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TI4600 Stability

Update:10-11Source: network consolidation
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Hi,
I have a MSI GF4 TI 4600 in my PC and I have just recently upgraded my processors to use the full capabilities of the card.
Current Setup:
 - Gigabyte - GA6VTXD - Motherboard Running Dual PIII 1.4's
 - MSI 8872
 - 756Mb Ram (PC150)
 - Seagate Barra IV's
 - OS Win XP  with NVidia 29.42 drivers
Hence I would like to play the games at reasonable resolutions (1024x768 and up) but I am finding that when I up the resolution from 800x600 (or lower) the machine simply is locking up.  
I have been running SETI for hours, and no lock ups, but when going into Nascar 2002, it will lock immediately at 1024x768, but runs fine on 800x600 (x16), and will lock after a while on 800x600x32.
It is very strange, if anyone has any suggestions of what to try it would be appreciated.
AP.

The Best Answer

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I have a similar problem with my MS-8872.   :(  I have, however, spent a week carefully isolating the problem.
Problem symptoms:
1) During DVD playback (using the bundled MSIDVD (InterVideo WinDVD) 3.1 or a copy of InterVideo WinDVD 4.0), the machine totally locks-up after 0-40 minutes of playback.  The only remaining operating interface is the power/reset buttons.  It has been repeatedly observed that after ~15 minutes of being locked up, the machine reboots itself.
2) During looping MPEG playback in Apple QuickTime 5 and 6, the above described lock-up is generated.
3) During play of the bundled games (AquaNox, sacrifice, and No One Lives Forever (1)), the above described lock-up is generated.
Relevant Hardware:
Gigabyte GA-7VRXP V.2.0 (with F11 BIOS -- disabled all USB, serial, parallel, IDE RAID, Ethernet, audio, 2nd IDE)
Athlon XP 1800+
2 x 512MB DDR/266 ECC registered SDRAM DIMMs
MSI GF4 Ti 4600 (MS-8872)
Relevant software:
Win98SE
DirectX 8.1b
(media players and games as listed above)
Relevant drivers:
Via 4-in-1 v. 443v
Adaptec FMS v. 3.0.3
nVidia 30.82 (and earlier)
Although additional hardware is present and different BIOS versions and software drivers were used in isolating the problem, in the fully configured machine, the isolation process reduced the machine to this configuration in the process of identifying which component was causing the failure.
With the above configuration, failure was *not* observed by replacing the video card with:
    Diamond V770 Ultra (TNT2 Ultra, 32MB),
    Eagle GeForce3 Ti 500 (64MB), or
    ChainTech GeForce4 Ti 4600 (128MB).
In all these cases, the machine was able to loop DVD playback, MPEG playback, and idle the above games for >40 consecutive hours.
Therefore, the problem with Ti4600 playback has been isolated to the MSI card.  Further, it has been demonstrated that this is not an issue of interaction with other hardware (none was present).  Finally, it has been shown that substantially similar hardware (the ChainTech card) was able to successfully operate without difficulty.
The following additional remedies were taken:
1) Underclock the MSI video card to its minimal settings.
2) Replace the HD and reinstall the OS and abovementioned software in a minimal configuration.
3) Remove the DVD player and only play back content from the HD (in case the DVD player was causing trouble).
4) Move the MSI card to another machine and observe that identical failure is observed.  (This last was performed as follows: for 13 repetitions, randomly assign the MSI card and the ChainTech card to two substantially different machines.  Start both machines looping the same content.  Observe which machine failed first.  In all 13 cases, the machine with the MSI card failed first.  The probability of this occurring if both cards were equally likely to fail first was 1/8192 ~= 0.012%.)
5) Configured motherboard to be maximally conservative: slowest RAM timings, underclocking the processor and RAM, various combinations of AGP aperture, PCI write combining, et c..., and whatever Gigabyte thinks "Fail-safe" settings are. AGP compensation values were not manually adjusted (as there is no documentation about the effect of this setting from Gigabyte nor the ideal range of this setting from MSI).
Thus, despite extraordinary isolation efforts (not available to most home video enthusiasts), no method was found to eliminate the failure of this card under heavy video load.
Miscellaneous items:
Note that this motherboard (GA-7VRXP) is known to require significant current at 3.3V.  Most GeForce4 Ti cards also require substantial 3.3V peak current.  The power supply in this machine is easily rated to 130% of the stated peak current requirements of all the components at each supplied voltage.  (The original 400W P/S was found to be more suited to driving large HD arrays and was replaced for this reason.)
Question (finally!):
So, how do I make this rather expensive video card outperform the $40 TNT2Ultra I've got lying around as a spare part?
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