Geforce 280 GTX strange errors/crashes, please help!

Zalgradis

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Hi there,

I recently purchased an EVGA Geforce 280 GTX along with an OCZ 1010W PSU for my system, to replace a damaged 650W PSU and geforce 8800 ultra.

After installing the PSU, all voltage readings to the motherboard seemed to be correct, so i went ahead and installed the 280. Everything was working perfectly, however at random times while playing a game, the game would suggenly lock up (screen freeze) for around 5-10 seconds, then unfreeze, but with highly reduced FPS (60 -> 20 ish), and sometimes graphical glitches. For example, it happened twice while playing crysis; approaching a village, and when the vtol on the assault level opened. At both of these times, i noticed graphical glitching, such as what i can only describe as a 'red veil' over everything.

Oddly enough, this could be fixed by tabbing to windows, and then back to the game. The game would, however, freeze up for a few seconds before letting me resume play, but the glitching was gone and the FPS had returned to normal. The problem thereafter was that upon quitting the game and entering windows, windows did not respond to any actions, and suddenly the video froze. I could hear an error pop up, but could not see it as the video was frozen..... the strangest thing is that windows was still fully operational, but i had a frozen image on my screen. I could even shut it down with [start -> up -> enter -> right -> enter].

This is an extremely strange problem, the likes of which i have never seen before. I'm doing everything i can think of to try to find the cause and remedy, but i'm adept with computers at best, and starting to draw blanks :(

System info:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
Asus Commando motherboard (stock BIOS ver.): http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=307&model=1480&modelmenu=1
Corsair Dominator ram PC6400 DDR800 (4x 1gb)
OCZ PSU 1010w: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/127855
EVGA Geforce 280 GTX: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/147809

Additional info:
I installed nvidia driver 177.41 after installing the 280, and the errors occured while running this driver. I have just downloaded and installed nvidia driver 177.83 from the evga driver site, and will test this tonight to see if it has solved the problem (i hope to god its only a software fault). If not, i'm pretty much fresh out of ideas :(

Someone had mentioned checking the voltage rails to the graphics card, but i have no idea how to do so, and have been unable to find out how thus far.

any help would be greatly appreciated, as i only have a few days to return this card if it is somehowbuggered.

Many thanks in advance.
 

Zalgradis

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Another addition as i am not allowed to edit posts:

A quick addition, i am also running 6x SATA devices, 4 hard drives and 2 DVD-RW drives.

I doubt that this is a heat problem, as the nvidia performance monitor indicates that the GPU has peaked at 76 degrees C. while playing crysis, with a threshold of 110 degrees. I also had the same problem with World of Warcraft, with the GPU peaking at 55 degrees.

So far, these problems have only occurred once a day, with around 7 hours operation time over the last few days.
 

cliffro

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You can edit your posts


As to the issue, its hard to tell, could be defective. or the motherboard as jaydeejohn suggests.
 

Zalgradis

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The reason i upgraded was fairly minor, not exactly urgent.. but a ball bearing in the PSU fan became loose, and started grinding so loud, i thought somebody was using a powerdrill in my room.

@cliffro: thanks, i have been trying that, but after posting i was given an error "you cannot edit this post" :(

As far as i can tell, my motherboard seems fine, atleast it was with my 8800 ultra.
 

JAYDEEJOHN

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It could be a power issue, as it demands more, it seems to start to fail, from your comments. Thats why I asked about your mobo. It also could be a driver issue. Did you wipe all your drivers before installing the 280?
 

Zalgradis

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@jaydeejohn: I did uninstall my previous drivers yes, and deleted the temp folders on my C: drive. As for the power issue, as far as i can tell my motherboard is recieving sufficient power, but i dont know how to check the geforce card :(

I have been playing crysis for an hour now with driver 177.83 (previous version 177.41, which is when i experienced the issues). I can tell that there is a slight decrease in performance.. but so far no crashes, though i would have to play for atleast 10 hours to see whether or not the new drivers have helped.
 

JAYDEEJOHN

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Hopefully solved then. I know my nVidia drivers since the 169s have been a tad dodgy. Maybe thats all it is. I thought your psu had gone up in smoke and had effected your mbo w/o your knowledge. Hope it holds with these drivers. GL
 

pbrigido

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Do you have your 8800 still? If so, toss that in there and see if it works. If so, you may have a defective 280. I had a similar problem with 2 Asus 280s. After two RMAs I went to eVGA for a 280 and things have been fine since.
 

Zalgradis

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Thanks John.

@pbridgido: I'll test games with driver 177.83 for a few days, and if the problem repeats itself, ill slap the 8800 back in. thanks for the tip.

Ill update this thread as soon as something happens ><
 
The unit has multiple 12v rails. try using the molex to 8 pin adapter. grab molex connectors from different lines. Also make sure you fans and HDD are on seperate lines. This sounds like a load balancing issue.
 

Zalgradis

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@psyKhiqZero: You may well be right, though the system has only two lines with 3x SATA power connectors on each, but the two DVD drives (almost always idle as i never use them) are both connected to a single molex to dual sata connector. That same line powers a few fans in the system. Other than that, three HDDs are powered by one of the sata lines, and the fourth is powered by the last. The PCI-E cables are completely seperate, and the PSU has 4 in total.

With this in mind, do you think that putting two HDDs on each sata line (would require a lot of annoying fiddling in this small case), or swapping say, PCI-E 2 (current line used for 8 pin) to PCI-E 4 would help? or possibly using the unused Molex line (total 3 or 4 connectors) to solely power the 8 pin connector on the graphics card with a convertor?
 

