Help me, please!


Jan 10, 2004
This story is sort of long, so bear with me. On Christmas I got two upgrades for my Dell Dimension 8100 desktop (Previously: Windows Me, 1.3 gHz P4, 256 MB RDRAM, GeForce 2 MX 400, Sound Blaster AudioPCI 64V). These were 512 MB of RDRAM and an ASUS V9280 GeForce4 Ti4200. The RAM seems to have installed fine, but after fighting through the worthless ASUS documentation (which was a real pain) I finally got the card installed and running, or so it would seem. Please note that I know very little about computer hardware, so this was no small achievement for me.

I’ve installed a number of games to test out the new hardware, and in all of them I’ve had the same problem. Everything runs more or less smoothly, a frame drop here or there, no biggie. After a variable amount of time, though, (approx. 10 minutes in Morrowind, 45 min. in GTA: Vice City and slightly longer in GTA III) the sound starts becoming fuzzy; crackling and skipping like a cd player that’s been bumped. The picture also “freezes” along with these sound skips, then proceeds as normal. If I then leave the game on long enough, the whole thing degenerates to a point where everything is moving like molasses, the sound is popping and scratching like crazy and the game is of course unplayable. What makes this even odder is that I also installed GTA III AFTER noticing these problems with Morrowind, and it seemed to play just fine for about a week. After that I installed Vice City, had the problems, went back, and the problem was suddenly present in GTA III.

My questions are many: first, does this seem like a driver problem or an actual hardware problem to anyone “in the know”? I ask this question because this particular card has a monitoring chip installed, which measures the temperature, voltage, etc. of the card. A number of times initially I had the “Smart Doctor 2” software (which lets you monitor the status of the card) pop up, telling me that the voltage was out of acceptable ranges, the fan shut off, etc. After pulling out the card and reinstalling it, the problems seemed to decrease and then disappear entirely, but I’m still wary.

Second, does anyone have any ideas of what I can do? I’ve considered reformatting my hard drive and re-installing the whole shebang, but I’m not sure whether that’s necessary or even fruitful. I’ve never done that before, so I don’t know what kind of effect it could have, and whether it could cause new problems.

Also, as far as drivers go, I foolishly installed the most recent NVidia drivers (53.something) before seeing if the NVidia reference drivers that came with the card were sufficient. I’ve backtracked to those older drivers that came with the card, but I’ve heard you can’t easily uninstall these newest NVidia drivers and they tend to leave crap on your system. I’ve also updated to the most recent sound drivers, but they haven’t seemed to affect the problem one way or another.

If anyone can help, I’d greatly appreciate it. The ASUS “tech support” has been frustrating the hell out of me during the few stabs I took at using it, so I admittedly haven’t pursued this issue too far with them. If any one has any ideas or advice please put it out there, I could use it. Also, I’m pretty clueless when it comes to this kind of stuff so don’t assume I know any hardware-related jargon. If you bothered reading this far, thanks!


Jul 13, 2003
I'm no expert so any thing I say is mere speculation.
What your experiencing sounds to me like driver problems. But you did say you updated your drivers to the most recent ones and it didn't help. I'm not sure why you think theres a problem with Nvidias most recent drivers compared to any of its earlier ones though since I havn't noticed any problem at all since installing the latest ones on my system, nor have I heard anything negative about them.
Other then that it could be that certain settings may need to be adjusted in your bios perhaps but I couldn't really tell you what changes those maybe. Also perhaps its a heat problem. When playing a game your system will generate more heat then when its just running simple desktop programs which means the heat could be building up when you play these games and it progressively slows your computer down. Maybe you should try playing these games with your computer case off and perhaps have a fan blowing into it and see how that goes?