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Multiple GPU's dying and causing crashes, permanent artifacting, monitor failure


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#1 italics

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 12:01 AM

Before I get started, I just simply want to say THANK YOU in advance to anyone with the patience and kindness to actually read through this and attempt to help me. This is probably one of the most bizarre PC issue stories you'll ever see on this forum, and I know it may be a headache to figure out. So again, if you're kind and patient enough to actually try and help me out here - thanks. 

This issue has been reoccurring over the past 8 months or so, and so my rig specifications have changed. I will update them with the story, which is broken up into 3 different points in time...

ISSUE #1: July 2013
Rig at the time: 
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium Service Pack 1
Processor: AMD FX™-4100 Quad-Core Processor 3.60 GHz
RAM: 8.00 GB
System: 64-bit 
Power Supply: Coolermaster 500
GPU: Nvidia (don't recall model, but it's irrelevant) 

What happened: Playing a game whenever suddenly my screen gets some weird artifacting and freezes. From this point on, any time I play any sort of video game that isn't Diablo 2, my PC either freezes or I get BSoD. Eventually, however, my PC crashes again while playing a Diablo 2 cinematic. This time, when I restart my PC, the entire screen is covered in weird artifacts, and Windows will no longer even boot up. As I try multiple times to boot up windows, my monitor eventually stops even picking up a signal, leaving me with no display. 

My friend comes over, we remove my GPU, and everything starts working properly again. He puts my GPU into his computer to see if it does the same thing to his computer, and it does. We figure that the GPU is just old (I had gotten it used off of a friend) and that simply getting a new GPU will surely fix the issue. 
I buy a new GPU, and everything now seems to be fine, other than that the DVI cable gives me no signal, so I have to use a VGA converter to get any monitor display. But other than that, everything is back to being great. 
Until...

ISSUE# 2: February 2014
Rig at the time: 
Same as in ISSUE 1, but with a new GPU (AMD HD 7770)

I'm playing Diablo 3, and I get the "grey screen of death" (grey screen with vertical lines running through it). I have to do a hard restart. Everything reboots fine. My wife begins watching a tv show in VLC... screen goes black. Have to do a hard restart again. This time, the strange artifacts are back, and once again, my monitor is having issues, often times not even receiving any signal. Once again, removing the GPU fixes the issues. 

At this point... I figure that the issue is obviously not faulty GPU's. I decide that it is either my Motherboard, or my Power Supply. After talking with several different friends who are pretty tech savvy, we decide that, based on the issues that I've had, it's likely an issue with my Power Supply. My friend once again puts my new GPU into his PC, and alas, it does the same thing to his PC (artifacting, trouble starting up windows, etc.). 
It sucks, because despite the fact that the issue isn't the GPU itself, my new GPU is again fried, and I realize I will have to buy both another GPU AND another power supply. 
So I go and buy: 
GPU: XFX R7 260x
Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 600w

I install the new GPU and PSU and fire up a game of League of Legends. No issue. I then fire up Diablo 3, and within a few minutes...

ISSUE #3: March 6 2014 

Within a few minutes of having Diablo 3 running, my monitor shuts off. I alt+tab and I hear the game music stop. This is a good thing, I figure, because it means that my PC didn't crash or BSoD, it just simply lost it's monitor display. 
I do a hard restart - my monitor display fails to come back, and my PC also fails to boot up, causing it to automatically restart again. 
I switch from DVI port 1 on my GPU to DVI port 2. This causes my display to return. I then switch back to DVI port 1 to see if it's still failing - but alas, this time it returns my display. 
So... HOPING that this was just a fluke and that I'm not still having issues, I fire up a tv show. About 15 minutes into the show, my screen goes black and I get nothing but static noise. I do a hard restart. DVI port 1 again isn't giving any display, so I switch back to port 2 again. I'm hoping and praying that when my computer restarts I don't have artifacts again (means that my GPU that just arrived in the mail today is already dead like the last 2). Fortunately, windows boots up fine and there are no artifacts. 

So that brings us to...

