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ATI Video Card failing?

Posted on 2009-04-11
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
System: VIA Technologies Inc KT400-8235
Motherboard: Biostar M7VIT Pro
Processor: AMD Athlon XP 2500+ 1.8 Ghz
RAM: 2GB DDR-SDRAM PC2700
OS: Windows XP Home SP3

My ATI All In Wonder 9800 Pro video card which has been running flawlessly for over three years could now be failing.   The following symptoms made a sudden appearance at boot up:
white dashes along the text area in the POST screen, small blue squares scattered across the Windows logo screen and a desktop with some incompletely formed icons which have little black lines around them as does the mouse pointer.

Web pages seemed to display normally as did saved images from my digital camera but in the image viewer (Irfan) the toolbar icons were just shadowy lines, although they still worked. Movie files will play but have a grid pattern of red and blue dots.

I pulled out the video card and blew the dust away from the top side as well as cleaning away a small amount of dust buildup around the fan and heatsink ( vacuumed out the cpu fan and heatsink while I was at it).  On replacing the card the symptoms remained but I noticed over a few days the situation seemed to improve at each boot up, particularly in the desktop, with clean, sharp icons and pointer and the toolbars returned in Irfan viewer. Movie files still displayed poorly and DVDs even worse.

The drivers for the card are long out of date but I have been very reluctant to update them because of the many problems I had installing the card in the first place  ........

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Misc/Q_21622722.html

The card may well be 'spent' but I thought I would try updating the drivers as a last attempt at fixing it, in the event that it was just a driver problem.  I downloaded the latest package of drivers from the ATI site (now AMD) and followed their instructions for installation.  At the first step, uninstalling all old drivers with the ATI Software Removal Utility in 'Add/Remove', it stalled after an error but did enough damage that I had to use System Restore to return to the old drivers and a screen viewable in anything other than 640x480.

I'm no longer 'All In Wonder'  -  what are my options here?
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Question by:enquirer
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by:johnb6767
ID: 24123742
I had a similar problem with a PNY GeForce4 card problem, and it worked fine in some points, not others. Drivers didnt help, but when I pulled the card, I noticed some failing capacitors.....

Did you happen to examine the card physically?

You can try and just reinstall the latest driver pack, and then uninstall the card with the device manager, and see what happens.....
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by:enquirer
ID: 24123778
Hi johnb6767,

I did take a good look at the card when I pulled it  - even took some photos of it!   What does a failing capacitor look like?  I was looking for scorch marks, broken wires or obvious damage but all looked well.

I was never able to install the latest driver pack because of en error when running ATI Uninstall Utility but previously, following advice to somebody else's problem on an MS forum, I uninstalled the card from Device Manager and upon reboot Windows did not reinstall it as advertised!
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by:johnb6767
ID: 24123820
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johnb6767 earned 500 total points
ID: 24123828
This is a procedure I refer to, when you need to remove old drivers.....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Go to the device in the device manager>Rt click>Properties.....

Look at the Driver Details, and make note of all the files listed. Once the device is gone, you need to whack those files......

Secondly, you need to find the .inf responsible for it's installation.....

Go to the Details Tab, and highlight the long string....Theres a drop down at the top, it should be on Device Instance ID (XP, might be a tad off on the verbage)

Press control+C to copy it....

Looks somthing like the following....

USB\VID_03F0&PID_4F11&REV_0100&MI_00

Take that string to the Windows Search, and search in the section "Files containing text", to search the contents of the files in "C:\Windows\INF", that hold this value. If nothing is found, take off a chunk at the end, 1 at a time, going up to the &...

1st USB\VID_03F0&PID_4F11&REV_0100&MI_00
2nd USB\VID_03F0&PID_4F11&REV_0100
3rd USB\VID_03F0&PID_4F11

etc, until you get a hit, with a "Driverfilename.INF". Rename that .inf file to .OLD.

Now go back to the earlier part where you found all the listed drivers in the Driver Details tab, and rename them all to .something, or remove them to a safe directory outside the systemroot.....

Reinstall your Drivers for the device, and plug it back in and you should have new drivers....

