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Hardware problem: Video card or power supply?

Discussion in 'Techno-Magic' started by SlickRCBD, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    My computer is having problems. Whenever I do something high intensity such as playing a game or occasionally when watching videos (especially YouTube or other video sites) on my Gateway 4200DX with it's ATI Radeon3450 graphics card, sometimes the screen will fill with something vaguely resembling static snow on a TV except all kinds of colors for a few seconds, then everything goes dark while any audio continues to play, then the computer hard reboots.

    The behavior resembles something that happened to my Dell Optiplex GX110 back when I upgraded it from Windows 98SE to making it dual-boot to Windows XP and installed the wrong video driver. However, like the Optiplex, this system is also a dual-boot with 64-bit Vista Home Premium and 7 Professional. I'm reasonably certain the drivers aren't corrupted because I tried rebooting into Vista, which I haven't used in at least a year and it still glitched out when I started up KOTOR2.
    The problem seems to happen when the fans on the graphics card would go into high, although I'm not 100% certain it is the graphic card fan that gets loud (I don't remember and don't feel it's important enough to research).
    I've verified that all the fans work, at least until it glitches out by running it with the case open.

    I have a spare power supply, but not a suitable spare video card. Changing the power supply is a royal PITA however (the wires were a real pain the last time, more than on any system I've changed since 2007 and I've worked as a hardware tech), and I'm working 6 days a week and have to use my one day off for things like laundry, grocery shopping, etc. I'd rather not mess with the power supply if it's the video card, but I'm sure it's one or the other.

    Any thoughts on which one? I have to order a video card if it's the issue, and if I wasn't working so much I'd just change the power supply. I'm annoyed, the power supply was replaced last year when the RAM went bad as I misdiagnosed things.
    I'm thinking I should retire it, but I dislike Windows 10 and prefer Windows 7 so I'm being stubborn. Also I don't know how I'd install copy protected games like Temple of Elemental Evil on the Windows 10 computer.
     
  2. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    If I had to guess I'd guess the power supply since it seems to happen when your power draw is high.

    Don't install the power supply fully if you don't have enough time until your sure that's the problem. Leave it out of the case on your desk and just hook the necessary power wires up with the case open in the easiest way you can. Leave the old one as installed as you can (i.e. leave it in the case and just unplug the power wires you have routed; don't remove them). Run it that way for a while and see if the problem presents again. If the problem doesn't present then choose a good time to install it properly sometime in the future.
     
  3. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    It kinda sounds like the graphics card is having some problems. Though it might be something else, as I'm not sure that youtube is using hardware acceleration (i.e. your graphics card). I thought youtube usually runs without hardware acceleration, so then it seems to go more to the PSU. It might be that the cooling of either CPU or graphics card is insufficient (either cooler getting loose, or poor air flow in the case, or the cooling paste of the cooler needs to be re-applied).

    You can test the graphics card by using a benchmark, preferably one that loads strictly the GPU (graphics card).
    Or to run a benchmark for your CPU, something like Prime95, for instance.

    As for the power supply, I'm not sure the draw would be really high with your system, certainly a Radeon 3450 shouldn't tax any power supply that much. On the other hand, replacing the PSU and checking if stuff works is a cheap option to check, if you have the time. I'd note that if you test it with the case open and it doesn't lock up, it might still be due to a cooling issue, though.
     
  4. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    It can't be the draw. I replaced the power supply last year with one that provided 50 watts more than the original (Best Buy didn't have an exact wattage it was 50W more or 50W less, I figured better to go with more than chance less not being enough), and other than replacing a bad 2gb DIMM with a 4GB one and replacing the power supply that I haven't changed the hardware configuration in years.
     
  5. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    It can be the draw if the PS is failing. The first Seasonic PS I bought failed within a year. Sent it back under warranty and they replaced it with the same model. Failed again less than a year later. Bought a different model (same capacity) and have been going strong ever since. Symptoms I had were random hard restarts until eventually I couldn't even fully boot up.
     
