computer game problem

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by Edwin, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. Edwin

    Edwin Guest

    Hey guys been having some issues with PC games lately. The symtoms are when
    playing certain games it will freeze for like 8 seconds (no mouse movement
    everything just frozen) Then everything comes back to life but with strange
    graphics. Not distorted, just more like different colors and you can see
    boxes around objects especially with a 3rd person shooter you can see the
    box around the characters feet. Same thing with anything with letters in
    it. Any writing on the screen is suddenly replaced with colored boxes.

    Ive changed out the graphic drivers and installed older drivers I get the
    same thing thruout most of my games. Sometimes the games will play fine,
    and other times the games goes into this mode usually after about 10
    minutes of playing. It seems like only graphic intense games seem to do
    this but it has also done this with lower end older games.

    I did a virus scan and malware scan, took out and reaseated graphics card,
    and main memmory. still no avail. Ran some program called "Video card
    stability test" (thinking it was the graphics card) and the thing ran with
    its internal fan running pretty high and it ran for a whole hour with no
    freeze. Also decided to run the fan @ 80% with "Riva Tuner" while playing a
    game. The game froze and came back after about 10 minutes.

    This problems only seems to happen with games. Not with internet videos or
    while watching Netflix.

    Ive updated everything and begining to wonder if something is interfering
    with memory and causing this freeze. (sort of like when your dvd drive
    scans for whats in the drive when first turned on)

    I havent done memtest yet because I assume if it can run Netflix or other
    programs without any problems, I figure its not the memory. My computer is
    old but the games being played are from the same timeline as when this
    computer specs were around.

    My computer specs are:

    Asus P5LD2 mother board
    Pentium 4, 3.8GHz (clocked down to 3.2GHz due to heat problems)
    4 gigs of Duel channel DDR 2 ram (only 3 being used due to xp)
    Windows xp home sp3
    BFG Tech Graphics card 1024MB GeForce GTX 285
    2 298 Gig sata Hard drives
    Seasonic 650 watt power supply
    Memorex DVD+-RAM 525G drive
    3.5 floppy disc drive

    yes I know its old and its time to upgrade, but the system has worked fine
    over the years and yes I do yearly full installs of the OS and blow out the
    dust of the inside of the computer. Appreciate any help.

    Edwin, Mar 8, 2014
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  2. Edwin

    VanguardLH Guest

    Gaming code is some of the worst. They skip graceful recovery or
    boundary checking because that takes time and would slow the game.
    Sometimes you have to find the right mix between a game and video
    driver, and often the latest video driver is not the best one for game.
    As they tweak the video driver, they often encompass problems with newer
    games while sacrificing compatibility with older games. If you have
    video games that span a decade, or more, you're likely not to find a
    best video driver for all of them.

    What is the maximum resolution of the monitor? What type of monitor
    (LCD or CRT)? At what resolution are you running the game? Your
    hardware may not support the higher resolution you want to use so you'll
    have to configure the game to run at a lower resolution.

    You don't mention the games so no one here can check what are the
    minimum and recommended hardware specs for them. Also, some games work
    better with nVidia than with AMD/ATI and visa versa.

    If you're overclocking anything then stop that and test. Why would you
    reduce or limit the video card's fan speed to 80%? It may need to run
    at 100% to dissipate the heat. If it cannot get rid of the heat then it
    may throttle itself to lower its performance which can produce
    artifacts, like the pixelation you noted. Don't do any management of
    the video fan speed. Let it run at full speed and then test if the
    games still exhibit the problem. If you're using Riva to up the fan
    speed to make it run faster then the card may have its own temperature
    management which is flawed and making the fan spin too slow. If the
    card won't run its fan at 100% then use Riva to run at 100% ... and make
    sure airflow through the case and PSU are not blocked. That isn't just
    from dust and lint but also have flat cables oriented the wrong way so
    they block airflow or having a daughtercard in a slot right next to the
    extra fat video card.

    Your choice of antivirus software is spamming the newsgroup. "---" is
    not a valid signature block delimiter line (which is "-- \n", or dash,
    dash, space, newline). That means their spam is in the body of your
    post. Your posts are spam because they added it. Go into the config
    options in your program and disable the one that appends their spam onto
    your posts.
    VanguardLH, Mar 8, 2014
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  3. Edwin

    Edwin Guest

    Oops sorry bout that. The games in question are mid 2000 games that at the
    time, worked fine with this exact system.

    Soulstorm warhammer 40k (played only at 1080x768)
    Max Payne 2 (played at 800x600)
    Shattered Union (played at super low levels)
    Warhammer 40k dawn of war 2 Retribution (played at 1080x768)
    SpellForce Platinum edition (played at 1080x768) This one doesnt freeze as

    These are the games that are installed on hard drive and seem to freeze up.
    There is no blue screen of death. Just a freeze and then a comeback with
    screwed up graphics. The game is still running fine just the weird

    The monitor is a Scepter x20g naga 3. and can handle pretty high
    resolutions for the games I play. I always disonnect from my high speed and
    disable the virus scanner when playing single player games.

