NVidia 8800GTX problem

  skeletal 10:45 08 May 2011

I have a problem with my graphics and would welcome any thoughts.

The card is an NVidia 8800GTX and the PC is a core 2 duo 6700.

My system has been running OK for several years until the other day when I tried to start a game (that I had been playing OK for weeks). The screen became garbled and the computer froze. I rebooted and it remained garbled and unresponsive.

In safe mode (which always works fine) I uninstalled the graphics card and then ran NVidia’s software to re-install drivers.

I rebooted and everything worked fine, and did so for another week of daily use and switch-on/reboots each day, until yesterday when after a short time from being switched on, the screen started to develop pink splodges and the computer became unresponsive.

This time I got NVidia’s latest drivers and went through the same process...all well again.

Until this morning when the same thing happened...and cured by uninstalling and rebooting.

This screams failing graphics card to me, but the bit I don’t understand is why it sometimes fails at boot when the system is stone cold. Problems like this often creep up throughout the day, particularly playing games, when the card overheats (which is what I thought it was at first). Also, I don’t understand why it is instantly cured by re-installing the drivers; it is though something corrupts them. And, once it is working, it is OK for hours afterwards as the temperature goes up.

I have done a full virus scan and all is OK.

I’m thinking of upgrading the computer, or maybe getting a new card temporarily and this leads me to a specific question: as technology changes so quickly, can anyone confirm that the 8800GTX uses the identical PCI express format as the latest cards (e.g. like the Radeon HD 6850 or NVidia GTX 570) i.e. will one of these new cards be a straight swap?

Any thoughts welcome.


  johndrew 11:52 08 May 2011

You could check the graphics card is seated correctly. Bad contact, which gets worse with a rise in temperature, often causes problems.

Failing that, you might have a conflict of software that is causing problems. Go to 'msconfig/services' tick 'Hide all Microsoft Services' click on 'Disable All' then 'Apply' then 'OK' and restart. Run your game and see if the problem recurs.

If you go online you will need to enable your AV/malware protection.

To reverse the setting do the same as above but select 'Enable All'. You could also seleclectively disable programs to determine where the conflict (if any) exists.

  skeletal 12:24 08 May 2011

I did poke around/reseat the card so that should be OK.

However, msconfig is a good idea...I’ve used that many times before, but completely forgot about it.

I can’t think why there would be a conflict because, as I say, everything was working fine up until the problem and I had not installed anything just before.

Unless something updated which I didn’t notice.

Still, if/when it happens again, I’ll try msconfig before reloading the graphics drivers...I’ve nothing to lose.

Thanks for the ideas.


  letsgetrdy 00:18 09 May 2011

Yes newer models use PCI-E which is totally compatible.

Personally I would heavily clean the fan of the card, removing the fan and heatsink altogether if needed and reapplying thermal paste.

Firstly, I would use Speedfan to monitor the tempreture of the card.

If needed you could always manually adjust the fanspeed of the card.

  letsgetrdy 00:19 09 May 2011

And yes you are correct, them symptons are 100% GPU related, at a hardware, not software level.

  skeletal 11:10 09 May 2011

Thanks for the info letsgetrdy. I’ll investigate speedfan; maybe taking the card apart will kill or cure it - worth a try.

To add to the mystery, following my last post, the computer was fine for many hours including happily running the game that caused the first crash (which causes the fan speed to increase showing the temperature is going up, normal when running a game).

It was fine at boot-up this morning as well.

I guess it is wait and see for the next exciting instalment!


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