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Thread: Death of a graphics card?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    11

    Default Death of a graphics card?

    Hi,

    I'm having a problem with the graphics on my computer (home-built, three year old 3500+ with a Radeon X800 XL and Fedora 9) and I wanted to try to track down whether it was the graphics card or the motherboard before I shelled out for a replacement of either.

    Below are two photos of the worst corruption I get. I also sometimes get an almost entirely black screen with a few broken stripes of slightly distorted image (I know it's partially showing what it should because the stripes are mainly blue when I restart X and should have my GDM up and then grey like my desktop once I type in my username and password to log in). Once I get the line corruption then restarting X will either give me the same corruption or the corruption in the photos. Once I get the corruption in the photos then restarting X just returns me to more of the same.



    Nothing seems to obviously be the cause in the XOrg log or the messages log. I can reproduce the issue by either restarting the computer or shutting down and trying to boot it again in the next 15 or so minutes. Once the corruption occurs then boot up (RHGB) and X will always be corrupt and either the BIOS messages won't show or I'll get a message from the monitor saying "Not optimum mode - Recommended mode: 1280x1024 60Hz". Given that it occurs outside of X and on the boot screens then it can't be a driver issue.

    The only resolution I've found so far is to leave the computer powered down and unplugged for at least 30 minutes. I can have my computer running fine for hours without the problem occurring, or I can have it on for half an hour, leave it alone for 15 minutes, let the power management turn off the monitor and have it occur (or not - it's not as common when the monitor switches off).

    Unfortunately I don't have a spare graphics card, although I'll see if anyone at work can lend me one.

    So, I'm guessing it's a graphics card issue related to some power level change, but given that I don't have much budget for replacements I want to try to work out whether I just need a new graphics card or whether I need a new motherboard (and CPU and memory). Any ideas or experiences?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    33

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IBBoard View Post
    Hi,

    I'm having a problem with the graphics on my computer (home-built, three year old 3500+ with a Radeon X800 XL and Fedora 9) and I wanted to try to track down whether it was the graphics card or the motherboard before I shelled out for a replacement of either.

    Below are two photos of the worst corruption I get. I also sometimes get an almost entirely black screen with a few broken stripes of slightly distorted image (I know it's partially showing what it should because the stripes are mainly blue when I restart X and should have my GDM up and then grey like my desktop once I type in my username and password to log in). Once I get the line corruption then restarting X will either give me the same corruption or the corruption in the photos. Once I get the corruption in the photos then restarting X just returns me to more of the same.

    [see OP for images links]

    Nothing seems to obviously be the cause in the XOrg log or the messages log. I can reproduce the issue by either restarting the computer or shutting down and trying to boot it again in the next 15 or so minutes. Once the corruption occurs then boot up (RHGB) and X will always be corrupt and either the BIOS messages won't show or I'll get a message from the monitor saying "Not optimum mode - Recommended mode: 1280x1024 60Hz". Given that it occurs outside of X and on the boot screens then it can't be a driver issue.

    The only resolution I've found so far is to leave the computer powered down and unplugged for at least 30 minutes. I can have my computer running fine for hours without the problem occurring, or I can have it on for half an hour, leave it alone for 15 minutes, let the power management turn off the monitor and have it occur (or not - it's not as common when the monitor switches off).

    Unfortunately I don't have a spare graphics card, although I'll see if anyone at work can lend me one.

    So, I'm guessing it's a graphics card issue related to some power level change, but given that I don't have much budget for replacements I want to try to work out whether I just need a new graphics card or whether I need a new motherboard (and CPU and memory). Any ideas or experiences?

    Thanks.
    This sounds more like a monitor misconfiguration problem. Are you sure the settings for the monitor are correct? Are you configuring manually via Modelines or are you letting X read the EDID to configure it? Maybe even checking the physical connections would help. Have you tried booting up and then staying at the command prompt (no X) to see if corruption happens?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    11

    Default

    It shouldn't be monitor misconfiguration as it mainly happens after restarting it. I'd been using the computer for about three hours without a problem before I shut it down, started it back up five minutes later and got to take the photos.

    I do use modelines, but they're the same ones I've been using since I installed Fedora 9 shortly after it came out and this issue has only been happening for the past week or so.

    As for the connection, I've tried using the VGA instead of the DVI and I've tried unplugging and replugging the DVI cable, all to no effect.

    As I said, when it starts corrupting the screen then I get the corruption or "not optimum mode" message from as soon as it would hit the BIOS screen, never mind getting to the RHGB, so I can't see how X config could be the problem.

    Thanks for the suggestions, though.

    In terms of further detail, there may be a time/heat component to the problem. I hit some wireless problems last night, tried to reboot my machine, it went to "not optimum mode" before shutting down and then corrupted on startup, I left it 30 minutes, started it up okay, finished off the stuff I was doing when my wireless failed and then rebooted after about ten minutes. That time it booted up again okay, so although a reboot seemed to have always caused it before and a shutdown sometimes caused it then it appears it isn't as certain as I thought.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    11

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    Just a quick thought, but could it be anything to do with the Northbridge chip? It only has passive cooling, and it has been fine for the previous six months that I've had it and however long the guy at work that I bought it from had it, but it is quite warm when the graphics fail.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    I think I managed to discount the Northbridge. I took the side off the computer, took a case fan off the side panel, positioned the fan so it blew straight on to the Northbridge fins and still the "incorrect resolution" message appeared when I restarted. Checking the Northbridge fins they were quite cool, so it can't have been that overheating.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    I don't know if I'll get any more replies, but it looks like it might not be the graphics card. I replaced my graphics card with a borrowed one and I got the "Not optimum mode" message when restarting the computer after using it without a problem for two hours.

    Given that memtest reported clean memory, a replacement graphics card shows the same symptoms, the same symptoms occur with an extra cooled Northbridge, the power supply is 500W and the computer is perfectly fine during use, just not at reboot, what else is there that could cause such problems?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    42

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    Can you try a different monitor?
    Last edited by Sacha; 08-14-2008 at 09:15 PM.

  8. #8

    Default

    I have to concur with the reply above, this looks much more like a monitor fault than video card or motherboard and would rule this out before going on to motherboard or other internal PC components. If this is an LCD, I guess it is the scaler or logic board causing the fault.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    South Finland
    Posts
    32

    Default

    Looks exactly same kind of display garbage that my old Acer Aspire 5024wlmi produces. It has Mobility Radeon X700.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Connecticut,USA
    Posts
    972

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    Perhaps try another LCD to see if it works. If a different monitor works, then it appears the current monitor's going bad.

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