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Fixable or time to get a new card?

Poll Results: Fixable or get a new card?

 
  • 0% (0)
    Definitely fixable and you should stick with your current card. It's not worth it to upgrade yet.
  • 25% (1)
    Definitely fixable and can work for you for a little while, but you should seriously consider an upgrade.
  • 25% (1)
    New card for sure and the one you're looking at is great.
  • 0% (0)
    New card for sure, but I have a different suggestion.
  • 50% (2)
    I don't know. I just like to answer polls.
4 Total Votes  
post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi there everyone! Hoping I picked the right section to put this in. While my problem is with an ATI/AMD card, I'm also wondering about a different kind of card to replace it with should I not be able to fix it.

I'm going to start off by saying I don't know too much about graphics cards and what all the numbers mean, which is why I'm here. Google found me some guides with some information, but they all pretty much said the same thing, which was "try to get the best balance". I have no idea what that is though and couldn't find out about it or what numbers were more important. If anyone could explain that or link me to somewhere that explains it to a new to graphics person like me, please do.

I also want to apologize in advance for what is likely to be a wall of text. I tend to over explain, especially when I'm not sure what's going on, but I'll try to make it easy to sift through.

First of all, my system specs:
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel i7 920@2.67 GHz CPU
6 GB RAM (I plan to upgrade that soon, seems a little low.)
ATI Radeon HD 5670 512 MB x2, Crossfired
GPU clock default 800 MHz, overclock 850 MHz
Memory clock default 1015 MHz, overclock 1050 MHz

Recently overclocked the GPU to see if that would solve some issues, but it didn't. Otherwise it's always been on default settings because I didn't know about overclocking before.

Problem:
My first GPU sits at 75-80 C without doing anything "strenuous", while my second sits between 55-60 C. By "not doing anything strenuous" I mean I don't play any games or watch any videos and I get these results. I just surf the web and chat with people on Steam. Now, when I actually go to play Skyrim for example, which is my most graphics intensive game (especially with all of the mods and patches), I can maybe get 30 mins to an hour out of it usually and the game will suddenly crash without warning, sometimes the entire computer. I researched this and found out my GPU was likely overheating, so I opened up the Catalyst Control Center the next time it did so, and sure enough I was getting over 100 C on the first GPU. I didn't check the second GPU at the time.

Today I've been playing Skyrim for a couple hours now (well, trying to despite the extreme lag I have to deal with) and haven't gone past 94 C on the first GPU with it up, most of the time it stays around 85-88 C. The second hasn't gone past 61 C. Even though it's not crashing that's still very high and getting close to that dangerous 100 C mark where it's likely to do so.

For the record, my CPU temp stays under 30 C, even while multitasking and playing games, so that's pretty good there. Also, each graphics card does have its own fan and heat sink.

I should also note that the way the GPUs are set up in my case the sound card is actually in between them, which may be obstructing airflow (which makes sense because the first card is hottest and the fan for it is partially blocked by the sound card). Unfortunately, there's no way to avoid partially blocking one of the cards because of the way the ports are on the mobo. I only have 2 possible graphics ports and 2 possible sound ports, so the sound card will always be partially in the way of one graphics card. If necessary I can take a quick picture of the inside of my computer to show you exactly what I'm dealing with and maybe it's just as simple as moving/adding/removing something. Because this problem is only semi-recent I have to think that it's not an airflow issue, or at least not entirely, or these problems would have happened to begin with, but I could be wrong. Like I said in my first paragraph, I don't know a lot about this stuff.

On top of the overheating, I have also had issues for a few months now with getting blue screens and random freezing. The blue screens most often blame the video scheduler, but sometimes atimpag.sys. The freezing is what I assume to be a failed attempt at driver recovery. Sometimes the driver will recover and I don't have to manually restart my computer to get it to unfreeze, but at least 75% of the time it would not recover.

When the BSOD/freezing problems first started it only appeared to occur when my computer had recently updated itself through Windows Update and would only happen when I first started my computer the next day. After 2-3 days it wouldn't crash anymore and just load normally, until another update came along. Google searching took me around to a lot of different places (this site was one) and got me nowhere, so I kept just letting it go. In the last month it has become much more frequent though, to the point that it crashes multiple times a day. On top of what I thought was already a trigger, it now appears to happen when I do anything "strenuous", such as playing Skyrim. That eventually led me to find out that my GPU is overheating, and is actually much hotter than it should be while just idling.

