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squirrel99
14-09-2007, 09:31 AM
We have an ongoing issue with our computer I'm hoping someone can help me with.

It started about 2 months ago when I was using the computer - playing sims - and the screen changed to a pixellated tartan - really no other way to describe it. It had a coloured background with coloured lines running horizontally and vertically on it,and the colour changes where the lines intercect, pretty similar to tartan really. We had to manually shut the computer down, when we started it up again it was fine for a minute or two and then did the same thing over again.

We took the computer to a the guy who provides IT support at my partners work, he said it sounded like the graphics card out. He pulled the graphics card, blew the dust off, put it back in and the computer worked fine for another two months - until now.

The problem seems slightly different now. We turn the computer on, it runs fine for a couple of minutes but soon after we start to use a program parts of the screen start freezing, the whole screen freezes, goes black, then comes back again. When it comes back the graphics will start going strange - the mouse will leave the tartan-esque lines after it, parts of the screen will freeze, then the computer goes into sleep mode and reboots after a couple of minutes - very strange.

We have managed to reboot in safe mode and run the virus scanner - we have norton anti virus and update it regularly - and it has come up clean. the longer we use the computer in safe mode the more and more odd pixels start coming up in rough bands aross the screen - like a snow storm but in 2 cm bands running horizontally across the screen.

I'm wondering what the hell is wrong with the computer - we have been told to update the graphics card drivers or get a new graphics card - the computer is about 2 years old and had a reasonably high end (I think it was nvidia) graphics card put in. Could the graphics card be the problem - would it make the computer shut down and reboot?

Any ideas?

SolMiester
14-09-2007, 09:39 AM
Hi, the graphic card maybe suffering from overheating due do dust blocking the fan/cooling system or just worn contact causing overheating. Generally, an overheated card will artifact which is the start of your tartan screen, or give a total black screen. It will only cause reboot by driver corruption which could occur due to improper shutdown and restarting.
If you are confident, you could try removing the fan and heatsink attached to the chip on the card, use some thermal grease and re-attach. Or you could purchase a replacement card.

Pete O'Neil
14-09-2007, 03:18 PM
SolMiester is spot on! Everything you've said suggest overheating and would explain why its happened after you had it fixed.

A very easy solution would be to pop down to Dick Smith and purchase a can of compressed air, take the side panel off your PC and clean all the dust away the fans inside your PC.

A better option would be to figure out why its only taking 2 months for enough dust to build up and clog your fans. My bet the PC is on the ground? Simply lifting the PC off the ground and placing it on a desk or bench should significantly reduce dust build up.

wainuitech
14-09-2007, 04:20 PM
A better option would be to figure out why its only taking 2 months for enough dust to build up and clog your fans. My bet the PC is on the ground? Simply lifting the PC off the ground and placing it on a desk or bench should significantly reduce dust build up.

If you have any animals in the house, cats or dogs the fans will suck up any hairs, this often causes the build up quicker.
As Pete suggested lift it up if its on the ground if possible.

squirrel99
20-09-2007, 08:06 AM
Thanks for the help everyone

Yes we are the guilty owners of very hairy pets and the fan and heat sink on the graphics card was well and truly clogged. We are thinking of shaving the animals from now on but that would be a completely different post.

So we have cleaned the graphics card and reinstalled the drivers, however we are still having problems. The screen flickers and the display goes black for a few seconds, before returning on and then repeating the cycle. At other times we are still getting the pixel-tartan like appearance, though not as bad as it had been.

One other point to note – when the computer is started up from cold (i.e. overnight or a few hours later) it runs fine for 5-10 minutes before this occurs. The first time we ran it after cleaning the card it ran fine for the whole day!. At other times, it won’t even make it through the Windows start up mode before crashing. It also works fine when the computer is started up in safe mode (this is the only way I have been able to successfully un-install/reinstall the drivers).

Does it need more cleaning? Is the card buggered? Have we stuffed up something else in the mean time? HELP!

linw
20-09-2007, 08:28 AM
Check that the fan is actually spinning! Does it make any 'funny' noises? Still sounds heat related.

kennie
20-09-2007, 08:53 AM
Its sounds like the damage is done and the video card needs to be replaced.