Cause and effect

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[FnG] Marksman
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Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] Marksman » Fri May 28, 2010 11:49 am

Well I suppose that was inevitable, really. The old PC I've been running for the last six years appears to have taken something of a disliking to the funky new 23" monitor I've paired it up with (oh how I love that screen...)

I was playing Guild Wars last night and having problems keeping the thing running (apologies to Kril for dropping out of that chat just as he came online). There were lots of glitchy textures popping up after five minutes of being in the game, then it would lock and force a reboot. I did a bit of testing with UT2004 to check and a similar pattern ensued.

Running at 1920x1080 is, I suspect, pushing the gfx card too much and it's either kaput, or about to go kaput. The whole system is starting to struggle now anyway, having had about three 'bonus' years of toil squeezed out of it.

I'm cashing in some shares next week anyway so I figure it's a sign that the time to update my system has arrived. :)

What's about par for gaming systems these days? What about noise and power consumption? Any parts or manufacturers I should definitely go for or avoid?
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] James » Fri May 28, 2010 5:16 pm

What I am about to say is my own personal experience, but I would say stay away from ASUS... Yeah I know a lot of elite-geeks recommend them, but my experience with them has been terrible! Their customer support, I am convinced is an empty room with a phone in the middle sitting on an old wooden table, and that room is sound-proofed so that no-one ever hears the phone ring.

They also managed to somehow fanagle me out of a rebate I was due by using the excuse that my serial number no longer qualifies. And as the final straw, their software and driver support is very poor, they still don't have good Windows 7 support for much of their hardware.

Yes back in the 90's ASUS was good, but it seems they forgot what made them good and now put out very shoody services that decreases the greatness of their hardware. What good is a fantastic new motherboard if the driver support is terrible? Think about it... and be warned.
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] Marksman » Fri May 28, 2010 6:04 pm

Cheers James, I'll bear that in mind. :)

I'm not the avid hardware newshound that I used to be, but I just came across >> this article << which may point to a defective driver being responsible for a temperature surge and subsequent crash.

It's an unusual possibility and having not actively updated any drivers for a while I'm not sure it'll apply, but it's worth checking out, along with other potential causes of overheating.
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] Lambik » Sat May 29, 2010 11:14 pm

Maybe it's not related to your problem, but I have had lot's of problems with my gfx card and GW, which seemed an overheating problem at the start,
but even after using software that speeds up the fan manually (no I didn't rotate the fan more faster with my fingers).
I did email XFX about the problem and that I was only experiencing it with GW and not CoD4, also installed several drivers but all without luck.
They've send me an updated firmware, which solved the problem.
So if there are any firmware updates for your gfx card, maybe you can solve your problem, or contact them and ask if there are any firmware updates related to your problem ?
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] Mez » Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:03 pm

Might be overheating, and a 6-year old PC will be out of warranty so you can open up your case to check the airflow.

Make sure all the fans still move when you boot up (power supply, case, CPU, graphics card etc.) and then turn it off again.
If any weren't moving, use a "camera-lens air-blower/cleaner" thingy to clean them out, and try again. If they still don't move, you can replace them.

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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] Sphinx » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:26 pm

Out of curiosity, what is the gfx card?
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] LcNessie » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:25 pm

Since it also happens with other games (at least with GW and UT) I suspect this is not the same problem that Lambik had. I do suspect overheating. Especially since the problems started since the resolution upgrade.

I have a similar problem running COD 4. It does stress my videocard, and it does actually overheat and crash on me. I never had these problems when running at 1280x1024, but the problems started with my new monitor, and only with graphically (very) high end games at top settings.

Perhaps a cheap solution is to buy a can of "airduster" and make sure your system is clear of dust and fluff accumulated over the years. You could also try to remove the cover plate of the slot directly below your videocard.

However, if you see this as an excuse to buy a new videocard, be my guest... ;)
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] Marksman » Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:30 pm

Thanks everyone, your work and mine has confirmed that the screen and the system are sound, but the graphics card is indeed knackered. James, the card I have ... no, had ... was an Asus, so that's your theory proven correct. :wink:

I tested the thing with another, older card I keep for just such a rainy day (it's broken too, just in a different, less terminal way) and no sign of the same problem. If you change one thing and everything works again, you've got your answer.

