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It has been a good run with Aeon, but all things run their course and come to an end. I have watched Aeon slowly grow then die off as people moved onto other interests or found worlds that appeal to them more. Instead of leaving the server up and running empty, I have decided to turn off the server and close the player portion of the forums.



I would like to thank those that have put in their time and effort, either as DM's, builders or players. Without your efforts a world can not exist or grow into something more than a concept.



So what next, for me I am not sure, perhaps I shall learn something else perhaps not. I do know my power bill will be smaller next month, so out of sad endings a positive comes.



Goodbye and Goodluck.



Sporaxis


Aeon PW a Never Winter Nights 1, Persistent World.
 
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 Enforced afk

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Caffiene

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PostSubject: Enforced afk   Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:45 am

Ill likely be missing for a while from Aeon...

My PC has decided to stop playing nicely with the monitor. Could be that the graphics card is dead. Worse... its the 3rd PC on the home network to have a sudden graphics card problem strike within the last month, so I may have some sort of nasty rootkit virus or the like. Hard to tell which.

Try not to have too much fun without me.

Alternatively, have any of the more technological people around here heard of any recent malware that could be the culprit? All 3 PCs had nVidia cards, and suddenly were struck with flickering and/or artifacts, and problems recognising the video card and the monitor capabilities.
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Squeak

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:06 am

My laptop's second monitor had a large amount of artifacts the other night until I reinstalled the graphics drivers (I believe it was because I modded the drivers incorrectly due to stupid laptop vendors not releasing updated drivers).... after remodding them about five times, however it's powered by radeon not nvidia. Also I haven't heard of any malware that would cause that sort of problem or had any problem with any of my proper PC's.

What sort of graphics cards are we talking about exactly and have they been overclocked, either by manufactor or yourself and would they be over heating?
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Jamoise

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:21 am

Artifacts usually come from overheating, its getting a bit warmer now so ive noticed (no longer need my jacket), check dust levels inside your PC, otherwise.. downgrade your drivers if you have upgraded recently.
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mykael



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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:54 am

You might also want to invest in a UPS/surge protector (about $100 from Jaycar). Power surges can cause hardware problems, especially if your PC's power supply is on the limit of being able to support the graphics card (usually with older 300-350 W power supplies).
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Caffiene

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:30 pm

The cards are 2 8800GTSs in PCs running xp, and a DX10 series mobile card of some sort in a laptop running vista.

Power issue seems unlikely to me because one on the PCs had a good quality 700W supply, and laptop power should smooth out issues small enough to not be noticeable in other appliances on the circuit...

No overclocking or anything, or driver changes, and reinstall didnt help. I reinstalled the nVidia drivers on mine from a download I had, and the laptop graphics drivers were reinstalled from a recovery partition. Safe mode also wasnt much help.

And overheating seems unlikely too because the artifacts are present right from bios and bootup, which shouldnt be enough time to stress the graphics too much. And the problems dont seem to get worse over time while running.

Was a little dust in mine, but opening it up and giving it a bit of a clean was my first step after trying a driver reinstall. No difference.


The annoying thing is I cant think of an easy way to determine if its a coincidence and its 3 hardware faults, or a virus or the like. Dont have any spare cards lying around to swap and check, etc...

Might end up having to try a full wipe and reinstall. Which is always a bitch trying to track down all the preferences and bookmarks and files that need backing up first... Especially when I dont have an external HDD or the like to backup to. Does give me a chance to try out W7 RC1 though, I guess.
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DM_Phaedrus

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:52 pm

Hate to be a dumb ass, but its always a learning experience.

What do you mean by 'Artifact'?
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Squeak

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:58 pm

The easiest way to explain it would be to say that they're unwanted images (random in nature) caused by many different factors. You get them on montiors on occasion where the monitor is dying, graphics cards cause them under alot of stress, such as caused by heat/overclocking or dying. Videos and Images get them when compressing far beyond what they should be.
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Charity

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:00 pm

I thought artifacts were phat lewt. cyclops
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ackptuoi

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:31 pm

Charity wrote:
I thought artifacts were phat lewt. cyclops

Too much phat lewt on your monitor still makes it hard to see the screen Laughing
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mykael



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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:25 pm

Hmmm. So are all these graphics cards plugged into the same monitor?

I've yet to hear of a virus that targeted graphics cards. Graphics stuttering because the little bugger has nicked all the RAM, CPU and I/O bandwidth, sure, but random images...
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Caffiene

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:54 am

No, different monitors.

Tried swapping monitors, and also taking the card out of my PC to double check its the source, but turns out I dont have a vga port on my motherboard - only way to plug in a monitor is through the video card. And obviously the laptop monitor wasnt going to get disconnected, either (tried an external monitor, but with the graphics drivers not recognising appropriate settings we couldnt switch the source to an external).

