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Screen Freezes when Gaming. Computer Does Not

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 2, 2013 5:40:35 PM

OK, I'm new here, and I searched and couldn't find someone else with a similar problem. So I thought I'd ask.

I have a late 2009 model Mac Pro with an upgraded graphics card to a GTX 285 through Apple. I am fortunate enough to be able to use this machine to play games with it on occasion, and I primarily play using Windows 7 through Boot Camp (Windows running natively, for those who don't know).

Whenever I play a game that's less than 10 years old, I occasionally see artifacts popping up on the screen, and then, within a minute, the screen freezes. Not the computer, just the screen. If I ctl-alt-del and then press cancel, the game returns. Every time, and on multiple games. I have only a couple of games on the Mac side, and the computer exhibited the same behavior, requiring me to press command-tab to switch out, and then back in to the game to continue.

I took the machine to an Apple store and they ran a stress test on it, could find no problems. I contacted EVGA, who is unaware of any problems and are unwilling to give me any advice. I updated my GForce driver on the Windows side to the latest and that doesn't seem to solve the problem. Does anyone have any ideas? This problem only comes up when gaming, not when I'm doing any other media processing on the machine on either OS, and it happens at random times: I can repeat the error, but not in the same place. I did notice this problem does not appear on games older than Win XP. I assume it has something to do with the load I'm placing on the graphics card.

Thanks
a c 170 U Graphics card
March 2, 2013 6:45:05 PM

It's a defective graphics card.
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a b U Graphics card
March 2, 2013 7:35:10 PM

Best guess would also be a bad GPU.
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March 2, 2013 9:04:50 PM

Don't know too much about computers, but I had this same problem with my computer also while gaming. I was using Nvidia GeForce 8300 GS and had just recently downloaded an update when this happened. Once I figured out the problem, I re-installed an earlier version of the card and was good.

Hope you figure out your problem!
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March 2, 2013 11:04:26 PM

Thanks guys. Do you think I can get the card repaired somewhere, or do I need to buy a new one?
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March 3, 2013 4:41:04 AM

Some additional info I just tried and learned: the native resolution on my monitor is 2048 x 1152. Which is how I've been playing the games (if they go that high). I experimented with different resolutions and when I bring it down to below 1024 X 768 the crashing stops. Still see the occasional artifact, but it doesn't crash the computer.

Does that, by any chance, change the possibility that the graphics card is damaged or confirm it?
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Best solution

a c 170 U Graphics card
March 3, 2013 6:24:31 AM

eharriett said:
Some additional info I just tried and learned: the native resolution on my monitor is 2048 x 1152. Which is how I've been playing the games (if they go that high). I experimented with different resolutions and when I bring it down to below 1024 X 768 the crashing stops. Still see the occasional artifact, but it doesn't crash the computer.

Does that, by any chance, change the possibility that the graphics card is damaged or confirm it?


No. It's defective.
You said you still get artifacts. You're computer isn't crashing because you're not stressing it as hard at the lower resolution but artifacts generally always mean a defective card. You see the same thing when overclocking a card. A good card at stock speed works fine. Overclock it to a point and you start getting little artifacts but it still functions. Overclock even further and you crash your card and thus the PC.

I doubt it's worthwhile to pay for repairs on the card.

*Any idea where you buy graphics cards for your Mac?
(I saw an HD5870 at the Apple site for $450 but that's insanely expensive for an older card).

AFAIK, you can't get any good modern cards for OSX proper, only by hacking which just sucks.
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March 3, 2013 4:53:30 PM

Thank you for the details. That's what I was looking to find out. As you say, graphics cards for Apple products are a little expensive. I'll probably make out better on ebay at this point considering the card's age.

I do not game very often on PC, which is why it has taken so long for this problem to crop up. I usually use a console for that, one of the reasons being I never need to worry about system specs. Thanks again, guys.
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March 3, 2013 4:53:41 PM

Best answer selected by eharriett.
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