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Crash to pixelated screen, help!


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#1
Sikph

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Good afternoon esteemed community of Geeks to Go.

My computer has been recurringly 'crashing' to the attached image file whenever under stress and nearly every boot up attempt just as the windows desktop is about to load. Understandably, this is incredibly annoying and I've tried many times to fix the issue. I was wondering if anybody could identify the cause of the problem and whether there are any cheap solutions to fixing it.

I am pretty certain it's due to my graphics card due to the nature of the problem. I have had it for over 2 years now, and only cleaned it out for the first time yesterday. It was a horrific mess of dust clogged heatsinks and crumbling thermal paste. Having cleaned it out and replaced the paste, the temperatures are dramatically better, but I fear the damage has already been done. The problem remains... that is, if it is the graphics card that is causing this problem.

My computer specs are as follows:
All are at default clocks.

Intel Q6600 (2.4ghz)
Gainward GTX 280 (602,1107)
Corsair XMS2 (2x2gb, 800hz)
OCZ StealthXStream 2 700W (only a couple of months old)

All components have stock coolers. There is a 12cm intake and 12cm outtake fan on my case.

I have 4 internal hard drives as well of all sizes, from 80gb to 1tb, 3 being SATA, one being IDE. I haven't tested these much, but they seem reliable enough and don't expect them to be the cause of the problem.

The computer temperatures are around 30-50 degrees at idle. The graphics card specifically will be around 45-50 at idle, but can rise to 75-85 at full load. Before cleaning it would idle around 60 and had gotten to just over 100 degrees on several occasions (which lead me to believe damage was caused).

Just for clarity, this corrupted, glitchy, pixelated (whatever you want to call it) screen only seems to occur under stressful situations, after playing a game for a minute or two or just starting windows. The actual colour and pattern of the glitch varies slightly each time, but always just comes out of the blue and instantly into it. I will still hear some sound for a few seconds after the crash. I always have to restart to get past this.

I've hit the point where I've tried everything I can think of to fix this, and I ideally want to know whether this is still fixable, whether it is definately the graphics card or not and what I should do next.

PS: I'm broke.

I hope you can help. Thanks for reading!

Attached Thumbnails

  • problem.jpg

Edited by Sikph, 17 April 2011 - 07:30 AM.

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#2
phillpower2

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Hi Sikph :D
You may be correct in suggesting the video card is the cause but it may not be
due to heat (never helps though) it may also be a driver issue.
Have you tried starting the computer in safe mode and if so does it do the same
thing?
An overheating device will have an adverse affect on other system components and
is a very good reason why the inside of the case should be cleaneregularlylarily
this includes any add on card/s and Ram slots.
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#3
Sikph

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Thankyou for the quick response. Since the crash only occurs under stress, booting into safe mode will work fine, but I can't test any graphic intensive applications. I guess it is possible it is driver related, but haven't looked fully into it. I am using one of the latest official drivers - 267.24. I think it was from early March, and haven't tried the recent beta release. Would you recommend trying some older drivers?

All other drivers are up to date for the various components. I have done a fresh Windows install recently as well, should have mentioned that in the first post. :D
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#4
phillpower2

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Yes try an older driver by all means but try the beta drivers as a last resort.
Download and run Speedfan from http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php post a screen shot with your next reply so that your temps and voltages can be checked.
I suggested starting in safe mode to see if you got the very results that you have posted that you get, in safe mode Windows starts using the minimum resources including its own drivers so if you got the same bad screen in safe mode I would be inclined to say that the card itself was the likely culprit but as it is now it may still be the drivers.
The temperatures that you have stated are not bad with the exception of the occasions where it rose above 100 degrees.
Previous to the issue initially occurring was any new hardware/software added including drivers.
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#5
Sikph

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To confirm, safe mode works fine, as far as I can tell. The only difference to running the computer normally (that I've noticed) is the fact that every time I've booted into safe mode, it has not crashed when loading the desktop. Now this could just be fluke, but I'd like to think that your suggestion of drivers is more likely (hard for me to slip out of pessimistic mode, heh).

Essentially, when I turn my computer on for the first time in the day, the chances it crashes going into the desktop are pretty high. It's only after restarting several times that I may get lucky and get into Windows fully. During each restart I have a habit of unplugging various things, just on the offchance it's a different device, but I've never managed to pinpoint one thing. It seems to be blind luck whether I get in or not. When I eventually do get into Windows, everything works as normal. It will only crash after this point if I do something taxing, like play a game or on one or two occasions watching a film.

