TechSpot

sapphire x800xt agp - overheating problem

By xxxpeanutxxx
Jan 2, 2006
  1. Hi

    I've had my x800xt for just over a year and it's been great, not a single problem. However, for the past 2 months whenever I run a game, after a few mins the catalyst control center pops up a message saying 'your graphics card is above the safe temp, we're dropping the clock cycle speed to compensate'. and then 10 seconds later, same message, and so on until the machine shuts down to stop any serious damage. And this is happening every single time I try and run a game, (I've had to stop playing games for the moment, I can run the pc fine as long as I don't try and play games)

    Now, if you're thinking it's having to support much more gfx intensive games so it's working harder and therefore hotter, then yes, you are right, but it also does it when I try to play older games such as final fantasy 7 and baldurs gate 2, which it's never had to break a sweat with before. I'd never seen the problem before a few months ago, games like doom3 and hl2 worked flawlessly.

    I've changed nothing in the machine that might be causing the problem, the case is well ventilated and I've checked all the fans and they seem to be running as they should be, the fan on the gfx card seems to be running too (but I cannot tell if it's running at it's proper speed as I've nothing to compare it against. it is definately running though.)

    So I'm not sure what to do, I don't want to just replace the card unless I'm out of other options as £300 is a lot of money to just throw away like that.

    Any ideas please? I'd really appreciate the help.

    comp specs:
    Win XP
    p4 3ghz
    1gb ram
    400gb hdd
    x800xt
    audigy 2zs
     
  2. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    Some basic stuff: Remove the vid card and use canned air to clean it and the fan.

    Did some setting in the Catalyst Control Centre get changed? (the temp limit or the fan speed setting)? Are you OCing it?

    Do you have another software prog (Everest) to monitor the GPU temperature independantly to confirm it is overheating?

    When is the last time you updated your mobo and video drivers?
     
  3. xxxpeanutxxx

    xxxpeanutxxx TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi, thanks for replying.

    Sorry, should have said, the comp is running at stock speeds, I don't have anything oc'ed, I'm not even using the ATI Overdrive in the catalyst centre.

    The mobo (IC7 Max3) was using the latest driver 8 months ago, not checked/changed it since, but then it wasn't causing problems before, or after. the gfx driver is the latest driver version.

    The settings in the catalyst center all seem to be right, although I can't find anywhere that lets me specifically change the temp and/or fan speeds.

    I'll try and get hold of some canned air, I try to keep the comp clean but I have only been using a vacuum up to now.

    I'll give Everest a try too to double check but I'm pretty confident it is the gfx card overheating, the heat coming off it is def far more than it ever used to be after use.

    Anyone else got any ideas while I'm trying these? Thanks.
     
  4. xxxpeanutxxx

    xxxpeanutxxx TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I've installed Everest and used it to monitor the sensors, all the other temps barely change at all when I run a game but it took the GPU less then 2 mins to shoot up over 100c (210f) which is kind of worrying. It's idle temp was about 56, which was above all the other temp sensors at idle, the next highest was cpu at 44, (which increased to 55 while gaming).

    It's also really depressing, I built the machine myself from scratch to make my dream gaming machine hand picking all the parts myself, and now I can't even risk playing minesweeper on it!

    Please help!
     
  5. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,506   +237

    Perhaps the thermal compound between the GPU and heatsink has deteriorated. You could try cleaning it and reapplying new thermal compound, like Arctic Silver.
     
  6. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    That's a good suggestion mailpup. I know GPUs run alot hotter then CPU and 55c is good for your CPU, but 100C does not sound good for even a GPU. I'm guessing there's no warrenty left on the card? It sounds like the fan is dieing or what mailpup suggested, but I've never performed that procedure on a video card.

    I too just built a gaming rig in Sept/05 and this would really pee me off. At least with Everest you have confirmed the overheating issue and you are correct, be very careful until you get this solved, not to blow the GPU. :blackeye: Can you order a replacement fan for it from ATI or a local PC store? This prob your best bet.

    Good luck.
     
  7. xxxpeanutxxx

    xxxpeanutxxx TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'll try a new fan first I think, I'm not entirely confident about trying thermal compound on the card, it's prolly easy enough but I'll see. Will look for a fan and get one ordered, I'll let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again

    *edit* typos
     
  8. peterdiva

    peterdiva TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,202

    Someone had the same problem with an x850xt,here's his fix.
     