My problem now is, do I get a decent AGP graphics card to replace it (and where from?) and get by for another few months, or do I go all-out and look for a new system now? :chin:
Lucky for me I've still got the laptop to do all the searching on. :brow:

[edit] Sphinx, it was an nVidia 7600 GS, which has always ran hot (I've added super-ventilation and multiple, silent fans to the case over the years) but has finally run a bit too hot and sizzled itself out.
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] James » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:14 pm

Glad my own bad experiences can at least have something positive come out of them (i.e. helping you) :wink:

Another personal experience of mine: Nvidia Graphics cards have never really run hot for me... in-fact it has been the ATI cards that have given me heat trouble. I had an ATI Radeon run so hot that it actually caused other components in the case to also overheat. :laugh:

My solution to that was to leave the case open and run a small area fan aimed at the case... it actually worked, although it was a bit ugly and noisy, but that's what headphones are for. :wink:


As for whether you should get a new card, or scrap it all and buy a whole new system. That's something for you and your budget to decide. Personally, I have always been of the idea that if it isn't broken, don't fix it. So I would only upgrade the dead card. Sounds like you still have a fine system with a few years left in it at least... especially if it has no trouble running Hi-Def. :thumbup:
Last edited by [FnG] James on Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] Lambik » Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:31 pm

Sphinx wrote:Out of curiosity, what is the gfx card?

I was to lazy to type Graphics so I shortened it to gfx :wink:

@Marksman:
I believe ATI still had AGP cards recently (HD 4670, which is an okay card)
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] Kahbouter » Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:12 pm

[FnG] James wrote:Another personal experience of mine: Nvidia Graphics cards have never really run hot for me... in-fact it has been the ATI cards that have given me heat trouble. I had an ATI Radeon run so hot that it actually caused other components in the case to also overheat. :laugh:

This statement severely depends on which cards you are comparing and which cooling solutions were applied to those cards. Video cards do run hot, fact. That's because nowadays a high performance graphics card needs to displace about a 150 to 200 Watts of heat (ATI Radeon HD5800 series) or almost 300 Watts for nVidia's latest monster, the GTX480. GPU's running up to 90 degrees Celcius are no exception, especially when they're cooled passively.
Almost hot enough to cook an egg. (And YES, they have tried... :worship: )

On another note, buying a new AGP card or investing in a new gaming machine... the latter seems the right way to go. But Lambik is right, about a year ago an ATi HD4670 was introduced by HIS (maybe some others as well) which is by far the fastest AGP card around.
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] James » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:45 am

When I say "run hot" I mean outside of the bounds of the normal operating temperature of the board. NVidia has never done that for me... ATI, as I previously stated, has. Of course the standard disclaimer of "Your results may vary" always applies. :)
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] Kahbouter » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:23 pm

But still... what are you comparing? A nVidia 7300GS with an ATi HD2900XT? Not a fair comparison... It's like saying: "I've bought a red car once, and it was rubbish. But the two blue cars I've owned, never any trouble." Factual correct, but without knowing what type of car, not a very useful fact to compare cars. :lol:
If a card overheats, it's not so much the graphics chip's fault (by drawing too much power) as well as the card's manufacturer by applying a cooler that can't dissipate the generated heat. Heat builds up, causing all kinds of problems. When you buy a card with a good cooler and you have a proper airflow in your case, it doesn't matter what the label on the chip reads. 8)
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] James » Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:32 pm

[FnG] Kahbouter wrote:But still... what are you comparing? A nVidia 7300GS with an ATi HD2900XT? Not a fair comparison... It's like saying: "I've bought a red car once, and it was rubbish. But the two blue cars I've owned, never any trouble." Factual correct, but without knowing what type of car, not a very useful fact to compare cars. :lol:
If a card overheats, it's not so much the graphics chip's fault (by drawing too much power) as well as the card's manufacturer by applying a cooler that can't dissipate the generated heat. Heat builds up, causing all kinds of problems. When you buy a card with a good cooler and you have a proper airflow in your case, it doesn't matter what the label on the chip reads. 8)

I don't think I understand what you are saying here; the only thing I am comparing are the expected temperature results of each card I have owned versus the actual results experienced. Allow me to explan further...

Everytime I have bought a graphics card, I always look at the technical and operating specificaions. Not because I am an uber-elite techo-geek, but beause I like to know what to expect.

As part of the operating specs of each card, they always list the operating temperature range for the card. Now what I am stating here (again as my own personal experience) is that Nvidia has consistently been within the acceptable bounds of the maximum temperature, while ATI has been outside of their listed maximum.

Now whether the card had good cooling, I can't say as the cards came with their own pre-installed heatsinks and fans... so if the cooling was inadequate, it's the fault of the manufactuer. I did leave the case open and verify the fans were rotating at a good RPM.

If you've had good experiences with ATI, congratulations! I am happy for you. :D but I don't see anything wrong with me sharing my own personal experience with them.
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Re: Cause and effect

Postby [FnG] Sphinx » Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:39 pm

I am no guru, however going back a few years NVidia and Intel kind of got together and ATi and AMD kind of got together, in their attempts to build better working systems. Whilst I appreciate that many peeps mix the chips and gpu's as they wish, a little part of me says that this should not be ignored. I have no idea what the state of play is now concerning ATi/AMD, as I will always pick Intel/Nvidia (unless I was given a very strong reason not to :) )
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