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Graphics glitches and Crashes

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Jaz, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Jaz New Member

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    Hi,

    I built a PC nearly two months ago.
    It was working fine for about a month.

    However, for... about a month, I've been getting graphics glitches(Colours distorting madly, fuzziness, black blocks) and random errors(programs crashing). First of all, for a few weeks, I was only getting glitches when playing a certain game, Halo. But this was every time I played the game. Then I also started getting glitches in Batman Arkham City occassionally(though only occassionally). If I ever got glitches, any programs open would begin to crash and then the PC would crash entirely.
    I also had glitches in VLC Media Player IF I played network videos. DVDs work most of the time strangely(though audio stops working sometimes) (This leads me to the theory that my harddrive might be corrupted)

    The Witcher 1 and 2 as well as Team Fortress 2 and Need for Speed World have worked flawlessly up until almost a week ago. Last week, I started getting glitches on EVERYTHING. I could browse the internet fine unless I watched videos or played any web games up until a couple of days ago. Now, just opening Google Chrome or any other program glitches out the computer.
    The only program that strangely opens perfectly well is AVG Internet Security. AI Suite also opens usually(crashes sometimes though).

    I've run the memory diagnostic tool and I've run AVG Tune-Up diagnostics.
    I've also tried to run a harddrive error scan but it froze at 29%(which is more evidence towards harddrive corruption, but read on)

    The memory diagnostic tool did find errors. Of course, it's the Windows memory diagnostic tool and it didn't actually tell me what the errors are. It just told me there are errors.
    So I bought new RAM seeing as it's quite cheap and I figured if that is the issue and new RAM fixes it, I can send my original RAM back on warranty and I'd have 8GB.
    Unfortunately, I tried the RAM today and the issues remain. And it seems they're worse, though that might just be because the issue is getting worse anyway.
    But the biggest problem to look at from this test is that the memory diagnostic tool did find errors with both memory DIMMs. Hoping it's not a faulty motherboard. Apparently Asus Tech Support and returns service is extremely poor.
    Also, the RAM error light does flash whenever I turn the PC on. However, it's apparently supposed to flash when the PC is first turned on to show that the RAM has power. Not sure whether it's supposed to flash again when I go into BIOS though but it does turn off when Windows boots up.

    I've also used HWMonitor to check voltages and temperatures. Everything looks fine. Voltages are stable and temperatures rarely, if ever, go above 50 degrees.

    I have four main suspicions now(in order of most likely/least hopeful in my opinion)
    1. Harddrive corruption.
    2. Both DIMMs might have been faulty(doubtful but eh)
    3. Faulty graphics card. (Kinda my most hopeful but not as likely)
    4. Faulty motherboard.

    I should probably also mention that I've reinstalled Windows twice via the in-built Reset tool.

    Specs:
    Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
    OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W
    Asus M5A97 R2.0
    AMD Phenom II X4 965
    Corsair XMS3 1600MHz (4GB, single stick)
    Nvidia Geforce 9500 GT 1GB DDR2 (Not sure of sub-brand. It's from another PC)
    Western Digital 250GB SATA 1 HDD (Not sure of specifics. Again, from another PC)

    (Both the 9500 GT and the HDD were working fine in the PCs I took them from)

    Oh and also, I've tested the GPU in another PC and it worked fine. I also tested another GPU in my PC and it still didn't work(And yes, that GPU works perfectly fine in another PC). So unlikely that it's a GPU issue, even if I have been really hopeful that it is a GPU issue since the start as I want to buy a new GPU anyway and I don't really want to have to buy other new components while saving up for the GPU.

    I really want to fix the issue as I don't have much money and don't much want to buy another new PC. (I kinda need a PC of my own because of the noise I can hear from where my dad's PC is. I have bad enough headaches already)

    If I've cluttered everything a bit too much(wasn't exactly sure how to structure all the information. I've done a lot of tests), just say so.

    E: I forgot to mention that I've also tried rolling back graphics drivers to the previous version and the version before that. (304 and 296 I believe)
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  2. drdeathx

    drdeathx

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    Usually artifacting is a GPU problem. Did you try the card in another slot on the original board?
     
  3. Jaz New Member

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    I can't believe I didn't think to try moving the graphics card to the other port.

    However, no, there are still issues with the GPU in the other port.

    Also, ran memory diagnostic tool again with the new RAM and it didn't find any errors.

    Oh and I've added OS to specs. Forgot to mention the OS, though I doubt it matters much as I did google for anyone else with issues and nothing came up. And it has been (over two months I think) since release.
     
