Problems with Geforce GTX 550 Ti

Discussion in 'Video Cards and Graphics' started by TheInternal, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. TheInternal

    TheInternal Senior member

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    Hi all.

    During the Black Friday sales, I bought a new Gigabyte Geforce GTX 550 Ti, model GV-N550OC-1GI from TigerDirect for about $70 (I felt it was a good deal at about 1/2 off MSRP) for my now rather old desktop computer. It replaced my dual XFX Geforce 7950 GT Xtreme cards in SLI mode. I was a little nervous using something above PCI-Express 1.0 with my PCI-Express 1.0 based motherboard, but all the research I did said the newer formats (2.0 and 2.1) should be backwards compatible, and that the bottleneck would still probably be my CPU... not the video bus.

    It runs games at much higher frame rates and with settings just as high (if not higher) than my previous SLI set up, but I have problems in almost every game I've played (old and new). The most common symptoms are screen going black for 2 to 5 seconds with sound stutter and eventual return of the game picture, or an "alt-tab" effect where the image just goes away completely, or just flat out crashing after the stutter. I've also had a desktop warning once pop up saying the NVIDIA driver has stopped working, but has been successfully restored. Red Faction Guerrilla will crash out quickly in the first level if run full screen (black screen, music keeps playing). If ran windowed, major artifacting occurs on the character's clothing (the parts of his cloak that wiggle in the wind randomly drawing infinitely to the horizon). Oblivion will just flat out crash. Portal 2 will do the blackscreen with sound stuttering for a few seconds, but sometimes run smoothly for hours at a time. I've had one or two bluescreens with an nvidia DLL listed as the culprit. Tonight when first trying Skyrim, for a fraction of a second and from a central point on the screen with all lines radiating outward, there was just purple and green lines. The radiating lines occurred maybe a 1/10th of a second, and were noticeable maybe two or three times.

    Yes, I did a "clean install" using the latest driver from NVIDIA's website. I grounded myself with a static wrist strap when installing the card.

    This is a factory overclocked card and I recently had my Antec p180b's top case fan fail (still have two 120 mm fans, one pull one push). However, considering that my two 7950s were passive heat sinks only and the system ran solidly, I can't help but wonder if there's something else going on here. From my experience, I'd guess a heat, voltage, and/or driver issue (leaning towards driver issue or problems relating to the factory overclock). Other possibilities I can't yet rule out: some weirdness with Steam, some random garbage lurking in RAM / hard drive after closing down utorrent or BOINC (highly doubtful on the later two)?

    Strangely, I've had the card run fine for a fair length of time as well (sometimes hours at a time with no issue... Dungeon Defenders being noteworthy for both displaying the black screen and sound chop as well as running stable for extended periods).

    I've no real personal experience with the newer cards, so I figured I'd get input on best possible courses of action... or if the card may just be defective. I contacted Gigabyte over a week ago about these issues, but have yet to receive a response. I am connecting to my display via DVI and run everything at 1920x1200.

    Relevant components:

    case: Antec P180b with two 120mm fans
    Monitor: Dell 24" 2405FPW
    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 x2 dual core 4600+
    mobo: Asus A8n32-SLI Deluxe
    card: Gigabyte Geforce GTX 550 Ti OC
    PSU: Enermax Modu82+ 800 watt
    RAM: 4G Corsair RAM
    Sound: Creative Labs Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro
    O/S: Win 7 Pro 64-bit
    two optical drives
    SATA Hard Drive with three partitions, Win 7 partition having well over 50GB free
     
    #1 TheInternal, Jan 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
  2. dac7nco

    dac7nco Senior member

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    Try running the card at stock specs. Some of those factory overclocked cards are just terrible; I had a Gigabyte GTX 470 OC, which wouldn't run worth a damn, and a Zotac 480 which ran at 580 speeds. It's often the luck of the draw, or whatever QC/TIM was or wasn't applied to get the card out of the warehouse that week. EVGA refurbished cards are notorious for this.

    Daimon
     
  3. clockerspiel

    clockerspiel Junior Member

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    Yes, dac7nco speaks truthfully about EVGA refurbs. A "b" stock 460 I bought from them started displaying the notorious TDR effects just after the 90 day warranty expired. EVGA posts an alleged fix at http://www.evga.com/support/faq/afmm...px?faqid=59211, but the solution appears rather arcane and doesn't consistently address the problem.
     
  4. TheInternal

    TheInternal Senior member

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    I have to confess, after looking at the documentation that came with the card, I don't see how the heck I can throttle the clock speed down to "stock." Any suggestions on programs or utilities to do this would be useful. I didn't see any options in my motherboard BIOS to address this either. I saw lots of really old overclocking tools listed around the web, downloaded the rather new NVIDIA Inspector, but found that the GPU clock slider is greyed out / can't be throttled down.

    I've re-positioned the sound card to allow for more space between it and the graphics card, which will helpfully allow for better airflow. I hate how my near silent computer has slowly been getting louder with age and upgrades T-T

    Thanks for the replies.
     
    #4 TheInternal, Jan 2, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  5. nenforcer

    nenforcer Golden Member

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    Try EVGA Precision or MSI Afterburner, both free downloads. Gigabyte may have a utility as well, I'm not sure.
     
  6. EVGA_MatthewH

    EVGA_MatthewH EVGA Rep

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    That FAQ applies to all 400/500 series, not just EVGA. @OP trying bumping up the voltage
     
  7. Darnocles

    Darnocles Junior Member

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    I bought this card also and I'm having exact same problems with it. and just in games. runs smooth on everything else, and its not heating past 60C. Found any solution or it was just broken and replaced?