    My system doesnt overheat, and I have taken the side panel off. (its been
    that way since the mid 2000s and had no problems then) Besides the heat
    sink installed on the cpu is big and wont fit with the side panel on.

    Last night ran Soulstorm warhammer 40k with Riva Tuner to set the fan at
    95% and it froze anyways. The reason I dont set it to 100% is because a fan
    running that high isnt neccesary at such low resolutions.

    Im begining to think something on this system is dying, either the graphics
    card or something on the mother board. Really cant dettermine if this is a
    hardware error or a software error This problem only came about the past
    few weeks gradually. It ran fine for years before that without problems.
    Installed newer driver, then reverted back to an older driver. No change.

    Might just have to save up for a newer system and newer OS

    Edwin, Mar 8, 2014
  4. Edwin

    VanguardLH Guest

    Alas, over time, you've probably installed updates that changed the
    state of the OS or drivers. Have you tried reverting to a video driver
    that was released at or just before the release of these games?

    Updates to driver files are often to encompass newer games at the
    expense of the old ones. I used to play the Thief games and had to use
    an old video driver to get them to run stabily.

    Do these games perform auto-saves at standard points in their maps, at
    specific intervals, or you've done a lot of manual saves? I've seen
    where the folder with the saved games gets so huge that they game seems
    to hang when it tries to read that folder, especially for games that
    like to open those files to present a snapshot of where the game was
    saved in a map. That wouldn't effect the pixelation problem you noted
    but might be a cause of hangs.
    What other programs are running when you're playing the games? I've had
    a notify window try to popup from my e-mail client that tried to change
    the resolution which resulted in screwing up the video output for the
    game. Sometimes I don't see the e-mail popup but notice a problem with
    the video game. If the popup appears which changes the screen
    resolution, toggling back to the game results in screwed up video.
    There's no way to recover other than to exit the game and reload it.
    The game code, as mentioned, doesn't provide graceful recovery for
    resolution change so its output remains screwed up until restarted.
    Look at what's running before you load the game to see if you should
    close those other programs.
    I wanted to be sure on your old setup that you were not still using a
    CRT. I know of lots of users that are still using their old CRTs. A
    problem can arise with CRTs when you resize the screen to fit the
    dimensions of the monitor that the monitor gets too close to its sync
    frequency and might try to switch frequencies. But yours is an LCD
    monitor so presumably you don't have to monkey around with screen
    resizing. Are you using the D-Sub (VGA) input or DVI input on the
    monitor? DVI would be better (if the monitor has resizing controls
    they'll probably disappear or get disabled when using DVI mode).

    I just looked at an image of your video card and it appears your only
    choice is to use DVI.

    You could use HDMI (via adapter) but that only adds audio into the video
    cable and does nothing better than DVI. Also, it doesn't look like your
    monitor has an HDMI port, anyway. So use DVI.

    Also make sure to use the standard length video cable. No extension
    cables. Not only is more noise induced into longer cables but there is
    greater signal attenuation over longer lengths and each connection adds
    more attenuation. Use a good video cable, like the ones that have the
    ferrite cores at each end to reduce noise, and with decent shielding
    (which means the cable is stiffer).

    The max resolution of the video card is 2560x1600. Yet the max (and
    native) resolution of your LCD monitor is 1680x1050. That means you
    need to be running at the LCD monitor's max/native resolution, not what
    the video card can do. With LCD monitors, you should run the video card
    at the same native resolution as the LCD monitor to eliminate video
    artifacts, like fuzziness and color tinging.

    Each of the games you're playing are running at a resolution less than
    what should be the resolution for the desktop (1680x1050). So you're
    not trying to play at a resolution higher than what the monitor can
    handle. Looks okay. Some monitors have problems when switching
    resolutions or displaying some resolutions they claim to support but
    your problem was reported as hanging while playing, not video corruption
    when starting the game.
    Having lots of airflow through the case doesn't equate to sufficient
    heat transfer from the CPU or GPU. You might have too much dust on the
    CPU or GPU fans or in the fins of the heatsinks. Dust is a thermal
    insulator, not a thermal conductor. Use canned air to blow out the
    heatsinks (might be tough on the video card with the pretty outside
    shell showing the BFG logo). Blow the fans but also use an ear swab to
    scrub the fins. Some dust is sticky and won't blow away.

    With the side panel removed, it's likely you have even more dust inside.
    You've changed the airflow pattern through the case to a more stagnant
    one unless you have a table fan pointing into the case.

    See what happens when you have the CPU and GPU fans spinning at 100%.
    Don't slow them down until you know the game plays okay at 100% RPM.
    But you don't know if the thermal transfer is as good as before. Yes,
    the 100% RPM fan will be noisy but we're talking about a test period at
    100% to see if the problem remains or not. However, 95% should be okay.
    If you have software to monitor the RPMs, you'll notice there is very
    little difference in speed after a certain point. RPMs aren't linear to
    The symptom you describe seems a heat related problem. When the CPU
    (and sometimes the GPU) get overheated, they throttle down (reduce their
    duty cycle) or even halt to prevent physical damage. It's a self-
    preservation feature. So dusting out and wiping the fans might help.
    Don't just blow around inside the case. Get the plastic straw pointed
    into the heatsink fins to blow dust out between them. Use the straw to
    get around the plastic shell around the video card. Wipe the fans to
    remove any sticky dust because unbalanced fans will spin slower.