Now, Speedfan. I've attached a picture. I hadn't considered voltages to be honest, as I've never altered them. I don't know enough about how it works to risk playing with it. However, I did read somewhere that my GPU needs 1.18v and it's possible to lower the voltage if necessary, yet I see no readings there from around that value. If the vcore is related, isn't that too high? I'll let you consider this, as I'm clueless. :D

As for your final question of hardware and software, it's a difficult one to answer as this problem has been happening for a while and I can't remember clearly. I have recently got a new monitor and keyboard, but these are unrelated as the problem happened on the last peripherals too. It's also a fresh Windows install, and I've only installed things I've used and trusted for a long time. I regularly sweep anything I don't need off the computer. The only other thing I can think of is I once considered my mouse as a possible cause. A few weeks back my cursor began drifting of its own accord, and the only way I could fix it was unplugging and plugging it in again, sometimes several times. Also, when I get this screen glitch, sometimes I'll see an inch wide square around where the mouse cursor was. This is however just a wild guess, and I still think the GPU is a more likely culprit.

One last thing on temperatures. This has been the thing I looked into most, and I'm aware of my GPU's capabilities in this regard. When I first began monitoring the temps, checking the logs after a crash, I was shocked it went over 100. I have since been very vigilant in keeping it well below that. Hence the cleaning. Also, I've set RivaTuner to my own automatic fan control specification so that it goes into 100% speed when over 75 degrees. The noise doesn't bother me too much, as long as it reduces the chance it crashes. I should also probably mention that around a year ago, when I began having heat issues with my card, it actually got to the point where the GPU thermometer would no longer read the temperature, instead coming up as zero's. To this day, I don't know whether that occurence was a hardware or driver related, but it's fine now. I can read everything again. Very odd.

Sorry, I type way too much. Thankyou for your patience in reading and helping me out.

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  • speedfan.jpg

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#6
Sikph

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On an updated note, it is definately not mouse driver related. It still doesn't crash in safe mode. Most interestingly though, when I tried removing all nvidia drivers (and Nasty File Remover to get rid of any nvidia leftovers) it installs automatically the older 185 drivers, and it STILL crashes. Albeit, a slightly different coloured screen glitch, and I could still move my mouse around but the cursor is a glitchy square.

Possibly worth mentioning- I played Homefront for a couple of hours last night. Temperatures seemed to be around 75-80. It eventually did crash again, but it proves how temperamental this problem is. Just when you think the problems solved, it will crash when you least suspect it.

It continues to crash 90% of the time on startup (not safemode).

Someone on another thread suggested it could have been my previous PSU that damaged the card. I had to replace it as when I turned the computer on, all the lights would flicker, the PSU would make a fizzing sound and the computer wouldn't boot fully. Could this be the case?
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#7
phillpower2

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Temps and voltages look ok albeit with there being two 3.3V readings, I'm not sure about that so a member of staff or another member may be able to shed some light on it, these readings are what the PSU is putting out and no suggestion of you having adjusted voltages of any kind has been made.

On an updated note, it is definitely not mouse driver related.

No suggestion has been made that it was.
Final 2 suggestions I can make are download and run furmark to stress test your GPU, let us know the result/s
http://www.ozone3d.net/benchmarks/fur/ and check your system for any malware infection, see my canned text below;

If you suspect your system may have a malware issue I suggest you check out the self help guide at the malware forum http://www.geekstogo...cleaning-guide/ if after following the guide you believe your system may still be infected you need to start a new topic there and not post any malware logs on this forum as they are not used here, provide them with a link to this thread to show them what if any steps have been taken.
Once you get the all clear from the malware guys if the issue is not resolved return here and someone will assist you.

From your last post;

Someone on another thread suggested it could have been my previous PSU that damaged the card. I had to replace it as when I turned the computer on, all the lights would flicker, the PSU would make a fizzing sound and the computer wouldn't boot fully. Could this be the case?

For sure, any number of components may have been affected, can I ask what is Nasty File Remover?
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#8
Sikph

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NFR is a little tool that removes any and all nvidia related files. I used it because Driver Sweeper decided it didn't want to install correctly. This was after uninstalling it officially of course.

On an updated note, it is definitely not mouse driver related.

I had a small idea that it may have been related, I posted about it earlier. Just thought I'd confirm that it had been ruled out.

I will get onto those other suggestions now, as long as Windows allows me to boot up out of safe mode. :D

Thanks
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