14 April 2011

BCCode 116: Nvidia GeForce 7650GS video card

This is an update from my previous post, where I mentioned some problems I've been having with my desktop.  To briefly recap, I'd been getting video crashes with the error message "Nvidia kernel 266.58 stopped responding and has recovered," or words to that effect. Reinstalling the latest driver didn't turn out to be a permanent fix.

In fact, in the past 3-4 days it became progressively worse, where instead of a straight-forward crash I'd get incorrectly displayed displays (odd colours, horizontal lines, etc.), then crashes and then blue screens of death (BSOD).  The upside, however, was that I finally managed to catch the phrase "BCCODE 116" somewhere among all the funky graphics, crashes and BSODs.  I couldn't research this at home, of course, since my desktop was fairly unusable at this point.

Anywhoo, BCCode 116 turns out to occur when the video card malfunctions for whatever reason, one potential reason being the video card processor running at too high temperatures.  I found a free utility that reported current temperatures of hardware components, and lo and behold, at "idle" my GPU went from 78 to 95 degrees Celsius in a matter of minutes.  The temperature reached 102 degrees Celsius before I shut down my computer.  According to what I read, at idle it should be in the range of 50-70 degrees Celsius.

The cause of this elevated temperature?  The video card fan was no longer working, which I confirmed visually.  Cleaning up the dust (how does that much dust get in there, anyway?!) didn't help.  The video card is a Nvidia GeForce 7560 GS that came with my desktop.  It must be four, maybe five (or more?) years old, now.

I removed the video card, plugged my monitor via the basic D-SUB port, uninstalled the Nvidia driver, and now I can use my computer comfortably once again.  The only question I have now is whether I should buy a new video card.  I probably will, since I can already tell that videos run a little slower than they had previously -- not by much, almost negligible, but nevertheless noticeable.

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