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  • Computer Explosion!

    So I have something dying in my computer, not quite sure what it is and could use some help in tracking down the cause. The problems started maybe a few days ago. I was playing the beta for Fallen Earth and then the game would start to freeze up and the textures would go all multicolor. Well I just attributed this to the fact it was a beta. Then it started to happen more frequently. Also my frame rate would drop down right when I entered a busy town...although that is normal, I have never really had frame rate drops before (but I did have all the settings up). Still not sure it the frame rate drop is related or not. Anyways 2 days ago every time I would load up Fallen Earth it would crash right after character selection when it was loading up the game world. Same things as before, shuttering frame rate and crazy colored textures with lines all over the screen.

    I went and installed the new drivers for my card, loaded up the game, and the same thing happened. I then Tried out Left 4 Dead, and a similar scenario. I could play for like a 1sec -30sec then it would freeze up, and display weird colors. So must be an overheating Graphics Card I though. I opened up the case and did a thorough dust cleaning focusing on the Graphics Card. Checked the fan on the GPU and it works fine. Booted back up the comp, and not a single bit of improvement. A few resets, and driver reinstalls later and the problems just gets worse.

    Now the posting process has lines all over the screen, as well as the windows...plus a bunch of other weird things. Windows run fine, well kinda. I can load up firefox, and browse files and do basic function with little noticeable speed difference. Except when scrolling down webpages it skips, instead of a smooth scroll. Windows recognizes the GPU, but says it has a problem starting. I have tried uninstalling the drivers, and reinstalling with no improvement. Also something extremely weird was after I installed the drivers for like a third time, I went to reset and windows told me it needed to shutdown to install updates. So I said ok and windows went through the process of installing updates...dunno what that was. I have XP and it is fully up to date.

    So following is some pictures of the current state of my computer.

    Here is my startup screen, the lines and blocks are clear.





    After that screen is very weird, where boot information used to be is this.





    Followed by another screen of jumbled mess, plus a legible common "Boot CD"...which normally showed up before the problems.





    Then one more screen of very random stuff





    Then windows loads, and has lines all over the screen. The wallpaper is tiling just from the change in resolution. I normally ran at 1680x1080 but not it will only go up to 1280x





    Here is the info windows displays for my Graphics Card



    =======My Theories

    So looks like a definite problem with the graphics card, however it is not totally broken as my monitor is still hooked up to it and getting a signal. Also as I mentioned before the fan still runs fine on it. The question is why is the graphics card is not working and based on the way my computer is behaving I see two main reasons.

    1) The Graphics Card its self is dying.
    2) The PSU is dying

    Personally I am hoping for the PSU as that is the cheaper one. Still I have no idea why my boot process is showing those weird characters. I did think it might be a virus, but I have ran a scan of my whole harddrive with AVG and picked up nothing. Plus the slow on set of this problem, and its direct link to graphics with windows working fine at a base level points away from a virus.

    So yes please help, any ideas of things it might be. I have an older PSU from my last computer but it is only 500W I think, where as my current one is 700W. I thought about switching it out, but I do not think my old one will have enough power to run the 8800GTX. I have a old ATI card, but I am not sure if it will fit in this comp..plus it draws way less power than the 8800 so it would not be a fair test of the PSU.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Computer Explosion!

    Doesnt appear to be a graphics problem. If your card wont load, its either fried or theres some other reason it wont load. However, it looks like its reading your backup just fine (onboard chipset maybe?).

    Since you're getting those bit errors on the bios load, my guess would be that your mobo has reached the end of its life. All those funky letters during the OS boot arent from graphics anomalies, those are from something being screwed up in the computing process.

    As far as the PSU, from my experience, you dont get much warning on that. Usually, you get the poof of blue/black smoke and a thick smell of burning plastic and rubber and your computer dies.

    So heres how you go about testing it. Grab a friend who has a computer. Yank your 8800, throw it in his machine. If hes running a decently updated XP (sp3) or vista (sp1+), the card should be instantly recognized. If not, grab the nvidia drivers and test it. If it works on someone else's machine, you know thats not your problem.

    The only two real remaining options are your mobo and your cpu. I'd place good money on the mobo being fried.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Computer Explosion!

      Originally posted by RedTalon View Post
      So I have something dying in my computer
      My initial thought was possum or skunk...then I rethunk it.


      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Computer Explosion!

        I'd put my money on the MB. In my experience, your CPU is either dead or it's not. Try flashing the BIOS if possible. If not buy yourself a new MB.


        TG-18th 18th SF Operational Detachment Delta

        If you're playing the game, be in the correct TeamSpeak Channel.

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        • #5
          Re: Computer Explosion!

          My first thought was a bad graphics card but Ferris is right, a bad card that is still good enough to display a picture shouldn't give you errors before Windows is up. Try flashing/resetting the BIOS and removing sticks of RAM to make sure one of them isn't the problem.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Re: Computer Explosion!