    It's also possible the thermal paste is too old for the CPU. You said
    you updated "everything". Does that mean the video card is new, too? I
    suspect the CPU is old (i.e., original). Some pastes were poor grade
    and dried out so they wouldn't transfer heat very well. The best for
    heat transfer is metal-to-metal, next is metal-to-paste-to-metal, and
    worst is metal-to-air-to-metal. If it's an old CPU with its original
    old thermal paste, how comfortable with removing the CPU+HSF, cleaning
    off the old paste using isopropyl alcohol (could require a lot of
    scrubbing for old dried paste), and applying a *proper* transparent
    layer of new good thermal paste? You don't need Artic Silver,
    especially since you're not overclocking. The cheaper Artic Alumina is
    sufficient, less runny, and non-conductive.

    Have you closely scanned your old mobo looking for any bulging
    capacitors or electrolyte that ooze out?
    It's probably less likely your old games will run under either the new
    hardware (and new drivers for them) and especially under a new OS -- if
    your continued goal is to play those old games. I got entralled with
    stealth in Thief and have been disappointed in every game since, even
    those claiming to incorporate stealth. If you go to new hardware and a
    new OS to only leave behind your games, well, you could do that now on
    your old setup by not playing those games and using your old computer
    for everything else you do.
    VanguardLH, Mar 8, 2014
  5. Edwin

    Edwin Guest

    You might be right, the video card isnt that new. My brother gave it to me
    since he bought a higher end version. He used it for his job (hes a graphic
    artist) and mentioned to me he only had it a few years until he upgraded.
    (could be its toast) He did do several contracts using 3d max and one of
    them was some horror movie flick not yet realeased with a company
    contracted to do the special effects.

    I use to have serious blue screens of death until I realized my cpu can not
    operate at exaclty 3.8GHz so I throttled it down until it didnt crash. But
    your right though, the paste I used is real old and maybe I should just buy
    some newer stuff.(didnt think thermal paste had a shelf life)

    Im going to do you what you said and just blow out the whole thing and
    change out the paste on the cpu. Ill try and take apart the video card
    heatsink and add a newer paste also just to be sure. The last time I
    cleaned it out was about 1.5 years ago. (used my compressor and blow

    If that dont work Im just upgrading everything. (when I get the money)
    Edwin, Mar 9, 2014
  6. Edwin

    VanguardLH Guest

    In a similar story, my buddy's brother had a gaming computer that went
    dead. Turned out the PSU went weak but that stressed the other
    components. I replaced the PSU and used software to overcome a bad fan
    speed sensor on the mobo (so I could quiet the very noisy CPU fan when
    temps were low). The hard drive went bad probably about the same time
    as the old PSU so it got replaced. Since it has an OEM version of
    Windows 7 and MS Office 2010, I got those with the computer. It was all
    free but contingent on me being to fix the thing. I had nothing to lose
    other than the incremental costs of replacing parts one at a time.
    Alas, the original video card (which was more than decent for the games
    that I played) also went flaky. Black screens and eventually prevented
    the system from powering up (video BIOS has to load before system BIOS).
    Replaced the video card and it's been running well for almost 4 months
    now. Cost me a new PSU, new hard disk, and a new video card. Still
    cheaper than buying everything (I build my own).

    My buddy's brother had overclocked the parts and that along with the PSU
    going bad took out enough other stuff that he wasn't going to bother
    fixing it. He gave it to his brother who couldn't figure out how to fix
    it who gave it to me who was willing to spend the time to fix it. But
    knowing the brother overclocked and the PSU went bad that sometimes
    takes other stuff with it, it was a gamble. Now I've got a stable Core
    2 quad core with the 8GB that came with it along with a free copy of
    Windows 7 (but only the Home Edition) and a free copy of Office 2010
    (also the Home edition).

    A compressor is probably way too much pressure. Don't know what
    restrictor nozzles you have to drop the tank pressure. I use canned air
    and blow out mine once a year (and outside so I'm not blowing all the
    dust back into my house). When I got the dead PC from my buddy's
    brother, there was more dust in there than I've ever seen before inside
    a PC. Took almost 4 air cans to clean it out.

    I wouldn't bother changing the paste on the GPU. The card or its fan
    usually goes bad before the paste dries. Too often the paste that comes
    with CPUs is low grade stuff.

    By the way, as I recall, BFGs cards are often overclocked. They charge
    a price premium because their specs show the same GPU as another card
    but they use faster clocks. They overclocked the card and then sell it
    to you for a bit more than another card with the same GPU and memory
    that runs at the standard clocks. Personally I prefer non-overclocked
    parts and pay the price premium to get parts rated for the higher clock
    rates. Stability is more important to me than 5-12% difference in a
    benchmark that won't exhibit any significance in real use of the
    computer. I rarely go to the bleeding edge but find a sweet spot that I
    can afford that is sufficient for my needs for about the next 6 years.
    VanguardLH, Mar 9, 2014
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