  4. 3870x2

    3870x2

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    It would be a good idea to upgrade from that 9500GT anyway.
     
  5. Jaz New Member

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    Surely the GPU working in the other PC and the other GPU working in the other PC but not my PC suggests that it's not a GPU issue?

    I want to upgrade my GPU anyway, but not really immediately. Saving up for a good GPU.

    (And why does the validation question 'Who makes the iPhone?' not accept iApple? The system just has no humour')
     
  6. _Zod_ New Member

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    If you have another PC you can use to test components go ahead and do that. Hard Drive, PSU and Video card. Then you will know it's the motherboard or a damaged CPU. Damaged CPU's are rare, I just had to RMA my Phenom II because it had a bad memory controller. But likely your motherboard or PSU are faulty.
     
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  7. OneMoar

    OneMoar

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    sounds like one of the following
    power supply check this first
    motherboard failing
    Cpu is damaged somehow (exceedingly rare but does happen)
    the random glitches point to some kind of hardware fault and since the memtest is displaying spartatic errors that would lean toward a cpu or board fault(or maby the new memory you bought just happens to be bad) you also need to run http://www.memtest86.com/
    for at least 8H to be sure
    what is the make of the motherboard and was the cpu overclocked
     
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  8. theoneandonlymrk

    theoneandonlymrk

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    Another diagnostic tool is downclocking. Clock the gpu down plus its mem by 100-200hz check for artefacts. Then drop cpu speed by 500hz and recheck the lower speed should aleviate it in one of them and isolate the edgy part
     
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    5 Million points folded for TPU
  9. Jaz New Member

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    I used the same tool for both tests on each RAM stick but... that sounds like a good test. I'll try it as soon as memtest86 has finished. :)
     
  10. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    How many people do you really think are running a 9500GT on W8 though? Can you borrow a more up to date GPU from a friend or relative and try it on your new rig?

    Also, did you remember to install ALL drivers, including DirectX, MB chipset, audio, and even check for MB BIOS update?
     
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  11. Jaz New Member

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    No, unfortunately, I'm the only gaming fanatic I know irl so I don't know anyone who has a more up to date GPU. I suppose if I get enough money next week(most likely, depends whether I visit family), I could just buy a new GPU and see if it works. After running memtest86 for over 15 hours, I'm pretty sure my motherboard isn't planning to break components. :/

    And yes, I've installed all drivers. And since this is a very recent MB(It was released this year I believe, just before Windows 8 was released. It's W8 ready), I doubt a BIOS update's needed. If I can't find the issue soon though, I guess I could try a BIOS update. I know that it's dangerous though so I've been trying to avoid attempting. Though Asus updated their warranty last year so that failed BIOS flashes don't void the warranty, I don't much look forward to actually contacting Asus support considering all of the bad reviews. Asus customer support has gotten below average ratings. Apparently it can take months to get replacements on warranty.

    Oh and memtest86 found no errors after over 15 hours. So not the RAM I guess.
     
  12. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Just checked and that MB has not only had 8 BIOS updates, over half of them are said to improve system stability. Usually MB BIOS updates are to support new CPUs coming out and such. Now and then you see ones to improve stability, but usually not most of the ones released are. It's also very possible that many if not most of those stability updates were to make it more compatible with W8. http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_AM3Plus/M5A97/#download

    Also, safe BIOS flashing is very easy with ASUS if you use their EZ Flash 2 tool that's built into the BIOS itself.
     
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  13. Jaz New Member

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    Okay, I've just updated the BIOS. Surprisingly worked despite the PC being... to say the least, unstable. Only took about 5 seconds and had no issues during the update.

    I'm about to test it.

    The BIOS update's certainly a big update from whichever version I had before though. There's about 20 or so new options in the BIOS setup.

    E: No issues so far. Haven't started gaming but applications are actually... well, opening. Good sign. I decided before I do anything else I should run another harddrive diagnostic, which I stupidly keep forgetting to do. The disk is pretty much always at 100% performance, and when applications crash, if I can get task manager open at all, it goes to 0% which is a bit suspicious.

    E2: Either BIOS update or some change in BIOS settings seems to have fixed it. Though I haven't tested any games thoroughly yet, no issues for about 2 hours now and The Witcher 2 at least goes to the main menu with no problems. Earlier, it was crashing as soon as I tried to start it up.
    Doing work atm though, so I'll test some games tomorrow and post again with results.

    Thank you everyone for the help. Obviously not sure if the BIOS update is a definite fix, but it seems like it so far.

