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  1. #1
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    [solved]Video card with birdshot patterned square artifacts at 2D desktop

    Solution:
    Using Blender 3D I was able to torture test the card in a way that didn't immediately crash the system. I've gotten several errors in functions cuMemAlloc and cuMemFree, which indicates that the rendering engine had trouble allocating and freeing a block of RAM.

    Pics:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...101_215544.jpg
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...101_215553.jpg


    Night before last as I was prepping for an exam I noticed red speckles floating around in a remote desktop session. I chalked this up to remote desktop weirdness and ignored them. They seemed to go away.

    Oops.

    The problem showed up when I finally shut down my remote desktop window and noticed square blocks of red pixels artifacting on my monitor. They were larger than the picture shows and they moved as anything on the screen updated. I attempted to save my exam notes - the ones I sort of needed to carry in to an exam the next morning - and the system froze. No num lock. No caps lock. No ctrl+alt+delete. Also no backup of my frakking notes. Ouch.

    So here's what I had:
    1 PNY GTX 480 running monitor A
    1 MSI GTX 480 running monitor B.

    Monitor B on the MSI card demonstrated the artifacts.

    The system will boot into Windows and run fine for about 8 seconds if I log in immediately (Monitor A was displaying my login prompt at the time of the pictures). It'll be responsive. Then it'll FUBAR and reject all input. If I leave it at the login screen, the MSI card will FUBAR any monitor plugged into it.

    Swapping monitors A and B did not change the situation. However, with the MSI card still in the system and running and both monitors on the PNY card, everything's golden.

    But. Activating SLI (which I had disabled because I'd forgotten to turn it back on after some CUDA based ray tracing) will cause the screen to go black and not turn back on. I tried that, ran into safe mode, and did a clean installation of drivers before coming here.


    This card is a zombie card. It's cut out on me once, been removed from the system, then magically resurrected. I don't know how. So it's had problems in the past.


    At this point I'm 90% certain it's a hardware issue. This MSI card is a refurbished card. I know GTX 480s were notorious for their VRMs but I've not had any overheating problems. Additionally, all this card's been required to do for the past few months (I've been in hard-as-heck classes and too busy to game and notice my framerates are bad, tutoring is wanted in differential equations and data structures, by the way) is render half of my desktop. The slower half.

    Can anyone help me figure out what in specific is at fault, here? I think it might be fixable.
    Last edited by Windrunner; 11-02-2013 at 12:02 AM.
    My heatware

    Proudly NOT a console or subscription/micropayment gamer.

  2. #2
    Joined
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    Re: Video card with birdshot patterned square artifacts at 2D desktop

    Compounding matters: It's rendering highly complicated scenes in blender just fine. I have it rendering a piece at a 5000x5000 resolution with 750 samples per pixel. It's been going for well over a minute. I can see it getting revved up in GPU-Z. GPU load is at 100% and memory load is at about 300 megabytes.

    I need a CUDA/OpenGL based RAM test that I can direct at a video card with no display hooked up to it. I tried video memory stress test and it would only hit the PNY card regardless of the settings I gave it. Any advice?
    My heatware

    Proudly NOT a console or subscription/micropayment gamer.

  3. #3
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    Re: [solved]Video card with birdshot patterned square artifacts at 2D desktop

    I can't think of any such test off-hand, but I'm inclined to agree that one card is over-heating. From experience, this does NOT require heavy loading - lighter loading just delays the onset.

  4. #4
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    Re: [solved]Video card with birdshot patterned square artifacts at 2D desktop

    Yeah. That's likely too even though I ran the card undervolted for quite awhile and kept it on a highly aggressive fan profile that kept it under 75C. GTX 480s were designed to run up to 90C if I remember right. It's slightly nuts.

    I did further research and am thinking that I need to reflow the solder joints on the GPU and the memory chips because of how the problem was progressive. The card's died and came back once. It was bought on eBay. It appears that it may have either been factory refurbished, or 'refurbished' by the seller using the oven trick.

    I'll be visually inspecting the solder joints on it. Any tips?
    My heatware

    Proudly NOT a console or subscription/micropayment gamer.

  5. #5
    Joined
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    Re: [solved]Video card with birdshot patterned square artifacts at 2D desktop

    The GPU is not the only thing which can overheat - a few years ago I had to have a GTX8800 replaced (by BFG - I miss them) after the RAMDAC started overheating. No, I don't know why.

  6. #6
    Joined
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    Re: [solved]Video card with birdshot patterned square artifacts at 2D desktop

    My first thought while I was watching these errors jump around was "Wait. This card's working. There's something going on between the GPU and the monitor."

    It's wild to think of anything overheating in an Antec 1200, but I know it can happen!
    My heatware

    Proudly NOT a console or subscription/micropayment gamer.

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