Very challenging video problem. Expert help needed!

By Capt_Ryan ยท 21 replies
Oct 13, 2006
  1. H'okay, so,

    I have this computer. Intel D865PERL with a 2.4 ghz chipset, 450w PSU, the usual drives and not much else. Save for my ATI X700 AGP video card.

    This card is replacing an ATI AIW 9700 Pro that was mysteriously fried, I came to find out later that it was not receiving sufficient voltage. I upgraded to the aforementioned 450w PSU and bought an Radeon X700 AGP, which lasted for about 1 year. I have just replaced it with an ATI Radeon x1600 Pro AGP.

    Here's my problem:

    About a month ago, with almost no relevant activity to my PC, I began noticing that my monitor was displaying post screens, desktop images, pictures in general, video and 3D games with an odd blue-ish artifact that acts like a shadow. That is to say, where there should be black shadows in photos or games, they are navy blue instead. It behaves almost exactly like a simple color swap, but the monitor is perfectly capable of displaying black, all text and web pages remain unaffected. If I turn the brightness up on my monitor, the blue fades to black much as if I had turned the brightness DOWN instead.

    Shortly after this began, my X700 failed completely, and I was forced to purchase a new card. The new card, an X1600, is having the exact same symptoms. I've tested it with a new Monster DVI cable and I know it's definately not the cable. It may be the monitor, but it's a three year old Samsung 191t+ 19 inch LCD, and I'm not interested in hauling that (very expensive) monster anywhere if I don't have to. I'm going to test the monitor against the onboard VGA and X1600 VGA tonight. The AGP slot responds to all tests and settings normally, so I have a hard time believing that it's the board. I would be willing to believe that the monitor is somehow shorting out my video cards, but having already spent some $200 I would like to be very sure that I've exausted all my options before I send the monitor out for service. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Things I have tried:

    I have disabled onboard USB and VGA, I have pulled every hardware device and reinstalled to check for memory conflicts, I've tested the monitor against a new DVI cable, and tried multiple fresh installs, right down to registry edits to clean every last bit of software. I'm going to test it on another board and monitor at my parents house sometime in the next week.

    has anyone encountered this before?
  2. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    Hello and Welcome to Techspot!! :)

    What's your PSU brand and model? How many amps does it have on the +12V rail or rails?

    You might need to see the PSU's label to check that. BTW, a normal PSU label looks like this: (taken from Kirock's sig :) )

    Regards :wave:
  3. Capt_Ryan

    Capt_Ryan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    at work atm

    Thanks for the warm welcome :)

    Scratch my earlier post, I found my exact order from newegg over a year ago lol!

    The correct info is: Rosewill RV450 ATX12V 450W, and my 12 volt rail carries 22 amps.
  4. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    It's a little low, but should be enough for your system.

    Now it's time to check temperatures. Download Speedfan, and check your temps. Maybe your CPU is overheating, also check the GPU temperature.

    Also, probably a dumb question... Do you have the latest drivers for your chipset & video devices?

    Regards :wave:
  5. Capt_Ryan

    Capt_Ryan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm actually at work, a term I use loosely, so I can't run diagnostics atm, but my board has a kind of temperature advisor / watcher function and last time I checked my case temperatures were hovering around 90f, the core temps didn't really stand out in my mind. I had some intermittent "exceeded recommended voltage" messages for my power supply in the past. To tell you the truth it looks somewhat similar to a voltage / thermal issue, I just can't identify it specificaly. I had just recently pulled the heatsink off the CPU to clear some debri, and it's possible that I need to put more paste down, huh?

    That still doesn't explain what fried my 1-year-old Radeon x700, though. Unless the CPU got so hot that the heat damaged the card (they're sort of close to each other). But at those temperatures wouldn't I be experiencing a lot more than just some video distortion? I'm no expert, but perhaps the specific pathways for video processing from the HDD have been affected by the heat?

    And yes, I did re-install the latest BIOS revision, chipset INF utility, and ATI catalyst drivers.

    Also, throwing a wrench into what seems to be a perfectly good diagnosis, is that my monitor displays a navy blue "check connection" screen instead of black when I disconnect the DVI from the PC entirely. Thing is I can't remember if that's normal or not.

    ATI also suspects that the mobo is sending my card the wrong voltage. When I get home (in 7 hours) I'll check the on-board voltage manager and see if it matches up with what the PSU is sending out. I'm dreading having to foot for a new mobo, since that kind of suggests needing a new processor to boot. :\
  6. Capt_Ryan

    Capt_Ryan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I ran those diagnostics you mentioned and my voltages and temperatures all come back perfectly normal. I suspect the problem must be in some kind of decoding process on the monitor's side of the digital image. If that's even possible, I don't know anything about that process. I'll repost here if I find a solution, and thanks for all your help.
  7. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    I don't think that the problem is your monitor. I'm starting to suspect that your mobo isn't providing the correct voltage to the video card. You had a 9700 card, it fried, your X700 PRO, failed too, and now your X1600 PRO, is having similar issues :suspiciou

    Something is really wrong with it. This is really a very difficult problem. I'd suggest to change your PSU , to a better one, but what if that doesn't solve your problem??
    Another thing I'd suggest, is to get a new mobo, but again, what if that doesn't solve the problem?? :confused: :confused: :confused:

    BTW, did you try the onboard VGA?
  8. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,186   +469

    Perhaps there is something wrong with the cable to the monitor. They aren't that expensive.
  9. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    He said that he changed the DVI cable, but what if you try using a normal VGA cable? I've seen some video cards with the DVI port defective.

