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6800 diagnostic tool?

Associate
Joined
2 Oct 2006
Posts
18
Hi,
Just wondering if anyone could offer me some advice.

I bought a BFG 6800 GS OC about 3 months ago, and its been working fine up until the last 3-4 days. The main issues I have are seen are in a game I play, which has been patched recently.

I've come to the conclusion that its either the patch thats responsible, or that my card is on the way out.

The effects I see are sparklie pixels, or odd triangular chunks of landscape that appear and disappear.

I have not modified the card at all, and speedfan / everest indicate it is running at normal temperature (cpu 50 C or so, card up to 62 C max).

I found some newer drivers and they reduced the problem in some areas of the game, and turning off vertex shaders reduces the problems some more. I do still have these issues though and it can get very nasty / messy ;(

Unfortunately thats about the extent of my troubleshooting expertise. Is there some free diagnostic software I can use to tell me if there is a problem with my card? Something easy to use for a 'novice' would be ideal. I have only the 1 machine, so swapping cards to another etc is near impossible. Anyone have any other suggestions by any chance? Could there be anything else responsible for these effects? Or is it time to find the warranty?

thank you!
 
Associate
Joined
28 Apr 2006
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Location
Northampton
It sounds like the cards on its way out, sparkly pixels indicates the cores straining.
Can u run something like 3d mark 05/06 to strain the card and see if problem also happens in those ?
if it does , time for a rma
 
Soldato
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Stoke-on-Trent
Temperatures look fine, have you got you card overclocked at all and/or unlocked (you hint at this by saying tunring off a vertex shader) If so it could be that the new patch is making the game use a segment of the vertex/pixel components that were locked off for reason (they are buggered)

If so you may have to relock these to get rid of the corruption.
 
Associate
OP
Joined
2 Oct 2006
Posts
18
The sparklie pixels and other effects only appear in the game I play. I'm hoping the card is not on the way out since I have only just bought it recently to replace a card I had for 2 years.
The card came overclocked out of the box so I haven't touched it at all...no tweaking or anything

The pixel shaders I turned off from the advanced options in-game, so presumably they are just turned off for the game and not anything else. (I'm not sure if thats what you were asking)
Apart from this gaming, I don't have any issues (well I probably wouldn't since I don't really fully utilize the card for anything else).

So I guess I need to download whatever Snoops said and do some stress tests? And try and see if the card is the problem?

The other thing I wondered is could it be a lack of power from the supply? Or a power supply thats on its way out? (Is there any way to find out? I'm not even sure what I have in there ;p)
 
Soldato
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Location
Stoke-on-Trent
Yeah, I was talking about mods to how the card operates at a 'sub-driver' level but you obviously haven't done that so it could be signs of a card on the way out.

Run 3d05 and 06 (the latter being the more strenuous) and this should show up any probs.
 
Associate
Joined
21 Aug 2005
Posts
281
Location
Oxford, UK
look for something called ati tool and use that to test for artifacts (pink furry dice thing test).. i have the same card as you in one of my machines and i used it myself when i was overclocking it.
 
Associate
OP
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2 Oct 2006
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18
I've never used any overclocking software.
Will this work ok with nvidia (I'm guessing so).

And can I run the artifacts scan part without doing any overclocking (since I assume it would invalidate the warranty?)

Any thoughts on this being lack of power (dying supply?). I'm not even sure what I ahve in there, but its been there over 2 years.
 
Associate
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Wilderness of ESSEX
Snoops said:
It sounds like the cards on its way out, sparkly pixels indicates the cores straining.
Can u run something like 3d mark 05/06 to strain the card and see if problem also happens in those ?
if it does , time for a rma


I have cranked my gainward 6800 GT core up by about 40mhz from the standard setting.
some times I see very little white spots on the screen, is this sparkly pixels ! ? :confused:
 
Soldato
Joined
10 Apr 2004
Posts
13,489
Newbieboy00 said:
I've never used any overclocking software.
Will this work ok with nvidia (I'm guessing so).

And can I run the artifacts scan part without doing any overclocking (since I assume it would invalidate the warranty?)

