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Old September 6, 2011, 12:11 AM
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Default Artifacts/freezing/BSOD/restarting on vids & displays

Hey everyone, I have been having some issues the past couple of days and am hoping to figure out & fix the problem before it gets worse.

I am noticing that when I try to play a video - either on youtube or winamp, I will start getting artifacts/flickering on the video itself, usually followed by stuttering sound and/or freezing & restarting - shortly before it restarts, I see a brief flash of the blue screen of death, but it doesn't stay long enough to read. Sometimes the artifacts will be on the whole screen instead of just the video, but so far this only seems to happen when I start some kind of video/moving image.

This also happens when I load up Nvidia System Monitor - sort of. If I go to the "select monitor" screen where it has the visual display selector, it freezes up. If I just turn on the system monitor without going to select the devices, it is fine.

My temps seem fine, except my CPU which seems to be sitting at 50+ this past summer. My GFX card is sort of new, I got it within the last year, and haven't stressed it too much (I think). I did notice about a month ago the temp of the card was at 70-80 while I was playing Swat 4, so I stopped playing. Since then I've not played any games, except flash games in my web browser. So I'm not sure if the problems I'm experiencing now are a result of the heat it endured over the summer.

Does this sound like the vid card overheating, or could it be something else like my PSU (because of the restarting) or even CPU? Could this also be caused by dust? I know my PC has been collecting dust all summer and while I usually vacuum that up, apparently it's not good to do that, so I've been meaning to pick up a can of compressed air. I don't think dust would case the computer to lock up and restart, but maybe..? I'd really appreciate any advice on what to do, because I'm hoping this issue is something I can fix without having to go out and buy new parts.

Thanks!

Edit: forgot to post my specs:

Case/PSU: Antek NSK 6580 Black/Silver ATX w/ 430 watt PSU - basic, no add-ons.
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3GHz
Mobo: Asus P5K-SE Socket 775 Intel P35 + ICH9
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 500GB + old 250 GB secondary hard drive from HP computer as storage
RAM: Mushkin EM2-6400 2x 2GB
GFX: EVGA GeForce GT 220

Last edited by Kitty; September 6, 2011 at 12:18 AM.
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Old September 6, 2011, 02:33 AM
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videocard is dyin
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Old September 6, 2011, 04:26 AM
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Artifacting 9 times out of 10 means there is something wrong with your graphics card. Either its pre-maturely dying or its overheating (if you have it on the auto profile fan speeds that could be a reason, as its absolutely horrible). I'd recommend downloading MSI Afterburner and manually increasing the fan speed to see if this helps lower its temperatures and prevent artifacting.
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Old September 6, 2011, 05:01 AM
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Yeah, I noticed a time or two that the card would be at around 70 and the fan was still at 10% auto. The temps on idle seem to stay under 50, so I was thinking maybe it's the dust or something else...but the rest of my computer does seem to be working fine. The artifacts and BSOD/restarting only happens when I try to run any video material - even the smaller stuff like Youtube and other online video sites. Flash games seem fine, and I haven't tried regular PC games in fear of killing it completely.

How do you clean the dust out of a GPU fan, without taking the casing off? I assume you'd use can of compressed air from the side vents in order to prevent just mashing it in further, but I'd like to be sure so that I don't make things worse. I'm hoping maybe it's just clogged with dust and needs to be cleaned to get back in shape, otherwise I'm going to have to see if this dumb thing's on warranty. Though I am glad to hear it's probably not my CPU or PSU, so thank you!

EDIT:

I adjusted the fan speed as mentioned above, to 50%. The temp is now around 39-43 and I am not experiencing problems with video as before. Even though it was only at 42-44 before I altered the speed, so I don't know what the real difference is. Maybe this is a fluke and will screw up on the next restart, but since things are currently okay with the higher fan speed is my card still dying, or do I just need to clean out the fan? I don't want to run it at 50% 24/7.

Last edited by Kitty; September 6, 2011 at 05:37 AM.
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Old September 6, 2011, 05:43 AM
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With MSI Afterburner you can actually make a fan profile, in the second tab under settings which will allow you to ramp up the fan speed when the temperatures get rather high and run the fan slower when your temperatures are lower. Mind you you shouldn't be idling at such high temperatures still, which really means you should be running the fans at a higher speed while at idle and while under load (gaming)
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Old September 6, 2011, 06:00 AM
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Thanks, Arinoth, I will try making a fan profile - that will be better for gaming too, I imagine. 42-44 is too high for idle? I think it was always around 38-45 when I first got it, but I could be wrong. I still can't understand why 42 degrees with 10% fan speed caused artifacts while 42 with 50% does not. Maybe the summer temps + gaming stressed my card more than I thought..
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Old September 6, 2011, 06:15 AM
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It probably is due to the fact that the temperature reported is only of the video graphical unit core and not the video ram chips, which can overheat without the core overheating.
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Old September 6, 2011, 07:36 AM
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Oh, I didn't know that could happen. Well, thank you very much for all your help! :) Your tips are a good fix for now, and also confirmed that it was indeed the video card, because the issue has stopped since I upped the fan speed. I'll leave it this way until I'm able to clean it and maybe that will bring things back to normal. Thanks again! :)
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Old September 6, 2011, 08:29 AM
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is the video card still under warranty ?

it does sounds like the fan is not going fast enough to push or pull air over the vram chips to cool them off
hence why the small change in core temp it seems to be better over all

try a more taxing video game and see how it does with fans at 50% or higher.

there may be nothing "wrong" with the card, just the fan's not being told to speed up faster, sooner
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Old September 7, 2011, 06:35 AM
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Roh_Ultima, I'm not sure if it's still under warranty, I have to dig out the receipt and find out the exact date I purchased it.

I figured out another problem - when in "automatic" cooling mode, the fan speed never goes above 10% no matter what temp the card is running at. In fact, I can't recall if the fan speed has ever gone above 10% even when the card was at 80. I'm pretty sure I remember once adjusting the fan speed because the card was at 80+ after playing some game and it wasn't cooling down fast enough. Unfortunately, I can't test this NOW, because any time my card goes above 42 on 10%, it will generate artifacts on games/videos. So if I try gaming at the current setting, I could probably kill my card and I don't have any backups.

I will try a game on 50%, but still worried about killing my card completely. That shouldn't be a problem if it's still under warranty, though, aside from the wait period and not being able to use my PC for however long it takes them to mail me a replacement/fix.
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