            Every time I've seen POST graphical glitching it has been the motherboard that was the culprit. CPU's don't die, it pretty much never happens. It came up in a conversation with my boss here the other day and in 18 years he's had exactly 2 cases of dead CPU's.

            Outside chance on it being a RAM issue, but those are the two areas I'd concentrate on.
            a.k.a. NinjaPirateAssassin
            Celibacy is not Hereditary.
            Everybody should believe in something - I believe I'll have another drink.
            Happiness is like wetting your pants, everyone can see it but only you can feel the warmth.
            Flying is easy, Just throw yourself at the ground and miss!

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            • #7
              Re: Computer Explosion!

              Ya what you guys are saying seems to make more sense. It would better explain the POST screen and I guess the random windows update (maybe?). Guess I will fool with the ram, do you think running a memtest would be worth while?

              Also never flashed a BIOS before, I have heard some bad stories about it...but I guess you would not really hear about the normal ones. I figure the process is pretty straight forward, click a few buttons and let it go.

              Thanks for the help, I'll keep this post updated when I know more.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Computer Explosion!

                I had a similar experience with my 8800GTX.
                For me I was getting corrupted data that was being displayed in a very similar fashion.

                Video of POST sequence.
                http://www.flickr.com/photos/have_a_niceday/3748404532/

                Picture of desktop after video card would not load desktop anymore.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Computer Explosion!

                  Originally posted by amu107.9 View Post
                  I had a similar experience with my 8800GTX.
                  For me I was getting corrupted data that was being displayed in a very similar fashion.

                  Video of POST sequence.
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/have_a_niceday/3748404532/
                  Wow that looks really similar to what is happening to me. Did you end up replacing your card to fix the problem?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Computer Explosion!

                    A quick update.

                    I went to unplug and then replug connections in my comp to make sure everything was seated ok. I went to boot up and then the computer would not even post, instead it made a long beep reset and then repeated the pattern continuously. I went back in, moved wires and pushed on connections, then booted it up. It posted but was exactly the same as before, with no change. So not sure if I did not reset something properly, or in bending the MB it broke it even more temporarily. The manual says 1 long beep is a sign of a DRAM error. Still not sure if this is related or not.

                    With the computer back to its previous broken state, I went about testing the RAM sticks. I Pulled one out, booted up, and same problem. I then switched out the sticks, and then booted up again with the other single stick. Same problem. I also tried socketing the dual sticks in the 1,and 3 slots instead of the 0, and 2, which produced no change. So I think I can safely rule out a ram related problem.

                    My next step was to flash the BIOS. Which I did with little effort, and it went along smoothly. The BIOS now reports the updated version correctly, yet still no change in my computers condition. I also set my BIOS settings to "Minimal" which did actually produce a change, which was to change around the pattern of displayed characters while posting. Still no change to windows or the overall condition.

                    So some more screens:


                    View of my BIOS, which looks like it has the final Post screen from above, just posted on top of it over writing what ever is below. See next screen more related info





                    Another BIOS screen, where I moved menu options. Notice down at the bottom, the text has changed but the position of the "random characters" has stayed the same.





                    Screen of my CPU stats, checking for power errors. Seems like everything is fine, except for errors on the fan speeds but I do not think it is related.




                    ==========Current State

                    Well still not sure what to think. I went and looked for a replacement MB, and it is discontinued. All i could find was a used one on Ebay. So getting my exact MB does not seem likely unless I wanted a used one.

                    Also amu's post is interesting. It is very similar to my case, and his was due to a faulty Graphics Card. So I really have no idea what to think. I do not want to buy something and not have it be broken.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Computer Explosion!

                      If you have an extra GPU laying around, even a really old one, that would be a great way to rule out a CPU issue. I had a GPU die on me just a few weeks ago and had to RMA it, to bad Evga sent me a broken card and hasn't sent the replacement for that one yet.
                      Reapator, overlord of ponies

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                      • #12
                        Re: Computer Explosion!

                        I have an old ATi card but it is AGP, and I do not have an AGP slot on my current MoBo.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Computer Explosion!

                          I found this post

                          http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/25...e-problem-post

                          In it the poster describes a similar problem, although he does not post his solution. There are two other people that post of similar problems that were cleared up by replacing a video card.
                          So I am going to talk to EVGA and see if they can do anything for me.

                          In case that does not work, does anyone have a link to a replacement card that will give a similar performance? Looking around I can only find a few places selling it, and for close to its original price. I was also looking for a replacement for my MoBo and that is impossible to find as well. I have come to realize that finding two year old computer parts is like trying to find a condom in the Vatican. I really might just be better off building a new comp at this point, then blowing 400 bucks on a 2-3 year old video card.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Computer Explosion!

                            Yup, I had to RMA my 8800 GTX.
                            Sadly, they gave me a 9800GTX with less memory. It gets the job done but I liked the extra memory for FSX.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Computer Explosion!

                              Yep solved the problem, stuck in a new video card and the problem cleared right up. Unfortunately I never registered the card when I got it so I cannot RMA it as it was two years ago. :(

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