TechSpot

Graphics Artifacts

By Kamma
Aug 7, 2008
  1. Default Graphics Artifacts
    Hi guys,

    I've been having this problem for almost a year now, it's driving me absolutely crazy. All games I try to play have huge amounts of textures artifacting all over the screen, I've tried several things to fix it.

    To start with I thought maybe my PSU wasn't powerful enough to support my video card at the time (Radeon X1950 AGP), so I purchased a new Power Supply and case. The power supply didn't fix the problem, so I decided my video card must be damaged. I've spent a long time saving for a card and finally today got a Radeon 4870 (PCI-E), much to my dismay, I'm still experiencing artifacts.

    I read that it could possibly be my RAM (2x 1gb Generic Kingston DDR2), so I ran a RAM test recommended by another site, my RAM passed the test without any errors.

    My case is a Soprano DX with stock cooling, but I experienced the same artifacts in my previous case also. My CPU is just one of the lower Intel Dual Cores, an E4400, I think it was.

    I've come to the conclusion that it must be either my motherboard or my PSU still, as the PSU is only a budget one and I'm not sure if it's powerful enough, it's specs are -

    Brand: Shaw

    600w
    +12v = 30a
    +5v = 50a
    +3.3v = 35a
    -5v = 0.5a
    -12v = 0.5a
    +5vsb = 3.5a

    My motherboard is a Asrock 4CoreDual-VSTA, I got it because at the time I needed AGP and planned to upgrade to PCI-E. I'm not even sure if it's possible for a motherboard to cause artifacts, especially since I was originally using the AGP port and now it's the PCI-E.

    It might also be worth noting that I'm running IDE hard drives at the moment, if that makes any difference.

    I'd really like to be sure of what's causing the problem, as I can't afford to keep replacing parts till I find the problem, any advice you guys could give would be hugely appreciated!

    Regards,
    Kamma

    EDIT: After testing a few games, it seems that the artifacts are actually worse with the new card. Does this suggest that it's more likely to be the power supply? Given that the new card needs more power.
     
  2. Obi-Wan Jerkobi

    Obi-Wan Jerkobi TS Maniac Posts: 502

    If the problem didn't go away when you had a new PSU with the old card, than it isn't the PSU. Have you tried all of your configuration on a different motherboard to weed out the mobo from the to-do list? And about the PSU and the card, it's enough wattage but the amperage on teh +12v rail is appalling, weak 12v rails will shorten a video card like this's life(Although it might not be necessarily the cause of the current problem). You should've bought a good PSU from Antec, Enermax, or Corsair with a combined +12v rating of ~35a or more. But for the problem at the moment lets weed out the motherboard.
     
  3. Kamma

    Kamma TS Rookie Topic Starter

    There's no way I can really test with another motherboard short of buying one, which I really don't want to do unless I know it's the most likely candidate. I haven't been able to find any info that suggests that motherboards can cause artifacts.

    I really wish I had, unfortunately I only really learnt about PSU rails and stuff today.
     
  4. larryiam

    larryiam TS Rookie Posts: 476

    Well i learn't that the hard way to. I got a junk PSU and it about cost me my whole computer. Um i wouldn't rule the mobo out but i and kinda leaning towards the PSU. For one reason is you said the Artifacts are worse now being with the new card. But there are still other possibilities. Oh and make sure you have all the latest drivers installed by uninstalling the old ones and then installing the new ones. I looked that video card up it needs a 450W or better PSU and 75W or better 6-pin PCI Express plug. Are you running your system stock or overclocking anything?
    EDIT:Oh and i have heard them cards are small heaters so make sure it is cooled properly and correct ventilation.
     
  5. Obi-Wan Jerkobi

    Obi-Wan Jerkobi TS Maniac Posts: 502

    If different EVERYTHING didn't clear it up then it's probably the motherboard. Since that's the only thing you did not change or test it HAS TO BE THAT. I don't know if you want to buy one at the moment though.
     
  6. Kamma

    Kamma TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yar, I've got the latest drivers installed and made sure I thoroughly cleaned the old ones. My system is all sock, no overclocking.

    I read that too, about the small heaters. I did a simple Catalyst hack that increases fan speed, which got my idle temp down almost 40 degrees C (This is normal for this card though), however it didn't fix the artifacts.

    It could be that the PSU wasn't powerful enough for either of the cards. I'm told that based on those rail specs, it doesn't even seem like a genuine 600w, and seems more like a 400w...

    It's probably also worth mentioning that since posting this, my computer reset on it's own while I was getting TV-Out to work.

    UPDATE: I just tested a far less powerful video card in my computer, on similar intense settings as my other card. This card didn't experience any artifacts, so I guess it's pretty conclusive that it's the Power Supply. Thanks for the advice guys.
     
  7. larryiam

    larryiam TS Rookie Posts: 476

    Well I kinda figured it was the PSU. Next time get a earthwatts, Cosair, or something of that sort. As that 4870 needs a 450w or better. Glad you figured it out. Tell us if you need help on picking a PSU! Glad we could help!
     
  8. Kamma

    Kamma TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks alot Larryiam :D

    If all goes to plan I'll be getting a 520W Corsair HX-520 which I'm told will be more than enough. I just pray that it's the PSU that's causing the problem!
     
  9. larryiam

    larryiam TS Rookie Posts: 476

    Well i have never heard of the mobo causing artifacts and you said you tried a lower end video card at high setting and it worked to i would almost bet that it is the PSU not supplying enough "juice" to the card. And yes that Corsair will do just dandy and will be stable to!! Well all my luck goes to ya! And tell us how it goes! :D
    P.S. i kno it was a typo but i got a kick out of the larryjam thing! :haha:
     
  10. Kamma

    Kamma TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Bought a new PSU today (CorsairHX-520W)... Didn't fix the problem.
    This is beyond belief! :(

    Sorry about that. :eek:
     
  11. Tha General

    Tha General TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,106

    I have a idea, buy a Geforce card and see does the problem goes away. Maybe ati cards are not compaible with that motherboard.
     
  12. electromagnetic

    electromagnetic TS Booster Posts: 208

    One did you try memtest ?

    Is the card okay in another PC.

    Are the PC fans running fine.

    Try onboard graphics to display monitor.
     
  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Artifacts generally point to heat issues. The HD 4870 is a hot-running card though, so I recommend you crank up the fan speed using Rivatuner and see if the problem gets better.

    Also, as a totally offtopic suggestion, I recommend you get a new motherboard. The PCI-E x4 slot on your current one will seriously bottleneck your new card.
     
  14. hm629

    hm629 TS Rookie

    Any more progress or resolution to this? I have a very similar issue. I'm upgrading to a 4850 from 8600GT, artifacts all over the screen when I'm playing intense games like Company of Heroes or Mass Effect. The card is running cool at about 50C idle and 70C load.

    My mobo is Asrock 775dual-880 pro, and I also have upgraded my PSU to (a rather crappy) Raidmax 530W from a 400W. Someone from another board suggested that I get another PSU with a better 12V amp but I can't afford to just get another new one. I'm starting to think that it's incompatible with the mobo because the 4850 isn't listed in the VGA support list on Asrock's website for my model.
     
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