  9. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    XXXpeanutXXX:
    Peterdiva's post porb has your solution which is what mailpup suggested AND what you would HAVE to do it you replaced the fan. The fan nad heatsink are one unit and would have to be removed from the GPU just like on the CPU on the mobo. So you really should just try this procedure and save yourself the cost of a new fan/heatsink assembly.

    Cheers.

    Good find peterdiva.
     
  10. xxxpeanutxxx

    xxxpeanutxxx TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi again!

    I looked up a few guides on changing the fan on the gpu and they all mentioned cleaning off the thermal paste and applying a fresh coat so yeah, I'm stuck doing that anyway, but, I'm gonna order:

    an Arctic Cooling ATI Silencer 5 (Rev 2) for the X800(R430), X850(R480).
    and some Artic Silver 5 (heard it's the best for cpu's and I assume it's just as good for the gpu too. please correct me if I'm wrong.)

    My only problem is I don't know what to use to clean the old paste off, I've looked it up and one site recommended sanding it off, and another mentioned cleaning it off with alcohol, I'm not really keen on the idea of letting sand paper anywhere near my computer, despite the benefits of lapping and I don't think dabbing some cotton wool in Smirnoff Ice and giving it a wipe would help, so I'll have to figure all that out first, but I feel better that I have something positive I can do.

    And if after all this is still fails I'll be able to use the new fan and the thermal compound on the x850xt pe I'll replace it with! Well, that's the plan anyway!

    will keep you updated
     
  11. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    Hi peanut.
    Do not use alcohol or OMG sandpaper! The person that wrote that should be slapped! Please just use a dry clean soft cotton cloth. It does not have to be perfectly clean, just get the most of it. Yes Artic silver is the best and the GPU will love you for it.

    It really sounds like you've found the answer. When/if you replace the original fan you might want to keep in storage for a back up.

    cheers.
     
     
  12. xxxpeanutxxx

    xxxpeanutxxx TS Rookie Topic Starter

    All my bits finally arrived today, so despite being really really hungover I perfomed the surgery on my PC.

    It's only been running for about an hour at the moment, but my initials findings can be summed up with an OMG and w00t for good measure!

    The temp has dropped from:
    60 idle | 100+ in use.
    to
    30 idle | 45 in use.

    Thank you all so so much, I really appreciate all the help and advice, you all deserve Blue Peter badges!

    *Big hugs all round*
     
  13. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    Wow that really is an improvement! Good stuff, have fun gaming!
     
  14. Crymealiver

    Crymealiver TS Rookie

    Hi all

    How lucky to find this thread! I'm having exactly the same problem with my year old X800XT (on a non overclocked system) and was starting to think the fan was giving up or something more sinister... It started happening on the first game I ran immediately after installing DirectX 9.0c and then wouldn't go away. Seemed like too much of a coincidence.

    I'll try some arctic silver too and hope that it does the trick for me.

    Thanks again, you've helped more than one with the advice!
     
  15. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 1,058

    what I did was remove the heat sink on my x700 pro (the core is a bit bigger but other than that it's older sister, cleaned it all with a cotton wite T shirt (something I like to use on cleaning Monitors, cds, pratically everything becase the surface is so soft, and delecete thats what makes it perfect) and it had some nice dust chunks and it sound and work like the day i got it.
     
  16. SCHUMIinSA

    SCHUMIinSA TS Rookie Posts: 162

    Hmm I wonder if all that was neccessary?

    On my X850XT Fujitsu Siemens had set the fan speed to 5% for silent running. It was a pre-built. Why on earth do they think that there is a huge fan on the X850XT? Anyway I used ATI tool and set the fan speed to 60 and have had no problems since.
     
  17. xxxpeanutxxx

    xxxpeanutxxx TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey

    definately wasn't a fan set at 5% problem as it worked fine for over a year, so it was either replacing the fan or reapplying the thermal compound (or both) that fixed it. I'd definately try the arctic silver first though as it's the cheaper option and seeing how easy it was to do I almost feel silly about being worried about it!

    On the plus side I am now running the card with a 10% overclock using ATI Tool and the temps have hardly jumped at all, and it ran fine for 5 mins without artifacts so I'll leave it there for now, I've just fixed it, don't want to break it again! ;)
     
  18. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    Hmm now I wonder too! I had mentioned that in my 1st post (to check ATI settings and make sure the fan speed hadn't changed). XXX said he hadn't used the software so I just assumed it was ok and the link to the other site really showed an issue with the heatsink/GPU interface which strongly looked like the culprit here too.

    Oh well , "All's well that ends well". I think :suspiciou
     
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