My Graphics Card is Destroyed (I think)

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Okay. Long story short, I was using my normal setup after a fresh format and was minding my own business, and the computer was working fine--better than ever, in fact. Then, after letting the WoW login screen sit for a minute while I poured myself a drink, I turned back just in time to see the whole screen go absolutely ape**** with lines, wireframes, distortion, pixellated mess, and wildly fluctuating colors.

From there it only got worse. Reboots and VPU recover didn't help much at all, and the graphical corruption was every present--during windows, even during the DOS startup screens!!! In DOS while booting I saw equidistant pixel-ridden blocks that changed color as I moved my mouse, all about an inch to an inch and a half apart.

The computer seems to boot fine but I can't see ANYTHING on it, it is WAY too scrambled to do anything. I managed to install the latest catalyst drivers, even despite the awful distortion/pixelation, but it didn't help at all. Lowering my graphics card acceleration to none also didn't help (though it lessened slightly) and disabling/enabling fast writes didn't help either.

I opened up my computer and hooked up a second monitor; the problem is the same. So I am pretty certain it is the graphics card. It doesn't have its own onboard cooling or anything, it's an old school 9700 Pro, so maybe it is a heat issue. Anyhow I open up the case and see that a rainbow cable is attached to the power supply from the very corner of my graphics card (a rainbow cable is what we call those small multi-colored red yellow and blue wires that attach things like HDs to the power supply; they end in white blocks) .

I noticed it was attached pretty weakly to the graphics card, so I fiddled with it a bit and got the image to clear sporadically when I moved the connection (the white block) closer to the board.

It seems the culprit is a short in my card's connection to the power supply.

The primary part of the visual distortion seems to be an ever-changing series of 'DOS garbage bars'--they are the full length of the screen, and are almost constantly flickering with sporadically scrambled pixelated gray and purple mess.; they're also equidistant from one another, 4 inches or so between them each. The bars seem to always be uniform, but what they are made up of is constantly flickering and changing.

I know for sure it's not the monitor because I've tried another monitor that I know is fine, with the same results. I'm pretty sure it's the power supply connection but it might be something else.

Anyone ever dealt with this kind of thing before?! Any ideas or help would be appreciated.

...more importantly...I'd like to know what kind of ATI Radeon I should buy to replace it, if ol' Sally is dead for sure. I'm thinking x800, but I know little about them. I don't need top tier stuff but under 250 bucks is my current price range.

Also, I have to put a piece of crap Geforce4 440mx in the machine tonight, so my father can use it in the morning to do some annoying five minute login to work (I don't get out of work until 1am, it's an hour drive home, and then I have to be in work by 10am the next morning...and this ******* wants me to temp fix it and screw up my machine royally so he doesn't have to drive for ten minutes to work...bastard). My ATI drivers are still on there (catalyst 5.10's) -- will this affect the Geforce greatly? I just need generic capability for his login thing and then I can rip it out.

God damn what a lousy day this is turning out to be. Heh.
 
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Well, i had the same problem but it turned out to be the monitor, so no help there. It sounds like your video card has a molex connector that draws power from the power supply itself instead of the AGP slot, Now i dont have any pictures of it but i could give you an educated guess on whats happening, try plugging in a different "white block thingy" as you call it. Im not sure but it sounds like that one could have gone bad, but thats if your lucky. If im wrong and the inlet plug on the card itself is damaged then im sorry but your screwed, but i think that its time to upgrade your 9700 anyway, its a nice card but its kinda old.

Now for your replacment video card, and X800 is a great card if you get the 16 pipeline version (which is the X800 XL, i believe) but the X800 XL is only avaliable in PCIe version and the 9700 is AGP 8x i think so you cant get that, but if you do find an X800 in AGP 8x and you like the price then i would get it.
The catalyst drivers might affect the geforce mx 440, but im not sure by how much and if it would be a major problem, just throw it in and find out i guess. If there is a problem however, try to uninstall the catalyst drivers and install the proper drivers for the geforce card.

And i might have found a good card for ya, check it out here at newegg
 
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Yea, sounds like your card is going the way of ol' yeller. The white connector is falling off the card, right? Or is.. what? Could you ellaborate? In the mean time: sorry and grateful for you at the same time!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...&Category=0&minPrice=&maxPrice=&Go.x=0&Go.y=0

I'd try to find a 6800GT (As shown above). They'll kick out the x800(non xt) and feature the newest technology (SM3 mainly). Just make sure you have the power to get anything new.

Although... judging by the rest of your system, I'd say you should only go with ~6600GT/6800. Anything more will just be bottlenecked by your RAM and CPU.

EDIT: Ah, reading it over I'm seeing that the connection from the PSU to your card (12v connector) wasn't in all the way. Do as Wallmart said and try another one.
 
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Thats a nice card, Smith, but like you said, it might be boddlenecked by his processor and his ram, especially. And if he doesnt uninstall his older catalyst drivers it might be easier for him instead uninstalling and reinstalling all of those drivers, you think? And i think he wanted to get an ATI card anyway, but i might be mistaken. (too lazy to look, ;))
 
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Uninstalling and reinstalling drivers doesn't take long anyways. Maybe 5 minutes tops if you use driver cleaner?
 