This will not allow XP to automatically reinstall the drivers, FYI......
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Author Comment

by:enquirer
ID: 24123889
Re your link  http://www.badcaps.net  -  wow!  Industrial Espionage in 1999!   -  couldn't tell much from their pics and I haven't suspected mobo as yet -  but this machine is now six years old and anything could be failing!

Re your comment about finding the relevant .inf file  -  I'm digesting that and will venture into it   ........  but could lose my ability to respond to you!

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by:enquirer
ID: 24124165
Hi johnb,

Excuse the delay  -  I was wrestling with the new search system in XP ....... !

PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_4E68&SUBSYS_4F731002&REV_00\4&B5FB279&0&0108

The above is my 'Device Instance Id'  in the Details tab of Device Manager. I had to truncate it to PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_4E68&SUBSYS_4F731002  before I found anything in C:\Windows\INF  -  then it found: oem33.inf  oem15.inf  and atixpag.inf.   Same files at
PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_4E68  but found additional files at
PCI\VEN_1002   ......  oem29.inf  atiixpaa.inf  display.inf  atirage3.inf  atimpab.inf  and  atim128.inf
Should I rename them all OLD to be safe?  

I found a lot of .dll  .exe and one .sys file under Driver File Details.  I can move these files out of C:\

Do I now need to uninstall the card in Device Manager now, before installing the new drivers?

'Reinstall your Drivers for the device, and plug it back in and you should have new drivers....'    what do you mean by plug it back in?

Thanks for helping with this  .......


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by:johnb6767
ID: 24124737
"Do I now need to uninstall the card in Device Manager now, before installing the new drivers?"

Yes.... Make sure that oem33.inf  oem15.inf  and atixpag.inf are renamed to .old, or whatever....

"what do you mean by plug it back in?"

Sorry, Original thread was for a USB device... Didnt catch that.....  :)
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by:johnb6767
ID: 24124739
I just thought of something,.... If those files are protected by Windows File Protection, then they might have been replaced..... Need to wipe out the contents of c:\windows\system32\dllcahce and remove them once more, if they are present again....
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by:johnb6767
ID: 24124741
"c:\windows\system32\dllcahce"
=
"c:\windows\system32\dllcache"

Sheeesh..... Stupid Keyboard.....  :)
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Author Comment

by:enquirer
ID: 24125686
Good Morning johnb,

I have not removed or renamed anything yet   -   only searched and found all the files you mentioned.

The situation is that I am currently back to running with the old drivers (6.14) thanks to System Restore which fixed my original attempt to update them. I have the new driver package (9.3) downloaded and ready to run in a folder on the desktop.

I need to know the exact procedure to follow your advice, so here is what I plan to do:

Rename oem33.inf  oem15.inf  and atixpag.inf to .old   -  just these three and not any of the others found?  (oem29.inf  atiixpaa.inf  display.inf  atirage3.inf  atimpab.inf  and  atim128.inf) ?

Remove all the driver files found in Device Manager under Driver Details tab to a directory other than C:\

Uninstall the video card using Device manager

Run the new driver install file  ( with or without rebooting first?)


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by:johnb6767
ID: 24127970
Rename oem33.inf  oem15.inf  and atixpag.inf to .old   -  just these three and not any of the others found?  YES(oem29.inf  atiixpaa.inf  display.inf  atirage3.inf  atimpab.inf  and  atim128.inf) ?

Remove all the driver files found in Device Manager under Driver Details tab to a directory other than C:\

Uninstall the video card using Device manager

Run the new driver install file  ( with or without rebooting first?)
Reboot first......Then just cancel the New HardWare Wizard...and load the driver pack.....
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by:johnb6767
ID: 24127972
Before doing this....

"Remove all the driver files found in Device Manager under Driver Details tab to a directory other than C:\"

empty the contents of c:\windows\system32\dllcache. That way Windows File Protection will not replace the files.....
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 24128174
The photos are of two versions of ATI AIW 9800 Pro.
The yellow circles show OST electrolytic capacitors.
If yours got OST's too you will see a squished distorted "O" as the mfr logo on the caps.
OST caps are not like 'the worst' but aren't 'great' either and are known to not live so long with heat.
-
Might wanna take a look at those.

Biostar is hit and miss with the quality of the caps they use too.
It's unusual to see a Biostar board that doesn't have at least some junk brands on it. [Even today.]
.
AIW9800Pro-OST-02.jpg
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Author Comment

by:enquirer
ID: 24128281
Thanks  johnb   -  I will give this a whirl tomorrow.     Out all day and then for Easter dinner  ........

