Losing Video Signal

At my wits end with this problem PC config as outlined below:

Windows XP SP2
P4 3.0 GHz, GigaByte 8PENXP MoBo, 2GB RAM, NVidia GeForce 6800GT, Sound Blaster Audigy, 4 internal HDDs ( 2 x SATA, 2 x EIDE ).

All drivers updated to current versions, this includes mobo drivers & BIOS at most current available version.

Have been experiencing dropping video signal, principally in games ( Oblivion & Civilisation IV ) where there will be a brief display of on screen artefacts and then monitor states "No Signal" after which it's a switch on / switch off operation to resolve the problem. I have experienced the problem once before when just at the desktop editing a document.

PC hasn't been rebuilt for a good 18 months and was toying with clearing down and doing a fresh install of XP incase there were any rogue driver issues. Gut feel is it isn't this and it stinks of a dodgy video card or an overheating problem. To be fair however I've taken the side off the case to rule out heat and I'm still getting these crashes - doesn't feel overly warm inside! external temp display states ~ 44-47 celsius when playing graphically intensive games.

Would really appreciate any views / ideas or tips to maybe nail the problem down.

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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
make sure power options in control panel are set to Never-never-never.. play your games and see if they repeat your problem.. if so,

possible broken video card.
You said you've updated all drivers, I'm assuming this includes nvidia drivers for your NVidia GeForce 6800GT: http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp_2k_84.21.html
Do you have utilities to monitor this card..temp and performance? http://www.nvidia.com/object/sysutility.html
You may be able to tweak the settings, as well as monitor the temperatures of your Geforce card. Sometimes tweaking hardware accelleration in windows helps, as well.

You could try sfc /scannow for system problems: http://www.compphix.com/windowsfileprotection.html
Doing a repair install may help avoid the hassle of a clean install: http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

If all of your drivers are up to date and sytem files are okay, it sounds like it may be a flaky card.
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AlbertDongAuthor Commented:
irwinpks - reviewed power options, reset as you suggested. I had turned on option to power down HDDs after 10 minutes to reduce heat emission. I'll see if this helps.

maramom - tried various different versions on 6800GT drivers including the latest and a few rollbacks as suggested on other boards. This hasn't really addressed the problem. I'll try nTune tonight to see if it helps.

Ran sfc about 2 weeks ago, it replaced a handful of files but didn't really help. Will rerun again tonight just in case.

Oddly, this morning I went to power on PC and it refused to boot ( i.e. power applied to system, whirring of fans, DVD light continously on )  but it didn't start POST until I pulled the power cable out of the back of the machine and plugged it back in. Maybe PSU is a bit flaky??
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
possible.. but could be a fluke.
AlbertDongAuthor Commented:
Well - unhooked heatsink and fan from card this evening, heatsink was choked with dust. May be at the heart of the problem. Cleaned this out, have bit thermal paste to replace what was there. Card Core GPU temperature is listed as 55C when running idle, may invest in fresh paste before any heavy gaming sessions.
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@AlbertDong....I apologize..I missed this Question link....did you still need assistance?
AlbertDongAuthor Commented:
irwinpks - no looked like dust clogged heatsink was the problem....thanks for asking.
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
cool...thank you for clarifying....@war1...you can close
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