The present: At this point, I am pretty much beginning to feel hopeless. Here are a few very important points: 
- I have uninstalled all previous video card drivers and checked multiple times to ensure that my current AMD drivers are completely up to date.
- I have been moderating my temperature and I know for a fact that this is not an issue with overheating - my temps have been nearly 100% ideal. - - I've dropped money on three GPU's and a brand new power supply... and still, the same issues. 
- What initiated the issues all three times was playing Diablo. This seems important to me, b/c I figure that there is something about the game making my PC work extra hard that is pushing whatever the root issue is over the edge. On paper, though, all of my specs are absolutely MORE than enough to handle a game like Diablo 3 (after all, I was able to play it for months without these issues ever happening). 
However, once my PC crashes once, I can no longer do ANYTHING gaming or video-watching related without a crash. And I'm afraid that if I push it and have another crash, it could end up being the crash that will, once again, destroy my graphics card. And based off of the symptoms I've been having, it seems unlikely that my motherboard could be the cause, either. 

I'm really lost at this point. I've dropped hundreds of $$$ into this issue and it isn't fixing it. I'm close to just completely building a new rig... but at this point, I've replaced so much that I'd really like to make my current one work. If anyone has had similar issues and/or thinks they can figure out what is going on here, I can't put into words how grateful I'd be. 


Edited by hamluis, 07 March 2014 - 01:59 PM.
Moved from Win 7 to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.


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#2 defanged

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 01:00 AM

probly a dumb question, but where did your copy of diablo come from? I mean, store-bought, loaned disc, torrent, whatever... i'm just wondering cuz, as you pointed out, diablo seems to be the common factor here...



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#3 PanickyD

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 01:31 AM

probly a dumb question, but where did your copy of diablo come from? I mean, store-bought, loaned disc, torrent, whatever... i'm just wondering cuz, as you pointed out, diablo seems to be the common factor here...

 

I agree, defanged

 

Have you checked for Diablo3 game patches lately? Might fix the game issue, but it seems unlikely that a misbehaving game could cause hardware failure. Although I suppose it could if it was wrong in just the right way.....


After the game, the King and the Pawn go into the same box...


#4 italics

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 01:39 AM

 

probly a dumb question, but where did your copy of diablo come from? I mean, store-bought, loaned disc, torrent, whatever... i'm just wondering cuz, as you pointed out, diablo seems to be the common factor here...

 

I agree, defanged

 

Have you checked for Diablo3 game patches lately? Might fix the game issue, but it seems unlikely that a misbehaving game could cause hardware failure. Although I suppose it could if it was wrong in just the right way.....

 

 

It's definitely not an issue with the game itself. As I said, I have had these crashes result from doing things as simple as watching a movie in VLC media player. The crashes just seem more common in D3. New GPU - no fix. New PSU - no fix. Reinstalling drivers - no fix. And I'm absolutely terrified of trying to play games to see if it happens again, because I never know when the next crash will be "the one" that causes my GPU to be permanently screwed, where it starts artifacting and preventing windows from even booting up. 



#5 bludshot

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 01:55 AM

Sounds to me like you got 2 bad video cards followed by a video card that is having an issue.

 

The first 2 cards clearly had hardware problems, because when you put them in your friend's PC they still had a problem. Either they were just faulty, or some how your motherboard or monitor are able to ruin the cards.

 

So you could replace your motherboard and monitor to rule that out.

 

Anyhow, I think you should just diagnose your 3rd card all by itself. So far all its done is stop sending a signal once, and froze your pc once. If you could reproduce the error with VLC (which, I doubt you will be that lucky) then you could try hooking a different monitor up to the PC and see if it still happens.

 

The first 2 cards sound like you were just unlucky, or, that you are constantly running your pc too hot and the cards wore out from being too hot.



#6 italics

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 02:07 AM

Sounds to me like you got 2 bad video cards followed by a video card that is having an issue.

 

The first 2 cards clearly had hardware problems, because when you put them in your friend's PC they still had a problem. Either they were just faulty, or some how your motherboard or monitor are able to ruin the cards.

 

So you could replace your motherboard and monitor to rule that out.

 

Anyhow, I think you should just diagnose your 3rd card all by itself. So far all its done is stop sending a signal once, and froze your pc once. If you could reproduce the error with VLC (which, I doubt you will be that lucky) then you could try hooking a different monitor up to the PC and see if it still happens.

 

The first 2 cards sound like you were just unlucky, or, that you are constantly running your pc too hot and the cards wore out from being too hot.

I really don't think the first two cards were bad. The first card, between my friend and I, lasted about 4-5 years. The second card last about 8 months (not great, but still). 

 

Can a monitor really ruin a GPU? Are you sure that is possible? I can't picture how that would work, but maybe I just don't know enough about these sort of things. 

