Is this what happens when a video card overheats?

By SevenNine
May 21, 2005
  1. First off, I have to admit to being a software person, and not a hardware person, so any information is greatly appreciated.

    Yesterday I noticed that these strange vertical lines on my screen started appearing? They started appearing, either coincidentally or not, after I yanked a playstation 2 -> usb converter out of a usb port while it was turned on.

    These lines are all vertical only, they stretch from the top to the bottom of the screen. They hold still, unless there is some movement on the screen, if this happens they start to flicker. These lines first appeared while Windows XP was running - I thought they were a fluke or something so I rebooted. Upon doing this, I noticed that ALL the screens that show during a reboot had some strage markins on them, sometimes vertical lines, sometimes flickering little squares. Needless to say, the vertical lines were still present when Windows XP finished booting. I tried booting up linux (my machine is dual boot) and noticed the flickering lines still pervaded.

    I figured there may be something wrong with my monitor, so I vnc'ed from my mac in the other room into my PC while it was running XP. The lines STILL pervaded! So I think it would be safe to assume this was a problem with the video card. By the way, when these video lines are going crazy on the screen I cannot run any 3D games or applications. For instance, when I try to run a Direct3D screensaver it just dies and quits right away. When the lines are not there the 3D applications run perfectly. Also, when I try to record television to a mpeg2 file, those ugly lines actuall show up in the file when played back on my mac.

    This is when I started to think it may be a GPU over-heating issue. So I turned the PC off for a few hours and later back on. The lines were gone! I did some work on the machine for about half an hour and, surprise, the ugly lines were back again.

    Fast forward to today, I've done a lot of googling on what may or may not be going on - and also, turning the PC off and then back on no longer gets rid of the lines. I wish I could check my GPU temperature but my card is a ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro, so I could not use the 'AtiTool' application to check the temperature. Also, no utilities that came with the card are capable of telling me what the temperatue is; my guess is that there is no sensor available to do this.

    Here are my system specs in case this information is pertinent:

    Dell XPS System
    ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro
    Pentium 4 2.8 GHz running Windows XP - SP2
    1GB RAM
    Dell 17 in. flat screen monitor
    Blah blah, there's more information about my system available but I couldn't see it making a difference.

    So ... can anyone say with some certainty what the hell is going on here? I have had my entire system for 2 years now, I replaced the Radeon 9800 that came with it with the All-In-Wonder card a few weeks after I got the system. Up until now everything has been working perfectly. Maybe I should point out that my machine is on A LOT, and I use my video card as a PVR A LOT. I've recorded probably hundreds of shows and movies with the card ... would a lot of TV use eventually kill this card? I have NEVER overclocked anything on my system. It always ran at the stock settings. I always kept the drivers on the entire system up to date, including the video card.

    IF this is indeed a case of overheating, is there anything I can do to fix it? Will I have to junk this video card that I spent $350 on!? Can I take it into a shop somewhere to be repaired. I just want to get back to the way things used to be at a minimum expense.

    If my card is unsalvagable - could anyone recommend another video card? I need one video card that does these things:

    Displays on dual monitors simotaneously
    Runs todays games (Half Life 2, Doom III)
    Can display television feed into a window on the desktop
    Can act as a PVR, so I can record movies and shows when away and watch them later or burn them to DVD

    Sorry about all the junk I crammed into this one post. I figured this would be more efficient than making several posts. If you actually read all the way though it and comprehended all its contents, thanks, seriously!

    Thanks again,
  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Enough dust built up now?
  3. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    First thing off would be to download the ATI Tool HERE and scan for artifacts as well as checking your temps. If it's an ATI version, it may still be under warranty....check their site. I've just recently RMA'd a 9800XT (about 2 months ago) and they replaced it straight out. It was probably a year and a half old at the time.

    Good luck. :grinthumb
  4. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    That leads me to belive that it is a heat related issue..however....

    BUt that leads me to belive that you may have a bad connection...dust could defintly cause that. I really dont think it is driver related. Get a can-o-air up in there..reseat the card see if that helps

  5. SevenNine

    SevenNine TS Rookie Topic Starter

    You know I'm pretty good about blowing dust out of my PC cabinet every few months, but I had not thought of taking out the video card specificly and blowing the dust off of that. I gave it a shot and almost got sick from the giant dust cloud that occurred from blowing the air on the card's fan (it also makes a cute whistling noise when you do that).

    So after cleaning that up I popped it back in and everything looked fine for several hours, then bang, the annoying flickering gibberish appeared right in the middle of a game! I quit out and saw that the lines had returned to the XP shell as well.

    So it looks like an overheating issue. I checked the book that came with the card and it seems the warranty is good for 3 years. I submitted a repair request with ATI giving them details so hopefully it will go smoothly (fingers crossed).

    Thanks for the help though guys, I appreciate it.
  6. HughJass

    HughJass TS Rookie Posts: 120

    Gotta love the warrenty :)
    btw i think it is time for me to do some blowing dust off my gfx card, i have never done that before
  7. compguy

    compguy TS Rookie Posts: 162

    Seven just 4 a little advice try to buy a video card that has a fan built in to it without a fan your video card will overheat....Good luck....:)

  8. Abomination

    Abomination TS Rookie Posts: 24

    Man ,i must be obsessive compulsive about heat issues in my system.. I'm always getting in there cleaning the dust off the heatsinks and fans LOL
  9. jmartinnel@lant

    jmartinnel@lant TS Rookie

    ATI RADEON Malfunction or Overheating?

    I have also a problem with my ATI Radeon 9550 Dual view card. I am playing FS 9 alot and as you know we want as much FPS as we can get. You must have two monitors to setup navigation charts and other online stuff like Teamspeak for coms.
    I've bought this card in Oct 2005 and it was doing great until 2 weeks ago.
    Suddenly my PC just hangs wth a black screen while I am flying. Sometimes both screens or just the one. Sometimes I do get those typical screen card problem stripes or lines and dots and other times not.
    I won't even start up Colin McRae Rally 2004.
    I did load the newest drivers, but still nothing.
    It do have a fan on and it is working.
    I took it out and put in my old FX5200 and all is working fine.
    It is still under warranty, but the shop says they are not going to swop it, but will test it first which they did. Bencmark okay but do not work still in my PC nor theirs. Still they want to send it away to be fixed. Okay thats my problem.
    Can somebodey help regarding symptoms of overheating or plain malfunction.
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