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Apparitions appear after long gaming sessions

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bradleyland

Registered
Joined
May 20, 2004
This weekend we hosted a 24 hour LAN party at a clubhouse in our home town. During the 18th hour or so of the party, I started getting some strange behavior from my video card. I have a Sapphire Radeon 9700 Pro 128 MB. The best I can describe it was static, but it looked like these lines that would appear in perspective with my view in the game (BF:Desert Combat). They would just flash on the screen and then dissapear, but it got pretty bad. It almost looked like tracers flying past me, only they were brown in color instead of gold.

I was able to remedy the situation by taking my 10" floor fan and pointing it into my case (with the side cover removed). This fixed the problem immediately. As soon as I turned the fan off, the problem started again. My CPU temp was steady at 44-46 C and the room temperature was pretty cold, like 71 F.

My question is this. Does my FSB overclock affect my video card in any way??? I thought that the AGP slot had its own clock that operates independently of the FSB.

My vid card has no heatsinks other than the one on the GPU, and it's only on the top side. There's no heatsink on the bottom of the card. There is also this heat spreader (no fins) down near the VGA plug. This piece was so hot that I couldn't leave my finger on it for long. I suspect that this may have been the problem area, as I could touch the card just about anywhere else, including the back side of the GPU, and it wasn't all that hot. Should my video card require heatsinks like this, or are my settings off?

Thanks for any suggestions.
 

HousERaT

Senior Air Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Location
Imladris
are you overclocking the video card? You definately have a heat problem. FSB may not effect the GPU directly but anytime you have access heat it could effect your system.
 

Docta_Z

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2002
Location
Canada
18 hours of straight gaming can make a video card pretty damn hot...

Buy some better cooling for it.

I imagine you probably have poor case-airflow and are simply overheating the card after that long of gaming.
 

Mustanley

Member
Joined
May 23, 2003
Sounds like a screen tear, which generally comes form the memory being overclocked too far or the mem chips overheating, or both.
I would think that getting more airflow through case would remedy the problem. Maybe more fans, higher speed fans and tucking away all the internal cables to create less obstructions would do the job.
 

germanjulian

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2002
Location
Frankfurt/London
i do not see any difference between temps after 4 hours playing or 40 hours playing if the room temperature stay the same. even after 1 hour gaming my system does not get hotter.

i suppose your room got a lot warmer during the gaming sessions but you personally didnt notice but your hot graphics card did. sounds like a cooling issue. but why didnt you just try a restart. I had twice weird video issues and screen flickes happening and a restart fixed it. (twice in 6 months)
 
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bradleyland

Registered
Joined
May 20, 2004
I tried resetting, and that fixed the problem for a few minutes, but as soon as it heated up again, the problem was back. I have six case fans right now, and my cables are all tucked to the side as not to impede air flow :\

I'm kind of dissapointed that Sapphire didn't provide ample cooling. I kept checking the room temp because of the problem. It stayed consistent at 71 degrees. We had the air cranked down to 65, but 71 was the coolest the air could hold with all the computers in the room. Too damn many preschotts in the room :p

The vid card is not overclocked at all. I pulled my case cover off when it started, and only running a fan pointing in the direction of the case would fix it. I think what I'm going to do is get two 120mm fans and mount them in the case side-cover. I'm going to set them up to blow right on the processor and vid card. That should fix the problem.

Can anyone recommend a source for memory heatsinks? I'm going to order some arctic silver thermal adhesive at the same time.
 

HousERaT

Senior Air Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Location
Imladris
so you're just using the sorry stock heatsink on a non-overclocked card? I wouldn't waste that piece of tin on 5 hours of gameplay.... sounds like it's time to invest in a third party cooler..... may I recommend the VGA Silencer? I took 15° off my gpu by switching to the Silencer. :)
 
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bradleyland

Registered
Joined
May 20, 2004
So you're saying that the stock heatsinks they put on these cards won't hanld the operation of the card with stock parameters? Damn. That sucks. Not that I doubt you. I was wondering if my problem was out of the ordinary, but it sounds pretty common now. I've also done some searching and found the same true elsewhere.

Can you tell me a little about the VGA silencer installation? It looks like a nice product. It also looks a lot like the cooler on the newer cards (e.g. nVidia 6800). Is it hard to install? Do I just need some thermal adhesive or what?

Thanks again!
 

HousERaT

Senior Air Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Location
Imladris
installation will take about 15 minutes unless you're not very handy. Throw some thermal grease on the gpu (I use arctic silver 5), plug in the fan, screw on the back, done. If you want to go the extra mile you can spend an hour lapping the base for a nice close fit. And to answer your question..... no thermal adhesive necessary. rev3 fits just about all the new ati cards except the 9800xt and the x800 series (although it seems easy enough to mod for those as well). Hope this helps..... :cool:
 
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bradleyland

Registered
Joined
May 20, 2004
Sweet. I read somewhere of some kind of issue with the GPU being recessed below the socket's outer rim or something. This had me kind of freaked out at the prospect of trying to upgrade the heat sink. I'm ordering it. Bye bye apparitions :)

I just won some Artic Silver Ceramique at the LAN party. Should I use it on my GPU?
 

SF101

The Printer Guru
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
that might be the problem if its the core thats screwing you up.. but the ARCTIC cooling VGA silencer DOES NOT cool your RAM chips... you would need some BGA ram synks for that.. or some more air blowing over them just to get rid of the heat..
my experiance at lan party's is it gets hot in there.. that coulda just put your temps over there max and screwed you up .. use some of them ram synk's and you probly have no more problems again..
 

Sniper_83

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2002
Location
Wisconsin
Do you have any expansions slots in your case above the AGP scokets (you know the plates on the back of your case that have no PCI to go with them)?

If you do I would open that up and try to exsaust some heat through their via some form of a fan rig, card coolers could make your current problem worse. But if you can get a 60 or 80 mm, preferably duckted, to blow over that card it should be enough to keep it cool.

BTW takeing one out from below it might help too, their is a dead zone under any card inside a tower case.
 

sandman001

Just Freeze It
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
I think right now the two 120mm fans in the side sound good, the silencer is decent, and the ramsinks could help a decent amount.
 
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bradleyland

Registered
Joined
May 20, 2004
Sniper_83 said:
Do you have any expansions slots in your case above the AGP scokets (you know the plates on the back of your case that have no PCI to go with them)?

If you do I would open that up and try to exsaust some heat through their via some form of a fan rig, card coolers could make your current problem worse. But if you can get a 60 or 80 mm, preferably duckted, to blow over that card it should be enough to keep it cool.

BTW takeing one out from below it might help too, their is a dead zone under any card inside a tower case.
That's an excellent idea. I wonder if I can construct some sort of ducting from a side mount fan that will direct air out in that direction specifically. I'm thinking about pulling all the slot closeout things out, specifically because of the dead spot that you mention.