Archive for June 21st, 2009

Broken Hardware part 2

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Back to square 1 with the video card crashes. Even on my loaner 9800GT, same issues as before. I am even suspecting its the same issue as plagued my 8800GTX.

Mass effect is a good example: It will run fine for 5 minutes, then suddenly freeze. With alt-ctrl-del I get back to my desktop. But that is apparently the kick-start the graphics driver needs, and it will immediately full-screen the game again, and all is fine, for about 5 minutes, then it freezes again.

Now I have noticed, that if I just leave it frozen, without pressing alt-ctrl-delete to restart the graphics, the problem will permanently corrupt all graphics functions for this session of Windows, causing the crazy-ass pixel snow effect I have described before. Windows desktop will display random mis-colored pixels, that move about when something else on the screen moves. In the game the image becomes a mixed up mess of pixels, but its basically the same effect.
I imagine this is what video-memory corruption looks like.

Now I had exactly the same problem when I was running the 295, on Vista, aswell as on Windows 7, and on the old mainboard/cpu/power suppy, as well as the new hardware.
Thinking back to my original issue with the 8800GTX, I cannot remember seeing the pixel mess, but the freeze behaviour was identical.  If only I had let it sit there on the frozen screen of Mass Effect a bit longer, perhaps then I would have seen the same pixel issues.

IMG_3229 by you.

IMG_3233 by you.

IMG_3234 by you.

So, across a different OS, different cpu, different mainboard, different power supply, AND 3 different video cards, I seem to be having the same problem over and over.

Something is fucking up the graphics somehow. Either the physical card or the drivers.
What I find fascinating is also how in the corruption while in game, you very clearly see that familiar diagonal line across the screen. I cant remember what that was exactly, but it something pretty basic to how images are drawn on the screen. It goes to show something is off on a very basic, hardware level.

I have bene looking for common elements. Here is the stuff I can think of:
– Same power socket (could it be a power issue causing memory corruption? Would this not be stopped by the power supply?)
– Same sound card; Creative Labs X-fi Fatality edition (with front panel)
– Same mouse (logitech MX revolution)
– Same Keyboard (logitech G15)
– Same headphones (logitech G35)
– Same Wireless Network USB dongel (sitecom)
– Same 2 monotors: 22″ and 19″
– Same Case
– Something enviromental like interference, magnetic field or signal-crossover

Now, looking at the list above, the ony thing that has recently changed or been added is of course the G35 headset.
My first thought was, maybe its conflicting with the Creative X-fi, so I removed the sound card, that I wasnt even using currently as the G35 software takes care of all sound
That did not help. It also cant be a driver issue as in this Windows 7 install, its default drivers for the X-Fi, but the Logitech drivers are installed from the website.

IMG_3237 by you.

IMG_3238 by you.

Could it be the G35 or its driver itself then perhaps? Its a USB headset, with a sound driver that acts as a directsound output device, and can do serround sound. How could it effect the video card?  Sure both use drivers, could they be eating eating eachothers memory space? I thought since Windows xp this kinda stuff was already almost impssible? no?

I will try to stick the G35 in a different USB port, in the back this time, instead of the front. (perhaps a defective USB port?, the frontpanel USB ports of the case have not changed between these configs either)

Next I can try without teh G35 at all, with or without activating the onboard sound card of the mainboard.

The shitty thing here is that I may have replaced my 8800 for no reason. And that the 295 currently at the shop may be fine after all.

I will know more in a few days…