Graphics Card Or Driver?

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by seekermeister, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    As the title indicates, I'm not really sure if my problem is actually hardware or not, but this seems like the most appropriate place to post it. Since I did a clean install of the OS, I've had several instances where the monitor's screen momentarily went black, and upon recovery Windows popped a dialog stating that the driver (Nvidia 320.49), which I believe is the most current one, had stopped working and then was started again.

    However, just a few minutes ago, the screen went black and didn't recover, making it necessary to do a forced reboot. Curiously, while the primary monitor went black, the secondary one didn't, but became striated with zig zag horizontal lines.

    The combination of these occurrences makes me wonder if the problem really is just the driver, or if the video card (Nvidia GeForce 460 GTX SC) is failing? What is the best way to determine which is which?
     
    #1 seekermeister, Aug 1, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  2. bassfisher6522

    bassfisher6522 Essential Member

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    Check if the GPU is over heating, because those are sure signs of over heating. Use speed fan or speccy, both are free, to monitor you GPU temps. First, pull the card, and clean all the lent and dust from the fan and heat sink, then check the thermal compound and see if it shows any signs of aging and replace if necessary.

    http://www.piriform.com/speccy

    http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
     
  3. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    Speccy says that it is running at 54 C, which I don't think is too hot for this card...at least I have had cards that ran hotter. Not only the card, but the entire rig is due for a cleaning, so I will pay particular attention to the graphics card. I seriously doubt that I shall disassemble the card to check the thermal compound, because the last time I tried that on one of my old GTS8800 cards, I had to make my own gaskets, which determines the amount of clearance between the fan and the chips, and I could never get it to run again. If it is something like that, I shall simply RMA the card, because it is still in warranty.
     
  4. bassfisher6522

    bassfisher6522 Essential Member

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    The newer cards are easy to disassemble, well the AMD cards...my only experience is with AMD, and you can easily clean/re-add thermal compound. Are those temps idle or on a load...using bench-marking software? Is that the GPU temp or CPU temp? That GTS8800 is a bit outdated....I would consider upgrading it.

    My CPU temp at idle is 30C and GPU temp at idle is 45C and at load 40C and 55C respectively. That's with the case fans/cpu fans using the BIOS configuration set to auto, so as the temps increase the fans do so as well.
     
  5. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    That may well be true about the newer cards, but I don't see any reason to go that route, since the warranty should cover it. Besides, disassembling the card could void the warranty. I only gave the GTS8800 as an example, and I am going to replace it very soon, because I do think that it has failed, because of the BIOS beep code it gives when I try to boot that system.

    That card is in my HTPC, so it really doesn't require a high powered card, but then I do like the idea of getting the best one that I can afford, just in case the situation changes. Since BFG went out of business, I now only buy EVGA, partly for their lifetime warranty program, but I haven't found anything new that is covered in that fashion. If there is, do you know what the cheapest one would be?
     
  6. bassfisher6522

    bassfisher6522 Essential Member

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    Great choice with EVGA....that's my brand.

    I'm not sure about that, the life time warranty. As for your new choice of a GPU...depends on what you have for a budget.
     
  7. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    I haven't really set a budget for it yet, but I know that it will be $200 or less.
     
  8. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    The plot thickens. I just attempted to run the same game as when it blacked out before (Nethack), and it blacked out again. This time it wouldn't even display the BIOS screens, even though I could hear that Windows booted as it should.

    I then swapped connectors on my two monitors, and I could see the BIOS and Windows logo screens on my secondary monitors, but both screens remained black after that.

    I then booted into Safe Mode successfully, and uninstalled the video driver. I am now able to see the desktop on my secondary monitor, but the primary remains black regardless of which connector it is attached to.

    I can think of explanations for any single event described, but not for the combination that I'm experiencing. Any ideas?
     
  9. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    Even though I had recycled the power button on the primary monitor before, without any improvement, I did so again after my last post, and it finally displayed the bouncing window saying that there was no cable connected. So after powering down, I connected the primary cable back to where it should have been, and the same with the secondary, and voila!, both monitors are displaying properly.

    Since it seems that the problem came and went with the install and uninstall of the 320.49 driver, I went back to the 280.26 and probably won't upgrade again...at least not with the current release.
     
  10. Pauli

    Pauli Extraordinary Member
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    Late in commenting this, but it's quite common that older drivers work better in some systems, with NVidia.
     
    bassfisher6522 likes this.

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