    And if you can, try another monitor.
  10. zazazoom

    zazazoom TS Rookie Posts: 84

    yeah it ain't your monitor! i agree with wolfram u should definitely try and change your psu..if not your psu then your mobo >_< u've fried 2 cards..already but if you're really banking it being your monitor..go grab a friends and turn it out :p
  11. Capt_Ryan

    Capt_Ryan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yeah I can't imagine how my monitor could be causing the distortion, but on the other hand, I'm not getting any abnormal readings from my mobo or psu.

    My real problem here is that nothing is sending up any obvious flags, and I'm looking at having to systematically replace every major component until something starts to work. :(
  12. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    Did you try using onboard graphics, and using the normal VGA cable?
  13. Capt_Ryan

    Capt_Ryan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I haven't had a chance yet. Should finish testing tomorrow. I'm sure it's the motherboard, probably brought on by poor voltage regulation from the PSU and even worse voltage regulation in my very old apartment, but I can dream of days when tech problems cost less than 400 bucks to fix.
  14. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    Hopefully, if your mobo is bad, it won't cost more than 400 bucks to fix it ;)
  15. Capt_Ryan

    Capt_Ryan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Get this. My dad just fried his Dell, and it happened to have a compatible CPU in it. I was using a Pentium 4 2.4Ghz / 533Mhz / 1MB. He has a Celeron 2.6Ghz / 400Mhz / 128k. I swapped the processors, and the distortion IS GONE.

    By the looks of it, the CPU thermal paste had worn off and may have damaged the processor. I KNEW it couldn't be the PSU or the MOBO. I'm not sure if the old processor is permanently damaged or not, but I'm going to run some more tests with this other CPU and different outputs and I'll get back to you all. :)


    After testing both VGA and DVI ports on the old card, I've determined that it was, in fact, the processor that was causing the distortion. I suspect the cards were fried by my own poor seating, and am now running smoothly with the new CPU. I'm definately going to upgrade my power supply, just to be on the safe side, and slap some more grease on the CPU.

    I thank everyone for their help and I'll be back the next time something breaks lol!
  16. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    I'm glad you solved your problem. A CPU causing distortion..... That's weird, but if it works.... Enjoy it!

    Just don't try to run a game using that CPU ;)
  17. Capt_Ryan

    Capt_Ryan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yeah, I've already got a 3.0 / 1MB / 800 on order from newegg along with the new PSU just to be on the safe side.

    Weird, but true!
  18. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    Pentium 4 3.0 GHZ HT Prescott CPU I assume?

    What PSU did you order?
  19. Capt_Ryan

    Capt_Ryan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, I was referring to the 3.0 Prescott, my board is a little old and won't handle any of the new core duo's.

    Funny thing happened on the way to the checkout, though.

    I was just randomly inspecting my processor, and I found.... a hair. Yes, a human hair, one of my very own, lodged in the pins. Surely not, I thought... But then, after removing the hair, cleaning the processor and reapplying some new Arctic Silver....

    No more distortion.

    It appears, as completely ridiculous as this may sound, that the HAIR was somehow responsible for whatever ridiculous short circuit that was giving me this frustrating, seemingly cause-less video problem. This is, by far, the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me in my amatuer experiences building computers. It's almost on par with the optical drive tray being used as a coffee mug holder.

    As for the parts on order, I've cancelled the CPU, yes, it was a prescott HT, but if I can get along with my old 2.4 /1MB/533 then my wallet would appreciate it after purchasing the graphics card (200 bucks!).

    The PSU is on hold as well since this rosewill, though foolishly named, has served me well for a year now. I am however considering picking up the following PSU around my next paycheck, which for a captain, may be never :\

    ENERMAX Liberty ELT500AWT ATX12V 500W Power Supply

    Thoughts? The reason I cancelled the processor is because I'm not going to be able to use the new Core Duo's in my current Mobo, and so I've been considering just getting a mini ATX board that's compatible with the newer chipsets so I don't have to rely on single core chip upgrades anymore. Plus I just love mini ATX cases.
  20. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    Wow man, just a single HAIR causing the distortion...... I've never seen something similar, and I have installed lots of CPU's, and killed many too :)

    That Enermax PSU is a fantastic choice. You won't regret it at all.

    Regards :wave:
  21. Capt_Ryan

    Capt_Ryan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I guess case closed then. Thanks again for your help, wolfram.
  22. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    My useless help hehe. See you around :) :wave:
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