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  [SOLVED] XFX GTX 260 Black Edition freezing to random color and looping sound 
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olvrdh Aug 07, 2011, 06:56pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 09, 2011, 02:58pm EDT

Replies: 12 - Views: 12386
So I have a quite disturbing problem. Playing various games, my PC freezes to one random color, with the last split-second of sound looping. Reseting does not work, I need to power off the PC entirely and then restart it.
The problem seems to be isolated to situations when fullscreen effects take place in games. (Meaning, when things explode mid-screen) This has NOT ever happened while not gaming. The games where I am repeatedly able to reproduce the problem are Crysis 2 and Bioshock 2. Even the exact moment is reproducable - in Bioshock 2, it happens when you meet your first "Big Sister", and she cuts open the window, letting the water flood the room you are standing in - as soon as the water "hits the screen", the problem occurs. In Crysis 2, it happens when you get instructed on pressing "Q" in order to enable the armor mode of your nano suit - the two guards which are onscreen notice you right after and shoot the propane tanks in front of you, resulting in a big explosion, which leads to the problem.

The problem I am having with troubleshooting is that I just got an (almost) all-new system about two weeks ago, so I have no idea where to start looking.

The system I have:
~ASUS P8Z68-V Pro
~Intel Core i7 2600K @3.4Ghz
~Corsair Vengeance 2x4GB Kit, 1866Mhz (XMP)
~XFX GTX 260 Black Edition
~OCZ Vertex 3, 120GB SSD
~Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM, 500GB HDD
~OCZ ModXStream 700W PSU

~Windows 7 Enterprise N 64-bit SP1, with media features restored (official MS-patch)

I have updated ALL Firmware to the latest possible version:
~The Vertex 3 is running FW 2.11 (Secure Erase and fresh install performed)
~ASUS is running at BIOS vers. 0606
~GTX 260 running driver v. 275.33
~Latest Intel Chipset driver installed, latest Intel RST driver installed.
~DirectX 11 installed
~Both games patched to the latest version

I am running both games from the OCZ SSD, which is also the drive my System is running from.

So far, I am (as far as I can fathom) able to exclude following reasons:
~The PC overheating (while monitoring temperatures in-game, I'm getting nowhere near critical levels, as well as what the BIOS reads right after the freezes)
~The GPU, or PSU being defective (those components, along with the HDD are the only components to have made it from the old system to this new one, and they've done me great service for the past two years)

Additional info that *might* be relevant:

~In Bioshock 2, I have been able to avoid the problem by simply playing the "critical" events in DX9 mode, disabling DX10. Unfortunately, this is not possible in Crysis 2, (since it ONLY runs in DX9, as far as I know, my GPU not supporting DX11) and to be quite frank, that is a more than unacceptable work-around - I didn't just spend a ****load of money in order to play games at LOWER settings than before. (FYI: I have not installed the High-Res texture pack)
~I don't think the problem lies in my GPU being over-stressed - both games run smoothly at the highest settings.
~I can run FurMark 1.9.1. with my GPU temp. setting in at 82° and the fans running at 86%.
~I can play Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood for hours on end without this problem occuring even ONCE.

I have no idea where to start looking, and am quite clueless as to what the problem could be.
ANY help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a bunch for any time and effort put into this,


---EDIT: corrected GPU DX version---
---EDIT: took out dxDiag, as it seems to not be relevant and takes way too much space---

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Rhort Aug 08, 2011, 04:57am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> .
It certainly sounds like you’ve done all the troubleshooting I would have done, with the only exception I can think of being a RAM check; i.e. removing one of your RAM sticks and seeing if the problem persists, then swapping to the other stick, and retest.

Having said that, however, I had an issue similar to this in a couple of games and I solved it in a weird way; seriously, this might seem like nonsense, but it worked for me, so perhaps you could give it a go.