  6. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    I wonder if that's why it was on sale. It's an insignia 450-watt power supply. I stuck the old one in the box when I swapped them thinking it was a power supply issue last year when it turned out to be bad RAM.
    The wires were more of a PITA than usual, so i didn't bother to swap them back since I did not think I could get my money back anyways.
    Anyways, you are right, if the power supply is going bad it could be the draw. If it was going to fail however, why couldn't it fail when the warranty was still good? I'm going to have to check if it was 90 days or 1 year, but I replaced it back in September 2018. I'll be upset if it was a 1 year warranty.
    Well, in any case, I don't have a day off until next week, and the schedule doesn't come out until tomorrow evening. I'm working Saturday and Sunday, but have no idea about the rest of next week. I'm not going to mess with it until then since I do have a "new" Windows 10 only a year old. I bought it in response to the hardware failure of the computer in question, I just found that unlike Windows 7, I dislike Windows 10. I swear it's worse than Vista or ME in some ways. Less technical issues and more annoyances with the designs of the program. Which in some ways is worse. Once you get things working in Vista or ME, they aren't that bad as long as you don't change the configurations (though you may never get some things working perfectly).
    I'm thinking about giving Classic Shell a go, but keep procrastinating because I need to get used to it for work. Doesn't mean I like it, but need to get as familiar with it as I am with 7.
    Actually that's probably why I'm clinging to the Windows 7 computer. I like that, and it's not as hopelessly obsolete as my working XP computer that is old enough to vote.
     
  7. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    It sounds like your GPU crashes with high stress/power draw. So it's either an issue with the PSU or your GPU might be overheating or having other mechanical issues. The easiest solution would be to test both and see which fails.
     
  8. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    I just had an idea, but I have to goto work. What about trying something CPU intensive with Remote Desktop. That should keep the screen turned off, but I've never really thought about or looked into how much of the remote computer's GPU gets used when using remote desktop.
    Only question is what should I use for the tests? All of the crashes have happened with videoes like games or movies. Spamming multiple YouTube video tabs is one, (not that I WANT them all to start playing automatically, but YouTube keeps breaking the things I find to disable that or they make changes and those things break needed features like volume control. Wish I could find something that ONLY disabled the the "start playing as soon as you switch to the tab") without trying to do lots of other stuff (and the in-video ads).
     
  9. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Prime95 just uses the CPU, you can set it as long as you want. People use it also as a sort of stability test when overclocking the CPU, so it should work for you as well.
     
  10. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    This is how my Gateway computer is glitching. I can't figure out if it is the RAM or the video card, I just changed the power supply with a spare (finally got around to it. Working retail sucks), but I don't have any spare RAM or PCI-X video cards lying around (I've got a spare AGP card in a dead computer).
    It generally glitches faster if I do something graphics intensive, so I launched KOTOR2 which has parts that strain this computer's graphics abilities. I didn't even get that far...

    I apologize for the poor quality of the video (which is probably an understatement). This is my first attempt at making such a video and probably only the second or third time I've ever used my phone's video camera (as opposed to stills which I do all the time), and I've had this phone since 2013.
    I suppose I should have set the resolution to maximum instead of minimum, which I had deliberately set in case I accidentally started making a video.

    So, any ideas on what to try, or is it time to scrap the computer? I like Windows 7 a lot better than Windows 10, that's for sure.
    If I do scrap it, how can I play Temple of elemental Evil or several other games that won't run on Windows 10 because of SafeDisc and Securom ? I've got the following choices:
    Dell Optiplex GX110 with 512mb RAM running Windows98SE/XP, or a fairly modern Windows 10 computer only a year old, with nothing working in between.
     
  11. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    If it is the memory, you'd expect to also experience hang ups like this outside of videogames. Booting the computer might hang from time to time, for instance. Or having many tabs open in your browser of choice. Videogames specifically seems to point to the graphics card, I think.

    As for alternatives, you could just get a new graphics card, which would have the benefit of faster than your old graphics card, and doesn't need to break the bank. I've got a RX560 card, which is: quiet, able to run Witcher 3 at pretty good settings, and can be found for less than €100.
     
