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Old January 9, 2010, 05:15 PM
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Default I've had it. Suggest a good video card.

Seems like video cards are giving me nothing but headaches. I wanted to upgrade from my GeForce GTX 275, so I did a trade+cash deal with someone on RFD for a BFG GTX295. Turned out to be a bum deal because while this card checked out fine initially it has a major heat issue where it'll start to blank out the screen once it gets too hot (about 30mins of gameplay from ambient temps) and I have to quit.

So I struck a deal with someone just down the road from me (literally 10 minutes walk) who had an eVGA GTX295 Co-Op edition, freshly back from RMA. He brought it over and let me test it thoroughly, and it has even worse problems: Locks up hard with not even a minute of gameplay after stuttering and brief flashes of graphic corruption. After doing some searching it seems that there are a lot of people having problems with a lot of 295GTX models.

So I'm getting fed up. I just want a nice, high end graphics card that works. I'm even willing to entertain ATI -- and I haven't had an ATI since 1998. So please, suggest a good video card that:

A) Has a good track record of reliability
B) Has good performance; I'm willing to go top end but only have in the neighbourhood of $600 to throw at it.
C) Has good support from its manufacturer.

ATI or nVidia, right now I'm willing to entertain either one so long as there's a very good chance I'm not going to bring home a dud and it won't turn into a dud in the next year.

Thanks.
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Old January 9, 2010, 05:42 PM
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EVGA (**EDIT**) or XFX GTX275 or GTX285

Single cards usually offer more stability.
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Old January 9, 2010, 05:54 PM
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Sounds like your PSU doesn't supply enough power to the GPU or the temperatures are just simply too high. Did you raise the fanspeed as temperatures go up? Sure your rig is stable? Give us your system specs or fill out the system specs thing in User Control Panel for HWC.

Oh and did you change the NVIDIA drivers before and after installation of the GPUs? Don't forget to use Driver Cleaner
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Old January 9, 2010, 06:12 PM
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What is your power supply and the rest of the system details? Need to know this for the power consumption
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Old January 9, 2010, 06:44 PM
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Sorry, I updated my system specs in my profile. I think I have a system that should be more than adequate for the purposes of this card, though perhaps I could use a slightly beefier PSU -- still I think it should be enough. Cooling is not a problem; 2 240mm fans (front intake, top exhaust) and 1 160mm exhaust in the back in the case, and an extra 80mm intake in the bottom of the case. All cords tucked away in the far side of the case, so there's lots of clear airflow across the components.

Latest nVidia drivers (downloaded just today). I've only ever used nVidia's own reference drivers, and that's all eVGA and BFG use anyway.

The reason I think the BFG's problem is heat related is because it works fine for about half an hour before starting flake out, and when it starts to flake out, it gets progressively worse, suggesting heat buildup.
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Old January 9, 2010, 06:50 PM
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PSU is fine.

Since SLI is not an option.
I say 5850 crossfire is your best choice. For now....
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Old January 9, 2010, 07:02 PM
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Have you done what I said?

Install Driver Cleaner or Driver Sweeper
Uninstall old NVIDIA drivers
Boot into Safe Mode
Run Driver Cleaner
Reboot and install NVIDIA drivers

What does your GPU top out at? Any artifacts? Use Furmark and the OCCT GPU test to test it.
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Old January 9, 2010, 07:36 PM
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open your case and run a house fan full blast on the card at an angle into the cards intake port and along the whole length of the card.... that should narrow down heat issues. If the card is cold to the touch but is still having issues then that's probably not it....
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Old January 9, 2010, 07:53 PM
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I haven't tried the fan thing yet, but I just tried OCCT (handy test, thanks!) and the results were partly expected, but partly unexpected. Here's the graph for GPU1 (which is the same for GPU2):



The initial falloff was because I ran the actual test for 1 minute (6 minute test but it monitors for the first minute and last four minutes, so only 1 minute of actual stress test) and felt that wasn't enough, so I ran it again for 10 minutes and stopped it when I felt I had the information I needed.

The actual ambient temps of the card are around 70°C, which itself seems pretty high for normal desktop usage. But check out the spike: 106°C peak, which seems extremely high to me. The fans in my system were ratcheting up to max when this test was going. Also note the FPS rates fall off and get jittery at peak temps. I have to say this is definitely a heat problem; I don't think the card is able to properly cool itself even when relatively idle, and definitely not when stressed.

EDIT: Waaaaaaaait a minute. I just noticed the overclock speed there. Does OCCT temporarily overclock the card when it's running to stress it more, or is that the actual speed of the card OCCT detected when it ran?
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Old January 9, 2010, 08:04 PM
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I think in your BIOS, you have your settings set to auto overclock. You never overclocked before?

As for your GPU temperatures, you are right that it's a heat problem... RACK UP THAT FAN SPEED! NOW! 106C will kill your GTX295! It shouldn't even idle at 80C! If raising the fan speed doesn't help, try reseating your heatsink.

Make sure you have good airflow in your PC. Is your PSU wires blocking the airflow? Maybe it's time to clean them up if they are. Also change your fans so that you have a front and side intake. Then keep the rest as exhaust. Or even put 2 fans as front intake then rest as exhaust.
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