And yeah, I havent heard of a graphics card virus either... but the timing and symptoms are a big coincidence if not, and its hard to find a way to test the theory properly. If it is a virus or the like my guess would be a rootkit targeting the drivers, rather than the physical card.
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hino



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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:03 am

It is probably stupid to suggest, but what about a system wipe and reinstall? Large hassle for a video card, but it does narrow it down, especially if the problem actually manages to go away.

Edit: After rereading the thread, that is already one of your options. Surely in this internet world, where every program is free in some form, there is one out there that can copy all the files you need onto a handy CD/DVD? Sort of like Norton Ghost would do. But not sure if that would transfer the virus as well.
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Charity

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:24 am

You could use a USB for that. My computer's been needing an overhaul for ages, but the thing stopping me from reinstalling everything is losing all my bookmarks and personalised stuff. But that's 'cause I'm lazy hehe.
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Caffiene

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:18 am

Yeah, I can do a reinstall. The problem is
a) Its annoying tracking down all the files I want to keep (things Ive been working on, my bookmarks, etc)
b) If I do store anything I need and it is a virus causing the problem, that puts the new install at risk when I put the files back on the PC.
c) My PC only has a cd writer, and Ive got probably 20 GB at least that I need to back up... thatd be 40 CDs or so. I do have my iPod which is about 30GB, but not all of that space is free.

The reinstall probably will be my next attempt, though. Just annoying...

The alternative is a new video card.
And maybe a new HDD... makes it easier to just put on a new HDD and a fresh install and have my files still waiting for me instead of overwriting them. Just a question of money.
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Squeak

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:25 pm

Quote :
And yeah, I havent heard of a graphics card
virus either... but the timing and symptoms are a big coincidence if
not, and its hard to find a way to test the theory properly. If it is a
virus or the like my guess would be a rootkit targeting the drivers,
rather than the physical card.

You said earlier that the problem happens from computer start up (I've taken that as the second you turn the PC on rather then once the OS loads). That being the case i'd say it's unrelated to your graphics drivers as they don't do anything until the OS has loaded them.

Another option that you could take is downloading some nvidia overclocking software and try underclocking it until the artifacts go away and see how that works, there are a number of programs out there that I've seen in the past that'll overclock to a set percentage so there is a chance of it being used a malware as well.

If you have a spare hard drive laying around the place (even as low as a 5gb drive) you could switch yours out and try installing windows on that freshly to see if that fixes your problem, saves the trouble of backing up then having to reinstall and finding out that it didn't help at all. (If you can't find a hard drive you could also try a Linux live cd, booting from a portable device or trying the cards in another working PC).

Also make sure any fans on the cards themselves are not full of dust and are still spinning (my prefered way of testing if it's spinning is putting my finger in it however some people dislike that so you may choose how you test it).

More requested information,
What brand of 8800gts's do you have? mostly for future reference.
Have you recently flashed the bios of any of the cards?
What version of Nvidia drivers were being used?
Are the cards still within warrenty (it may simply be easier to take them back and claim they're broken while playing dumb and demanding they fix them, always my favourite solution)
When you reinstalled the drivers did you first remove the previous ones, or install over the top?

That's about all I can think of at the current time and I'm about to pass out so goodnight for now I'll see people in 30mins to an hour when I am woken up again.

Squeak.
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ackptuoi

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:07 pm

Re not having space for backups...

*Pats a 1TB USB HDD that only cost $200 *

Who cares where the files you want are copy the whole dang hard drive now and then.

Anyways,... no clues about the graphics problem, but backup stuff is a quick throw money a problem.
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Jamoise

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:37 pm

yes, Having graphics glitching even in the bios, says there maybe something wrong physically with the graphics card.. either a bad connection to the mainboard (dirty slot due to dust) or bad memory on the video card, as you say, I have not heard of a virus able to cause artifacts in video cards, and the fact that it happens when the card is not being used for anything but 2d applications (bios screen and most things in windows) it wouldn't be stressing it enough to overheat it, even if it was full of dust.

I have also had artifacting and glitching when the system memory was faulty, but thats easily tested by using memtest86 (which coincidently im using right now to test someone else's computers memory)

also, these 3 computers that are having the same problem, is it "Exactly" the same? or is it glitching, but at different times, for example, one computer glitches from startup (bios) another computer glitches right after you start running a 3d game, and the other one works for awhile, then starts glitching.

Because these 3 things that are "exactly" the same, are actually very different.

Cheers

Jamoise
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Caffiene

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:32 pm

The 3 are glitching in the same circumstances - ie, from startup, driver reinstall doesnt help, etc. But the symptoms are a little different in each case. One had tiling and flickering, one had flickering and artifacts, one had artifacts and streaks. All have trouble detecting hardware modes, etc, and are reverting to the lowest res and colour depth..

