First off thank you in advance for any help/advice you might be able to give me.
BACKGROUND: I have been having trouble with my computer lately and while I believe it is my video card I am not entirely sure. To begin with I will give you a little bit of background. I have a Dell computer running XP with a 3.0ghz processor, 1 gig of ram and a radeon 9800 pro video card. I began having problems with some display errors - little dots at first and eventually little lines - during normal computer usage. I have done a few things to try and fix this problem. I have cleaned out any and all dust in the computer, I have checked to make sure all fans are working and they are, I have downloaded new drivers and rolled back the drivers when this did not work. As some of you may know there have been issues with Radeon 9800 series drivers (catalyst control center part) and windows direct x conflicting. I had never heard of this before but I was told that this occurs so I have tried every way in which to download them in different orders etc so please do not suggest this as a way to fix the problem. I ran a scan using ati tools and it showed a large amount of artifacts (the whole test screen turned yellow). I have already tried using another monitor on the computer but the same issues remain so I do not believe it is the monitor. I could not find an alternate video card that would fit the slot on my computer. At this point the problem has gotten worse as I have tried different ways of solving the problem. I ran programs to check my fan speed and temperatures and while they came back with normal numbers the heatsink on my video card was very hot to the touch (could not leave finger there for more than three seconds) and I assume that this is not normal or acceptable. The problem would also get progressively worse the longer the computer was running (2 or 3 minutes) and I do think that heat is an issue.
At this point it is a waste of time to turn the computer on because I cannot see much through the screen problems and sometimes it will not go beyond the dell loadup screen or will give me a BSOD. I assume that it is pointless to buy a new fan for the video card since it has problems when I load the computer up after having it sit for a long time. My question is (1) do you think it is a waste of time to buy a new fan, (2) do you think that the problem is just the video card or might there be other issues that I am missing, (3) do you think just adding a new video card will solve the problem and (4) if you do think I should just get a new video card could you give me some recommendations for someone who does play video games (WoW, CS)?
I apologize for the long post but I just wanted to give you as much information as I had.
Thank you again for any help or advice you might have.