ATi All in Wonder 9800 Garbled Screen

Dell / Dimension 8300
February 25, 2012 at 09:55:22
Specs: Windows XP Professional SP3, Pentium 4 @ 3.2 GHz / 4 GB
I have a problem with an ATi All in Wonder 9800 in a Dell Dimension 8300 system. If I leave the computer off overnight, and I try to start the computer in the morning, the screen may come on, and I can make it into BIOS. Problem is, even in BIOS, the screen will become garbled within 5 to 10 minutes. After I forcefully restart the computer, the diagnostic lights on the back are "A" and "C" yellow, which indicates a video card failure:

When the screen is garbled, it looks a lot like the first picture on this forum:

After I forcefully shut down the computer, and feel the video card, it seems warmer than others for just 10 minutes of running in a BIOS environment. It's not burning to the touch, but maybe 90 degrees Fahrenheit or so. The fan on the heatsink still appears to be running at normal speed. I tried putting another fan right in front of the card, but still the same results.

Sometimes I'll get other errors such as the diagnostic light "D" as orange, which indicates "other failure". I haven't overclocked the card myself, although the people at the factory could have. I haven't been able to get any video out of the card unless if I leave the computer off for awhile.

Here are the system's specs:

Pentium 4 w/ Hyperthreading @ 3.2 GHz
Windows XP Professional SP3
ATi All in Wonder 9800 Professional

Also, I have resoldered on the power connector, and another component that broke off. The card did work for 30 minutes or so after until I tried out a Direct-X intensive screen saver.

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February 25, 2012 at 10:06:37
Since the problem occurs in the BIOS, it's definitely a card problem, not a Windows or driver problem. You can't judge temperature on touch. Even so, 90F (32C) is NOT hot, not even close. CPUs (& GPUs) generally idle at a higher temp than that. And most GPUs can handle close to 100C (212F) without frying.

You need to determine the real temperature, don't guess. And if it is running too hot, you can try removing the fan & heatsink, thoroughly cleaning them, then applying a fresh dab of thermal paste. It may be too late, but it's worth a shot.

Another possibility is baking it in an oven to "heal" any microscopic breaks in the solder. Here's how it's done:

Also, take a look at this:

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February 25, 2012 at 10:41:14
Do you know if there are any DOS based GPU Temp monitors? I don't know if the card could make it to Windows before the screen becomes garbled.

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February 25, 2012 at 10:46:47
Why even bother with a card that old. Try the oven thing first. If that doesn't work, try removing the heatsink, if that doesn't work toss it. Good Luck.

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February 26, 2012 at 17:54:25
Thanks, I'll try out the oven thing.

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