 

I suppose I could go with a new mobo... but it seems like there are a ton of people having similar issues with AMD cards. I've already spent enough money on new hardware and it hasn't fixed the issue, so I'm hesitant to drop even more cash until I know for sure what the issue is. 



#7 bludshot

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 02:52 AM

Sorry, when I say "bad" I mean faulting hardware. When a card gives you weird artifacting and freezes, and you put it into someone else's computer and it still does it, then you know that it's the card itself that is "bad" (has Gone bad), and not the game software, or windows or the driver, or something else about the computer - since it did it in both computers.

 

No, I don't think a monitor can really ruin a GPU, but you've presented such a weird possible problem (the mystery of 3 video cards going bad even though you've replaced some other parts) that, just logically speaking we have to look at the remaining elements that are still in common. And now your latest issue isn't necessarily related to the previous one.

 

If your display goes black when you run VLC, and it only did it with one monitor and not the other monitor, then you could say the monitor is the problem (or the video cable). That is unlikely, but it would rule it out.

 

I don't think your current issue is nearly at the point where you have to buy a new motherboard.



#8 defanged

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 04:05 AM

 

 

probly a dumb question, but where did your copy of diablo come from? I mean, store-bought, loaned disc, torrent, whatever... i'm just wondering cuz, as you pointed out, diablo seems to be the common factor here...

 

I agree, defanged

 

Have you checked for Diablo3 game patches lately? Might fix the game issue, but it seems unlikely that a misbehaving game could cause hardware failure. Although I suppose it could if it was wrong in just the right way.....

 

 

It's definitely not an issue with the game itself. As I said, I have had these crashes result from doing things as simple as watching a movie in VLC media player. The crashes just seem more common in D3. New GPU - no fix. New PSU - no fix. Reinstalling drivers - no fix. And I'm absolutely terrified of trying to play games to see if it happens again, because I never know when the next crash will be "the one" that causes my GPU to be permanently screwed, where it starts artifacting and preventing windows from even booting up. 

 

 

yeah, that makes more sense than my theory (which was half-ass at best). I'm wondering if maybe it's time to move on... salvage and sell anything you can from the current computer, and either build your own or buy a new one. It sounds more expensive, but if you are buying new cards every other months, or a new PSU, or what-the-hell-let's-try-a-new-motherboard, you are almost buying a new rig - - albeit, one part at a time, and nothing seems to work...



SETUP, as of 4/14 - Case: Corsair 900D full tower, PSU: corsair 1200 watts, MB: ASUS rampage IV extreme, GPU(s): 3 X Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 hydro copper classified in 3-way SLI , RAM: 64 GB corsair dominator platinum DDR3, CPU: i7 3970X extreme edition @ 3.5 GHz (hexacore), OD: ASUS blu-ray RW, Cooling: EK liquid system, incl. EK waterblock, EK fittings, EK pump, resevoir, coolant misc., generic tubing, Audio: Creative sound blaster Recon3D THX PCIE Fatal1ty Champion sound card, Storage: SSD/HD: 2 X 240 GB samsung SSD (OS - win 7 pro), 1 TB caviar black, 4 TB caviar blue.

#9 italics

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 03:13 PM

Sorry, when I say "bad" I mean faulting hardware. When a card gives you weird artifacting and freezes, and you put it into someone else's computer and it still does it, then you know that it's the card itself that is "bad" (has Gone bad), and not the game software, or windows or the driver, or something else about the computer - since it did it in both computers.

 

No, I don't think a monitor can really ruin a GPU, but you've presented such a weird possible problem (the mystery of 3 video cards going bad even though you've replaced some other parts) that, just logically speaking we have to look at the remaining elements that are still in common. And now your latest issue isn't necessarily related to the previous one.

 

If your display goes black when you run VLC, and it only did it with one monitor and not the other monitor, then you could say the monitor is the problem (or the video cable). That is unlikely, but it would rule it out.

 

I don't think your current issue is nearly at the point where you have to buy a new motherboard.

Well the display didn't simply go black when using VLC - my entire PC crashed and I had to do a hard restart. So even with another monitor running, it would't have made any difference if my entire system had a seizure. 

 

Some new info though: I got a response to my thread over on Tom's hardware. Someone there said their friend had a similar issue - they would put in a new GPU and it would become damaged immediately. He said it turned out the issue was that a faulty PSU had damaged the PCE-I slot of his motherboard and that this faulty PCE-I slot was somehow managing to cause his motherboard to send out dangerous currents and ruin the GPU. I'm not sure if this is the same issue I'm having, but truth be told, this is the first I've heard of someone else having an issue with multiple GPU's and not just one - so it might be worth testing out. 

