View Full Version : Screen corruption with Gainward GeForce4

12-27-02, 07:20 PM
Here is a strange one for you wizards out there...

My system has started exhibiting some bizarre behaviour, which renders the system next to useless... I'm not sure if it is the Graphics Card, the Motherboard, or both...

After being in use for a while windows decides to freeze, and the screen goes very blocky at the same time. After doing a reset all the text screens (including the bios) display with some strange characters in place of text (frequent those above ascii 128 ), the windows splash screen then gets some strange lines on it, and windows very quickly does a BSOD and reboots.

If I'm lucky, and manage to get windows to load, it complains the the graphics are invalid, and I have to reset the screen res (but it is limited to 800x600 @ 8 bit), after rebooting again windows loads correctly, and I can then change to the res I normally use.

Most bizarrely (IMHO), is that when this strange state occurs, even unplugging it from the mains, and then restarting will not clear the problem.

If I load linux while in this state, the text displays correctly, but when it tries to load X , the system freezes.

most of the time, the only way to get out of this state is to leave the machine off for a few hours.. This would suggest overheating, but I do not belive it is due to the variable nature of when the problem occurs

My system is
AMD Atlon XP 2000+ (not overclocked, gets to about 59 deg.c)
ASUS A7S333 mobo
Gainward GF4 TI4200 64MB

12-27-02, 07:25 PM
After some playing, and lots of frustraion, I have replaced the motherboard with an MSI KT4 Ultra.

This seem only partially sucessful, every now and again when windows crashes, the strange characters come back, but windows then proceeds to load normally..

I have also seen the same blockiness that occured when the system used to crash, but it quickly disappeared again...

12-27-02, 07:42 PM
When you switched the mobo, did you keep the same ram?

My dad's system was having some problems, and the last thing I tried was the memory which turned out to be bad. I used this tester http://www.simmtester.com/PAGE/products/doc/docinfo.asp and it would lock up during that test.

If you have other ram laying around, you might want to try that.

12-28-02, 05:38 AM
I have tried a different memory stick, but there was no appreciable difference..

I initially thought there was a memory eror as testing it with Norton Utilities showed a failure... I've now found out it is NU thats failing, not the memory!! But i'll give DocMemory a go and see what happens...

12-28-02, 02:53 PM
One thing you can do is swap video cards and see if the problem goes away. Do you have any old AGP or even PCI video cards, lying around?

However, I have never seen a video card normally cause a memory tester to fail.....

HOWEVER, I HAVE seen a video card cause a low level memory tester to fail, in MS DOS mode, when I had my AGP bus running at 133 mhz (!) (1/1 agp divider at 133 fsb); Windows wouldn't load at all (well, it would START loading, but then would lockup, with 50 % of a 16 color screen displayed weirdly, and in DOS mode, the RAM test failed with a few consecutive errors, followed by an immediate hard lock.

This ONLY occured with my AGP bus running at 200% tolerance.
Even 117 AGP bus speed (117 FSB, 1/1 cpu/agp) was fine in both windows and this test.

It's either the RAM or videocard, but, based on my above report, I STRONGLY think it's the video card. CPU's would never cause such a thing to happen, no matter how unstable...

01-02-03, 01:02 AM
I have been having the same problem with my Ti 4200 card also. Seeing that I have a different motherboard, I was/am inclined to think that it is the card. But, I had something really weird happen to me. I was playing a 16 min. audio recording using Winamp. There were no graphics intensive plugins running. Acutally, there were no pugins running at all. About 8 mins. into the recording my machine goes blocky. Well, it's more like blocky diagonal lines that are white and cyan (maybe a lighter shade of blue).

Now comes the million dollar question. Do you have a SoundBlaster Live? That is the sound card that I have, and after this incident, I'm wondering if this might be the problem? I've been wanting to get a new sound card lately anyway. This time I might steer clear of Creative and go with another brand. So, for posterity's sake and possible solution to this problem, can anyone recommend other avenues for sound cards? The only one that comes to my mind is Turtle Beach. An other suggestions are welcome.

EDIT: I've also seen this happen while playing DVD's. All three scenarios (gaming, playing DVD's, and listening to audio) require sound. Might just be a good area to look into.


01-02-03, 01:14 PM
I don't have the exact same symptoms but close enough. Often when I scrool my screen gets filled with all kinds of colors. I to got a SB Live but I guess 90% of all soundcards is a SB... I'll try to take out the SB and some RAM, I'll be back.

01-02-03, 06:01 PM
I had the exact same symptoms with my 1st GF3 I got direct from nvidia. After a while pixels would just change color, and textures would lose texel information. The bios screen would have characters garbaled.

Turns out the memory controller on the card was duff. nv sent it back to ELSA to diagnose, and I got a new one. Sounds like the same thing to me.

01-03-03, 08:32 PM
Well, I go the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz sound card in my machine, and I still get the problem. I guess I will just have to deal with this problem until the GeForce FX comes out. On a lighter note, this sound card is pretty sweet. I think I like it better than my SoundBlaster Live Value.


01-11-03, 01:44 PM
Well, fellas, I think we have our answer on this issue. It seems that some of the Gainward boards have faulty capacitors on them. Just check the front page of NVnews for the details. Good luck.