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Busted Video Card? Also: Motherboard talk

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 15, 2003 9:50:42 PM

Well, today surfaced a problem on my system thats making it impossible for me to use any games. My theory is the video card, a GeForce 2 64MB manufactured by VisionTek thats over 2 years old, has been worn out. But before I go ahead and delcare it dead I thought I might as well ask for some second opinions. Though at this point Im probably grasping for straws, you never know.

So, last week everything was working fine. Today I started getting an odd video glitch and freeze-up situation. When playing games(Ive tested it with more than one game) and the graphics card is actually having to do work(doesnt happen when its not rendering 3D graphics, like when Im just internet surfing like right now, though it did happen a few times when the screensaver came up[its a 3D screensaver]) the system will freeze up and Ill see varying patterns of vertical straight or zig-zag lines all over my screen in colors that look like old DOS or Windows 3.1 colors. At this point my computer is frozen as well and I must hit the restart button. This is also happening when using the Elder Scrolls Construction Set for Morrowind. For those of you unfamiliar, the TESCS is a program that lets you edit the world for an RPG called Morrowind, and in it you see renderings of the world in a window. I mention this because it indicates that the problem is not limited to full screen situations.

So, what Ive done is as follows:

1) My first thought was maybe the system had overheated(this hasnt happened for about 3 years for me, ever sense I put in a second fan to create an airflow through the case, but figured worth a shot). Shut down the computer and let it sit for about half an hour. Booted up and tried it again, got same problem while playing a game again.

2) Next I attempted to isolate the problem further. I opened up the DirectX Diagnostic Tool and ran the display tests. Direct Draw tests all completed without issue(thrice). I then moved onto the Direct3D test. The first test(interface 7) passed without issue, but the glitch/freeze struck immediatly during the interface 8 test. Note: After restoring my PC as will be described in step 3 and it happened again on the interface 8 test(tried it twice, happened immediatly when the test started) I thought I would try interface 9. I skipped interface 8 and tried 9, it happened immediaty with interface 9 as well.

3) My second step was to eliminate the possibility of a software problem. I own the program Norton Ghost from Symantec. This program makes a compressed copy of your harddrive(s) on CDs. You can then restore your computer by overwriting your hardrive with the backup copy. It completly overwrites everything on your drive, including Windows. I restored my computer using this method to a backup from a month ago. Remember that this problem only surfaced today, so if it was software based it should have been cleared up. However, I got the glitch again at the same point in the dxdiag test.

4) I then uninstalled my drivers and reinstalled the latest driver from the nVidia website-no effect.

5) I then downloaded and reinstalled DirectX-no effect.

Then this morning after getting the glitch again my computer doesnt boot up anymore. The monitor light blinks like its not getting a signal from the video card and remains blank. The thinking light(light that blinks when your computer is busy) remains solid but nothing happens. I think this card finally kicked the bucket.

Fortunatly, when I dug up the old box from the basement I noticed a lifetime warranty. So tommorow when theyre open Ill give their tech support a call and see what they have to say about it. Does anyone think it could be something other than the vid card? Ive never known one to just stop working, Ive got an old as heck 8MB one in this second PC of mine that hasnt quit yet. And I couldnt have accidently knocked something around in there because I havnt opened up either of my PCs in about six months.

I was considering another option too. Before I saw that lifetime warranty I was shopping around online and noticed my local CompUSA was selling a GeForce FX Ultra 5200 w/128MB RAM for $169.99 after a $30.00 mail-in rebate. Was thinking I could buy that, then get my free replacement and sell it on eBay without ever opening the box. Problem with that is the GFFX requires an 8xAGP slot and my old motherboard has a 4x. I was looking around for motherboards and I couldnt find any that had 8xAGP and supported Intel Pentium III processors. All the 8xAGP only seem to support P4 processors. Which means I would have to buy a new motherboard AND processor, which Im really not in the mood to do unless anyone knows where I could get a combo deal for cheap.

Anyways, thanks in advance for any opinions or suggestions :) 

More about : busted video card motherboard talk

June 16, 2003 1:12:37 AM

First off, an AGP 8x card, such as the FX5200U does not REQUIRE an AGP 8x board, 4x will work.
But NEVER...NEVER...EVER!!!! buy a GeForce FX 5200.
Its the 14m3st slowest gayest POS its so rediculously overpriced its INSANE, and you will get crappy image quality along with the low performance.

As far as your problems are concerned, considering all that you have done (much more thorogh inspection and testing than most of the other people here asking similar questions), then I would venture to say that it is your graphics card.

