Confirm a bad Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra

By gotmilt
Nov 7, 2010
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  1. Yesterday my Dell XPS Gen 2 laptop (from back in 2005) started getting some terrible display artifacts. They are there as soon as the computer comes on (at BIOS), but only when the screen is trying to display something (i.e. Not when the screen is on, but nothing to display). There is a variety of different artifacts, and I'm not sure what to call of them. Here are the ones I've noticed

    • shifting of single-pixel, small, vertical sections (e.g. I can see part of my mouse move on the left side of the screen when the mouse is on the right side)
    • blinking smiley faces and accented e's
    • complete disarray of colors
    • screen blackouts
    • artifacts accumulate in moving windows

    Along with these, I've been getting some BSODs. The stop codes I can recall are 8E, 50, and EA. The BSOD pops up when I try to boot normally, but not when I boot in Safe Mode. The artifacts are still there in safe mode.

    I've run a few diagnostics that I know to do, such as Dell's diagnostic utilities (from the F8 or F12 bootup menu) and Memtest86+. Memtest is still running, but I've gotten 5 passes with it. The dell diagnostics give me several errors. I don't know if anyone here knows how the Dell errors translate, but here are ones I've gotten:

    1. 5300:0119 - Detected a failure while writing and reading virtual memory. Video mode: 4h (320x200x4). Address B848h, expected to read 0h, but read FFFFFFFFFh instead. I get many many variations of this error.
    2. 0F00:1A44 or 0244 - Block 6254840: Uncorrectale Data error or media is write protected. I also get variations on this one.

    I've done the simple virus scans and chkdsk /r, but I'm pretty confident there's something more. With my limited knowledge of computer hardware, the only thing I can think of is a bad video card. If you can propose any quick tests (other than using other cards, which I dont have access to) to confirm this or can point to something else, please help me out. This computer is no longer worth getting repaired if the fix isn't simple (and very low cost).

    In case it's useful, some other specs:
    • Windows XP SP 3
    • Video Card is NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra
    • 1 Gb RAM
    • 2.14 Ghz Processor (I think)

  2. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    1. deleted to avoid further confusing the issue -
    sorry... failed to note that it was laptop. Must be overtired.

    2. You can you boot to safe mode?
    If so, this should allow you to function with basic video drivers, and you may not have the artifacting.
    Not a solution, but it will allow you to do some work with your system, perhaps to deal with bad drivers... or at least to backup your data.
    Try changing resolution, and color settings (display modes) to see if you can "relieve" the issue to do basic work.

    3. Check the use of Driver Sweeper.
    This will help you to fully eliminate bad graphics drivers if they are at fault.

    Perhaps Route44 will notice this thread an offer his thoughts too.
    Also there is a video memory stress test. I will see if I can find the link and add it to this post.

    Here is Freestone's benchmarking tool
    Here is Furmark.
    Furmark is recommended by Jonathan King, one of our BSOD team now.
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,433   +143

    I'm not very knowledgeable, but the artifacting does sound like video card failure.
    If it does turn out to be dead, you can try and bake it.

    He does have a laptop...
  4. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    DOH! :eek: Read right past it...
    So... completely ignore my #1... (deleted to avoid further confusing the issue.)

    This looks like a hard drive error.

    CrystalDiskInfo will identify your hard drive for you.
    Then you can download hard drive tools from the maker (Seagates and WD's tools are widely known, and useful for repair and recovery)
    If you need pointers to tools for a different drive, let me know.
  5. gotmilt

    gotmilt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the replies. I'm going to try some of that out this evening if I get the chance.
  6. gotmilt

    gotmilt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK, so I ran through as much of that as I could.

    2. Drivers are all up to date and booting in safe mode doesn't get rid of artifacts. Also changing resolution etc doesn't help.

    3. Used Driver Sweeper. It was able to delete a bunch of stuff, but left one NVIDIA registry entry which caused an error when Driver Sweeper tried to delete it.

    The benchmark tool didn't work b/c I can't use the 3D graphics in safe mode (or at least I think that's the cause).

    Furmark couldn't even start up properly, although it did install. I got an error when I tried to start it up: "Could not initialize ZoomGPU. Furmark startup failed. Bye!"

    CrystalDiskInfo is pretty sweet. It gave me a warning about my HDD being hot (33C, which is not too hot for my computer). It also gave me warnings about Current Pending Sector Count (Cur = 100, Wor = 99... seems bad) and Uncorrectable Sector Count (Cur = 97, Wor = 97). Everything else was green. I've attached the full report.

    I tried to use some outdated Fujitsu diagnostic utility b/c my HDD is Fujitsu. That one told me I don't even have a hard drive. I also tried Seagate's SeaTools, which failed to install (perhaps b/c I was in safemode?)

    An error I missed from one of my original tests (At BIOS Startup, F12 > Diagnostics): DST Short Test Failed with error 1000:0146 - DST log contains previous error(s).

    Any further suggestions? I'm thinking of a reformat as a last straw before I send this thing off to the recyclers.


    Attached Files:

  7. gotmilt

    gotmilt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    (I hope that's not against the rules)

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