Testing a video card for problems

Discussion in '3D Hardware, Software & Output Devices' started by Quitch, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. Quitch

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    Recently I have been running into a problem whereby my PC hangs when running 3D games. The issue is that the screen will flicker and then turn black with the monitor dropping into power saving mode, while sound will continue to play in intermittent, distorted (and repetitive) bursts. I cannot appear to control the PC from here and am forced to reset.

    The problem first occurred when I loaded Half-Life 2 Episode 2. Almost as soon as the menu was loaded it will crash in this manner. After extended periods of playing Bioshock I will sometimes encounter this problem. Somewhere in between the two is Call of Duty 4.

    I have a Pentium 4 3Ghz, 2GB RAM, AGP X1950 Pro 256MB (with IceQ cooler, pre-fitted), X-Fi XtremeMusic running on Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit. I have run a memory test and it checks out fine (plus I would expect to see problems with other apps too), and I have had the issue with Catalysts 7.7, 7.11 and 7.12. Windows has reported at least one of these crashes as being caused by the ATI Graphics Driver.

    However, I would like a test to run on my graphics card so I can positively identify it as the cause, and to help me work on a resolution of the problem. I need my Episode 2 and these crashes are becoming rather tiresome.
     
  2. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
    Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2002
    Messages:
    17,276
    Likes Received:
    1,788
    Location:
    Winfield, IN USA
    When is the last time you dusted out the inside of your case?
     
  3. Quitch

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    I wouldn't have thought a heat issue would crash Ep2 on launch while allow CoD 4 to run
     
  4. Quitch

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    I cleaned out the case, blasting the fans with compressed air... didn't feel particuarly hot in there though, while the case may be a little wire cluttered, it's not short on ventilation, two front fans, top fan, back fan, two-slot GPU cooler, large Zalman CPU fan, and the PSU fan...

    Alas, CoD 4 still crashed after 30-40 minutes of play.
     
    #4 Quitch, Jan 4, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2008
  5. OpenGL guy

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Messages:
    2,357
    Likes Received:
    28
    Are all of the fans turning properly when the machine is on? Seems unlikely that one could be stuck since it's running for 40 minutes, but worth checking.
     
  6. Quitch

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    Fans seem fine and the system temperatures appear normal, 36 for system, 55 for CPU and 48 for GPU, after a mornings web browsing.

    I just fired up Counter-Strike and in no more than five minutes the game went boom and I had to reset the PC. Upon logging on again Vista reported that the crash had been caused by the ATI graphics driver and that currently ATI had no solution to the problem. Not the first time it has reported this.

    I went through the CCC to try and disable things like Fast Writes (I don't have an option in the BIOS for it) as I recall this being on under XP, but I can't find the option in the CCC under Vista, even if I Run As Administrator.

    Maybe I'll have to try rolling backwards through the drivers. Source engine games seem to be a particular problem.

    Incidentally the preview video for Avivo crashes "MMACEPrev.exe has stopped working" when it tries to display, and the ATI Overdrive utility completes in about five seconds and doesn't change the values.
     
  7. Quitch

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    Well I tried 7.12, 7.7 and 7.6 and all had the same problem. I'm totally stuck.
     
  8. SugarCoat

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Messages:
    2,091
    Likes Received:
    52
    Location:
    State of Illusionism
    if you're looking for a good stress test use a registered (bought) version of 3Dmark and simply loop it with high settings.

    If its not the drivers i'd be looking at hardware, though personally thats something that would frustrate me enough that i would problably just reinstall windows to make absolutly sure its not some software conflict. Sounds like a pain but sometimes taking the sure route is easiest and/or least stressful.
     
  9. Quitch

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    Alas, reinstalling Windows is probably the next step and not one I look forward to, there's a lot to restore on this machine. At least I keep a USB pen with patches and drivers these days, ready for just such an eventuality :)

    I've got 3D Mark, but from way back in 03, so not sure how useful that'd be.
     
  10. SugarCoat

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Messages:
    2,091
    Likes Received:
    52
    Location:
    State of Illusionism
    any 3D mark would work fine, the point is you're looping the tests and can go off and do something else rather then testing by playing a game until it blows up in your face. Just pump the AA and AF up to max quality to make it sweat a little ;). If theres no artifacts (strange colors or winking textures) prior to crashing theres a really good chance it isnt related to the video card.

    What i do to make restore operations easier is simply offload everything important onto slave HDDs then once the main HDD is back up, patched, and confirmed working, move all my stuff back over. It really doesnt take too long in my experiences.
     
  11. {Sniping}Waste

    Regular

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    29
    Location:
    Garland TX
    Have you tried updating the AGP drivers for your mother board?
     
  12. Quitch

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    Yeah, the chipset is so old now I don't think the Intel chipset drivers have included an update for it since 2005.

    I'm building a PC for my parents today, and I'm going to rebuild mine at the same time. Fortunately I'm well prepared for this, I've been saving every driver and patch I'd ever need to a USB pen. Thank God for forethought :)
     
  13. Blazkowicz

    Legend Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    5,607
    Likes Received:
    256
    Did you try another PSU? you have a relatively power hungry CPU and vid card, and what you experience is consistent with it going bad (had similar issues, instability first appeared in games where the graphics card starts pumping more 12V)
     
  14. Quitch

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    But is the menu of Half-Life Episode 2 really going to pull more power than the demo of World in Conflict, which has yet to crash this machine? I consider this unlikely as I bought a "more powerful than needed" PSU back when I built this machine, from a good brand (Antec I believe) and I think the 12V had a good... feed, or whatever.

