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Black screen in some games


PC specs:

CPU : E6850 core 2 duo
GFX: 9800gx2
Ram 2gb @ 800mhz
PSU 800w

I have had this machine for 1.5years with no problems. I have changed nothing recently.
Over the last week or so, I have been experiencing sudden black screens in the middle of graphic intensive games, such as Black & White 2 and Dark Messiah of MIght and Magic and once (I think, as it happened overnight) with no game running at all.

When this happens, the monitor display reports a "No Signal Message" and I have to restart the pc. When I get this black screen  I can still hear some game sounds for a few seconds and the pc is still going, power wise. After a short while, the game sounds die but the again pc is still going ( lights are on and fans turning etc.)

I did suspect the gfx card overheating but I do use riva tuner and so have the gfx card fan spinning at maximum speed. It also has its own dedicated fan in the pci slot beneath it. Also, this wouldnt account for it happening just recently when ive playing far more recent graphic intensive games on max settings all through last year. (Oblivion, Fallout 3 etc)

I wondered if the issue was with just one game but as its happening in two now, this doesnt seem likely. I do recall leaving it on overnight without any game running and getting up the next morning to find a black screen.  I also tried rolling back the gfx driver and reinstalling both games (both patched) I also reinstalled directX 9.0c directly from microsoft.

I have also checked all the wires and connections and they are firm and secure. The monitor is also fairly new (Samsung T220HD) My system is not overclocked.

Is my gfx card just dying on me?  
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1 Solution
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
>>Is my gfx card just dying on me?

Possibly but also it could just be overheating (or underpowered - see later). You've already checked the software based performance indicators but make sure that also looks like what is happening inside the case ie the fan is actually moving not reporting that it is moving.

Also make sure you don't have dust building up on the card or around the air passages through the case. As you have a dedicated fan I guess you have already covered this.

Another component you should put on your list of suspects is the PSU. Do you have another power supply you could use (or even plug a second PSU in just to power the GPU with the case side off as a diagnostic test)

How quickly can you get back into the system after such a crash? What are the GPU stats after that?
Is you 9800 overcloacked - which make of card is it?

stephenbyrne212Author Commented:
thanks for the reply, i did give the system a good clean with some pressurised air and a dry fine paintbrush yesterday so its not dusty and the black screen has happened since then.

The gfx card is a 1GB BFG  9800 GX2 so its a reputable brand but as you can see here
its encased so its pretty hard to actually see any moving parts. I do hear an increase in fan speed when i increase it through riva tuner. Is there another of checking it?

I do have another PSU in my old antec case, I think its just a 500w one though but if you think its worth trying, i can have a go.

I can get back up and running straight away, its just a case of pressing reset. The card is not overclocked at all. How can i check the GPU stats after such a crash?

stephenbyrne212Author Commented:
Ive just come back to the pc after a breal and had a black screen. Ive taken a look at the back of the card at the back of the pc. As the 9800gx2 is basically 2 gpus stuck together, it has two dvi connector slots and two LEDs, one on each half of the card.
I notice that I only have 1 LED lit (green)and  Its on the half of the card without the DVI cable. The other half is not lit and thats the half that has the cable connecting the pc to the monitor. I dont know if this is relevant or indeed out of the ordinary. i.e 1 LED lit out of 2.

This is what sisoftsandra found ( im on the lite version so i couldnt copy/paste the text and had to just take a screenshot

total memory reads 512MB DDR3?
shouldnt that be 1GB for the 9800gx2?
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
AS you say the 9800GX2 is effectively a pair of 8800GTs strapped together so yes it's perfectly possible one has failed, I'm not sure how Sandra should report it -try using GPU-Z instead.

If the card is failing again it could be down to the power supply so try connecting the graphics card to the Antec box (as a kind of "power donor") and leave all the other connections as they are & see how it behaves.  Also see how the card is reported when it is working OK.
stephenbyrne212Author Commented:

I tried connecting the old PSU to the gfx card but it wouldnt boot.
I *think* its because after a bit of googling, the 9800gx2 seems to dislike anything lower than 580w and my spare psu is a 500w so have no way of checking it.

This is what GPU-Z is reporting when the pc has been on for a while but not during gaming.
( The reason there is two of each screenshot is due to each info box having a drop down box for a second 9800gx2 option, presumably because it reads it as 2xgpus.  The bios version option is the only difference under the first graphics card tab but i thought id link it anyway.)

I will load up a game tomorrow and see what happens during some intensive gfx so we can compare.


will report back after that :)

stephenbyrne212Author Commented:
oh by the way, to be specific re: the psu test:

1) I disconnected the 8pin and 6pin power cables on the original psu but left everything else as is
2) I kept the 500w psu still in the antec case and just moved the whole thing close enough to use its 8pin and 6pin connectors.
3) I connected both psu's to the mains and booted.
4) The 8pin and 6pin connector sockets glowed red and the machine refused to boot.
5) I reconnected the original psu's 8pin and 6pin  cables and it booted fine as normally.

I guess this happened because its only 500w?

stephenbyrne212Author Commented:
i just noticed on screenshot 3 that the fan speed is 0% with zero rpms so I guess thats it?
Looks like the fan has stopped working on one side of the card?

hmm, I guess that means a new card?  or is there anything I can do?
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Hmm ... looks very much like you've solved your problem unless you can open the case and replace the fan it's time for a new card :(
stephenbyrne212Author Commented:
well, at least its solved, thanks very much for your help, and especially for recommending  GPU-Z, handy to know for the future.
stephenbyrne212Author Commented:
thanks again

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