Thursday, December 31, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Yesterday I was all set to do Lost Vale for the first time. My guild was putting together a group, so why not? It seems my small interest in PvE angered the RvR Gods. I was just about to scroll to the Lost Vale, when things took a bad turn.

WAR had been running fine earlier in the day. All of a sudden, my screen started to flicker and red pixels were scattered on the screen. WAR locked up and I got a strange message from Windows:

"Display driver stopped responding, but has successfully recovered."

Soon after I got a nice Blue Screen of Death with the code of 116. It seems the Timeout Detection and Recovery system (which is in Vista and Windows 7) saw a problem with my video card (Nvidia 8800GT).

I tried all sorts of drivers with no change. Microsoft blames Nvidia and Nvidia blames everything under the sun except their driver. I even tried a System Restore from a few days ago.

My best guess is that the card overheated. To help prove that, I downloaded Furmark (a benchmark tool). Using the stability test, I was able to see the cards temperature.  It started out just fine, around 60 degrees C.  It slowly worked its way up and as it got into the mid 70's the problems began.  Eventually it got up near 80 and blue screened.

One oddity was video card fan never kicked into high gear.  I download rivatuner in order to control the fan.  I set the fan to max and ran furmark again.  No luck as it crashed pretty quickly.

On a later reboot, the screen became distorted even before Windows loaded.  On the BIOS screen I have all sorts of dots.  In fact, Win7 doesn't even bother to load the driver anymore, as it sees a problem with the video card. 

So here I sit, lines all across my screen in 800x600 resolution.  I hope to go grab a new video card later today.  Not many brick and mortar stores sell them around here, so Best Buy is my only hope.

I really don't want to start the new year WAR-less :)