    Still, it's an interesting one to look into. Problem is there seem to be so many components which could be the problem that if this continues post-rebuild (Vista back on, games downloading now) then I'll probably just wait until I get a new machine when the next generation of cards launch and focus on the back-log until then.
     
  15. Vadi

    Regular

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Messages:
    446
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Austria
    Does the harddisk get stuck when crashing? Maybe the HDD is the problem.
    Mine acts up now. It's only a problem when trying to boot the XP cd. Also after flashing the bios I got a videocard post error once (and I think these two problems are related since the hdd won't work on a different pc).
    I have an Nforce 550 mobo, and an X-Fi too btw.
     
    #15 Vadi, Jan 21, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2008
  16. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
    Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2003
    Messages:
    8,457
    Likes Received:
    580
    Location:
    WI, USA
    another fun test of your system is to load up ATITool and have its fur cube spin while you also run Prime95 25.x (multithreaded) Torture Test on In-Place transforms (or Blend to hit the RAM but less CPU). :) That will cook your PC more than any game will. It should load up your PSU more than 3Dmark will.

    However, I'm sure you get a more varied GPU torture test from looping 3Dmark05 or 06. It wont bake your GPU as consistently though. You could run Prime95 and 3DMark at the same time too.
     
  17. Vadi

    Regular

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Messages:
    446
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Austria
    When overclocking I still had to lower clocks when playing an actual game though. :smile: Live for Speed gave errors while both Atitool and Prime95 (those running simultaneously too) worked fine. I never tried 3dmark.

    edit:
    Suddenly my HDD started working again.
     
    #17 Vadi, Jan 21, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2008
  18. Flyordie209

    Newcomer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have the same problem, except its with the X1650GT PCI-E16. As you know the X1650GT uses the same chipset (RV560) as the X1950.
    I am using an Antec 350W PSU. The GPU's Clocks are 400/1200 (DDR3).
    My entire system is-
    ASUS A8V-XE
    Athlon64 X2 3800+ 1.35V Toledo (TDP-92W) OC'd 2.2Ghz (I can push it stable to 2.95Ghz but it draws 127 Watts from the Mainboard)
    MSI X1650GT PCI-e 16
    1 SATAII Maxtor DiamondMax21 160GB
    1 SATAI Maxtor DiamondMax 40GB
    Antec 350W Basiq
    2x IDE HD-DVD RW Drives
    4x512MB Crucial DDR-500 RAM

    I know I have the right airflow, cause I clean out my case monthly and the case has 1 120mm fan blowing air out the back. I can feel the air being pulled in from the front of the case when I put my hand in front of it. ;-) Also, OMG your P4 gets hot.
    Under full load my X2 never goes past 44C. 36C Idle and 43-44C Full Load at 2.2Ghz.
    At 2.95Ghz it will go past that... 46C Idle, 61C Load.
    So, it may just be the chipset.
     
  19. Quitch

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    The PIV wasn't known for running cool, hence the BTX spec and those retarded enormous heatsinks, fans and flow directors you'd see in desktops. For myself, I picked up a large Zalman with copper heatsink and some arctic silver.

    After my reinstall of Windows Vista the problem remains.

    My computer is speced as follows:

    3Ghz Pentium IV
    ATI X1950 256MB AGP w/ two-slot cooler (IceQ, pre-fitted)
    2GB RAM
    MSI F1SR Neo motherboard
    Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic
    LSI Logic Ultra160 53C1010-33 (SCSI controller)
    1x Seagate ST373453LW SCSI
    1x WDC WD2000JS-55NCB1 SATA
    1x Lite-On LTR-52246S
    1x Pioneer DVD-ROM 120S PATA
    Enermax EG651P-VE 550W PSU

    Frankly, the PSU was massive overkill back then, and I believe I was aware at the time of the need for a decent feed on whichever rail it was. Should still be up to the job.

    I've tested the memory and it seems fine and the hard drives check out. I can run Sins of a Solar Empire without problems, but on the other hand Half-Life 2 Episode 2 will crash the entire machine within a couple of minutes of the menu loading.

    Considering I rebuilt less than a month ago, the drivers should be up to date.
     
    #19 Quitch, Feb 16, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2008
  20. Quitch

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    Oh lordy, having said it wasn't a temperature problem it looks like it is one. I ran Half-Life 2 Episode Two with the case off and it ran fine. What I need is something which can log the GPU (CPU would be helpful too) temperature while I play a game so I can narrow down and verify the problem. I see ATI Tray Tool can show me the temperature, but that's no use when I'm in a fullscreen app and am trying to get data leading to a crash.

    Any recommendations?
     
Loading...

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Beyond3D has been around for over a decade and prides itself on being the best place on the web for in-depth, technically-driven discussion and analysis of 3D graphics hardware. If you love pixels and transistors, you've come to the right place!

    Beyond3D is proudly published by GPU Tools Ltd.
Loading...