Replacement video card

  Palken 17:38 20 Jun 2011


I have a HP-Pavilion computer equipped with an AMD Phenon 9550 quad processor 4GB of ram and an radeon 3600 series graphics card.

It came with the Vista OS which I had loads of problems with (sometimes take several hours to boot up and periodically having to go through the windows repair routine)so I upgraded to the home edition of Windows 7 but with little improvement. Of late the situation has become worse with the computer turning off with no warning. It reboots ok on restart and the runs again for several hours. I took the side off and discovered the cpu heat sink was clogged with dust and the video card cooling fan wasn't running.

Is the coolin fan supposed to run all the time or is this an indication of the problem?

Do you think replaceing the video card will solve my problems?

  chub_tor 18:06 20 Jun 2011

The fan speed of Radeon ATI cards can be user changed by the Catalyst Control Centre as far as I know, but I am pretty sure that they would never be able to be set to zero. That could be the cause of some of your problems.

  Palken 00:00 21 Jun 2011

Do you think it is worth changing the card and if so what card would you recommend?

  chub_tor 09:47 21 Jun 2011

Firstly have you checked the card you have by taking it out of the case and spinning the fan, it might simply be dust clogging the blades or a stuck bearing? The HD3600 is a couple of years old now and there are any number of upgrades that you could make depending on how serious you are about gaming or other graphics intensive activities. When you have the card out check the connection, from the specs there were both AGP and PCIe versions - you probably have the latter. This article shows how to identify the different connectors.

Assuming that you have PCIe and wish to stay with the ATI HD series you might want to take a look at the range available from ebuyer A good mid range model is the HD5670 or HD5770 but there are many more in the Radeon HD range that will suit your budget and your spec needs.

Will a new graphics card solve all your problems? Can't say, but if your existing one is overheating because the fan is stuck it will certainly help a lot. Having done a physical clean of your computer you should also do an electronic clean by running a virus check, a malware check, get rid of surplus or redundant programmes by running CCleaner, and a defrag. If you have a slow start up you should also check what programmes are running at start up via msconfig. How to do this cleaning and the programmes to use can all be found using Google or a search on this forum.

  Palken 11:21 21 Jun 2011

Loads to keep me busy there Chub lol.

Think the fan has had it. Tried to spin it but stiff. Took board out and worked the fan till looser but still felt quite stiff. Re-installed but fan still dosent run. I think to card might be damaged to. When I first ran WOW on this PC I found I could run graphics on good and even ultra with reasonable frame rates but now I am having to run at low or fair.

As to the other problems I have got windows defender and have done a full scan with that also defrag and Ccleaner (although I havn't run Ccleaner for a while).

One of the things that has been suggested is that installing seven over the top of vista may cause these problems and that I should format my hard disk first and then reinstall seven.

The connection is as you indicted PCI 16E

The other alternative is to fall back on the origonal plan and simply get a new PC since this one has always had problems even when I was running Vista. Assuming I could get this one running how woulds it's performance be compared to one of the budget machine you indicated?

  chub_tor 12:44 21 Jun 2011

Installing Win 7 over the top of Vista does not cause severe slow downs, I have done several upgrades that way and if you clean up the residue afterwards with CCleaner you should have no problems upgrading that way. Theoretically yes it is better to wipe everything and start again but I have not found it to be such a huge advantate.

It's up to you if you feel like getting a new PC but with the spec you have given so far it probably isn't worth it. Which version of Win 7 are you using? If it is the 32bit then stick with your 4Gb RAM, if you have 64bit then up the RAM to 8Gb especially if it is DDR3 which is quite cheap nowadays, both will give you a boost.

I didn't recommend a budget machine, just a budget graphics card. If you can afford it go for the HD5770 This page is a good guide to the performance of the latest cards, it is an American site but the price ratios will apply to this country even if the actual prices don't.

  proudfoot 16:23 21 Jun 2011

I had the same problem with my HP Pavilion constantly shutting down. I isolated it to the video card which must have been overheating. The fan worked but was stiff when I tried rotating it by hand. I bought a new card and that sorted the problem out.

  Palken 18:03 22 Jun 2011

Am I doing this right?

To reply to a post I go to the top of the page and click on 'Post a response'. Sounds like a silly question but I replied to my last response(I thought in the same was as previously) but when I checked today my reply is not posted?

What does the check box 'Tick here if you would like to subscribe to replies to this question' do?

Must seem like dumb questions but I am new to all this:(

  chub_tor 18:16 22 Jun 2011

To reply to a post you go to the box at the bottom of the page headed Reply to this Topic and if you tick the subscribe box you will get an email each time someone posts a reply.

  Palken 09:45 23 Jun 2011

Thanks for that Chub and thanks for hepl to date.

  Palken 09:54 23 Jun 2011

Thanks Chub and st-clares for your help.

When I referred to a budget machine I was referring to the inexpensive machine you had recommeded in my previous thread 'Video editing' and was wondering how that machine would compare to my current machine equipped with a HD5770 card and 8Gb of RAM?

How can I tell if my version of windows is 64bit and if I have DDR memory

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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