nVidia Graphics Card

I built this system approximately 20 months ago or so (around Nov 2007), and it’s performed great, under both Windows XP Pro, and since December 2008, as my Ubuntu workstation.

It’s performed great, and aside from the few minor issues, such as crashing in suspend (caused by the cx8800 TV tuner driver), and minor software configuration, has been troublefree.

Over the last few weeks however, the graphics card has developped an issue – most times, it’ll work OK for days on end, and others – I’ll go out for lunch, come back to bring it out of suspend.. And it won’t resume. OK. Hit Reset to reboot.

But, that’s where the problem starts – the Gigabyte BIOS boot screen is pixelated badly (as if 16 color mode was enabled), and the display won’t show the desktop after the text part of booting starts. The system boots still, I just can’t SEE anything.

After some testing this afternoon, I swapped the card with another card (VGA / DVI), and this didn’t have an issue. Put my card in the system I took the other card from, and the issue was there.

It works when I leave it off for around 10 – 15 minutes sometimes (it didn’t this afternoon, when I needed it most), and then continues to behave normally – until reboot.

After letting it cool this afternoon, I put it back in to try and get my dual screens working again, and Ubuntu didn’t like me for it – the Panel’s I had on the second screen were on the first, and the CPU on the panel application was at 100% – so I kill it, and the system freezes. Great.

I didn’t keep any logs of it to lodge a bug report unfortunately, because the circumstances won’t arise in normal use – only after the system has 2 monitors, and it reboots with only one video card.

Luckily, I had icewm handy, and logged into it and all was well, enough to get work done.

I tried different variations of X configuration (/etc/X11/xorg.conf), to get the display as expected – as one continuous long display, this way the mouse doesn’t break into two between each monitor – how I like it. I haven’t had any success getting that BACK, despite restoring configuration files, and rechecking each setting, and going through manual config.

It’s a waste of time now anyway, the graphics card clearly needs to be replaced soon, but I’ve always been amazed the rest of the system can run at around 40oC with minimal cooling, and the graphics card, which has it’s own fan (and is dust free), can’t stay below 57oC, it seems to run at high temps all the time.

Time to go have a look at what to replace it with.

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