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Oh yeah, i know that, i dont have much experience with that and one of my friends replaced his geforce 5200 with a radeon 9550 and he had tons of problems with the drivers so all the things that i have heard about changing your video drivers are all bad, so i thought that it would be a problem for him. :)
 
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Shouldn't let only one opinion sway your entire view ;).
 
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Well I'd prefer to stay ATI Radeon brand anyway. And I can't get too ridiculous a card--the money is one thing, but there's also the fact I have a 4x AGP port. I'd be a lot more interested in getting a beast card if I had an 8x.

EDIT: Oops...didnt' see Walmart's first post. Viewing from work, heh. Thanks.

Well, i had the same problem but it turned out to be the monitor, so no help there. It sounds like your video card has a molex connector that draws power from the power supply itself instead of the AGP slot, Now i dont have any pictures of it but i could give you an educated guess on whats happening, try plugging in a different "white block thingy" as you call it. Im not sure but it sounds like that one could have gone bad, but thats if your lucky. If im wrong and the inlet plug on the card itself is damaged then im sorry but your screwed, but i think that its time to upgrade your 9700 anyway, its a nice card but its kinda old.
I'd like an x800 but I don't know if it'd be worth the trouble on the

As for the 'white block plug'...I can just plug any of those into it? Most of them are connected to other things in the computer, but some of which (like the A: drive, most notably) I wouldn't mind living without. At least for the one day my father has to use the frigging thing.

I think the cable itself has a short--but it would be a short in the white connector piece itself, if anything. I'll try it out tonight and if it doesn't work I'll have to throw that crap geforce card in for a day. My refresh lock and my Catalyst drivers are probably going to screw that all up though.

Remember, I only have a 4x agp. Is it possible to get a 128mb x800 card that would work with that?
 
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That X800 card that i gave you a link to will work with an AGP 4x slot, atleast thats what i think.

edit: i've just seen your edit, SaiyanPride, so uhh, i guess im just acknowledging it. Those X800's are a nice card, they are probably the best that you could get for your computer, judging by your ram and your processor, like Smith said, if you get too good of a card, that processor and ram could come back to haunt you.

Oh and have you tried out a different power plug for your card yet?, that could be the problem.
 
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I haven't. But only because I'm at work, and won't be out until 1am, and won't be able to get one. So I'm hoping that like, I can cut off power to the A drive and use that cable for the graphics card. That card seems really nice and all, and I'd love to get it, but I can't really afford it right now. I'd have to wait at least two weeks. Unfortunately I'll need a temp solution in the meanwhile, particularly for tomorrow morning since my father needs the machine for work.

is it even possible for me to jerry rig one of the other power supply connections to the graphics card? it seems to have it's own unique extension and ending (though I'm not certain because I can't look at it right now, since I'm at work...what a pain!)
 
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Your floppy power connector won't work. Only the big white 12v ones. Also, you wouldn't see a noticable performance drop from 8x to 4x AGP, maybe a couple fps. Any AGP 8x card will work with a 4x slot. I'm suggesting the 6800GT because of the newer features and the fact that it just outright owns the x800 normal.
 
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What about one of the CD drive connectors? Really I just need a temp solution to get my father through the lame thing he needs to do tomorrow morning. Then I will buy a new piece later this week. I won't be able to tonight and he's going to need it ready to go early in the morning.
 
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Yeah sorry for the late post, i haven't been here for a while so im now just getting to the forums after a week or so.

Anyway, do you have any progress with this whole ordeal?
 
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Actually, I just said to hell with it and bought a Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro instead. Was only 120 bucks or so, and I threw that in and it's been running like molten butter ever since.
 
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Lol, thats great then, did you ever figure out what the hell happened to it anyway, just for kicks?
 
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Don't mind Smith. He's just pissed at me right now. (Ah, that's where you're wrong.) The problem is solved, but I'll just mention what I found.

I didn't ever manage to DECISIVELY find the problem, but I still strongly theorize it was the connection to the power supply not giving it enough juice, because my last few attempts to get the old one working resulted in it only remaining on for short period of time before completely losing power and my display being cut off. If I could find another odd connector like that one, I guess I could salvage the card, unless it's the actual pins on the card's board itself that went. It was most likely a short in the wiring part, though--the way my case is, it folds open like a transformer and it looked like that particular cable had been pinned down between my mounting brackets and the card itself for...pretty much the last 2 and a half years. I never noticed it at first, but the cable was, at one part, pretty much folded in a pretty deep crease; that's probably what caused it all.

The reason why I chose the Radeon 9800 that I did is because my friend has the same one, and he knew that it had a 'normal' four pin connection on it and not the odd mini one my 9700 had. I didn't even have to use a new PSU cable, the original one without that odd little add-on piece worked fine. Which, again, suggests that the odd mini cable/connector piece was the problem. Either way I saved the old card; if I ever happen upon a new miniature PSU cable I'll throw it in another computer and give it a try, and I'll let you know what I find. But for now all I have is this one because I had to use some parts from my second computer to help fix up a friend's, so it won't be for sometime.

That'd really suck if I just bought the new card and the old one was fine, but hey...it was easier then tracking down that odd wire I'd have needed at the proper length (because of how the case opens the damn thing was nearly two feet long). And it was only 120 bucks, so...for me and my job that's not really a lot of money (though now I can't afford Quake IV...damn).
 

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