Any thoughts on this being lack of power (dying supply?). I'm not even sure what I ahve in there, but its been there over 2 years.


Well, have you got a multimeter? Test the 12 and 5V lines.

The symptoms you say are deffo card on the way out signs.

Does it only happen in this one game? What is the game and does it do it in other games?

No-one can tell if you have overclocked a card, as its not a physical thing.
 
Associate
OP
Joined
2 Oct 2006
Posts
18
Multimeter? Unfortunately I have no idea what this even looks like ;/

I guess I better do this ATItool / 3Dmark and see if it definately is the card. Sadly it does sound like it from what you guys are saying...
Hopefully they are easy to use...

Don't really play any other games, just this one MMORPG online one (Everquest).

Anyone have any tips / experience of returning cards to BFG? (I better start getting used to the idea I guess)
 
Soldato
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Location
Midlands
run ati tool and it will also tell you the temps of the core and if its artifacting. im gonna guess here that the heatsink and fan on the psu is stuffed full of dust and its causing the card to overheat.
 
Associate
OP
Joined
2 Oct 2006
Posts
18
After 3 hours play the card never got over 61-2 C. Or is this not what you mean? (remember complete novice here)

Any fast tips on using ATItool? Or some pointers to an idiot guie or some such?

thanks ;)
 
Man of Honour
Joined
22 Jun 2006
Posts
11,877
Hey Agge :p

I found some newer drivers and they reduced the problem in some areas of the game, and turning off vertex shaders reduces the problems some more. I do still have these issues though and it can get very nasty / messy ;(
If drivers helped fix some of the issues that would imply it may be at least in part a software problem, I too had a 6800 (Ultra) that in the game you mentioned made large chunks of textures turn into certain colours (usually a base one like brown/green) which was restricted to newer zones and those revamped with new graphics. I never actually fixed the problem fully and I think it is an issue with the game itself.

That said I never had any sparklies and they are usually a bad indication of the cards health no matter what game you play.

The pixel shaders I turned off from the advanced options in-game, so presumably they are just turned off for the game and not anything else.
If you turn all the pixel/vertex shaders off then you'd obviously get a dodgy result (like warped unshaded textures etc) so you really shouldn't have to disable them. I would suggest you check that your drivers don't have AA or AF enabled and are set to Quality or Performance (not High Quality!). Turning off fast writes in the BIOS is another common fix but not really for what you describe.

The other thing I wondered is could it be a lack of power from the supply? Or a power supply thats on its way out? (Is there any way to find out? I'm not even sure what I have in there ;p)
For a moderately loaded system you need about 20A on the +12v rail for a 6800 GT, you could get away with less if you don't have much else drawing power (like not many HDD/DVD etc). The label will normally be on the side of the PSU that is facing you when you take off the side panel (and are looking "into" the system) but tbh I'd expect to see a lot more than that if your PSU can't cope (like say.. the system restarting/turning off/freezing).

Did you run 3D Mark yet? If you can get through 3D Mark (I'd suggest 2003/05/06) then it is reasonably safe to say your more likely to be encountering a software issue than a hardware one. EQ isn't really that demanding of the cards features.

With ATI Tool just click the scan for artifacts option and it'll let you know what it finds :)
 
Associate
OP
Joined
2 Oct 2006
Posts
18
Hello :confused:

Just no escaping some people I guess ;p

Well I just ran ATItool:

2006-10-04 21:19:55 ATITool v0.24 started.
2006-10-04 21:20:05 Scan for Artifacts started... Core: 0.00 Mhz Memory: 0.00 Mhz
2006-10-04 21:20:05 Scan for Artifacts running for: 0:00:00
2006-10-04 21:27:15 Artifacts detected after 07:10.57. 4 pixels don't match.
2006-10-04 22:00:34 Last message repeated 1783 times.
2006-10-04 22:00:34 Scan for Artifacts stopped Total runtime: 2428 seconds


I noticed it restarted 4 times (so 4 pixels don't match message I presume). So I guess I need to know if this level of error is normal or not.

I also had speedfan running and the voltages did not change much over the 40 mins I ran atitool (is that long enough?).