  12. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    All of which are happening, although I don't recall it failing to boot per sae, it did glitch out on the Welcome screen. I just got new RAM last year, so if it is the RAM I suspect a fault on the motherboard is messing it up or something.
    I only used the video game because it is a sure-fire way to make it glitch out, where it can take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour with more normal usage. Although I did note it glitched more often when looking at video sites. I should mention the reason I was going to "load game" is because I was going to load a game at a point where it taxes the system so I could force it to glitch. If you know KOTOR2, it's when you first enter the mines and have to get through the hot smoke and the tutorial tells you about shields. I HAVE to turn off anti-aliasing or it slows to a crawl and you run into walls.

    I suspected the video card, and made a thread last month, then I had a total of 4 days off from Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) until Christmas (and although it averaged to 1 day a week, I went 17 days without a day off). My mom is having surgery on the 22nd, and I've been taking care of projects I delayed in December for her and myself.
    However, I noticed when changing the power supply that one of the DIMMs seemed to wiggle just a tiny bit more than the others, making me think of the RAM.

    The thing is, this glitch looks extremely similar to something that happened on my Dell Optiplex GX110 back when I first upgraded it from Windows 98SE to Windows XP over a decade ago. I downloaded the wrong graphics drivers from Dell's website and it glitched like that after I installed it. I had to reboot into safe mode and uninstall them, then install the correct driver. Booting Windows 98SE did not have the issue, so I knew it was a software problem.

    So, any opinions on what the problem is and how to fix it? If I was still a tech at work I'd just swap the RAM (because it's easier), then swap the video card. The problem is here is that I don't have the appropriate spare components for that computer lying around, I have to buy them and money's tight. I'm barely making ends meet.
    I've got a spare AGP video card from a dead computer, but this system has a PCI-X (1st gen) ATI Radeon 3450 video card (came with the computer) and a couple of the older PCI slots (one of which has a modem) but no AGP slot.
    As for spare RAM, I don't think I have any DDR2 RAM lying around, let alone the specific RAM it uses.
    The point is, I want opinions on what to try so I don't waste money I can't spare on buying the wrong thing.
     
  13. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Well, new drivers are easy to install, though if you haven't your drivers in a while (and why would you, it's not like they're going to make a lot of new drivers for such an old card), I wouldn't expect the drivers to be an issue.

    Most likely candidate is still the graphics card, I'd say. And changing the graphics card is probably easier even than swapping RAM modules (though more expensive to buy).
     
  14. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    Well, it's clearly not the PSU and the computer crashes much too quickly for it to be an overheating issue. I too think it's most likely an issue with the GPU (or your graphics card's memory). If you wanna make sure it's not your RAM, you can run a Memtest and see if it reports any issues.
     
  15. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    Well, it could be an overheating issue if it was the PSU. My great aunt had an HP Slimline with a bad PSU back in 2008 (technically it was a 2006 computer, but it malfunctioned in 2008). It actually got really hot in 5-15 minutes and would automatically shut down. I had to order a replacement online due to the part being proprietary and NOBODY in the area carried it because the computer was 3 years old and it was a proprietary PSU.

    As for drivers, that is extremely unlikely. I haven't updated the graphics drivers in at least five years. Also the system dual-boots to Vista and I had the same issues, and I had not even booted into Vista in at least a year, yet the problem happens when I tested it last month. So it couldn't be a driver issue on the Vista front unless the existing ones had something akin to a Y2K time-bomb issue.
     
  16. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    Well yeah, minutes being the operative word here. Looking at the video, the computer crashes in seconds. That makes it extremely unlikely that it's an overheating issue.

    And yeah, I don't think this is a driver issue either. Looks like a mechanical problem. I've had crashes like that from faulty RAM, CPUs, and GPUs.
     
  17. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    So it's a coin flip between buying new RAM or a video card. I was hoping somebody had a better guess.
     
  18. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    My best guess would still be the GPU, but like Keneth says, random crashes can happen from any failing hardware.
     
  19. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    Run a Memtest before deciding to buy new RAM.
     
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