When I first got my computer 2 years ago, December 2010, I didn't have any issues until these last few months. I got Skyrim the day it released, November 2011, and was able to play on max settings without any issues. I stopped playing for a while once I beat the game (well before my crash issues started), got some new games and a different job to distract me, and only recently got back into it with Dawnguard and Dragonborn's release. I'd like to be able to play it again on max settings, or at least close to max, without issues. It's such a pretty game, but I can't get much time out of it, even on low settings, without overheating my comp. Most of my games aren't graphics intensive. The only other game I own that comes close to Skyrim is Hitman: Absolution. I have to play that on medium settings at max right now or I lag too much to be productive.

What I have tried:
Updating the GPU drivers.
Ran dxdiag, which seemed to fix something for a little while, but not for long.
Different clock settings on both of the GPUs, from lowest to middle to default to highest to "auto-optimized" and currently back on default.
Attempted to overclock the CPU, because I read somewhere that if the CPU isn't keeping up with the GPU issues can occur, but I only fiddled with it a bit and used a "level 1 auto-overclock" that the BIOS had because I'm not exactly sure what's safe. I haven't researched that topic much.
Scanned for viruses.
Took the cards out and cleaned them off, checked to make sure nothing was loose, and air dusted out the entire case.
Played no games, just idled and observed.
Yelled at it.

My friend said it was possible that originally my cards were not meant to play Skyrim on max settings for prolonged periods of time like I subjected them to, so it was possible that I "burned them up", causing them to stay very hot while doing nothing. With that in mind, I began looking at my options should I have to get a new card and I came across this one on a list of "best cards for the money": http://www.evga.com/Products/Product.aspx?pn=02G-P4-2662-KR#

I also found a list on this forum that lists that exact card as 26 I think, while my current one is down in the 90's somewhere. That's quite a difference, however, I need to know if it's worth the upgrade for what I'm wanting to do and if it's really the best option for my ~$200 budget. Even if my current one can be fixed, is this other one really that much better or would I be better off ust sticking with what I have, assuming it's fixable?

Since I don't know what all of those numbers mean I was hoping to get a reasoning as to why that one would be a good choice for me or a bad choice. If it's a bad choice, I'd like to request people to link me to another card within my budget of around $200 (not ATI/AMD please) and tell me why they believe it's a better option. If possible, I'd like to see the best options that I have if I want to spend under $200, or if that's even possible for what I want to do. I found some links on some other websites, but it's hard to know not only how up to date "best of the best" lists are, but also who is payed to rate cards a certain way and who is actually giving their honest opinion. They all seem to differ slightly on their opinions...

Thanks for taking the time to read my wall of text. Hoping someone can help!
post #2 of 16
I don't have any ideas on how to fix the card. If it's still under warranty, you might want to consider contacting the manufacturer to get an RMA.

As for ~$200 non-AMD replacements, the card you linked to (EVGA GTX 660 Superclocked) is the one I'd choose. It's a reference-design fan blower type that exhausts most of the heat it generates out the "back", outside your case.

In terms of performance, according to one ranking website I frequent ("Voodoopower" Ratings), a single 5670 512MB is worth 37 VP "points" on a linear scale, whereas a single GTX 660 is worth 161 VP. From there you can do the math...
Edited by svenge - 2/26/13 at 12:08am
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post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by svenge View Post

If it's still under warranty, you might want to consider contacting the manufacturer to get an RMA.

Unfortunately since it's been 2 years that's probably not likely as I didn't get an extended warranty or anything. As I understand it 2 years is pretty much the max if you don't by an extension on a warranty, but I can look into it just in case. It never hurts to try!
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinare View Post

Unfortunately since it's been 2 years that's probably not likely as I didn't get an extended warranty or anything. As I understand it 2 years is pretty much the max if you don't by an extension on a warranty, but I can look into it just in case. It never hurts to try!

It really depends on the brand. Some companies these days do 2, some 3 or more. EVGA's warranty is a standard 3 years with extensions to 5 and 10 years available within the first 30 days of ownership, for example.
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post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by svenge View Post

It really depends on the brand. Some companies these days do 2, some 3 or more. EVGA's warranty is a standard 3 years with extensions to 5 and 10 years available within the first 30 days of ownership, for example.

