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How do I get rid of this grid of squares?

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#1
Hello. I am having a serious problem with my graphics card, or at least I think so. I am using a Radeon X800XL, and the problem is that I am basically unable to play certain games, like Age of Empires 3. Upon starting, it is a little laggy. After the intro movie, there is a long break before the menu shows up, although the music immeadiately starts playing. So I enter a skirmish, or whatever, and it is pretty good, still a little laggy, but nothing serious. Then, after about 5-10 minutes, the whole screen turns into a grid of squares.

After quitting, the squares remain on the desktop and everywhere else, so I have to restart the computer. This has happened in one other game so far, Warcraft 3, however it has not happened in UT 2004 or any 2D games, like Diablo 2.
This all started after a virus made me unable to log in at the starting screen for XP, so Microsoft Technical support told me to replace the system files with the fresh ones from the installation CD. After that, the whole computer is always a slower. It takes forever to start, both the computer and applications, and this problem appeared.
I currently have Catalyst Drivers 6.3, and have also tried 6.1. Does anyone kno what is causing this or how to fix it?
 
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#2
i think your grfx card is either overcloked too much.. getting too hot.. or dying on u..

the problem appearing when it did could just be coincidence.. i think its a hardware thing not software..

trog
 
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#3
It isn't overclocked, and if it's breaking, then I will never buy an ATI product again. I've only had it for half a year. Could check temperature though.
 

bruins004

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#4
Yea check the temperature. Also, what is your PSU wattage and what are the amps on the 12v rail(s)? Also, make sure the GPU fan didnt die on ya.
 
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#5
I had the same card and they suck with stock cooler on them.I had that happen after a year stock cooler was way clogged memory fried=fried card. Luckly i had 3 year warennity.The factory fan heatsink is way two narrow clogs easly.And me being a smoker didn't help.more dust.But i didnt dislike ati for it she was a fine card!!! ATI___FTW
 
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#6
bruins004 said:
Yea check the temperature. Also, what is your PSU wattage and what are the amps on the 12v rail(s)? Also, make sure the GPU fan didnt die on ya.
Ok, I didn't understand half of that :confused:. I'm have no idea of what a PSU, rails or GPU is :eek:
 
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#8
okay it isnt overclocked but if it is dying on u slowing it might cure or at least prove the probem.. if it isnt getting too hot i would try slowing it down.. if the problem goes away it proves the faulty card option.. if its under warrantee send it back..

the PSU meant power supply.. what kind do u have.. ??

trog
 

D_o_S

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#9
PhrozenDragon said:
Ok, I didn't understand half of that :confused:. I'm have no idea of what a PSU, rails or GPU is :eek:
PSU = Power Supply Unit
Rail = +12V rail on PSU
GPU = Graphics processing unit
 
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#10
I think I made it work. On the PSU, if it is the box in the computer, it read Max. Load 360W, and my graphics card requires 350W, so unless it's cumulative, it fine, right? But it also said Frequency 50-60 Hertz, so I guess this controls what setting you can have on the monitor. It was currently at 70, so I lowered it, and the cubes did not appear, although I did not test for long.
Anyway, the fan is working, the rail was, if I looked at the right thing, around 11,92V.
 
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#11
your card actually uses about 80 watts.. a good quality 360 watt power supply with a known name on it might be okay.. a cheapo generic one that came with the case probably isnt good enough..

if u dont have atitool download it and run the furry dice thing.. this will put a heavy load on the card.. watch the temperatures of the card for a few minutes.. also watch the voltages on the 12 volt rail..

if after a few minutes your squares appear.. heat or voltage drops are the cause.. see if u can determine which it is..

report back.. he he he

trog
 
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#12
Okey, downloaded it. The thing is, the squares haven't appeared now, but I am experiencing a different problem, one I had with a previous card. When I play 3D games, it goes a few minutes, and then the screen goes black, the green light on the monitor starts to blink, and no keyboard command whatsoever works. Reboot only solution. When I start up ATITool, the cube appears, and the temperature rises to about ninety degrees. My powersupply was in the box when I got it, Chieftech. The +12 rail is about 11.6V for the most part, and the cube keeps spinning, nothing happens. I'm really confused here.
 
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#13
well the cooling solution is crap.. assuming we are talking 90s C.. if we aint its wonderfull..

the power supply is struggling.. dont be confused your card or system is crashing.. so its too hot and the voltage is low.. ????

we still have two possibilites.. take your case side off and blow some cool air on it to cool it.. if that dosnt work u need a better power supply.. if it does u need to find some way of keeping the card tempts down..

trog
 

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#14
90 degrees+questionable power supply=world of hurt, but i'm willing to bet your problems are mostly due to overheating. Take the card out and make sure the heatsink isn't clogged with dust. If it's not clogged then take the heatsink off and use 90% or higher isopropyl alcohol and a lint free piece of cloth to clean the old thermal compound off the heatsink and the GPU. Apply some new thermal paste (I suggest Arctic silver ceramique for video cards since it doesn't conduct electricity.) Make sure the heatsink is nice and snug when you screw it back on.

Here is a nice tutorial for applying thermal compound. It works exactly the same for graphics cards.
 
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#15
I checked the ATITool forum, and it is in C, which probably means that the temperature is the problem. Going to try with cool air, but I have to wait until it's colder outside, I'll see what happens.

EDIT: I moved my computer next to a window half past nine, opened it up, and ran ATITool. I live in Sweden, so it's pretty cold. Teperature started at about 40 degrees instead of 60, but slowly it crept up until it was back at 90.
 
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infrared

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#17
Hmm, overheating is definatly your main problem then. It could be that the Thermal Interface Material has dried out, and gone crispy. You could try replacing it with some good thermal grease like AS5, or MX-1. But i'd just get a good cooler like this:

http://www.arctic-cooling.com/vga2.php?idx=36

Those gridlines are a worrying sign that the gpu has started breaking down because of the temperatures, it might be worth moving on to an x800 series or better.
 
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#18
Ha! I played a whole match in AoE III with my computer near the window, and nothing happned.
:roll:
So, should I paste on thermal paste, or get a new cooler? I have no idea which works best.
 

infrared

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#19
the new cooler will work the best, but replacing the thermal grease, and making sure the fan and HS are clean should bring it down to safe temperatures if you don't want to spend much money on it.

Arctic Silver 5 (AS5) is the most popular thermal grease, but for use on gpu's you'll be better off buying arctic ceramique, since it's non conductive or capacitive, so won't damage your card if you get it on the components around the core.

there's an article on thermal grease application in the articles section you could check out :)
 
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#20
Sorry for the delay, but I just wanted to say that I bought a new fan, although I had some trouble cleaning and taking off the old card, it now works. Thank you for your help! :toast: