Helping a friend with his GeForce 9600 GT OC

An old friend of mine has been having a problem with his BFG Tech video card for a while. He’d been working with BFG Tech, nVidia and the Geek Squad to resolve the problem for many months with no resolution. The problem is black screen of death after anywhere from minutes to hours of play, especially on older DirectX games. He brought his PC to me this week and right away I was able to duplicate the problem so, I knew I could troubleshoot this issue without too many hours of work.

Googling around I learned that this GPU setup is notorious for issues with older games and that the OC in the part name means it is shipped in an over clocked state. A little tweaking of Dungeon Siege got me so that I could cause the crash in under 10 seconds consistently. After adding the nVidia system tools package so that I could tweak the card settings I first tried the non-over clocked stock GeForce 9600 settings (650 core, 900 mem, 1625 shader). This increased run time before crash but only to less than 2 minutes. The stock settings where 4 to 5% less on core and mem than the factory OC settings so next I tried lowering all three speeds to 11 to 12% less than OC (600 core, 800 mem, 1500 shader). This has done the trick, I’ve gotten over ten hours of continuous runtime without crashing. While it is sad to have to limit the speed of his card, it’s still far faster than his previous GeForce 7300 and, the game that required the higher video power works fine. So, I’m going to give him back the PC and show him how to tweak the card more in case the issue crops up during actual long playing sessions. I’ll update this post if his testing shows any problems.

Interesting stuff and blog roll updates

A Skepchick post pointed me to this article, BlackLight Power has buyer for ‘magical’ energy source. I hope the Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative doesn’t loose too much money on this scam scheme. I know New Mexico is loaded with pseudoscientific research centers but before they invested their communities cash they should have taken advice from some of NM’s real scientists.

Mike of Hyphoid Logic pointed out that the Royal Society Digital Archives are free until 2/1/09. Here’s the main search page and a search for articles by one of my favorite Royal Society scientists.

Skeptico’s post about DECT lead me to adding another blog to my reading and now my blog roll, Techskeptic’s Data Daily. These posts, DECT scares, Platinum Free Fuel Cells, Class 1M radiation are samples of recent work by Techskeptic that I feel are excellent.

Robert X. Cringely’s time with PBS has come to an end but I can keep reading him at his new home, the blog roll link has been updated.

Happy Holidays

I’ve been busy with too many other things to post much over the past few months. Much of my free time has been spent working on photographs and various site updates. I do my web development on a local mini-server, backup to my main Linux PC and then update the live server. In addition to the backup & synchronization utility for Windows that I use, I’ve come to rely on the synchronization utility built in to the Krusader file manager. Along the way I got tired of manually setting my original photo files read-only so I wrote a script to automate that process and compliment the other photo workflow script I wrote.

The first snow accumulation this year was later than usual, 12/7.

First Snow

But the weather finally caught up with the season on 12/19 to 21 giving me over a foot of snow to move.

Big Snow

We found out my sisters cat, Bootsie, had worms when I went to clean up what I thought was basic hairball puke and saw a worm on 12/13. We thought he had roundworm but the tests by our great veterinarian showed Bootsie to have lungworm, poor little guy. The good news was that there is simple injection to cure lungworm but, the bad news was that we needed to have him tested for heartworm because the lungworm treatment can be bad if the cat has heartworm too. I say bad news because the test for heartworm is a blood test, a bigger needle in the leg that made Bootsie scream. He got over the blood taking fast and the tests came back negative a couple days before Christmas, a great Xmas gift. Bootsie got his lungworm shot Friday and we’re all relieved that he’s on the way to finally getting rid of his worms. Here’s Bootsie taking a catnap under the tree in a new bed he got from Santa.

Bootsie napping

Another thing that’s taken up a lot of free time the past months is work I’ve been doing on a new long term project. After living in the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor since its designation 22 years ago, I’ve decided to make an effort over the next few years to see every site. To aid in my project I’ve been creating places files for Google Earth to help me plan trips in the BRVNHC. I’ve posted the first versions of my places and custom icon files along with photos and other information on my main web site.

I’m taking vacation time through the end of the year so, I hope to finish up some of the posts that have been in my drafts folder for too long now.