Over the weekend I started having strange problems with my new 6800 GS. It started while browsing the web with Firefox, no other apps loaded. Everything was great one second, then the next the entire screen went crazy with colored lines and symbols. The only way I can describe it is a “garbled mess”. I powered the system off, then back on. Windows booted up fine with no problems. I left it on for the remainder of the night, then finally shut it down before crashing out. Everything appeared to be working fine. I got up the next morning and wanted to check something on the Internet before heading to work, so I booted up the system and went into the other room to get ready. When I came back it was sitting at the same garbled screen as before. I shut it down and went to work because I didn’t have time to troubleshoot. When I got home I immediately thought, “reinstall windows, maybe the video driver was corrupt”, so I popped in my WinPE disk in order to delete certain folders without having to wipe the entire drive. The WinPE menu appeared, I hit my selection, and it started to load…and then the screen garbled again. Rebooted, tried again, same thing. Rebooted again, entered the BIOS and was checking settings, garbled screen again. Powered the system off, popped the case to make sure the card fan was running as I thought maybe it was a heat problem. Everything looked good so I put it back together and booted the system up. WinPE loaded fine, I wiped the files and folders that needed to go, then proceeded to install Windows. Everything was working great as I was able to get the OS installed, SP2 installed, download all the critical patches and updates from the web, and even install Oblivion. I thought I had the problem licked, so I started messing around with Oblivion by changing settings and checking the framerate. After about 5 or 6 times of exiting out of the game, changing something, then getting back into play again…the game froze up and the garbled screen came back. I rebooted, was able to get to the Windows desktop for about a second or two before it happened again. I rebooted again, but this time all I got was the garbled screen when the display came back up. Powered the machine down, then back up again, booted into Windows fine. Kicked off SiSoft Sandra’s burn in wizard and decided to call it a night. I couldn’t sleep so I got back up about an hour later and turned on my monitor, sure enough the screen had went nuts yet again. The strange thing is that it doesn’t appear to affect the OS at all, as SiSoft appeared to be still running in the background. (HDD lights on, floppy and CD drives would spin up when their test kicked off, numlock and caps lock still worked, etc.) Powered the system down, popped the case, removed the card and reseated it. The strange thing is that the card didn’t appear to be seated well, as it came out with no effort at all. I usually have to get my hands on both sides and work on it for a second or two to pop it out of the slot, but this time it practically fell out into my hands once I had removed the screw. I reseated the card, made sure it was firmly in place, then powered the system back up. Windows booted up fine, no problems at all. I kicked off SiSoft again and went to bed. I woke up about 6 the next morning, turned on the monitor and everything was still working great. I killed SiSoft Sandra, powered the machine down, went back to bed. I woke up a couple hours later and powered it up again before going to work, everything still worked great.
So…after all that, I’m not sure what to do. The card was working fine for the last few weeks; the problem seemed to start when I attempted to “unlock” the extra pipelines using RivaTuner. I wasn’t sure about doing this, but several users on different forums said that it couldn’t possibly damage your card as it’s just a software change and the pipes will either unlock or they won’t. So what do you experts out there think? Did I fuck up my card by doing this, or is it just a coincidence? I’ve already contacted NewEgg and received an RMA, so I’m going to replace the card either way. I just want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
Sorry for the length, I like to be thorough in my descriptions.