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Bad video card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 17, 2002 11:29:31 PM

Okay, some of you might remember (probably not) me asking about a lot of game crashes I was having on my dad's computer. Anyway, the thing is, it hasn't really improved.

First, the specs:
Athlon 1200 with 133 fsb
256 MB DDR
MSI K7 Master
Leadtek Geforce 2 Pro 64MB
one 40 and one 6GB hard drive
Lite On CDRW
Sound Blaster Live Value
300 watt PSU

I have both 98 and XP on here, although I haven't gotten around to transfering my data around for a dual boot, so I have both on seperate 40s which get swapped.

First, under Windows 98, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Jedi Knight 2 both crash when I run them with the "very high" texture setting on. They also often crash during loading or in levels, as does Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. Interestingly, these are all Quake 3 based, but Medal of Honor, which is also Quake 3 based, doesn't seem to crash very often (at least after I applied the 1.17 patch, but I've tried patches with JK2 and STV:EF. Wheel of Time, No One Lives Forever, and Dungeon Siege are also crash prone. At first, I thought this was a sound bug, since the audio would loop and the graphics would freeze, but No One Lives Forever crashed with the AC97 sound on as well. The problems also occur under several Nvidia releases, and Via 4 in 1 releases.

I haven't played around with XP much yet (maybe I'll get a chance to port my system over during the Christmas break), but JK2 ran fine under it. 3D Mark 2001SE, however, did not when I first tried it. It also crashed under IE, and after reboot came up with a message saying that the graphics drivers could not complete a draw operation. I tried a different driver with 3D mark, and it still didn't work, but when I tried it the next day, with no changes, it worked perfectly. All these crashes seem to occur frequently sometimes, and infrequently other times. Weird.

At one point I tried swapping the card into my K6-2 450. Interestingly, the demo of Dungeon Siege I had (I didn't want to have to install the full version for this test since it's two CDs, and I had the demo on a magazine CD) also froze up in the same way as on the 1200. This, despite the fact I was running a much older nvidia driver that someone had told me was praticularly stable with Geforce 2s. It never did that with my Matrox G200. BTW, I was running the Geforce 2 on a fresh install.

So, my question is that do you think the problem is the video card? If so, is there any way to make sure without shelling out $250 Canadian for a TI4200 (which is probably what I'd want to get as a replacement)?

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December 20, 2002 1:48:08 PM

Okay, so did a couple more experiments last night. First of all, Wheel of Time crashes under Windows XP as well (and yes, I did use a no CD patch because the copy protectiong Wheel of Time uses crashes under XP, even when using a legal copy like mine). It also had some sort of weird crackling sound bug.

After shutting down, my dad said to just quickly check that the video card was properly in place. I thought it was, but after my dad tried taking it out and putting it in again, it worked. Although I only tried them for a few minutes each, Wheel of Time and No One Lives Forever both ran smoothly under 98. Haven't tried anything else yet, though. Also, I had trouble getting my G200 seated properly in the AGP slot again after testing the Geforce 2 on my K6-2 450, so it might have been out of place there too.

It's kind of weird though - the Leadtek does have a very heavy heatsink on it, but many newer boards have heavier ones. So why does it keep getting out of place? (These problems will often go away then start showing up again weeks or months later.) Also, why does it crash in some games but not others when it crashes?
December 20, 2002 11:39:21 PM

No go - it started crashing again today. Tested the demo of Nightfire, plus No One Lives Forever and Wheel of Time. All crashes. Demo of Impossible Creatures wouldn't even launch properly. Also tried upgrading to Direct X 8.1b.
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December 21, 2002 9:00:45 AM

You got the VIA drivers installed? I had those installed before but they just fu-ked everything up, so I usually dont install them anymore... Seems that I dont really need them.. Games are fast blabla anyway...

But maybe... there will be some significant improvements WITH them, I dont know... (well, improvements in speed that is, but since the OS got instable, better skip those)

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Ace128 on 12/21/02 06:06 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 21, 2002 4:00:15 PM

Set your AGP Graphics Aperture size to 64. You may be overwhelming the AGP buss. Look here: http://www.rojakpot.com/default.aspx?location=1 For the information on the AGP size in BIOS & more. It pretty much tells you every function in BIOS, what they do & how to use them. Hope that helps.

Also 256 mg of RAM isn't enough in book to get good game performance anymore. I've been running 512 for 2 or 3 years. Now in 3Dmark the guys getting 2000 better than I am are al using 1024 RAM without over clocking. I'm moving up to 1024 as soon as I can. I use my machine for gaming 95% of the time. So that's what I'm looking for.

512 DDR 333 cs 2.0 RAM, XP 2400+, Geforce TI4600 = 3Dmark 11396 I've seen in 3Dmark guys with the same setup but with 1024 RAM @ just a shade under 13000.

Skinny

Signature, I'm still learning & having fun doing it!!!!!!
December 21, 2002 8:06:09 PM

Yeah but how do you know they havent overclocked? In 3dmark you dont have to say your clockspeed, your comp could be badly configured etc, it might have nothing to do with the memory.
December 22, 2002 3:29:06 AM

Did a clean install of XP, only installed nvidia drivers + refresh force. Pulled network, modem, sound, and secondary optical and hard disks. Did 3D Mark 2001SE game 1 fine, crashed on game 2. Put on Return to Castle Wolfenstein, it failed at various points as well - never even got it to load a level. I think I also ruled out power there, since although it was generic, it crashed even with a lot of stuff pulled - and worse than it has been other times with everything on. I'm going to try a clean 98 install, suspect same thing will happen. In that case, Monday it goes in for servicing. My dad just discovered it has a 2 year labour warrenty, although you have to buy the parts from them. I'm hoping it's the video card and that I can get my dad to buy me a ti4200 or something like that - because getting my computer working and having a video card upgrade would make a great Christmas present for me, especially since that machine becomes mine when my dad upgrades in six months. In the meantime, I'll have to be content with my K6-2 450, with copies of Thief 2 and System Shock 2 to get through, as well as some writing projects I always seem to not get time for.

Of course, it could act fine for the techs, like it occasionally (but very rarely) does for me - and that would totally piss me off. But that's a worse case scenario.
December 22, 2002 4:50:01 AM

try to run memtest86 looks like a prob my friend had...was bad memory..


http://www.memtest86.com/

if it has one error, get it replaced
December 23, 2002 3:56:49 AM

Okay, today's testing showed the following: I pasted 10 test in MEMtest86, didn't run test #11 because I don't have three hours on my hands.

Interestingly, Windows 98 didn't have the same problems. Although 3DMark2001 SE crashed to desktop (but didn't take the system down) a few tests from the end, and the Nightfire demo froze after a while, short sessions of NOLF2 and Star Trek Voyager:Elite Force, as well as long tests of Jedi Knight 2 and the Impossible Creatures demo turned up no problems, even when running high quality mode. Yet XP didn't run either 3d test I tried fine. With 98 it's probably all the stuff on there - I don't think I've done a full reinstall for over a year. I still think there might be a bad part in there because it did crash a couple times, but at least I CAN play games now, and since it's under a three year labour warrenty (not two as I originally thought), I'll take it in when it gets really bad and buy a replacement part (and six months from now I could probably get a big performance boost dirt cheap).

Thanks for all the help guys and girls.
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