 

I'm thinking I'm going to try and borrow a mobo from someone before spending money on a new one, just to be 100% this is the issue before I go spending more money. That, or I could buy one from best buy since they have the 15 day return warranty. 

 

In the meanwhile, still feel free to respond to this if you have any other ideas or suggestions. I'm open to anything. 



#10 bludshot

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 09:43 PM

Yeah, that's pretty much what I was saying, it's the motherboard (if your current issue is related to the issue with the previous 2 cards, which I'm not convinced it is though). The reason I say that is because there are people with your current symptoms who have not had such big dying graphics card issues in the past. I mean, sometimes my computer crashes when I'm watching videos too, but I'm not going to replace my motherboard.

 

I don't think Best Buy allows people to return open and used motherboards, so I'd definitely double check if they do before trying that.

 

 

Now, I guess it doesn't, because you would have already thought of this, but, if your motherboard has two PCI-E video card slots, try using the other one.



#11 technonymous

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 07:45 PM

Did you build this pc yourself? Reason why I ask as something shorting out could cause issues. In the past working with computers I have come across a lot of strange things. Yes a bad motherboard can continue to blow out a video card. Also, you shouldn't overclock the system or the video card if you do.



#12 killerx525

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 07:59 PM

Hmmm, just curious, have you overclocked the CPU or GPU? Also have you tried another monitor, may be you could use or borrow a spare one?


Edited by killerx525, 08 March 2014 - 08:00 PM.

>Michael 
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#13 italics

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 08:54 PM

Hmmm, just curious, have you overclocked the CPU or GPU? Also have you tried another monitor, may be you could use or borrow a spare one?

 

Nope, I haven't altered anything in the slightest. 

And I highly doubt a new monitor will fix the issue. This is an issue with my computer BSoD, black screening, crashing, GPU's dying... not just simply a monitor display one. 

 

Also...

 

UPDATE: I tried plugging my DVI port into port 2 on my GPU. I got a good 30 minutes of Diablo 3 in before I got a black screen + static noise. For a second, it actually almost seemed to recover (the static went away and I could hear the game again), but then it went back to static. Did a hard restart but had no display... had to switch back to port 1 to get display. 

 

The good news is... so far, none of these crashes have led to any artifacts or permanent GPU damage. This leads me to believe that either:

A) The issue with this GPU is not the same issue I've been having with my past GPU's

B) This is the same issue, but it just hasn't completely ruined my new GPU yet, or

C) My new GPU, being from a more recent series, has safeguards built in that prevent permanent damage being done 

 

Which brings up another interesting point... so far with this new GPU, every time it has crashed I have to switch from port 1 to 2 (or vice versa) in order to get display on my monitor again. So it seems like this could be port related? It's hard to say. 

 

I'm currently saving up to get a new Mobo and see if that solves the issue. 


Edited by italics, 08 March 2014 - 08:56 PM.


#14 technonymous

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 11:55 PM

That sounds like a northbridge chipset probably going out on the motherboard. You said static sounds, I had a similar issue like this, but it was onboard sound and southbridge. The sound had a horrific buzzing sound coming through. It was a faulty mobo. You did get a new PSU so that can be ruled out. Inspect the motherboard caps and see if they are leaking, swollen, popped on top. Caps put out high pitch, sizzling, crackling noises through the system as like a interference. As an example have you ever adjusted a volume knob on an old radio and got a crackle out of the speakers? That's due to a faulty capacitor.



#15 italics

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:49 PM

That sounds like a northbridge chipset probably going out on the motherboard. You said static sounds, I had a similar issue like this, but it was onboard sound and southbridge. The sound had a horrific buzzing sound coming through. It was a faulty mobo. You did get a new PSU so that can be ruled out. Inspect the motherboard caps and see if they are leaking, swollen, popped on top. Caps put out high pitch, sizzling, crackling noises through the system as like a interference. As an example have you ever adjusted a volume knob on an old radio and got a crackle out of the speakers? That's due to a faulty capacitor.

 

K this is actually extremely interesting. Those sound match exactly the sounds I get when I crash... also, perhaps this isn't related, but a few months ago I noticed that my speakers started making these crackling noises, just like the ones you are describing w/ the radio speakers. 

 

So perhaps it is the mobo... and I'm hoping it is, as I plan on ordering a new one today!






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