Time for a new graphics card?

I’ve been having problems with my video card restarting. I checked the temp, and it was running hot (72 idle, 93 under load), so I cleaned out my PC this morning, including the fan on the graphics card.

Sadly, this made virtually no difference to the GPU temp.

This is a 6 years Nvidia GTX 660 Ti. Is it just time to surrender to the inevitable and get a new card, or other there other things I should try first?

6 years eh that’s going to need more than just a blow out of the fan, the housing is probably jam packed with dust too. I would suggest looking up u tube to see if there are any videos out there on removing the casing and giving it a real good scrub. If possible I’d also see if any of the heatsinks are loose as replacing the thermal paste could be another easy fix. TBH what have you got to lose give it a go because if you don’t its a new card anyway :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m sure you’re right about the grunge inside the card.

Replacing the thermal paste is probably above my pay grade, but I’m pretty sure I can manage to pop the housing off and clean the card better. Thanks for the suggestion.

time to upgrade…

My videocards generally last about 5 years before they die on their own, so 6 years does seem about right :slight_smile:

Thermal paste turns out to be super easy to do - a little isopropyl alcohol to clean off the old, bloop some on, and reseat the bits. I had to rescue a friend who had dismantled parts they shouldn’t have, and it was no worse than any other parts replacement on a computer.

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Thermal paste is the heat conduit between the CPU and heatsink. After 6 years of you dominating Guild Wars while spending your idle time in LOTRO, the paste is dry and hard between your CPU and heatsink. CPU unhappy.

If you don’t want to pay to upgrade, you should definitely try replacing the thermal paste. It’s inexpensive and will make your CPU happy again. It will just take a little time, patience and love.
Yup, if you accept this quest, you get to put your love into the heart of your video card!

And when you plug it back in and see how happy it is, you will love it even more.

here’s some general DUI tips:

Make a nice work space. Enough room to spread out disassembled parts with space for your smartphone and a cocktail.
Take pictures with your smartphone before you start for reference later. Yes the cocktail too.
Text them to Dalkin in case your smartphone explodes…or something.
Take it apart slowly paying attention to how it comes apart and keeping the pieces organized in an exploded view manner for reassembly.
Take more pictures as you work for reference later. Yes the cocktail too.
Upload all your smartphone pics here so we can watch.

Good Luck!

I think it is time for a new card. The time spent trying to clean up or change paste on your CPU may be time wasted if your card is failing. There is a sweet spot in price 2-3 generations off of bleeding edge.

One thing I do is get my CPU up off the floor. On the floor mine gets clogged with dog hair about 10x faster. I have it up top and on furniture risers so the draw comes through the bottom of the case.

If you are going to rebuild the case, get as much air flow in that case as you can. I have front, back, top, bottom, and one side fan and it really pulls the air nicely through the system. Getting a case with good ventilation is not much of a cost, and you can get some nice quiet fans to go with it.

My procedure for doing this is to watch about 10x YouTube videos on what I am trying to do until the confidence is soaring, and I lay the whole thing out on the dining room table with an overhead 150W shop lamp. Light and access help a lot. But typically I build a CPU, then rebuild on your 6yr time frame, as most of the stuff is starting to fail then anyway. For instance last time I built it was something like $500 for 500MB of solid state drive, and now you can get 1TB for well under that. Tech just improves over that time both from a price standpoint and a performance standpoint.

Yep! And if you’re going to route, keep in mind that unless you’re running stuff that gets really hot, a smooth airflow is more important than a rapid one, and the larger the fan, the quieter it is normally because it needs less revolutions per minute to move the same amount of air.

Good call on cleaning the inside of the card, @Alphea. There was a ton of dust built up on the heat sink. I did not replace the thermal paste because I don’t have any right now.

The good: Temps are much reduced. 40-43 idling, 60-65 under load. The bad: It doesn’t work worth a damn any longer. :disappointed:

The card isn’t not powering off/on like it was, but I’m still getting the “driver crashed and has restarted” errors or a white/grey screen of death. Only now it’s happening with all my games and immediately upon login, instead of occasionally on selected games.

Apparently the dust was all that was holding it together. I think it’s dead, Jim.

I’m a little worried that there may be something else wrong as my rear case fan is wonky since yesterday’s cleaning expedition. It’s intermittently grumbling. When it does so, it sounds like the fan speed is lurching around.

If it’s just the fan, fine. (Though I’ve no clue how to pick out a replacement.) I worry that it’s a PS issue, though. Any way to tell?

The case fan sounds like the bearing is giving up after its hard life, quite common after cleaning too as it manages full speed after the fan is cleaned . They are pretty cheap, tho you can invest in a decent one if you like quiet

Hope you weren’t playing the spin it as fast as you can with a can of air game as they don’t like that lol

One last thing I’d try is take the video card back out and clean the socket it fits in. Slim chance but a possibility , put some sellotape over the slot leaving a little hole at one end blast it with that air can and you will see if there was a lot of dust which will have stuck itself to the tape. As I said slim chance but always worth a try.

As far as choice of video card is concerned that will depend on how much money you can spend on one and the games you play

I’m about to waddle off to Fry’s for a GTX 1060 card. Likely this one as it has power and display connectors that are compatible with my equipment:

It’s not very exciting, but I’m not willing to sink more than $250-350 into a card right now, esp. for such an old system.

If that fixes my graphics woes, I’ll circle back around to the case fan. I don’t even know what I don’t know about that. Never bought one before!

Aaand installing a new card appears to have restored domestic harmony. I’ll know better after some extended play sessions. Thanks you very much for the suggestions and instructions, guys.

What do I need to know about replacing a case fan? I’m guessing diameter and power connector pin count. Anything else?

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You got to look at the holes in the case and get the fan sized appropriately. I agree with Splutty that larger is quieter and better, but if the fan is way larger than the hole, your effective diameter is less.

It’s always time to get a new graphics card…

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Yep. Every couple of years I stick a hairpin in my GPU fans just to help the process along. Don’t tell my wife.


Sorry, but I think buying a GTX1060 at $270 is throwing money away when you can get a Nvidia RTX 2060 for $349.

Dunno, PeZzy, I think I’m with Moss on this one. 6-year old system, so save the $80 and put it toward the entirely NEW system that almost certainly is in her not-too-distant future. YMMV, of course. :slight_smile:

This is something a lot of people overlook when they’re going out to buy a new videocard, which increases their costs a lot when they realize they also need (a) new monitor(s). Well done :slight_smile:

I hear you and don’t entirely disagree with you, but…

  • I was playing perfectly happily on a 6 year old card. Clearly, I’m not going to notice if my new one is still several generations behind.
  • I’m probably going to have to replace the box in the next couple years.
  • My local store didn’t have any RTX 2060s, and I was too impatient to wait for snail mail. They had 2070’s, but those are waaay outside my current budget.
  • I retired a couple months ago and am getting ready to relocate, so I’m trying to be uncharacteristically financially responsible. :slight_smile: