MSI 6561 (745 Ultra)
AMD Athlon XP 1700+ (Tbred)
256 Kingston PC 2700 DDR
Nvidia Geforce FX 5500 128MB (64-bit....boo!)
I have been going nuts trying to figure out why my new Geforce FX 5500 was giving me so much trouble in 3D games in Windows XP. The card would simply not run games when set to AGP4X, and would either lock up with the notorious "MSVisual C+ runtime error" in OpenGL or I would get tearing and artifacts in Direct3D.
I removed the rather crummy heatsink/fan that came on the card and replaced it with a much better one, using silver thermal compound.
I tried using every chipset driver that supported the 745, every Nvidia driver that supported the Geforce FX 5500.
I did a clean install of Windows XP and then service pack 2.
I moved cards around on the PCI bus to see if getting the video card it's own IRQ would help.
I removed all of my other cards except the video card to see if there was a conflict.
I switched to a larger power supply.
I edited the video card's bios to disable fastwrites and sideband addressing.
Nothing helped! The card worked flawlessly in 2D at AGP 4X, but the only way to get the 3D graphics to run without crashing was to set the AGP rate to 1X in the bios setup.
The part that was really starting to annoy me came after I installed Fedora Core 2 on my second drive. The card ran flawlessly at AGP 4X! This was really getting ridiculous!
After reading what must have been 1000 posts around the 'net by people with similar problems on many different chipsets, I noticed one post by someone that had exactly the same problem as me, but on a VIA chipset motherboard. He said that disabling the onboard sound in Windows XP using the device manager made the graphics corruption problem go away.
I tried the same thing and changed the AGP rate back up to 4X, and the thing ran perfectly. So all of this time, the onboard audio has been causing the problem! Realizing just how many people use the onboard audio these days, it all clicked.
I removed all of the onbard audio drivers from my system, including the registry entries. AGP 4X works perfectly!
Evidently, there is a problem somewhere in the way XP handles some onboard audio drivers that interferes with AGP data. An easy fix for many people out there would probably be to get a cheap soundcard and disable onboard audio. Hope this helps someone out there.