Thanks for the pics PCBONEZ!     Here's a couple of my card.   Can't see a 'squished O'  particularly   .......    can you?






ATI-Card-001.jpg
ATI-Card-009.jpg
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Author Comment

by:enquirer
ID: 24128302
I was looking at the blue and silver things    -  think I see a flat O at bottom left of pic 2  (enlarge)  .....  Uh O!
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 24128593
Sorry:
I made a huge error. - The caps I circled are Nichicon Polymer.
Not sure why Nichicon chose to use an O for their new logo.
They used to just write their name on the side.

The blue and silver if there is no "FZ" in the markings should be fine.
Probably Chemicon or Nichicon Solid polymer, which is FANTASTIC to see.

For that matter you don't want to see an "FZ" on a black one either.
FZ is a seriously JUNK cap series from Sacon. [WAY worse than OST.]
They are common on video cards and some brands of motherboards. [Biostar and Jetway that I know of.]
They come in either blue or black I think specifically to mimic Nichicon and Chemicon.

I can't see the one by the power connector with the black stripe on it.
Most probably Nichicon but might be the dreaded Sacon FZ.
That looks like the only one you might have to worry about. - It's in main card power.
Can you do a close-up or tell me the markings on it?

.
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by:enquirer
ID: 24131469
will pull the card and let you know   -   thanks BONEZ
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by:enquirer
ID: 24132261
Hope these pics are clearer  -  click on them to enlarge .....
The component you referred to, with black stripe, by the connector says;  HC m1 470 10v
I am going to try johnb6767's procedure soon  .... very soon!  I would also like to try out another AGP card if that procedure does not solve the problem before writing off the 9800 Pro.  I don't currently have one but will shop around for a used one.

The irony is that I had my original card, Nvidia GE Force MX440 siiting around for three years and finally put in in a machine I was fixing up to give to a friend's son,  just over a week ago!
ATI-Card-detail-002.jpg
ATI-Card-detail-003.jpg
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 24135024
You don't have any caps worries. Quite a nice board actually!
The blue marked ones with the "A" up top are Chemicon PSA series Solid Polymer. - Great caps.
The large black marked one is a Nichicon HC series. It's electrolytic but a good cap.
In conjunction with the nearby coils they make up PI fiters to give the card good clean power.

The little 10, 15, and 22 uF 16v look to be Nichicon too and should be fine.
For the most part those are for signal coupling and DC isolation on/for the output.
.
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by:enquirer
ID: 24135141
Hi PCBONEZ,  and johnb  if you are still watching,

Thanks for your post.   Things have moved on apace!  and no good news ...  While I'm am happy to hear that all looks well with my 9800's components,  I'm now pretty much certain that it is a goner. After I removed it today to take those pics it booted up as well as it has done for the last few days but later this afternoon, on another restart the distortion problems were much worse, right from the POST screen and remained that way online.  In fact the screen quality was so bad I shut the machine down.

A local small business computer store agreed to test the card and gave me a loaner card to try out  -  in fact the very same MX440 64MB card I had as original spec on this computer but branded by Aopen and not Nvidia.  I didn't install drivers for it and Windows didn't pop up anything  but it seemed to work very well at a reasonable resolution right away.   I made the possible mistake of updating drivers from a downloaded file and they certainly 'took' but the res was reduced to 640x480 and will not be changed.  I rolled back to whatever the original driver on the first startup was but the resolution still would not be moved from 640x480

Before updating the drivers I ran the ATI Uninstall Facility from Control Panel and it choked on the same error  ...
"Following file does not exist or is not a valid uninstallation log file
C:\WINDOWS\unhfxpackatifx.log\z\uui".

I will certainly now have to follow johnb's procedure  ......  and thanks for your patience with me johnb!  If it works I'm sure I will be able to set this loaner card to work at its peak  ......  or a better one.

The ATI 'Wonder' has been excellent for three years and it is also a work of art  ........   but ATI's software is insanely difficult to deal with.  I cannot believe I am having these problems!
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Author Comment

by:enquirer
ID: 24135417
So it looks like I will have as tough a time uninstalling this hardware as I did installing it (link is available above).  It's probably too late now but I should have let Microsoft Update have a bash at it  -  it could not do worse!

