About a year ago, I added a 9800GT (1 GB version) and a Corsair CX500 PSU to an HP M8000N computer. A few weeks ago, the HDD overheated and I decided to transfer the GPU & PSU to a new build, which consists of:
- i3 @ 3.3Ghz
- Gigabyte H61 Micro ATX Mobo
- 4GB RAM
- 500GB WD HDD
- DVD RW Drive
- Cooler Master Elite 430 Tower
Once I had Win7 up and running, I installed all the essential drivers that came with the Gigabyte Mobo CD. However, whenever I tried installing the Graphics Media Accelerator driver, the computer would crash and enter an endless boot sequence on the next startup. I skipped installing this driver and installed the CD driver for the 9800GT, which by now is a year old.
Everything was working fine, WEI rated my GPU at 6.6 graphics & aero performance. However, after updating my Nvidia drivers to the latest, the WEI dropped my rating to 3.3 for Aero, and 4.7 for graphics performance. Just to make sure that everything was ok, I ran Bad Company 2 on medium settings. The first few minutes ran just fine at a smooth framerate, so I dismissed this as Windows being Windows.
About 6 hours later, I ran BC2 again. This time I averaged anywhere from 2-5 FPS. I checked the GPU temperature through GPU-Z, and it came back as 120C. The problem with this, is that the computer was on for six hours up to that point. Wouldn't the card have experienced a reactor core meltdown a lot sooner than that? Granted, the computer was "sleeping" some of the time, but still...
The next day I took out a temperature gun and ran some tests. I would point the laser at a very specific area on the reverse side of the card (not the fan or "front"), and compare the temp reading with GPU-Z. After leaving the system on idle on idle for a few minutes, I ran BC2 twice. Here are the results:
- GPU-Z Reading / Temp Gun Reading / Time
- Null / 22.3°C / Comp is Off
- 53°C / 33.5°C / 1:49
- 78°C / 46°C / 1:53 - (First BC2 run; good framerate)
- 102°C / 64.6°C / 2:01 - (System is again on idle)
- 113°C / 64.8°C / 2:10
- 119°C / 71.8°C / 2:17 - (Second BC2 run; poor framerate)
I should also mention that I also took a temp recording of another part of the GPU from 2:01-2:17. The temp in this area jumped from 75°C to 82.9°C in that time frame.
This pretty much confirms that GPU-Z is reporting the temperature accurately, and the card is overheating. But I'd like to know why; the cars is doing nothing and still the temperature climbs at a steady rate. I thoroughly cleaned the GPU and PSU when I salvaged them from the old HP M8000N computer with a can of compressed air, dust cant be the issue. Similarly, the rest of the computer is brand new. I installed various Nvidia drivers, but no luck. It seems strange to me that a year-old card is suddenly failing on me; aren't they supposed to last at least two years?
Could this be a driver issue? Is the motherboard faulty? Could the PSU be overfeeding the card on voltage? Neither case seems likely, as the CPU, RAM and otherwise the rest of the comp has worked flawlessly and has stayed well within respectable temp ranges (the i3 lingers around 50C, the HDD stays at 30C, so does the PSU). How can I pinpoint the issue?