Zalgradis

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Edit: that message i mentioned in the original post (the one i couldnt see due to screen being frozen) may well be one regarding insufficient power, as i remember getting those messages in my older system when i had a load balance issue with my 7900.
 
yeah i would spread the HDD between both sata lines. Also use the molex line to power the 8 pin via the adapter (you mentioned that you only had 1 molex line but if there are 2 try using 2 seperate molex lines. and use switch between the 6 pin connecctors if the system proves to be unstable.
 
If possible return the unit and get the corsair 1000 watt unit. It only has 2 12v rails but each can supply 40amps, your less likely to get a load balancing issue with that unit.

Your unit as 4 12v rails rated at only 18 amps. You need to try to get 3 of the 4 rails from your PSU to your GPU to provide the 40+ amps it takes to power the GPU.

It really sucks they don't label the rails. Good luck and god speed my friend. lol
 

Zalgradis

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Update on the drive spread:

My PSU has 4 power lines for devices other than the PCI-E cards;

2x Molex, 2x Sata (each has 3 respective connectors).

The current device spread is:
Molex 1: Powering 1x DVD drive and 1x Hard drive
Molex 2: Powering case fans
SATA 1: Powering 1x DVD drive and 1x Hard drive
SARA 2: Powering 2x Hard drive.

PCI-E 1 and 2 are in use on the graphics card, and seem to be on seperate lines.

@PsykhiqZero; thanks for the feedback on the PSU. I cant believe such a highly rated PSU would have such a glaringly obvious flaw.. what a disappointment.. Upon checking the PSU manual i can confirm that the PCI-E rails are only 18 amps :( I'll test out the system for a few more days.. and will consider returning the PSU.
 

Zalgradis

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After double checking, it seems my version of the PSU does actually supply 20.0 amps to each rail, which does reach the 40 amp requirement.. barely..

When you mention a dual molex to 8 pin convertor, do each of the molex inputs have to come from seperate lines? and if so, will it make an enormous difference if one of those lines is powering a HDD and a DVD drive, or would i have to rewire my entire system and spread all 6 drives purely between the two SATA cables? If i read correctly, these lines carry 30 amps; would this bring the total 'ampage?' of the 8 pin connector to 60, thus solving the possible load problem?

Many thanks for your help!
 
About the dual molex to 8 pin adapter, it's hard to say for sure wheather using 2 molex from seperate lines will make a big difference, as the rails are not exactly labled. I would try to use different lines just in case though. It should make that much of a difference if the lines are used to power a HDD and a DVD drive.

Try this setup
Molex 1: DVD, HDD, GPU (via dual molex to 8 pin pci-e)
Molex 2. Fans, GPU (via dual molex to 8 pin pci-e)
sata 1 and 2 leave alone:

Do you have a dual 4 pin molex to 6pin adapter and did your gpu come with a dual 6 pin pci-e to 8 pin adapter?

IF you have the adapters try this
Molex 1: HDD, GPU (via daul molex to 6 pin pci-e)
Molex 2: Fans, GPU (via dual molex to 6 pin pci-e)
PCI-e 1: GPU (via dual 6pin pci-e to 8 pin pci-e)
PCI-e 2: GPU (via dual 6 pin pci-e to 8pin PCI-e)
Sata 1 +2: leave as is.
 

Zalgradis

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Thanks for the feedback once again.

I do have two connectors: Dual molex to 8 pin, and dual molex to 6 pin.

I could also try to purchase Dual 6 pin to Dual 8 pin connectors, but would it not be better to connect those from the PCI-E lines alone?

Ie: PCI-E 1 and 2 6 pin -> 1x 8 pin via adapter
and PCI-E 3 and 4 6 pin -> 1x 8 pin via adapter

I also found this posted on : http://web.aanet.com.au/SnooP/psucalc.php

"Even amongst brands, some models are better than others, so reading up reviews on candidate PSU's is a very good idea to ensure you the PSU you end up bying can run reliably at 100% load. For example the OCZ gamexstream 1010w has out of spec voltage ripple past around 50% load, so may not run systems reliabily even though this psu calculator may indicate it could"
 
With load balancing issues it's going to be trail and error before you can find the right setup to get your psu to work. Do what you can with what you have before buying new stuff.

Using just the pci-e connectors may or may not work. You would hope that ocz would have put each of the connectors on a seperate rail but you never know. According to the article you may just be better off returning your psu and getting a different one instead of going through the pain of load balancing.
 

Zalgradis

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Thank you for the feedback. I'm going to play a few games for the rest of the night and see if the problem persists with driver 177.83, and if it does, ill use my [2x molex -> 6 pin] and [2x 6 pin to 8 pin] adapters to see if it helps.

Out of curiosity, does anyone know of a useful software program to benchmark a graphics card regardless of its system stats, to compare against usual benchmarks?
 

Zalgradis

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Using driver 177.83, another epic fail. This time, i managed to screenshot it:

http://img107.imageshack.us/img107/424/crysisfailar2.jpg

I'm going to try PsyKhiqZero's second setup suggestion now and go back to 177.41.... but to be honest, i'm thinking i sohuld just return the PSU, as the main reason i bought it was to SLI 280's some point in the future, and even with that setup, SLI wont be possible. Sigh.

@Jaydeejohn: I don't quite understand that comment, could you please elaborate?
 

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