ghost images (no - this isn't a halloween question...)

About every couple of years, the video card - I'm assuming it's the video card - goes on the fritz. Any elements drawn to the screen generate a grey band across the entire width of the screen, as if it's a ghost of the pixels spread out horizontally.

It happens almost immediately. One day fine - the next day - BAM. This is the 3rd replacement from Dell - originally a 32mb nvidia - now it's a Geforce 64MB DDR.

Latest drivers exist and function - apparently. I assume my only option here is to go out and by a new video card - but I just wanted to confirm first that this is indeed my only option. (The warranty on the PC ended in Feb - so no more cards from them will be forthcoming.)

Is there anything I should/could check just to make sure it's not another issue?

Comments about how vague this question is are welcome :-)
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Check this

Might get some idea

seanpowellAuthor Commented:
Although it's not an issue per se with games on the PC (there aren't any), I assume you mean that it could be a problem with DirectX? The problem is the display in general - regardless of what's on it)

The display just abruptly fails - with little or no warning - about once a year.
This sounds like it could be the monitor - if it's a CRT, the phosphors remaining on too long, which could be a problem with the electron guns or power supply.  When it happens, did you try switching monitors?
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seanpowellAuthor Commented:
Yes actually - first thing I tried... Results are the same on the other monitors. Also, when the new video card was installed, the problem went away.

I guess what I'm wondering - since it seems odd that video cards would break so frequently - is there something on the sytem that is causing them to meet their maker prematurely? If so, perhaps there is an adjustment that I could make that would either a) bring the existing card back to life or b) prevent me from having to buy a new one every year...
Power supply (either your PSU or the mains quality) can cause premature failure.  Try buying a cheap APC UPS and that could well stop your problems

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seanpowellAuthor Commented:
>>Try buying a cheap APC UPS and that could well stop your problems. Don't have one - have had power outages :-(

So the shopping list then is:
1. Back-UPS 650 (That should do the trick
2. New Video Card

Currently use the NVIDIA GeForce 64MB DDR. Are there decent video cards out there in the $100US range? (No gaming - just web dev stuff.)
seanpowellAuthor Commented:
And I assume there's no point in trying to get the card fixed - 'cause that would just prevent more environmental waste :-(
It would probably cost you more to get it fixed, instead of replaced.  For video cards that have good display quality (shading, colors), the Radeon family is very good - their 10-bit DACs have an edge, and they are very good for playing dvds and avi files.  Matrox makes one of the best2D cards around, if sharpness is the most important.

Well im going to look at the stranger side of this issue, does this happen at the same time each year, like, halloween period, maybe it's a virus that only kicks in on Halloween!

You must be doinhg something at that time of year that the computer dont like, I just cant think what happens yearly on PC's!

seanpowellAuthor Commented:
Interesting thought - good tthing I'm not superstitious.

Does it matter that the fan on the video card is not spinning while in operation? Is that why the card went caput?
You left out that important piece of information!??  If the fan is not spinning, the GPU on the card is running too hot.  I have had lockups when I didn't adequately cool my video card and did some intense 3D gaming.  Did all the failures coincide with this?
seanpowellAuthor Commented:
I don't know... I just opened the box this morning to have a look at the card, and noticed that the fan is just sitting there. And - not being a complete moron - had the feeling that it should be spinning.... So we've found the problem?
seanpowellAuthor Commented:
Well, I've been yelling at it - telling it spin or I'll have it installed in a Mac.

I thought for sure that would work :-(
seanpowellAuthor Commented:
Now I'm standing in front of it with my finger poised on the pulltab of a shaken can of Coke.

Still nothing.
Are the wires to the video card fan connected to the card?  If they are, and the fan is not spinning, try flicking it with your finger, to see if it's stuck.  Other than that, there's not much more you can do.  To verify if it is the fan causing the problem, you will have to use the machine until you get to the point where it exhibits the same symptoms.  Then carefully test the card by feel (touch very lightly) and see if the components are hot.  If they are, you can solve the problem by adding an additional 80mm or larger fan that blows on the video card, or by adding a new heatsink/fan to replace the faulty fan.


yeah the fans needs to spin, itis a big problem, have you tried calling it a F**king piece of crap yet, if not, try it, if that dont help then follow the advice above.

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