I didn't see any core temps on the atilog, but this is what i got off speedfan

vcore1 1,49v
vcore2 2.59v
+3V 3.01v
+5V 4.14v
+12V 11.97v

Is that reasonable?

temperatures were pretty much as i stated previously. Disk 45-51C, card gets up to 61C.

Tetras -- I have no idea about some of what you said -- AA / AF? And so no idea where to change them.

So, do I need to get the 3Dmark05 next? Or is the output above any more informative ?
 
Man of Honour
Joined
22 Jun 2006
Posts
11,877
Artifacts are bad, how much space is there below the card? You don't have it squeezed in with a card straight under it right? What kind of airflow is there in your case?

AA/AF are features turned on to improve image quality, generally they are off unless intentionally enabled so I wouldn't worry,

The temps you have reported on the graphics card sound ok but worth checking airflow to the card anyway :)

Did you check the rating on the +12v rail (PSU label)? It shouldn't just cause artifacts, seems like card is borked but it is still good to know.
 
Associate
OP
Joined
2 Oct 2006
Posts
18
Not had too much time tonight, so not opened the case to look at the psu.

seems to have plenty of room around it, and I guess the airflow should be ok (after all the temperatures seem fine right?)

the atitool log did not seem all that informative to me, maybe i was expecting too much ;/

So would u say 4 artifacts in 40 mins was bad? (Not sure what / if there is an acceptable level). Card is dying? Or do i need the other software to double check?

Someone mentioned dust in the psu or the case ... would cleaning it out be worth doing? or am i clutching at straws now?

*I so could do without the hassle of figuring out where to send it, and then being without a card for weeks on end*

And who the heck are ya tetras? :)
 
Man of Honour
Joined
22 Jun 2006
Posts
11,877
Dust in the case could raise temperatures sure and depending where the temperature is being read from it may not be consistant with the actual temps on the card (for example even though a GPU may be reporting below average temps, the video RAM could be running far above spec).

I'd definately run 3D Mark cos it is substantially more demanding than EQ and if the card is overheating or borked it'll show it up in an obvious fashion very quickly.

It'd also be really helpful if you could take a screenshot (with a mobile camera and/or printscreen if anything shows up), so we could see exactly what you mean happens in EQ.

Generally speaking any artifacts is bad, visible or not but you can run a card that artifacts in ATI Tool, which will be fine in games. Artifacts that happen in that way would usually be due to overclocking going beyond what the card is capable of but your card hasn't been overclocked, so...

And I'm "Vesharin", use to play quite awhile ago (Tetras on DR forums) :)
 
Associate
OP
Joined
2 Oct 2006
Posts
18
Firstly, thanks for all your help tetras. Its much appreciated!

So I just ran 3dmark05. I sat through the first few tests as they ran and saw some really nasty pixelation. Those were the movies running at 15-20 fps.

Now I'm not sure whats supposed to happen next, but is it supposed to then rerun the tests at 1 fps? If so, thats what it did, but basically I could not make out anything on the screen.

I then went afk for 5 mins, and came back to a black screen. Had to reboot the computer to get a desktop back. I'm guessing thats not so good.

I can't seem to find any logs or reports being created. Or do those only happen after successful completion? Anything else for me to do with this ? Or am i done now ? :eek:

The whole process from start to finish for me (black screen -> reboot) was less than 10 mins I would guess. I was expecting it to last like an hour or so...

Tips welcome
 
Man of Honour
Joined
22 Jun 2006
Posts
11,877
Really does sound like the card, the FPS sounds right but you shouldn't be getting black screens or pixelation, would be helpful to rule out your PSU though, get that +12v rating from the label :p

And just to ask the obvious, you know there is a molex connector required to power the card right? (same connector as powers HD/DVD/CD Drives if your card is AGP)
 
Associate
OP
Joined
2 Oct 2006
Posts
18
I'll open it up tommorow and look at the psu and check it is still connected (it was connected but I recall my friend having some struggle to get it on)

So I guess 3dmark doesn't generate a logfile as it goes along then? And roughly how long should the tests last?

cheers!
 
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