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Video Card or Motherboard Problem?

By Gibsonian
May 31, 2015
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  1. I have been getting a weird error where my computer will freeze and the screen will go crazy. I figured I need to replace something but don't know if it is my Motherboard (Maximus III formula) or my video card (AMD HD 7900 series)

    Any help would be great

    The screen shot is a picture I took of my monitor when it happened.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    That looks like what is called artifacting and points to a defective/dying video card. However, here are a few questions before making any decisions on a new card:
    1. How long has this been going on?
    2. Does this issue occur randomly or only at certain times, I.e. gaming, video rendering, etc?
    3. If at certain times what are you doing?
    4. Have you checked for any dust build up specifically with the video card fan(s), the cpu, power supply, etc? Dust can be thought of as nature's blanket by keeping in heat and temps higher than what is recommended and will mess with a system in may ways.
    5. Overall how clean is your system?
     
  3. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 75

    It happened once or twice before but today it has happened a lot more like 5 or 6 times.
    It seems to happen randomly. Once I was doing nothing, another time I was watching a video and twice I was playing a game (Mass Effect 2).

    I took out my video card and cleaned it with air (it wasn't very dirty) I also changed my video card to another slot to see if it was the PCI slot that was causing the problems.(just did it so I don't know if it's fixed or just hasn't done it yet)

    I'm usually good at keeping my system clean
     
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    K. My next suggestion was for you to do what you have already done: Changing the video card to see if it is the card or not. Let us know what your results are.
     
  5. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 75

    I swapped the PCI port the video card was in and it worked fine for a while. I was able to play Mass Effect 2 for a while with no issue but then I had dinner and came back to see it happened again while just sitting in windows with iTunes open but doing nothing. Am I right in thinking that it just proved its my video card causing problems? My power supply is pretty new so I know it's getting steady power.
     
  6. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    I miss-read your response in #3. I thought you wrote that you tried another video card. My bad. If you can temporarily install another video card be it you have another one not being used OR borrowing one from a friend, that would be a good yet cheap diagnosis.

    By the way, how old is the card?
     
  7. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    It is possible that the thermal compound on the GPU's heat sink has dried out and it needs to be replaced
     
  8. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 75

    The old other video card I have is the one I replaced with my current one because it was dying on me.
    I'm not sure about the age of the card. It's has to be at least a few years old now.

    Is replacing the thermal compound on a GPU simple? I did it once between a CPU heat sink
     
  9. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

  10. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 75

    Nice, thanks. That will probably be the cheapest attempt at fixing my problem. Hopefully it will work when I can try it so I dont need to drop 200+ on a new card that can run Batman lol.
    I am wondering if there is a specific reason for the coffee filters to clean the thermal paste away. Do they tend to clean it the best? I assume paper towel would be just as good.
     
  11. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Yes a paper towel will work too. The coffee filter is softer material good for cleaning glass
     
  12. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 75

    I haven't had the chance to check the thermal paste yet but I also haven't has a crash in 2 days now (I hope I didn't just jinx it). I played video games last night and today with no issue if it was overheating I would have assumed it would have done it at least once by now right?
     
  13. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Well, if it doesn't fail let it go. Or if it starts up again pull the side off the computer and run it that way for a few days
     
    Mac291 likes this.
  14. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 75

    Iit has not done it since the last time I posted around the first of June and just did it 3 times today. I have been playing games regularly and leaving it idle as well with not a single issue till today. It has happened twice while idle and once when in a game.

    I have the side of my case open all 3 case fans are clean and running well.
    I also opened the card up and added new thermal paste to it.

    I think I might have to buy a new card tomorrow.
     
  15. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Just to throw this thought out: I wonder if there is the possibility that the power supply is under performing.
     
  16. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 75

    I have used two different 600 W power supplies and it has happened with each one.
     
  17. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Okay, replace the card...
     
  18. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 75

    I'm currently pricing out new cards. I wish I had a better job so I could drop $600 on a really nice one lol
     

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