Pcbones  ....   for my next computer I would like to have you review the new graphics card ( from photos in an EE question!) before installing it    - thanks!
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 24136590
I don't mind. If I'm not around the folks over at badcaps.net [forums] know what they're doing too.
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by:johnb6767
ID: 24141328
Good luck.....
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by:enquirer
ID: 24145057
Hi,

I have gone from tragedy to triumph a couple of times today!

Firstly the computer store confirmed that there were problems with my video card running on one of their pcs.  I pretty much knew that already because the one they loaned me was running, sort of, in my machine.

I ran your 'procedure' early this a.m. johnb6767.  Obviously it was going to go a little differently now because the old card was gone and another one installed.  I made a big mistake interpreting your last message, about which files to rename .old  .....

"Rename oem33.inf  oem15.inf  and atixpag.inf to .old   -  just these three and not any of the others found?  YES(oem29.inf  atiixpaa.inf  display.inf  atirage3.inf  atimpab.inf  and  atim128.inf) ?"

I took that to mean rename all of the above files and I think that caused me problems with the driver update for the Nvidia card.  I had made a list of all the files found under 'Driver Details' in DM when the 9800 was still in place but actually, all but a few of them were gone already.  I did empty the dll cache folder and it is still nearly empty but I noticed when relocating ati2mtag.sys it just replaced itself almost immediately.

To make this short(er), when I left for work this a.m.  I had the new driver loaded but could not get out of 640x480 res.  Tonight, I reviewed things and changed back all of those bracketed files above to .inf  On reboot Nividia suggested a 1024x768 res and it stuck.  I am now using my old CRT  Optiquest Q71 because of the Nvidia card's VGA connector  ......  it'll do for now.

There are still a lot of ati files on the machine.  In 'Add/Remove' there still remains: ATI Decoder,  ATI Multimedia Centre, ATI Remote Wonder and DAO which is ATI related. If I try to uninstall them an ATI window appears and pretends to do it but they won't go away.  In the case of DAO I get an error headed 'Feature Transfer Error'  -  error - 3patch package. I would like to get rid of them in the event that I am crazy enough to buy another ATI card.  It was a great piece of hardware but I think their software leaves a lot to be desired and that's as polite as I can be about it!

Thanks so much johnb!  ( probably would have have done better to follow your system while the ATI card was still resident  ..... )  and to PCBONEZ too for your great insight into all those shiny bits on the card.  Reading your profile alone was worth the price of admission.  I will close out the question tomorrow.    Best wishes.
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Author Closing Comment

by:enquirer
ID: 31569231
Thanks johnb6767.  Difficult to know what to do here.  I think your solution might have had more success if it had been applied as intended, with the problem card still installed but it failed before I could try it.
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Author Comment

by:enquirer
ID: 24150511
The bad news today is that my screen res suddenly jumped back to 640x480 and nothing I try to do will change it. Device manager says that the display adapter is functioning properly and the latest Nvidia driver is installed.   There is still ATI software on the computer which I cannot remove.

The original question is now irrelevant  .....  the 9800 died   -    but its software lives on!
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by:johnb6767
ID: 24154373
LOL....

"Reading your profile alone was worth the price of admission"

Very interesting read indeed... (I need to read more about who I hang with...). Nice to know more about each other. Very good read indeed, great experience. Kinda makes me feel like a newb....   :^)
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Author Comment

by:enquirer
ID: 24165073
Just a final note  -  for the benefit, perhaps, of anybody looking at this question for help with a similar problem.    I contacted ATI/AMD through an online form on their site and they suggested I try the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility to remove the remaining ATI Software in Add/Remove in Control Panel. I tried it  - and it worked!  The items still appeared in Add/Remove, with  more 'generic' icons but I was now able to 'Uninstall' them all.    The replacement card  - a used nVidia GE Force MX 440 has now accepted updated drivers and is working well.

I doubt if I will buy another ATI card   .......  a nightmare to install and another nightmare to say goodbye to it.  It lasted less than four years, without any gaming use in a computer nearing six years old, with all other components working well  ( except PSU which I had to replace because I overtaxed it ).
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