But there is one other possibility, it could be your power supply. They can go bad. My advice is to test the video card in another computer, and if it still happens, its the vid card, if not, then it could be your power supply.

"Every Day is the Right Day." -Pink Floyd
June 16, 2003 4:34:22 AM

Even if the 5200 was good, you can get it for $100. If you're looking for a $200 purchase, go Radeon 9700 np

Tit for tat, butter for fat, ATi's dog kicks nVidia's cat

(Maximum PC)
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a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2003 6:05:36 AM

Tested ATI Radeon 9700 Pro (AGP8x) on Asus P3B-F (BX chispet, AGP2x), no problems.

I'd go for a Radeon 9700 non-pro (same card, lower clock speed, less money) if you have $200 to spend.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
June 16, 2003 7:34:44 AM

Does it have a fan? I had a card where the oil in the fan was so dry it was solid. The fan was drawing way too much current and was screwing up the video. I just opened up the foil on top and added a few drops of sewing machine oil. Everything was fine again, but I put a new fan on anyhow.
Even if this does work, give the card to some needy gamer and get the 9700n, you will be so glad you did.
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by endyen on 06/16/03 03:37 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
June 16, 2003 7:38:34 AM

Fan motors dont have oil you ass. Maybe that was just gunky build up and THAT was the reason it stopped working.

Ever take apart a fan or electric motor in general?
99% of electric motors have no form of lubrication.
The only acceptions I can think of are electric car engines and like big heavy load stuff like that.

"Every Day is the Right Day." -Pink Floyd
June 16, 2003 8:19:15 AM

That's cool that it has a lifetime warranty. There's a good chance that they don't have any geforce2 left in stock... So if you are lucky you will probably get a geforce4mx or something like that.
You can ask tech support about it when you call them up. I'd wait until I found out what card they were going to send before considering buying a new one.
June 16, 2003 9:26:09 AM

Lets see, there are dc machines shaded pole motors dual winding single phase induction motors capacitor start motors, capacitor run motors .then you get into your three phase motors which include squirel cage induction, wound rotor, and rotating capacitors. Which ones of these run unlubricated?
June 16, 2003 12:37:08 PM

Yeah, even if fans did have oil, it wouldn't dry up. Oil doesn't evaporate at Room temp (like water) and leave a residue. By its very nature it is a liquid at room temperature, and will stay that way.

Tit for tat, butter for fat, ATi's dog kicks nVidia's cat

(Maximum PC)
June 17, 2003 1:19:20 AM

So the oil in the Labrea Tar Pits is pristeen clear right?
One clown lives in a frictionless universe the other, where nothing ever gets dirty.LOL.
June 17, 2003 5:07:19 AM

Lol Gen.

Neways, I know some stuff about electric motors (have worked on model cars, etc.) but I dont know every freaking type you mentioned. What, did you look that sh*t up on the internet to sound smart?

Fan motors have a teeny tiny little bit of oil, that oils a bearing (or multiple bearings) in the front of the fan. This is not visible, nor exposed to dust/dirt, and it is SEALED. The WORKING, MOVING parts of the fan, DO NOT use oil.
Seriously, have you EVER opened up a fan motor? Even one of those little 99c portable fans from walgreens, where the motor is in a seperate housing?
coils and magnets dude, and they dont touch. With the resistance that these motors are dealing with, and the speeds at which they rotate, lubrication just isnt neccessary.

But I on the other hand, could use some lubrication!
Dont wanna get a rash!

"Every Day is the Right Day." -Pink Floyd
June 17, 2003 8:29:15 AM

Me!! I'm just a dumb ass electrician who specializes in motor controls. Oh, yah I also do substitute instructing where I work. See I work at a Polytechnical Institute.
And yes I have taken apart micro motors and the big guys to. There are two points on every motor where friction occurs. At the ends of the shafts are either bearings or bushings. Yes most bearings are sealed, but even sealed bearings dry up. On the other hand most cheap fan motors have bushings, with a small well that holds oil. When that well dries up, the bushing begins to heat. because the motor is trying to rotate at a constant speed that heat requires more current called friction losses. Friction loses in a small motor can be very high. The net effect to a video card is similar to having too small a power supply, as the ampacity of the conductors feeding the card is relatively low, therefore a large voltage drop is created.Fortunately most fans are shaded pole motors. The shading pole does act as a current limiter so that you dont get a locked rotor effect. Have a nice day .
!