Graphical Problem - Stumped!

By Drenholm
Jul 23, 2006
  1. Ok, it all began a couple of months ago. I started playing World of Warcraft as usual when this happened...

    Odd, I thought. So I did as most people probably would and restarted the game.. however this didn't work so I took the next step and restarted my PC.

    Phew! Back to normal! Or so I thought..

    The glitch eventually popped up again later so I'd just restart my computer again, this was a pain of course, and also rather worrying.

    I then started to notice graphical glitches and artifacts appear on my desktop like this..

    This is when i realised that something is really wrong.

    Since then I have tried various video drivers (most of the recent certified/WHQL forceware stuff), which at first had seemed to work, but eventually there's been no real change. And over time the glitches seem to have got worse.

    With my game looking like this

    and my desktop ending up like this

    "Maybe my graphics card is getting too hot." I thought. So I check that the fan still spins and for any dust that's clogged it up - nothing. My system says it's running between 55 and 59 degrees which I don't think is too bad, anyway.

    So in the end i call the place that supplied the card and explained the problem.

    "OK, bring it down and we'll give you a replacement."

    They gave me a new card of different make (EVGA) but exactly the same spec.
    Nice one! that's sure to fix it!

    Not quite...

    The desktop glitches have gone completely (for now at least *crosses fingers*), and games load up fine.. but tend only to last a couple of minutes or so until the image messes up, something like this, and the system crashes (although my power button soft shutdowns and it manages that most times).

    I have also thoroughly ran memtest86, but that found nothing wrong

    So my thoughts are it may be some kind of driver conflict with something else I have installed, but I've had no new software or hardware since.
    If not that then a processor error.

    Well that's my problem, I hope some one has made it this far and it all makes sense and I hope someone out there can help shed some light on this problem!

    BTW, here are my PC specs:

    AMD Athlon 64 3200+
    Asus A8N SLI deluxe
    XFX GeForce 7800GT before replacement
    EVGA GeForce 7800GT after replacement
    1GB Corsair Value Select DDR.
    and hard drives and the rest.. probably not relevent but ask if you think any other info is needed.
  2. mstpaintball

    mstpaintball TS Rookie Posts: 64

    I had the same problem, I can't say for sure what fixed it. But I think I ended up replacing my Powersupply and never had the problem again.

    I was playing the game with a BFG 6800GT 256mb OC, but I have sold the card.

    Have you tried seeking out help on the WoW forums?

    I miss playing WoW, can't wait to get my new system up and running so I can play it again.
  3. Drenholm

    Drenholm TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    It's not just WoW that crashes, Oblivion does, too.. also the nvidia screensaver, Geoforms (which is very impressive, btw!), has problems, too. they all only last a couple of minutes or so then bum out.

    But PSU is something I hadn't thought of, thanks!

    Gonna contact the shop again tomorrow and see what they say.

    I wanna do a clean windows install, but I don't have my discs that I want so that'll have to wait will I can get them. Plus it's a pain in the **** to reinstall everything :(
  4. i_am_a_newbie

    i_am_a_newbie TS Rookie Posts: 170

    Is 55-59 degrees while idling? Cause that's far too high I think. If it's 55-59 under load it probably isn't an overheating problem.

    What's your PSU? Brand, Wattage please.
  5. Drenholm

    Drenholm TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    55 - 59 degrees was the old card while idling, I've only checked this recently during this nice heatwave we're having (a heatwave in England, yes!) I'm not sure whether that'd have much effect on it, though.

    The current card is now running at 49C [Edit: A new day, had some time to cool, now running at 44C.]

    The idea of it being the PSU seems a good possibility, after thinking about it. It's just a generic make, since I spent quite a lot on everything else I kinda skimped out on the PSU.

    I've just looked and it says it's 480W, but i don't remember getting 480, so i'm not sure, maybe 350W.

    Why it'd cause problems in the last month or so when i've had this spec for around 10 months, now, I don't know.

    Keep the ideas coming, though! It's greatly appreciated!
    (Gonna call it a night, it's late and i'm up for work in the morning :( )
  6. Helixeagle

    Helixeagle TS Rookie Posts: 17

    Hmm i would have said the graphics card was overheating or dying as i had same problem... but the fact you had it replaced means it may not be the case.

    The artifacts you are getting on your replacment card happened to me on the same game, but ONLY that game, Artifacts are a sign of overheating usually if its overheating often then your GPU might get damaged in which case no matter how cool your card gets it will start crashing. but this may not be the case, you probably know all this already, i solved the problem on mine with a simple PSU change..
  7. Drenholm

    Drenholm TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    The problems occur on all the 3D applications I've tried, World ofWarcraft, Half Life 2, Oblivion and (ironically) the nVidia demo "Geoforms".

    I've spoken to the tech staff at this shop and he said that, apparently, there have been some issues with the 7800 series like this and to bring the card in for testing.

    I mentioned that the PSU could have something to do with it but he still thinks it's the card. So i'll take it for testing tomorrow.

    Another thing, this shop must be affiliated with nVidia or something, because when I went to get a replacement I asked if I could get an ATI equivelant since my last nVidia card (a Gainward 5900 something) also broke. But he just flat out said "NVidia are best."

    Plus they also have loads of NV promo material throughout the place.
  8. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Rookie Posts: 575

    Nvidia cards are pretty good and so are ATI. Each have their good and bad models. But I agree with the other posters, it sounds like a PSU issue. You stated before that yu think you may have a 350W PSU, which would have a very hard time powering your setup. Can you look at the sticker on the PSU to find out the wattage and how may amps are on the 12v rail and let us know? Also, what brand is it? Some cheap brands are of pretty poor quality.
  9. Drenholm

    Drenholm TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    It says 25 amps below +12V which I'm guessing is what you want.. it also says 0.8A below -12V.

    The wattage is apparently 480 and, yes, it is a cheap one as I said earlier I skimped out on it. Itwas about £15 (25 USD-ish) as opposed to around £40 for a good Enermax one.
  10. Drenholm

    Drenholm TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Update: I'm getting artifacts on the desktop now :(

    Also, I managed to play ReVolt for a good 15 mins before it packed in.
    Less demanding game = less power needed for GFX card = lasts longer?

    The card is going in for testing today, and I will take my PSU, too.

    Wish me luck!
  11. sellmesanity

    sellmesanity TS Rookie Posts: 162

    I am curious as to what happens next, it is a story! hahaha.
  12. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    That's pretty low. I think your PSU may not be up to the task. Newer cards like the 7900GT require LOTS of good, stable power.

    I'd recommend a new quality, 450 W PSU, from Antec, FSP Group, Enermax, OCZ, etc, with at least 32A on the +12V rail.
  13. Drenholm

    Drenholm TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Well in the end I took my whole system down to the shop while it was quiet. The tech guy couldn't take it apart himself since it wasn't built by them but he was happy to let me test it with their stuff.

    First I tried it with a new PSU.. still not working.

    Then we tried one of their GFX cards, just a basic PCI-X that they used for testing..

    HUZZAH! No artifacts, no distortions no nothing.. perfect image!

    So he goes to sort me out a replacementbut they don't have any 7800 GTs any more.. so I pay the difference and get a 7900 GT...

    Suits me!

    When I got back with the new one and installed it I was feeling rather skeptical.. but that was a month ago, and everything's still fine!

    So there you go.. case solved.

    I'm happy! Thanks for asking :)
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