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The stability of video cards


vipejc
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Guys, I've used onboard video for 10 years, and never did I have an issue with it. Well, then my 17" CRT monitor died, so I was forced to buy a new monitor. The monitor I bought has a DVI interface, and since my motherboard only has a VGA interface, I bought what I thought was a great mainstream AGP graphics card, a HIS ATI X1650. I installed the card and the latest drivers. The card seemed to work great for a month or so, but then I noticed issues as I used it for different things. The first was an issue where Flash would lag while watching HD videos. This is because even though the card supports HD video and hardware acceleration, Flash uses the CPU to process video through software and my CPU isn't powerful enough to process HD video by itself. When I watch streaming video in HD, the CPU temperature rises as high as 65 C, the video lags, and then the computer crashes. Lesson learned: I can't watch HD streaming video. Okay, fine I accepted that. The next issues are intermittment and cause the computer to crash while using my web browser. Sometimes it crashes while I copy-and-paste text and other times it just crashes when the CPU temperature rises to 65 C while watching standard streaming video in 480p, or browsing a webpage with a lot of advertisements, like animated banners. I have tested the VRAM using the quick test, and the card has no errors. If the system crashes again, I'll run the extensive test. Is it normal for a graphics card to crash all the time, sometimes after a few days and sometimes after weeks? Did I sacrifice stability for power? The card's fan also makes a loud noise on startup but then runs whisper quiet once it warms up, and the fan does work fine. I just want to solve this. I've tried almost everything, including disabling all browser add-ons and updating my browser and all its plug-ins. It's so annoying when the video card drops the connection, the monitor goes to sleep, and I have to press the reset button to set the system straight again.

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It may be your power supply. The addition of a power hungry video card may be too much for your original supply. What is its rating? And how old is it?

Edited by 5eraph
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It may be your power supply. The addition of a power hungry video card may be too much for your original supply. What is its rating? And how old is it?

No, my power supply is fine. It's 420 W and about nine years old. The card doesn't use more than 45 W and the system uses around 180 W.

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Power supplies lose efficiency as they get older and the capacitors age. After five years you should really consider replacing it--it's no longer capable of putting out 420W. At nine years I'm surprised it hasn't failed completely. Just saying.

There's a discussion at AnandTech concerning capacitor aging if you're interested.

Edited by 5eraph
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Power supplies lose efficiency as they get older and the capacitors age. After five years you should really consider replacing it--it's no longer capable of putting out 420W. At nine years I'm surprised it hasn't failed completely. Just saying.

There's a discussion at AnandTech concerning capacitor aging if you're interested.

You're exactly right, but if it still works as expected, I'm not going to buy a new one. This problem is something different, and I'm hell bent on finding out what it is.

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If your issue is anything like mine, a change in graphics will eventually cause the power supply to fail. If you follow that link from my post on 2013-06-14 to my last post at 2013-06-17, you'll see that I went back to my original power supply in the end. What I didn't report was that on 2014-02-26, the computer eventually failed to POST consistently. About a month before that, running any graphics intensive game or application for an extended period of time would cause a blue screen. At least I knew I was on borrowed time with a probable cause. As expected, a new supply fixed the issues.

Your mileage may vary.

Edited by 5eraph
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I'm just going to monitor the system. If it crashes again, I'll run an extensive VRAM test. If it passes, I'll swap out the old power supply for the new one. If it fails, I'll swap this video card for a new one. Just have to play the "process of elimination" game until I can solve this riddle.

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If you're watching true HD videos, you are definitely reaching the limits of your AGP card. I would not call them extremely capable, and the cards will be good for "basic use" and not a whole lot beyond that.

Considering how old the card has to be by now, I'm not really surprised that you're having trouble with it. Onboard video from the same era will pretty much perform the same, so you aren't going to really see an improvement for HD videos, and the cards getting hot because you're really pushing it's capabilities. A really high end AGP card would be okay with HD playback, but you'd have to look at newer hardware to really get better playback. LGA775 systems with either integrated graphics, or a PCI-e x16 card, and you'll get the performance you're looking for (and more).

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