2, Guild Wars, Sniper Elite V2) the game will play fine for 10 minutes or so, then will go black for a few seconds, recover, then every 30 seconds or so will keep doing it. It only does it in those games. Never in any other game or in anything I use my PC for. Sometimes it will give me an Nvidia error in the taskbar saying it crashed.

Never could find a fix. I just don't play those games anymore, unfortunately.

I've ran all the ram tests and never find any problem. I'm using 8GB's (4x4) of the same brand. I've tried all the drivers, closing out of all applications, etc.

Hoping you (well, we, really) can find a fix for it. I had given up and was just going to buy a new video card on Black Friday.
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a b Î Nvidia
October 22, 2012 8:09:03 PM

td17travis said:
i just ran them individually and let them each go for a couple hours or so, each was way past 100%. and yes i have 3 sticks, 2 sticks are 2gb and one is 4gb. im unsure how to check if the specs are matching... do i just check on the RAM itself or in settings of some sort?

Run CPU-Z and go to the memory tab. It will let you see the basic timings listed. They should all match.
http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

If you are using a single stick in one set of slots, you are not getting the benefit of dual channel bandwidth. Even if the other pair is in dual channel slots. To utilize dual channel bandwidth, you need to run 2 sticks or 4 sticks, and they should all be matching timings. Usually it's best to buy memory in sets of 2 or four.

Try removing the odd-ball stick and see if the issue is still present. I'm assuming the 2 sticks in the matching color slots are a matched pair.
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October 22, 2012 9:51:35 PM

I guess my only question now after i removed the one stick of gskill is when i run CPU-Z how do i know if the timings are what they are supposed to be? i see about of numbers and how many "clocks" but im not sure what is normal or not.
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a b Î Nvidia
October 22, 2012 10:00:45 PM

td17travis said:
I guess my only question now after i removed the one stick of gskill is when i run CPU-Z how do i know if the timings are what they are supposed to be? i see about of numbers and how many "clocks" but im not sure what is normal or not.

In CPU-Z, if you click on the 'memory' tab (not the SPD tab), it will tell you what your memory has defaulted to as per timing. It will also tell you if the memory is running in dual channel bandwidth or single.

Are your remaining 2 sticks a matched pair?
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October 22, 2012 10:20:05 PM

Well i would post a picture but im way too dumb to figure out how to on this site, anyways it tell me its a dual channel. DC Mode unganged, NB frequency 2003.9 MHz in the general section. then it lists me this stuff in timing.

DRAM Frequency- 668.0 MHz
FSB:D RAM- 3:10
CAS#Latency (CL)- 9.0 clocks
RAS# to CAS# delay (tRAS)-9 clocks
RAS#precharge (tRP) 9 clocks
cycle time (tRAS) 24 clocks
bank cycle time (tRC)-34 clocks
command Rate (CR)- 2T

any idea what all this means?
and yes the 2 sticks of 2gb are both a matching pair of the same type of corsair RAM
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a b Î Nvidia
October 22, 2012 10:54:50 PM

Yes, that looks good. The effective frequency of the memory is 668MHZ x 2, or approx. 1336MHZ (you double the speed because of the dual channel). The timings are normal for that RAM. I would try your troublesome game and see if anything has changed with just one matched pair of memory sticks.

One other thing. When you ran memtest, did you run it at boot up... before Windows loaded? Or did you run it from inside the Windows O/S? You mentioned you didn't make a bootable disk and I'm a bit confused how you ran it.
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October 22, 2012 11:03:19 PM

I ran it from inside windows, i just downloaded it as a file, was able to pop it right up from a desktop icon. and i just tried a few different games that always give me trouble and still no luck. :/ 
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a b Î Nvidia
October 22, 2012 11:46:30 PM

td17travis said:
I ran it from inside windows, i just downloaded it as a file, was able to pop it right up from a desktop icon. and i just tried a few different games that always give me trouble and still no luck. :/ 

I think you downloaded a different program than I linked you to. memtest can only be run at boot. Did you by any chance download Mem Test? They are different programs.

Back to your problem... do you have a 2nd video card you can test with?
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October 23, 2012 12:12:27 AM

idk its a possibility lol but yeah i can take my brothers very old 8800gt hahaha see if that works but idk if it will run the games i do, guess it doesnt hurt to try.
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a b Î Nvidia
October 23, 2012 4:24:15 AM

If you switch cards, you may want to re-install the driver with the 8800GT in place just to be sure it sets itself up right. Check the clean install box, too. In fact, it might be a good idea to download the driver for the 8800GT just in case it is a slightly different version for that one. Nvidia uses a unified driver, but I don't remember what era of card they go back to with the unified driver.

Run the game(s) in as low a settings as it takes to make it work. This is just a test.
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October 23, 2012 5:09:14 AM

td17travis said:
Hey everyone i'm in desperate need of some help here. I have an Nvidia gtx 550 TI that keeps crashing and recovering whenever i play games. What will happen is my screen will go black, then it will minimize and pop back up. once it does it once, it starts doing it over and over again. Sometimes i can see in the bottom right corner of windows saying that the graphics driver has crashed and then recovered, well i had the most recent driver for my card then i started going back and seeing if any of them work. every time i get a new driver i do a clean installation by using software to remove any trace of other drivers and a clean installation through the nvidia installer. I have tried to get support from Zotac (the company who made my card) but so far all the troubleshooting tricks they have suggested haven't worked. I have also been reading around and some say it could be my RAM because they are two different brands. took out 4gb of one brand and just used the 4 of my gskill and still get the problem, did the same with the other corsair. So right now i have kind of hit a wall and am not sure what to do... any help would be much appreciated as i would love to start gaming again! :( 


Here are my computer specs:
AMD Phenom Quad core 3.2ghz Black edition
Asrock 870 extreme3 Motherboard
Nvidia gtx 550 TI
8GB RAM
Windows 7 ultimate
550 Watt power supply.



My friend had the exact same problem, ever game he was playing his graphic card was doing the same as yours. He took it to the shop and it turned out to be because his two RAM sticks was from different brands. Try and take out 1 stick of ram leaving just 4GIG RAM (1 stick) in your computer and try playing your games then. If the problem stops (providing your games don't require more than 4GIG RAM) then buy the another stick of the same brand.
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October 23, 2012 10:18:00 PM

Thanks for the response, i tried using the 2 sticks of corsair (4gb) and that didnt work on the game and then i tried the 1 stick of 4gb gskill ribjaw and still didnt work... i just put in my brothers ancient 8600 GT and ran the game on low because of course it couldnt run on high, and the problem never happened. i played about 2-3 games and not one single issue other than that the graphics sucked haha. when i played before the problem would occur within 10 minuted of playing almost any game.


I dont know if its my graphics card but i do know that it is still under warranty so i can get a new one for free. should i just send it in and try a new one for no cost and if that doesn't work buy new RAM? Any money i can save is worth it haha.
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October 24, 2012 1:03:19 AM

td17travis said:
Thanks for the response, i tried using the 2 sticks of corsair (4gb) and that didnt work on the game and then i tried the 1 stick of 4gb gskill ribjaw and still didnt work... i just put in my brothers ancient 8600 GT and ran the game on low because of course it couldnt run on high, and the problem never happened. i played about 2-3 games and not one single issue other than that the graphics sucked haha. when i played before the problem would occur within 10 minuted of playing almost any game.


I dont know if its my graphics card but i do know that it is still under warranty so i can get a new one for free. should i just send it in and try a new one for no cost and if that doesn't work buy new RAM? Any money i can save is worth it haha.



If the problem doesn't happen with your brothers graphics card, then your grahic card is the problem. Have you tried playing your games on the lowest possible graphic settings? If your games do work with the lowest settings with your graphic card then your card simply can't handle the high settings but if the problem still happens with low settings then there is a problem with your card so send it back for a new one
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October 24, 2012 1:11:48 AM

i highly doubt its my computer not being able to run the games because all the games i used to run on max settings with no difficulty at all. this is a recent error.
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October 24, 2012 2:08:31 AM

So that means that there is a fault with yout card if it use to be able to run the games on high settings. Just try sending it back for a new one and see what happens
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October 24, 2012 2:13:55 AM

Yeah im working on the RMA with support now, Thanks for the help guys i really appreciate it. Ill let you guys know when i get my new card if it fixes the problem or not. I sure hope so!
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October 24, 2012 2:29:18 AM

Personally, I'd just get my money back and buy a better card! I've also go the GTX 550 Ti and I'm having FPS problems after reinstalling Windows 7
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October 24, 2012 2:32:40 AM

More than likely they wont give me money back since its almost a year old :/  i guess it never hurts to ask! haha. but yeah I mean for a while it was a solid card but right now its a huge let down.
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October 24, 2012 2:44:32 AM

I feel exactly the same. My card use to run a 22'' monitor at 1920x1080 and a 32'' TV at something around 1660xsomething and playing games and still have fantastic FPS with no problems at all. Reinstalled Windows 7 and boom, graphic card started to *** up. Now I only get WoW to an average 30FPS
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October 24, 2012 2:54:44 AM

damn, yeah mine just crashes right now like when i first got GW 2 was running on ultra like 50-60 fps just cant deal with this black screen minimizing stuff.
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