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Is my graphics card possibly failing? Or is it my motherboard?


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#1 Nexi

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 12:26 PM

Hello everyone.
First of all, I'm so sorry if I'm posting in the wrong section, but I'm new here and looking for an urgent solution to my problem. (also, it's been a while since I've set foot into a forum)
 
I happen to own a very old computer with a very old graphics card (or so I think). Of course, it has been upgraded ever since I acquired it, but only very slightly. So here's my issue:
 
Quite recently, I've been experiencing spontaneous freezing everytime I play games. This freeze affects not the game itself, but the whole computer. The image hangs, the sound abruptly stops and everything becomes unresponsive, including the mouse and the keyboard. This happens mostly with online games, even if these are not demanding ones at all. Lucent Heart is a good example of that, and the game I am currently playing the most at the time. Here's a short trailer, just so you can confirm it:
Spoiler
 
When I got my first freeze, I thought it was an issue of the game itself, so I made a system restore back to the day before I installed it. After that, of course, I reinstalled the game again and after a few minutes of gameplay, the freezing issue occurred once more. I tried playing other online games, such as League of Legends and Eden Eternal, only to have the same thing happening.
 
I tried checking for any errors in my hard disk and the analysis came out clean, according to windows. I've also cleaned the registry, checked for viruses, malware, spyware and things of the sort. Nothing came up. Ultimately I performed a disk defragmentation, but the freezing problem still persisted.
 
At this point I started to think something could be wrong with my old ATI Radeon 9600. I remembered its tiny little fan had been doing some strange, loud and irritating noise for quite a while, but I never really paid much attention to it since it never caused any problems. So I decided to try something. I opened my computer's case on one of its sides and got back to playing one of those online games while checking the fan from time to time. At first, everything was good. The fan was working just fine, even though it was being noisy. After a few minutes, I noticed it started to lose some speed until it completely stopped. Sometimes after it slowed down, it would speed up again after a few moments. Be as it may, I registed that the computer would freeze mostly when the fan slowed down or stopped. At first, I thought the graphics card could be overheating but whenever I touched it, It would be barely warm. I also tried SpeedFan to register the Temps, but for some reason, it would NOT detect my GPU at all. The GPU's client utility registers its temp always at 0º and I'm not so sure if that's normal.
 
Starting to grow genuinely worried, I decided to clean the graphics card and fan THROUGHLY. So I carefully unscrewed the fan from the card and removed it, and cleaned all the dust inside (believe me, it was nasty.) I also applied a tiny bit of sewing machine oil to it and when I put everything back together and turned the computer on, the noise was gone. 
 
Thinking I could have solved the problem without having done much, I started to play again. This time, I was able to play a good 2-3 hours with no problem at all...until it happened again. I got back to check the fan, and it was rotating just fine. It wasn't slowing down or anything. I'm out of ideas at this point. I read somewhere that my heatsink could be not working correctly or have some sort of bad contact, but I really don't know.
 
I would really, REALLY appreciate if someone could help me find a solution to this problem, because I'm clearly missing something. Either that, or my graphics card is close to giving its last breath. Along with my motherboard.
 
Here are my computer's specs, just in case:
 
Spoiler
 
Thanks in advance!
 


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#2 Aerys

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 04:21 PM

Sounds like you are having the exact same issue as a friend of mine, and I built his computer less than a year ago. I have been working on the issue off and on for weeks and I think I narrowed it down to his GPU, also a Radeon card suspiciously enough. Does your computer have integrated graphics as well? If you can try unplugging the GPU and using the video ports on the motherboard, that might help narrow down the cause to the GPU.


He said the same thing he had been saying for hours... "burn them all".

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#3 Nexi

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 07:00 PM

To be honest, I never checked if my computer had integrated graphics. Mainly because I don't know what an integrated graphics card looks like. Is there a way to find out without actually opening the computer's case? Be as it may, I'll unplug the card from the motherboard and start the computer without it, tomorrow. I'll let you guys know if the whole freezing problem persists.


Edited by Nexi, 02 February 2015 - 07:02 PM.


#4 DeimosChaos

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 07:05 PM

To be honest, I never checked if my computer had integrated graphics. Mainly because I don't know what an integrated graphics card looks like. Is there a way to find out without actually opening the computer's case? Be as it may, I'll unplug the card from the motherboard and start the computer without it, tomorrow. I'll let you guys know if the whole freezing problem persists.

 

No need to open the case to see if you have integrated graphics. In the below picture you can see that the vga hookup (green arrow pointing to it) is in between usb ports, audio ports, etc etc. If you have a graphics card it would towards the right in either the green slot, or the white slot. The vga hook up would also be vertical instead of horizontal (in this picture, of course it would be the other way around when the computer is standing up) if it is a dedicated graphics card.

 

integratedvideo.jpg


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#5 Nexi

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 07:21 AM

Thank you so much for your help and suggestions. I've tried plugging my display on to the port that is listed in the above picture and...apparently I do NOT have an integrated graphics card. The computer assumes it as a simple VGA adapter and not a video card. I tried to load the game I mentioned when i created the topic for the heck of it, and of course, it would not let me play. 


Edited by Nexi, 04 February 2015 - 07:21 AM.


#6 YeahBleeping

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 07:19 PM

Yes your video card is an oldie.  And I agree I suspect the video card.  If you have a small fan you can use to blow into the computer while playing and you can play forever then you know your problem is heat.  I suspect that is why you were able to play for long periods after you cleaned the card heatsink/fan.

 

This Card would be a hugemongus step up from that one if you wanted to try an upgraded AGP card (without getting a whole new system)



#7 Nexi

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 01:40 PM

Yes your video card is an oldie.  And I agree I suspect the video card.  If you have a small fan you can use to blow into the computer while playing and you can play forever then you know your problem is heat.  I suspect that is why you were able to play for long periods after you cleaned the card heatsink/fan.

 

This Card would be a hugemongus step up from that one if you wanted to try an upgraded AGP card (without getting a whole new system)

 

I haven't tried that yet for a single reason: The card seems barely warm to the touch when the computer freezes. I'm not sure if it's supposed to feel that way when it's overheating. Maybe it is, I really don't know.

 

That card you linked looks really nice. The price is a big no-no for me at the moment, so I guess I would just have to wait. However, is it compatible with my motherboard? I think I listed it in my computer's specs on the first post of the topic.



#8 DeimosChaos

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 10:24 PM

Thank you so much for your help and suggestions. I've tried plugging my display on to the port that is listed in the above picture and...apparently I do NOT have an integrated graphics card. The computer assumes it as a simple VGA adapter and not a video card. I tried to load the game I mentioned when i created the topic for the heck of it, and of course, it would not let me play.


My appologies, I should have mentioned that the integrated graphics chip will more than likely not play any games. They are usually only good for the basic things.
Even though the card doesn't seem to be hot, it could still be a bad card.
Does the computer shut down at all when not gaming, or was it only when you are gaming?

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#9 YeahBleeping

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 10:25 AM

The card I suggested as an upgrade is an AGP so yes it would replace your current card.  If the memory on your current video card is failing it would not get hot.  It would just do what you describe.






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