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IanHenry

Help With Graphics Card Problem

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Hi,

     I'm looking for help solving a problem that I'm having. I've been experiencing black flashing lines on my screen when using Prepar3D v2.5. Those appear no matter what scenery setting I use. I've tried changing the video drivers. My computer has recently been re formatted and re installed so v 2.4 has never been used on this installation but it ran ok prior to the re install.

 

I've also had some problems using FSX-SE. When I end a flight the screen goes totally black instead of returning to the start screen, although the simulator is running behind the black screen because you can hear it if you click on the tabs. Trying to alleviate this problem was the reason for the re format Running FSX in DX10 mode seems to be a way around this problem.

 

 

My Graphics card is an Nvidia GTX580 and I'm wondering if my card is on it's way out and if so, would a GTX 960 or a GTX 970 with 4Gb be a suitable replacement for it or would I have to go for a 980?

 

Any suggestions as to the possibility that my Graphics card is dying or if there's something that I can do to solve those problems will be very much appreciated.

 

Thanks,

       Ian 

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If you suspect your graphics card as being the issue by far the easiest way of proving this would be to borrow another graphics card and see if this resolves the problem, or try your graphics card in another machine and see if the issue follows the card.

 

As you've done a fresh install of your operating system, drivers and FSX / P3D then the issue would appear not to be software related however both of the programs you specifically mention share a core engine so have you tried any other 3D applications or benchmarks to see if you get issues with these (Furmark is a real torture test for stability).

 

It may be worthwhile taking your card out of your system and giving the heatsink and fan a really good cleanout in case the issue is caused by the GPU overheating due to dust buildup, whilst cleaning make sure the fan spins freely and doesn't feel rough when turning. When you refit the card you could clean the contacts with a pencil eraser, make sure it is securely in place and that the power connector is properly connected. When you restart the PC confirm that the fan powers up when you start the PC. 

 

As far as diagnosis goes hopefully that will give you a start if you've not tried these already.

 

If it comes down to replacing the card then ultimately you will need to get the best that you can reasonably afford. In synthetic benchmarks the 960 scores about the same as the 680 which is considered fine for FSX although in real world performance I'm not sure it would be like for like and P3D will probably be able to make more use of a graphics card than FSX especially on into the future. If I had to find a replacement card in your shoes I would go for a 970 purely because I am sceptical about the difference in performance between the 970 & 980 justifying the considerable price difference between the two. However if money were no object then I would get a 980 now or if I could - hold on until the 980Ti gets launched.

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Many thanks for your reply, Pie Eater.

Unfortunately I don't have access to  another graphics card, so wheat I've done is yet another re format and install of the whole computer and so far so good, although I haven't finished installing all my addons yet, which could make a difference. Cleaning the graphics card sounds like good advice, so I will do that.

 

If it does turn out to be hardware related I think I'll probably replace the whole machine as it is quite old (i7 920, which is the first generation of i7 processers) and most of the computers that I've been shortlisting seen to come equipped with the GTX 970 which I'm guessing is a good card despite the controversy surrounding it at the moment, though I'm not sure how much of a performance gain I'll get with a new system.

 

Regards,

          Ian  

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I hope the issue is resolved for you. If the problem takes a little while in-sim to manifest itself it could be heat related and cleaning the card should help. You could download something like GPU-z or MSI Afterburner to monitor your GPU temperature, both have a logging facility where you can leave the app running in the background then come back if the problem happens again to see if there has been a temperature spike or fluctuations in GPU / memory usage.

 

The issue with the 970s VRAM certainly needs to be considered, however with FSX memory usage on my 680 rarely goes above 1GB, admittedly I don't have a lot of resource intensive add-ons but even then I can't see it hitting the 3.5Gb problem point even if I start piling on the extras, the caveat being that I only run 1920x1200 resolution on a single monitor. I don't use P3D but I can't imagine it varies that much as it's still CPU bound from what I understand. I think most people that want to return their 970s are doing so more on principle (4Gb means 4Gb) than because they have actually experienced issues with the card.

 

If you decide to upgrade your whole rig it would be worthwhile holding out for the new Skylake processors with DDR4 support which should be making an appearance towards the middle of the year, which I understand should give a decent performance boost over what is currently available. If your current i7 is overclocked I'm not sure if the outlay on a new board / cpu & memory right now would give you a big enough boost for the investment. If it were me I'd replace your potentially faulty graphics card first then wait for Skylake.

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Everything seems to be working ok now, I'm wondering if it was the graphics driver, Nvidia have just released a new one which I've installed since my latest re format.

I'm reluctant to update my computer before I have to, even though it's over 5 years old, it still runs ok (most of the time!), and whatever you buy will be "out of date" a few months down the line, so to my way of thinking the longer you can leave it the better.

 

Regards,

         Ian

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