Computer Problems

Last night Jedi Academy started acting funny. When playing a sound, the sound would start repeating, and the screen would freeze. Usually, after a few seconds, this would correct itself, but a couple of times, the graphics would get distorted (even after exiting the game), and only a reboot would fix them.

As time went by, this got worse and worse. Eventually I ran through several of our games, and all of them that used advanced 3D graphics had the same problem. Some would freeze and stutter often (Dungeon Seige), a few would show the graphics problem right away (Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast; Star Trek Voyager Elite Force), and a few would work for a while (Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy).

In addition to testing, I reinstalled the video drivers, sound drivers, and DirectX. The operating system is behaving just fine, and we're up-to-date on virus definitions and doing nightly scans. The problem seems to occur only with stuff that uses high-end 3D rendering, but isn’t confined merely to openGL, as far as I can tell. The DirectX diagnostics all ran perfectly.

Other than losing the ability to play our favorite games on that machine, this has triggered abnormally high levels of anxiety for me.

I suspect our video card has developed a problem, but am welcome to alternative suggestions.

2 Replies to “Computer Problems”

  1. The only install that might be related is the “original” Rainbow Six, that I thought might be fun (and was) to play again.
    Other than that, we had a problem with our scanner, which turned out to be due to a SCSI cable being knocked out and damaged, so there were a lot of interrupted startups while I was diagnosing that (one of which generated a “Windows has recovered from a critical error” message).
    I think the next thing I will try is an uninstall of R6, following by a reinstall of Jedi Academy. Other things to consider are disabling the sound hardware to see if there is an interaction between it and the video.
    ::: sigh :::

  2. My best friend Phil Luchon came up to visit and helped troubleshoot this. (One of the joys of living with an anxiety disorder is that I have “Problems with my Home PCs” on my “severe anxiety triggers” list.)
    After doing driver reinstalls, vacuuming out the PC, and every other software-related fix we could think of, we went to Best Buy and picked up a 128MB DDR GeForce FX 5200 AGP (replacing the 64 MB GeForce2 MX 400).
    Everything that had stopped working is now working flawlessly—or better—Halo, for example, has huge improvements in level of detail and overall smoothness. Jedi Academy, Elite Force, and Elite Force II have all been tested.
    This card uses the same drivers as the one we replaced, so the issue definitely was hardware. Anyone want to buy a work-only video card?

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