The problem is telling the difference between symptoms that vary because the problem varies, or symptoms that vary because the cards and drivers arent 100% identical. Theyre similar enough to made me cautious.

As to the drivers and startup: Youre right that having problems from startup is a fair indicator that its not drivers, but its not a 100% guarantee. XP onwards has the command prompt integrated into the windows OS, and gets its drivers from windows at a very early stage in the process. The BIOS start itself probably is using its own drivers, but my understanding is for most of the startup process even before "proper" windows starts youre using drivers roughly on a level with what windows will run in safe mode.

On bad connection: Unlikely, its been cleaned and reseated three times (fully, including the PCIe power cable, etc) with no change in the artifacts or anything. Fans are all working fine, too.

The memtest is a good idea, though.

I may well get a new HDD once I make sure to check out the current reliability of different brands. I can get a 500GB for around $60 or so.

@ Squeak: Both of the GTSs are fairly cheap brand. I think mine was xFx or whatever it is... and it had a reasonable run, Ive had it a while now. Cant remember if it was start of 2008 or 2007 that I got it. Got what I paid for, I guess.

Slowly working through all the different tests and solutions... tough work when I cant unhook the card, and cant read much through it.
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Jamoise

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:06 pm

lets put it this way, pull the hdd out of your system, if the display is still artifacting/corrupt, then its not drivers, the bios does not require user installed drivers to display, if you haven't already done a memory test id do one, then if possible try another video card, OR if the mainboard has onboard display, see if it corrupts when using that. after that we should have a good idea whats wrong.

Cheers

Jamoise
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DM_Phaedrus

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:47 am

Um you havent got a spanking big 7.1 surround sound system in there with speakers/bassboxes near the monitors or anything else that might warp out huge magnetic fields?

Think its mentioned somehwere else but make sure you're using proper surge boards and not half a dozen different extension boards plugged into other extension boards plugged into double adapters and more extension boards. Otherwise your mains powersupply could be frying stuff.

Im curious ..all three started playing up with similiar symptoms and yet they are three different computers, with different hardware. Are you using the same memory sticks? this would be the same as the graphics cards, a huge coincidence if all the memory cards are screwy...

Something that has been changed or done recently to all three computers. What about a game install? or music/video file that you've put on all computers?
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Caffiene

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:35 am

Right... Ive ruled out RAM and drivers. Ran memtest through a half dozen passes without finding any errors, so its not likely the RAM. And both the memtest boot and a boot without HDD both had artifacts, so its not OS level drivers.

Problem now is figuring out whether its a problem with the graphics card, or a problem with the motherboard. Which is tough when I dont have onboard graphics or a replacement card thats in working condition.

Im thinking I might take the card in to a PC store and see if theyll test it in one of their machines for me.


And no, no weird magnets or EMF sources nearby. I dont have good surge boards, although I know I should... but Im not using a complicated daisy chain of boards, either - a reasonable quality board, plugged into a powerpoint by itself, with just the PC and monitor on it. If it is the power thats playing funny buggers, its more likely to be power drops rather than surges. I do need to remember to put a UPS on my list of things to get when I have a little room in my budget.

Steps are
a) Get over this bloody cold.
b) Determine motherboard or video card fault.
c) Find a replacement motherboard, or decide between a 9800GT and a 4850.
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Caffiene

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:15 am

Tried swapping my card into the other PC, but still got the same artifacts. Slight suggestion that its the card, since the artifacts seemed closer to the artifacts my PC had with that card than the artifacts the other PC had with its card... but thats hardly good scientific evidence.

I think Im about running out of options... It could be a motherboard connector problem or a video card problem, but I haven't got any PCIe cards or motherboards that arent faulty for me to test with. And the local PC jerks want $75 for the 2 minute job of putting the card in a test machine and turning it on.

I might end up having to gamble a hundred bucks or so and just get a part and see the result, unless anyone has any ideas of how to test motherboard vs video card.
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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:54 am

Video card is the easiest and cheapest thing to try first, you can probably pick up a cheap PCI-E video card to test with for $50.00 more or less, won't hurt to have a spare card lying around anyway, at least with that, you can try in 2 of your PC's its more likely to be 3 video cards at fault, than 3 motherboards, due to the fact artifacting is usually a video card related issue, unfortunatly you cant take a video card out of a laptop, though there are some models that have a separate video card you can physically remove, its generaly not cheap to get a replacement.
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Caffiene

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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:01 pm

Finally got the card tested. Definitely dead.

So now I know I can spend the money for a new one, and hopefully be back up and running within a day or two. Unless something else dies... Razz

Just have to decide on 9800GT vs HD4850
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mykael



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PostSubject: Re: Enforced afk   Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:38 am

Make sure you'll be able to take the card you buy back if it dies within a month or so. Then if it doesn't, get your Motherboard and power supply checked - multiple video cards dieing could be bad luck - or could be something killing them...
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