Video Card Problem - Or Is It? (HELP!)

In February of this year I bought a new video card - an AMD HD7970. In two games I have been trying to play recently (Skyrim and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood), I have had consistent issues with the game completely freezing my computer. The screen stays frozen while the sound is caught in a loop, and I'm forced to manually use the power switch on the PSU in order to reboot.

I have had additional issues since installing this new video card including:
- I can't put my computer in sleep mode without suddenly the fan in the video card increasing to full speed.
- When uninstalling the driver, I get a blank screen at the end forcing me to manually reboot.
- Sometimes when I leave my computer idle for more than 30 minutes, I either get a message saying the driver failed or the screen does not come back properly at all and I'm forced to reboot.

I had assumed it was either a driver issue or just a weird issue with it noticing my monitor because I could play games without problems, but I now realize I wasn't playing anything that would really push the video card until now and there have since been several driver updates, making me now wonder if it's hardware related.

I have attempted uninstalling drivers and trying different versions (and using Driver Sweeper to clean it out) but the problem does not seem to be going away. I also tried turning off any overclocking on the CPU (I never overclocked the video card). Around the same time I purchased the new video card, I bought an SSD to serve as my primary drive. At that time I did a complete fresh install of Windows 7. I haven't had any additional issues involving the SSD, however, and moving the games onto one of my regular hard drives does not eliminate this issue.

System specs: Windows 7 64-bit (OEM Version), i7-920 @ 3.4; Corsair XMS3 6 GB DDR3 RAM (forget what the timing is); Corsair TX750 PSU (non-modular); Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro PCI-E; Powercolor HD 7970

I guess I would just like to know if there is something else that could be causing the problem and what I should test before resorting to sending my card back to the manufacturer for who knows how long (the 30-day RMA period from the store I bought it from has long since passed.)

If possible, monitor and log your GPU temperatures.

The last time I had a problem like that my videocard was overheating. That's not to say that's what it will be, just something I've experienced before.

The log part is important, unless you have a second monitor anyway. If you do just put whatever you use to monitor temps up on the secondary screen and when it freezes you'll have a nice snapshot of your videocard's vitals when it happens.

Try running memtest on it. I've seen faulty ram causes those issues

Alright, I'll probably be home too late to do anything major but I'll run memtest overnight and try and run a GPU stress test with a temp monitor running at the same time tomorrow and see if there is any obvious culprit.

Another possibility would be an inadequate or failing power supply. Temps are the first thing to check, but power supply would probably be the second.

Okay, so I ran the Furmark burn-in test several times and a couple other benchmarks (including Video Memory Stress Test), and it ran completely issue-free. My video card did get a little hotter than is ideal during the furmark (peaked at 86 degrees) but I think I should fool around with the fans in my case before putting that problem on the card.

I also ran memtest86+ overnight with no issues either.

My googling has suggested the problem might be sound drivers and my luck involving those two games. Seeing as I'm still using an X-Fi and have run into multiple problems in the past, it seems reasonable.

I'm going to see if those games still crash after reverting back to on-board sound. If they do, then I guess I'll either try to borrow a multimeter or invest in a new PSU and hope for the best.

kuddles wrote:

Okay, so I ran the Furmark burn-in test several times and a couple other benchmarks (including Video Memory Stress Test), and it ran completely issue-free. My video card did get a little hotter than is ideal during the furmark (peaked at 86 degrees) but I think I should fool around with the fans in my case before putting that problem on the card.

I also ran memtest86+ overnight with no issues either.

My googling has suggested the problem might be sound drivers and my luck involving those two games. Seeing as I'm still using an X-Fi and have run into multiple problems in the past, it seems reasonable.

I'm going to see if those games still crash after reverting back to on-board sound. If they do, then I guess I'll either try to borrow a multimeter or invest in a new PSU and hope for the best.

Make sure you disable the X-Fi in the device manager so it's not still using resources.

That seems like an excellent next step. You may not even need that X-Fi anymore. Current motherboard sound can be quite good. My present board, for instance, uses the expensive Realtek 889 chip. It has excellent DACs, and sounds outstanding....with the caveat that it's hissy/noisy on the headphone jack if the other output jacks aren't connected. Dunno why.

I have no problem listening to music on this thing. It sounds just fine to my ears. And I was a harsh, harsh critic of earlier generations of motherboard sound chips.

Admittedly, I haven't heard the cheaper 892 chip that's in most current motherboards, but the specs are pretty similar. The 889 is just a lot more flexible, able to drive multiple separate outs as separate devices. I didn't see any reason to think the 892 would suck, it just doesn't do quite as much.

After pulling out the card and reverting back to onboard sound, Skyrim did not crash at the point it always did and continued working for a good 90 minutes without problem so I think I found the issue. Goddamn it, Creative Labs.

Still concerned about the other weird video card issues I mentioned in my first post, but again, I have a feeling that has something to do with the video card misinterpreting the reason why my monitor goes into standby mode and is unrelated.

Thanks for helping me work through this guys. Kinda annoyed at what it turned out to be but beats RMAing my video card or buying replacement memory or a power supply.

I replaced my extremely erratic and noisy 6770 stock fan with an after market one and had had no problems since and very quiet operation. What is the name of the gpu temperature software? I'd like to check the temps to make sure everything is still kosher.

Well, the Furmark stress test comes with it's own temperature monitor as part of the test and the Burn-in benchmark is specifically meant to load your GPU as much as it can. But if you want a seperate one for confirmation or for other purposes, I use HWMonitor which tells you the current temps of practically everything in your PC.