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View Full Version : Do Video Cards Just Die Sometimes?



Psyco
04-19-00, 08:23 PM
im notorious for writing long messages, so ill try to keep it short.

basically, ive had a Diamond Monster Fusion 16MB AGP vid card for around a year. other than the fact that i needed a special version of the BIOS to make it run on my Asus P5A-B mobo, i hadn't had any problems with it. then one day i decided to try the reference drivers from 3DFX in order to see if there was any way to get Q3 to run on it. those drivers didnt work for me at all. so i went back to usin the Diamond drivers, and things seemed ok. a day or so later i tried to play some Rogue Spear online, as i had been doing for like 4 months before then. i noticed that the game would slow down almost to a stop at certain times, would turn and look at a diff direction while everything else was "frozen", and would then sometimes jump ahead to where i would have been if nothing had slown down. these characteristics looked very similar to lag (poor latency) on games, which is somethin i had not seen much of since getting a cable modem service. and it seemed to only be noticeable on my end. the other people in the game would only see me stop walking, and then appear in a new place (sometimes called warp), but their games would be running full speed the whole time. i called my cable comp, and after extensive testing, we couldnt find anything wrong with the line. so i decided to reinstall win98 over itself, and after doing so, the game seemed to run a lot better, and sometimes ran like there was no problem at all. but after playing for a week or so, it would be back to running slow again. i tried all different combo's of driver versions and bios versions from Diamond, and tried to install the oldest versions and reproduce the upgrading path in the same order as it had been before. no luck. i tried reinstalling the game. no luck. i tried all different video settings, and different audio settings. i even tried running it in software mode. no luck. and the game didnt just have problems in online games. single player games had the same problems. so i would reinstall win98 over itself as a temp fix to the problem, and that would keep me goin for a lil while at first, but as time went on the problem got worse and worse, and even the reinstalling didnt help. i thought it might be a heat problem, so i tried runnin my system with no case on and a full size box fan pulling air away from the comp, but that didnt help anything. i tried playing other games, and got the same problems.

i thought for a while that it might have had somethin to do with me changing drivers, because it seemed to have happened soon afterwards, but i changed the drivers to what i knew worked for me before, but i still had problems. ive talked to all of the techy friends i have, and the only thing we can use to explain it is "the card is dying". that is a nice excuse to tell people as they frag my ass all over the place, but it doesnt explain why these problems started happening almost overnight. and like i said, they have only gotten worse and worse since i first noticed them. they have gotten so bad that i finally broke down and bought myself a new vid card (Guillemot 3D Prophet 32MB DDR-DVI. Sweeeeeet!!) and am expecting it to arrive in the mail any day now. but i still want to know what happened to my old card. any ideas??

in case you are wondering, im running:

AMD K6-II 400MHz
384MB SDRAM @ PC100 speed
Asus P5A-B
Diamond Monster Sound MX300
Diamond Monster Fusion 16MB AGP

not the newest thing around, but fast enough for me till i get my 950MHz K7 system built.

LoachDuke
04-20-00, 08:15 AM
Hey Psyco,

It could be heat causing the problem, or maybe its a defective card.

Anyhow, it's best to get that card out of your system before you hurt your monitor. Yes, bad video cards have blown up many monitors.

Send the card back to the manufacturer if its still under warranty.

[This message has been edited by LoachDuke (edited 04-20-2000).]

Far-N-Wide
04-20-00, 10:30 AM
I've had a similar problem, where my games would freeze after a few moments of play.

My fix was to get the lastest driver for the card from the vender. Then patches for each game.

If this does not help you & you still suspect a video card problem. Goto Walmart and buy Nuts & Bolts 95 or 98. This comes on a CD for about $10 bucks. It's worth the green and you can test your card until your blue in the face.

If your card is crappy, you'd see snow or screen jidder or at least something consistant with all apps on your machine. You could loan the card to a friend to test on his / her machine to see if it turely is the card.

In addition, you could disable the VGA Pallet snoop on your MoBo BOIS. It may be inconflict with Vid BIOS. The MoBo BIOS passes vid info to the OS & the Vid BIOS does the same. The OS has 2 options to pass to apps. Some apps don't handle this well and a screen freeze may happen.

Check your hardware device settings for each resource setting look to see if any device is in conflict with another device. I've have a PCI bus conflict with an on board video card that conflicted. I did not find this until I checked each entry line by line for conflicts. The Device manager may report no conflicts but if you looked line by line you will see them.

I use 95B

Psyco
04-20-00, 01:03 PM
thanks for takin the time to read and reply to my message. two things that might help confuse you even more are these:

1.) when i say "froze" i dont mean that the system or program locked up. what the game does is slow down almost to a complete stop on my screen, then it comes back to close to normal speed (i say close because it seems a little slower after these main slow-downs), and the game or card or whatever tries to place me in the game at the same place it thinks i would be if the game hadnt slowed down. so i end up getting "warped" to a new location. if any of you play online games, then you know that really bad lag can cause very similar things to happen, but like i said, the cable company and i have done a lot of testing on the line and found no problems. plus, the same problems happen in single player games that dont even involve the internet.

it seems like the problem happens at some of the worst times, like during a fire-fight, or any other time where there is a lot of activity, which seems to make sense.


2.) as far as BIOS settings and all that, i believe that i have everything set up properly. i set all of the settings for my BIOS when i first installed the card, and hadnt changed any of the settings. then one day, after owning and lovin the card for around a year, the problem showed up and the status has been deteriorating since. the only changes i had made anywhere close to the time that the problems started were:
1. changing the size of my swap file (which i immediately returned to its normal setting as soon as the problems appeared, but changing it back didnt do anything to help the problem)
2. changing from Diamonds own drivers to the reference drivers provided by 3DFX, and then back to Diamonds again.

at some point, during the changing of drivers, i tried flashing the vid cards BIOS with the older versions of the BIOS, but they didnt have any positive effect, so i flashed it with the special version given to me which allows the vid card to run with my mobo. if all the instructions are followed and the flashing is performed and completed successfully, is there any way that you can OVER flash a bios chip? any way that frequent flashing can damage the chip?


anyways, im still quite puzzled about this problem. saying that it might have been a heat issue which lead to the death of my vid card sounds very possible seeing as how im not a cooling guru and i have just about every slot in system filled with a card, but i was mostly wondering if anyone had seen this type of behavior from a vid card in the past.

while i wait to see if anyone responds, ill go modify the hell out of my comp case and install a full size box fan into the side of the case. heat problems? HA! i laugh in the face of heat problems. dont make me go build a liquid nitrogen cooled system. http://www.speedguide.net/ubb/smile.gif

LoachDuke
04-20-00, 01:35 PM
Hey Psyco,

You can get heatsinks at any electronics store.
Check out the size of all of the IC's on the PCB and find matching heatsinks. Then, place heatsink compound on the IC surface and apply the heatsink. The compound is a creamy white substance with the viscosity of butter.

Then apply some high-temperature silicon RTV to the PCB/heatsink to secure it. You may want to use a small clamp or similar to apply pressure to the heatsink. When the RTV is cured remove the clamp and you will have primo cheap cooling.

Also, you can pick up a CPU fan for about 5 bucks and place it on the video board heatsink.