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FPS drops - sign of card damage?

By ScottPaulson ยท 11 replies
Aug 4, 2010
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  1. My card is an ATI Radeon 4850.

    Now, the background: I recently purchased Starcraft 2, and the game has a well-known bug: the menu screens don't have an FPS cap, and thus your video card will render the bejeezus out of them to the point of getting fried if not stopped. Being the foolhardy Starcraft addict I am, I continued to play despite my computer's forced shutdowns. I had figured that the shutdowns would always happen before the card reached dangerous temperatures so no damage to the card would occur. Yes, that is terrible logic, but I really did want to play that game.

    I've seen a decrease in performance since I fixed the menu problem, as in there are notable FPS drops while playing every 10-20 seconds. I lowered my graphics settings, yet this has been happening consistently. I don't know if this is a cue that my card has been damaged, and this could very well be terrible B.net lag for all I know, but the circumstances I just described make me a bit worried.

    Are there any diagnostics I can run/other tests to see if my card has been physically damaged?

    Thank you in advance for your help.
  2. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    While I haven't encountered this so called bug, I would recommend reinstalling the drivers or trying a different set with your card. When video cards, and most other PC hardware, get hot you may notice performance drops. This is typically remedied with adjusting the fan speed or reapplying a thermal compound to the GPU core. While it is possible that the card could be damaged, it's unlikely unless it has been running extremely hot. Video memory (known as VRAM) is fairly sensitive to heat and isn't cooled like the core is.
  3. darkty

    darkty TS Rookie Posts: 49

    Well Low FPS can= Overheating GPU/Broken. So it might be overheating, Or your case is just hot. In that case, I recommend getting a new case with fans. It is possible your card is damaged and if that happens, You might aswel get a new one. Do you have any mods installed?
  4. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    In your last thread you mentioned your temperatures consistently go to 110c. Yes that could be a problem, GPU's are usually only allowed to go to 80c.

    By fixing the overheating problem, I assume you mean capping the FPS. That shouldn't affect game performance, but just in case, check that vsync is off, and if you want to you can test without the fix to see if the FPS drops still happen.

    Also starcraft 2 is also somewhat CPU dependant, you also mentioned in the last thread that you have a q8000 at 2.5ghz, however, you're effectively running a 2.5ghz dual. Its of course, possible that this is CPU related since changing the graphics settings has no effect. When I played the last mission on brutal, it lagged toward the end, a lot. Changed graphics from ultra -> low, no difference.
    System specs are as listed in my profile.

    EDIT: Though going to 110c is still the most immediate problem IMO.
  5. darkty

    darkty TS Rookie Posts: 49

    Kitty? You know I just posted that thread correct lol?
  6. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Try another high-req game, and see if the problem surfaces.

    If the card is indeed damaged, any problems you faced in SC2 will pop up there.

    If not, the patch didn't fix much.
  7. ScottPaulson

    ScottPaulson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Darkty- I have no mods installed, and as for the case, yes it has pretty bad ventilation. It is a fairly small case and my power supply has a ton of permanently attached cables which I just have to leave in there. On top of all that my graphics card is boxed into a corner facing the side of the case that does not have airholes so presumably it does not get the airflow.

    Hellokitty - I don't know who you thought I was, but my processor is an AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core 4200+, with 2.2 GHz. Yeah, it's pretty old. I wasn't aware that Sc2 is more CPU dependent, however, which explains that graphics bit.

    CMH - It's limited to Starcraft, so I suppose my card is safe. The shutdowns have been getting worse, however, and are happening now during gameplay. They're also a bit random: I played for about 15 minutes on a not very doodad/unit heavy custom map and my computer shut down, but I can also play tons of ladder games without any problems, besides the FPS drops which I believe are lag now. I'm considering upgrading but I'm cheap and I'd like to know exactly what the problem with my computer is first, whether it be cooling, card, or CPU.

    EXCell - I actually tried tinkering with my fan speed using the ATI graphics center software thing, but it stayed at 48% regardless of where I set it. Is there some third-party program I could use, or is my fan just broken?
  8. Zilpha

    Zilpha TS Enthusiast Posts: 319

    Your immediate problem will probably be airflow. If it's shutting the machine down (vs BSOD), then it's almost certainly a heat issue. When it gets too hot, the whole thing will be brought down to protect the system from damage.

    I'd agree with Dark - get a more roomy case and install some additional fans. I run a storm scout with the 5850 and it rarely if ever even creeps to 60c under full load - case was about 70 bucks and a couple fans for 7 a piece. It's worth the investment to protect your equipment.
  9. darkty

    darkty TS Rookie Posts: 49

    Well I suggest getting a new case and possibly a new card. Here is something you might want to try for me before you do any of that.

    Please Do This
    -Install This: http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/1163/mirrors.php

    -Than after running the game for about 5 mins, Quickly Alt-Tab, Go Onto the FAN section, It will there say your current GPU temperature. Please tell us what that is.

    -After that write the temp someplace and than turn your comp off.

    -Now open the side-panel, And turn on the comp and play the game for 5 mins agian. Once agian, Quickly ALt-Tab and tell us the GPU temp than.

    Note- I just want to let you know I am having the same problems with my card and my comp aswel has bad airflow. So I am soon going to get a new graphic card and case. Need to ask me anything go ahead buddy. :)
  10. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I think I just misread the OP. :confused:
  11. ScottPaulson

    ScottPaulson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    dark, I got these results:

    Case on:
    Default: 90 C
    After 5 minutes gameplay: 103 C (!)

    Case off:
    Default: 87 C
    After 5 minutes gameplay: 94 C

    Wow, I had no idea how hot my GPU got... thanks for that case recommendation, I think my tiny little case is the real problem here, and though don't really know how to build a computer that's a question for another thread.
  12. darkty

    darkty TS Rookie Posts: 49

    Well, I can tell you thats not as bad as mine homie. I get 110+. Were kinda in the same situation here (No idea how to remove/install comp parts). Do you know anyone that lives near you that knows about computers?

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