My situation complicates itself there slightly because I didn't build my computer myself, I just picked out the basic setup that fit my budget best then tweaked some of the parts and it was put together and sent to me. (It's an Alienware Aurora for the record.) Before when I've had to get parts replaced for my other computers through Dell the warranty that Dell provided was the one they went on when they figured costs, not that of the parts manufacturer. My laptop came with a free 2 year warranty as a sort of "get this now" kinda deal, but any other warranty above a year has had to be purchased extra. My laptop ended up overheating due to a mobo failure within the first year and they sent a tech out to come replace the mobo for free. Was pretty nice. With this comp though I didn't get any free warranty extensions and I didn't purchase any extra warranty time, so it definitely had a year or less I'm guessing. I'm hoping there's a loophole that maybe the manufacturer will still have some sort of warranty for me or that I ended up with a longer warranty than I thought.

About to go to bed though, so that project will have to wait until tomorrow. Thanks for the response!
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Anyone else got an opinion on this? Hopefully at least one person who can say it's fixable or not. Maybe I'll try the AMD/ATI forums if I can't get any response here.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinare View Post

Anyone else got an opinion on this? Hopefully at least one person who can say it's fixable or not. Maybe I'll try the AMD/ATI forums if I can't get any response here.

Have you tryed cleaning it ?

You could also redo the thermal paste on the GPU for a little improvement maybe.

Btw, its normal 1 card gets hotter then the other in CF/SLI.
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post #8 of 16
Unless your card is exceedingly clogged with dust and getting very little airflow, I don't see why it should be reaching those temperatures under normal circumstances. If the card's clean, then one way or another it's damaged and now faulty. I'm not sure what Alienware's policy is on warranties and faulty hardware, but it might not be a bad idea to just get a new card, especially if you're gaming on that rig as 5670's are just a tad on the low end for that sort of thing.

The 660 is good, but if it were me I'd spend a little bit more and get a 660Ti (basically a 660 with slightly more cores, and thus slightly more powerful) as that will give you more oomph than the factory overclock on the 660 SC will.
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post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farih View Post

Have you tryed cleaning it ?

You could also redo the thermal paste on the GPU for a little improvement maybe.

Btw, its normal 1 card gets hotter then the other in CF/SLI.

What I have tried:
Updating the GPU drivers.
Ran dxdiag, which seemed to fix something for a little while, but not for long.
Different clock settings on both of the GPUs, from lowest to middle to default to highest to "auto-optimized" and currently back on default.
Attempted to overclock the CPU, because I read somewhere that if the CPU isn't keeping up with the GPU issues can occur, but I only fiddled with it a bit and used a "level 1 auto-overclock" that the BIOS had because I'm not exactly sure what's safe. I haven't researched that topic much.
Scanned for viruses.
Took the cards out and cleaned them off, checked to make sure nothing was loose, and air dusted out the entire case.
Played no games, just idled and observed.
Yelled at it.

So in short, yes. xD Thoroughly. But that's good info to know about the first card. I kind of figured, but it's good to get confirmation. How much improvement would I see from re-doing thermal paste?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flames21891 View Post

Unless your card is exceedingly clogged with dust and getting very little airflow, I don't see why it should be reaching those temperatures under normal circumstances. If the card's clean, then one way or another it's damaged and now faulty. I'm not sure what Alienware's policy is on warranties and faulty hardware, but it might not be a bad idea to just get a new card, especially if you're gaming on that rig as 5670's are just a tad on the low end for that sort of thing.

The 660 is good, but if it were me I'd spend a little bit more and get a 660Ti (basically a 660 with slightly more cores, and thus slightly more powerful) as that will give you more oomph than the factory overclock on the 660 SC will.

How much more is the 660ti? The 660 is already a bit more than I wanted to spend... However, if the 660ti is worth spending even a little more on, then I could consider it.
Edited by Kinare - 2/27/13 at 3:13pm
post #10 of 16
HD 5670 crossfire gets about 600 in Unigine Heaven DX11 mode @ 1920x1200 http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/3117/msi_radeon_hd_5670_1gb_video_card_in_crossfire/index5.html

That's roughly a HD5770 I think , which is roughly equal to the HD 7750 / GTX 650 (~$100)

The only thing (not worth the time/effort) would be to redo thermal paste and reseat the heatsink. This would work unless your fan is dead.
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