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Tigranes

Graphics Card

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Looking for some troubleshooting from those who know better. 

 

Self-built desktop in its 4th year falling apart. Frequent hard PC crashes when playing games, a display driver timeout (bccode 0x117). Used to be that the PC had one of those days and I needed to give it some time, a few months later it happens super-reliably. Used to be that the PC sometimes recovered from it with a 'display driver stopped responding' error, now almost always crashes. 

 

In general it seems to happen with 3D graphics intensive games, e.g. DOSBox games are fine, BG2 is fine. I tried a bunch - Halo and Darkest Dungeon crash almost like clockwork, EU4 is usually fine, FIFA 15 is usually fine for some weird reason, I suppose I should try something like Witcher 2 too for comparison. In any case I want to fix this in case Pillars is affected. 

 

Gaming seemed to rack up 90-95C on the card which is a bit high. I tried various graphics drivers, air-spraying the graphics card, cleaning the rest of the case, reseating the card. Temps a bit lower but crashes not any better. I'm not sure what else I should try before I determine that in fact, I do need a new graphics card. And if I do need one, I'd like some recommendations - I want to spend as little on this rig as possible and just build a new one in a year or so.

 

Ref:

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It sounds like your graphics card to me. Anything to do with 3D crashing or display driver BSOD points to graphics card. Do you have an old graphics card to test it in?

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No, nothing, since I built this when moving to the US. So my thought was to ask if there's anything obvious I haven't tried, and if not, ask what might be a good cheap replacement. I odn't need an 'upgrade', really.

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Well, given you've done the obvious checks, my sledgehammer approach to determining whether it's a software or hardware problem: take out the system drive, and do a fresh install on a spare drive. Observe if problems still happen. Well, after the first sledgehammer approach, taking a desk fan and point it into the open side of your case.

 

GPUs have a much greater tolerance for high temps than CPUs do, and while 95C is high, it's not to the point where it can definitively be said that it's the source of the problem. If you can be bothered, you could remove the cooler to replace the thermal pads which would have degraded with some fresh paste.

 

As for a replacement card, most cost effective solution right now for relatively cheap would be the R9 280, which has been as low as $150 at times. Quick price check right now shows $165 after rebate. Next step up is the R9 290 for about $250, then the GTX 970 in the $300+ bracket. Between these three cards, they should have any reasonable gamer covered.

 

EDIT: A good replacement cooler such as the appropriate Arctic Accelero model, assuming your problem is even with the cooler, would run to about $50, probably not worth it for a card of that age.

Edited by Humanoid
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I don't even have a desk fan! At one point I thought if I was going to spend $50 on desk fan and thermal paste and air spray....

 

I suppose anything cheaper than R9 280 would be difficult? I wish I could just pick up the same card again but that's not how the market works. 

 

Edit: this right?

http://www.amazon.com/Sapphire-Radeon-PCI-Express-Graphics-11230-00-20G/dp/B00IZXOW80/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426742378&sr=8-1&keywords=r9+280 

 

Edit2: I suppose another option is to get a spanking great card then use it a year later in a new build, but back in the day that wasn't really worthwhile given the rate of new releases...

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Yeah, I'd say that's the best value for money at the moment, though if on a tight budget there are cheaper options - just that they're a fair bit slower than it while still costing ~$120 minimum. An R7 265 is the lowest I'd realistically go for gaming.


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Check to see if EVGA can do something for you regarding the graphics card. They are usually good with warranties/RMAs.


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You want a good cooler on it. I've bought a few saphire cards over the years and their fans aren't known to be the best. Is dual X considered to be better than terrible, that would be a step up. If you are handy with a screwdriver it's a quick fix though. It would void the warranty of course. 

 

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Thanks all. I ordered a Sapphire on Amazon then came to work, but I'll check the EVGA warranty tonight. Reviews seem to suggest the dual X cooler is pretty decent, but I haven't looked very far. ~$160 is an acceptable expenditure for me. 

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Sapphire R9 280 has arrived. Installed it without fiddling with the cooler for now, tested, seems money, as always, has fixed all of life's problems. Thanks all!

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