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Is my Graphics Card breaking down?


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#1
Smudgeboss

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I have been having a few issues in the last few months with my dell laptop (specs are below). Three I can specifically detail:
1) It started with artefacts on the screen when playing Pirate Galaxy. The label on the enemy would stay in it's location on the screen long after the enemy was gone or I even went to orbit. It no longer does that but it did it for quite a while there.
2)Shutdowns. The machine will just shut down (usually when playing that pirate galaxy game which is a multiplayer game with medium graphics I would guess) It stops dead. Starts right up again and after boot and all can go back to playing. This is not consistent but if playing for a while will do it without cool mat for sure, sometimes it will even with cool mat. I am guessing this is a heat issue.
3) Now it hesitates. For example, watching a youtube video or any other streaming video it will run for a minute then sound will keep going normally but video will freeze for about 3 - 5 seconds then pick up where the sound is. It does this very consistently now for the last 2 - 3 weeks. There were times even while I was typing in this text where it froze and I had to wait for the 3 letters I typed to appear before I was able to move on.

I ran furmark for about 30 minutes yesterday, temp got up to 97 degrees C. Rendering of the donut was a little jerky but it never shut down.

what do the guru's think?

Specs:

Dell Studio 1558
Microsoft windows 7 pro 64 bit service pack 1
Intel® Core™ i7 CPU Q 840 @ 1.87GHz
Clock Speed 1.9Ghz
L2 Cache Size 1024

RAM
Page File Size 8,124.5MB
Available Page File 100.00 %
Virtual Memory 16,247.3MB
Available Virtual Memory 83.52 %
DIMM_A 4,096.0MB
DIMM_B 4,096.0MB

250 GB HDD

DVD/CD-ROM Drives
PLDS DVD+-RW DL-8ATS ATA Device
Disk Drives
WDC WD5000BEKT-75KA9T0 ATA Device
Display Adapters
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470
IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers
Intel® 5 Series/3400 Series Chipset Family 4 Port SATA AHCI Controller - 3B29
Ricoh PCIe Memory Stick Host Controller
ATA Channel 0
Ricoh PCIe SD/MMC Host Controller
ATA Channel 1
ATA Channel 4
Ricoh PCIe xD-Picture Card Controller

thanks for your wisdom, of course if you need any more info I will be glad to supply it.
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#2
phillpower2

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Hello Smudgeboss

It does appear as if heat is playing a major part in the problem/s so first off I would give the inside of the case a clean out the best that you can, an example guide to help you with this here

I note that the HDD only has a 250GB storage capacity, how much free storage space is available, you need between 40 and 50GB free on that capacity of drive or you will get problems with data transfer rates and if it gets too low the HDD can fail mechanically.
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#3
Smudgeboss

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Hi phillpower2, thanks for your response. I messed up, took a look at my c drive properties and the number I entered was wrong. it is 448 GB capacity and 205 GB is free. I will do a clean and see what happens. Thanks.
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#4
phillpower2

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Thanks for the update Smudgeboss :thumbsup:

Good news on the storage space as it is one less thing to worry about, hopefully a good clean will resolve the issue.

You are welcome btw :)
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#5
Smudgeboss

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ok, I took a can of "computer air" and blew everywhere I could, there WAS some dust flying, however a day later it didn'g change anything. I have noticed that even on start up from cold where there is no heat build up yet, if I go to a video there is the 3 - 5 second video hesitation, even though the sound continues normally. that suggests to me the issue isn't CURRENT heat. Would you agree?
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#6
phillpower2

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I have noticed that even on start up from cold where there is no heat build up yet,

The temperature of a CPU and a video chip are too hot to touch almost as soon as a computer is turned on, regardless of whether they are old or out of the box new so please do not rule out overheating as the cause.

Do you continually run the notebook connected to the mains power and with the battery in place.

Are you using the original Dell battery and AC adaptor that came with the notebook.

To ease the load on the video chip try turning off aero in Windows;

Right-click on the Desktop.
Click Personalize
Within the Personalize Window scroll down to the Windows 7 basic theme and select it.
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#7
Smudgeboss

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Hi againPhillpower

I generally (almost exclusively) run the laptop plugged in with the battery in place. I am still using the original power supply and battery.

Am now running on Windows 7 basic. I will see how it goes.

I will report back in a day or two.

thanks again!
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#8
phillpower2

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Hello Smudgeboss

If by chance you pop back sooner than planned you could also check if the AC adapter gets hot when it is in use and try running the notebook with the battery removed and using only the AC adapter to power the notebook and vice versa, use only the battery and the AC adapter removed.

You are welcome btw :)
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#9
Smudgeboss

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Hi again :)

K, right now the power transformer is on the high end of warm low end of hot if that makes any sense, sometimes it is hotter and sometimes not at all it seems. I will pull battery and test to see what is happening

I put to windows 7 basic and nothing changed in the videos, still get the hesitation.

BTW did I mention computer is a few months short of 4 years old. I don't know if that has a bearing on it at all.

Will report back with new data on battery an ac adapter work.

Thanks Phillpower
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#10
Smudgeboss

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ok, I worked about 2 hours on ac adapter only. there was initial hesitation but a 1 hour video ran ok after that. But I did notice something that was there before but I failed to mention. when I scroll a web page it will not move for about 2 seconds then will scroll as it should. If I read that and go to scroll again in a minute it does the same thing. Even when typing this in, I typed "ok" then it took a couple seconds for the rest of what I typed to show up. I believe it did this the other day too, at work where I, as a test turned off my wireless and ran on ethernet.

A little something else to toss into the mix to confuse everyone :-)

Thanks Phillpower

Mudsy
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#11
phillpower2

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What about with the AC adapter removed and running off battery only, this test may not take too long as I suspect that your battery will not last.

The latter issue that you mention may or may not be related to this.

NB: when you did the clean out with the can of compressed air did you also remove the Ram and blow out the slots, if not and you have some canned air left give the Ram slots a clean, remember not to upend the can if you do this as it is possible for fluid to be emitted.
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#12
Smudgeboss

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Thanks again for the direction Philpower! I followed through with both of your last suggestions:
1) Ran on battery only -- same result video would freeze while sound kept going, and 3-5 secs later would join with the sound.
2) I removed the ram and blew out the slots. Running after that it "seemed" to be better but couldn't put my finger on any difference. It still did the video freeze the same as before.

Someone has suggested updating video drivers. I am willing to give this a try but am waiting for your direction on it. I am guessing you have a plan so I will follow through with where you are going.

Thanks again for your help.
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#13
phillpower2

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Sorry for the delay in replying, the boards were being updated when I was available yesterday and so I could not reply.

 

You have done as much as you can with the cleaning so yes it is worth checking for driver updates;

 

Run Drivermax to see if any driver updates are suggested http://www.drivermax.com/

Please note that you are only allowed to download two drivers a day for free and be sure to uncheck the “install AVG toolbar” option box.

 

Remember to always create a new restore point before updating any drivers.


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#14
Smudgeboss

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will follow through and get back to you later today.  Following the step by step is much appreciated.  Thanks Phillpower


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#15
phillpower2

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You are most welcome Smudgeboss  :)


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