    E3: Well Shogun Total War 2 works now. But only in DirectX 9 mode. The 9500 GT is a DX10 card, but it seems it just won't work with DirectX 10. I'm pretty sure I have DirectX 10 installed.
    Trying to run in DX10 mode just crashes the game.
    I've seen no glitches though.

    So only thing that I can really do to solve DX10 issues is buy a new GPU. So I guess I'll wait until next weekend.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  14. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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  15. Jaz New Member

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    Okay, well, my PC's been working fine since yesterday, apart from DirectX 10 not working. (Haven't got Metro installed anymore and haven't got enough HDD space to reinstall it)

    Except that Shogun Total War 2 crashed twice. Not a big deal at all considering that I'd been playing it for hours before it crashed.

    But I figured since there might possibly still be an issue, I should check everything again.

    And it seems I might have wrong about one of the voltages. Not sure about the real minimums of this power supply, but a quick google brings up a minimum of 3.135v for the 3.3v rail. According to Hardware monitor, my 3.3V rail is at 3.088. AVG came up with a warning just a few minutes ago about it too, just after I'd checked.

    E: Beginning to gradually get issues again.
    The Witcher 2 won't start at all. I can go to the installation directory and open the launcher as administrator but clicking start game just reopens the launcher.
    And one of my xfire chat windows had a purple and black outline around it randomly. Closing and reopening it solved it.

    I'm worried that it might be the HDD. Though the diagnostic found no errors, surely nothing else having errors would cause a game to be corrupted? I haven't played the game much at all since fixing my PC and when I have played it, there have been no graphics issues.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  16. OneMoar

    OneMoar

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    software sensors are rarely worth trusting and the 3.3v does not do anything
    you have bigger problems then a hard-drive I am betting that either the Power supply or motherboard is on its way out
    a corrupt hard drive WILL NOT cause any of the issues you have experienced
    if you are concerned about the hard drive back up your data just in case
     
  17. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Since the BIOS update made a big difference and was at first overlooked and assumed not an issue, I have to wonder if there's still some software issues lingering. Never take updates for granted, be they for the OS, MB or any other component.
     
  18. Jaz New Member

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    Yeah, I highly regret doubting the BIOS update.

    I'm not sure about any software issues at the moment. I'm worried there might still be a software issue but I've already made sure DirectX is properly installed and all drivers are correctly installed.

    Was wrong on the Witcher 2 issue though. Turns out AVG was blocking it for some reason, even though it never had before. Fixed it now by disabling automatic filtering and allowing myself to choose whether to block applications. Not sure if the same issue could possibly apply to Shogun Total War 2's DirectX 10 option though. It still doesn't work.
    Also doesn't explain the slight graphics issue. Though it hasn't appeared since then, it's still bad news as there might still be an issue that has yet to appear in it's worst form. It's not an issue I'd personally expect to just appear randomly and then disappear for ever more.
    Learnt from the BIOS update to not make conclusions of my own and avoid certain possible causes of issues though. So just going to say I'm not sure of any of it. :/

    Also, in case it might help, I've attached a screenshot of all of the programs I have installed right now. Not sure I really like the idea of having more than one version of Visual C++, but Steam automatically installs it and I can't do much about that.


    Oh and I forgot, if it might be useful to know concerning the graphics, I'm using HDMI on a 1360x768. It works fine but I've been doubtful about the 9500 GT's support of HDMI. It's a recent HDMI cable I believe and the 9500 GT is quite old.
     

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  19. OneMoar

    OneMoar

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    did you ever run a extended memtest or test the power supply
    and AVG is terrible nowadays use MSE
     
  20. Jaz New Member

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    Yes, I did run the extended memtest. For over 15 hours. Found no errors.

    Thinking it might be a software issue again as it's only DirectX 10 on Shogun Total War 2 that doesn't work full stop. But can't find anything that could be the issue. Got all drivers installed, got DirectX properly installed, etc.
     
  21. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    Or it could just be a bad driver.

    Jaz how do you install your drivers man?
     
  22. Jaz New Member

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    I installed the Nvidia drivers using the installer and I believe I used the Express Install last time.
    I've tried a clean install before though.

    I installed the Realtek drivers using the motherboard's DVD installers using recommended settings.

    Windows 8 comes with all the drivers anyway though so any installs I did were really just updates.
     
  23. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    That card is awfully old and you are running windows 8 now? When was the last time your card ran ok?
     
  24. OneMoar

    OneMoar

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    bad drivers don't cause random app crashes
    issues starting out of the blue indicate a hardware fault not a software fault
     
  25. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    Ive had drivers cause BSOD and app crash. More then once.
     

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