I have an 8800GTS, latest drivers from Nvidia, and 2 monitors.

I've recently been playing Dragon Age 2, but 5 - 10 minutes, the graphics utterly die. The game locks up, Numlock won't go on & off, the sound becomes something reminiscent of dial up tones, and the graphics change. The colours sometimes invert then flick back, and the secondary screen 'tears', with a line of less broken picture flickering down it.

Sometimes this also causes the monitors to turn off. Occasionally the sound will resurrect itself, but not always.

I've watched the temperatures as the game plays, and the graphics never gets above 90C.

It's only ever happened in Dragon Age 2, BUT after playing DA2, I tried to install an Nvidia monitoring tool. As soon as I clicked on this tool, the machine bluescreened, and when coming back on it didn't the tool installed any more.

Finally, sometimes the BIOS screen and Windows boot manager will also have screwed up graphics, if I reboot after the machine dying.

I've done a memchk, and tried some tool that checks the memory in the graphics card too.

Also, both screen's graphics mess up.

What's going on, can it be fixed & do I need a new graphics card?


After a crash, the screen looks similar to the monitor in here, but the picture 'underneath' is still obviously dragon age.

Edit 2:

The core temp was at 75 this time when it died, which isn't very hot. But it did take longer to fail after being off for 10 mins, which points to overheating.

Edit 3:

It now also dies in TF2, and when the crash happens, sometimes the secondary monitor just mirrors the first.

  • my initial reaction is to suspect the RAM or motherboard – Xantec Mar 18 '11 at 1:05
  • @Xantec. Memchk was fine. – Squidly Mar 18 '11 at 1:16
  • is that the built in Windows memory test or something more like Memtest86? – Xantec Mar 18 '11 at 1:33
  • Windows memory diagnostic, so built in. – Squidly Mar 18 '11 at 1:40

If your graphics card is still in warranty, I would get it replaced.

No way to be certain, but it sounds to me like either there is corruption/bad memory, or the gpu itself is fried.

  • I thought memory, but a quick (i.e. not very thorough) run of some tool or other seemed to think memory was fine. And i don't have this issue on other things, AFAIK – Squidly Mar 18 '11 at 1:24

That the system starts exhibiting that behavior 5-10 minutes into the game is a classic symptom of overheating. I don’t know just how bad 90°C is for your video card (I’ve found several pages indicating they they can go higher, but 90 is high-ish), but you should look at the other temperatures: system and especially CPU.

(Don’t forget that winter is ending, so the temps are starting to rise; at least in the northern hemisphere.)

The graphics problems are likely due to the video card overheating, but the other problems are almost certainly due to the CPU and perhaps the chipset overheating.

The BIOS having trouble when you reboot right after the system has problems is an indication that the system is still too hot.

Next time you run the game, quit about three minutes in (before it dies) and check the temps (with a tool like SpeedFan).

An easy way to test is to try running the game with the windows open, a fan on, the system pulled out and sitting in open air, etc. If it doesn’t crash (or takes longer to crash), then you’ve definitely got your self a heating problem and can then look to any of various cooling solutions (my personal recommendation is a hole and fan blowing out of the top).

(Did you run the NVida monitoring program when it was still hot?)

  • I was using CPUid Hardware monitor, running in the other monitor, while the game was running. – Squidly Mar 18 '11 at 1:06
  • regarding heat and if this is a new issue: depending on how old the computer is, how long it has sat where it is and various environmental factors it may simply need a cleaning/de-dusting. – Xantec Mar 18 '11 at 1:07
  • @MrBones, And? What were the CPU and system temps? – Synetech Mar 18 '11 at 2:09

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