I dropped into Safe Mode and copied the game folder in its entirety into a new folder (the first game I was having the issue with was Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, so this was about 4.5Gb of data), which I called ‘Oblivion_new’, then I renamed the actual game folder ‘z_Oblivion_old’ and renamed ‘Oblivion_new’ to ‘Oblivion’ so I ended up with a complete copy of the game. Then I did a similar procedure with the saved games folder. Playing on after that showed that the issue was solved.

Might help, might not, but it’s a free and relatively quick way of just making sure you don’t have one or more of the game’s texture files installed over a dodgy HDD sector somewhere (the main giveaway being that the file/s might not copy if you’ve got a real problem). I think that’s what the issue might have been with mine, and as you mentioned that it only occurs in two of your games, and at the same places each time – my issue in Oblivion was whenever I entered a map cell just outside the town of Bravil where there was an oblivion gate, the machine froze with a sound loop, regardless of which direction I approached from, as soon as the oblivion gate (which I’d closed and was surrounded by smoke) came into view, the freeze happened. The other issue I was getting was in (the original) Dungeon Siege, a game I knew certainly wasn’t taxing even my aged machine, at the same point each time (just as I reached the big dragon near the end of the game) with the same sort of freeze/sound loop, and again, the backup/copy procedure I outlined above resolved this issue completely.

Hope that at least gives you some ideas.

~ The manual said "Requires Windows '95 or better" I installed Linux!
olvrdh Aug 08, 2011, 08:26am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 08, 2011, 08:40am EDT

>> Re: PC freezing ingame - one color and looping sound

thanks a lot for your input!

~I copied Crysis 2 and its savegame files exactly as you said: unfortunately no change.
~I didn't remove/replace the RAM as you suggested, however I ran 3 passes of MemTest86+ (v.4.20) with no errors whatsoever.

However, I can add some more info that might help:
~Changing the graphics quality in Crysis 2 to "High" (the lowest setting in C2) makes the problem disappear. I can then play on "ultra" settings again until a similar event (an alien ship crashing into a walkway you are in).

Something I forgot to mention in the original post:
~Reseting will get rid of the looping sound, the random color however remains on-screen, forcing me to completely cut off power and restart the system.
~I have tried killing every non-essential background process before playing the game: no change.

Even though I stated originally, that it can't be my GPU, since it has done me good service over the past years with not one similar incident in my old system, I realized that on my old system, I was not able to play on such high settings. Is it possible that some complex calculation needed for these high settings is causing my GPU to give up? (Then again, I probably wouldn't be able to run FurMark without a hitch...)

olvrdh Aug 08, 2011, 02:13pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 08, 2011, 02:14pm EDT

>> Re: PC freezing ingame - one color and looping sound
Alright, after doing some googling, I have found some other forums where people describe similar problems (funny enough, it seems to be a problem isolated to the gtx 260's, and even funnier, the terms "XFX" and "Black Edition" seem to pop up quite a lot.

Here are the threads:

I have also found a site which claims to have a possible solution: decreasing the voltage in the GPU BIOS:

It seems easy enough, I have already taken all the necessary steps, I just haven't flashed the BIOS back to the card yet as I am a little afraid I might break something. What do you guys think? Is this something I should try out? Or is updating a GPU BIOS a dangerous thing, not to be compared to updating other FW/ MB BIOS?
Are there any steps I should take before flashing, (Safe mode, etc...)?


olvrdh Aug 09, 2011, 02:54pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> XFX GTX260 Black Edition freezes and crashes FIXED
And the mystery is solved!

The problem was, as stated in one of the above posted links, that the voltages are set too high by the manufacturer. I still can't quite comprehend that XFX would ship out unstable graphic cards when it is this easy to fix, but it seems to be quite common among the GTX 260 Black Edition cards.

So to solve this, following programs were needed:

I saved the GPU's BIOS using GPU-Z and then modified the voltages (from 1.12 to 1.06) and saved the BIOS (as an alternate, keeping the original as a backup)
Then I flashed the BIOS back to the card using nvFlash. Done. Restarted the system, read out the voltages with GPU-Z to make sure everything went as planned and started testing.

The card now runs a little cooler and in 4 hours gaming, I have not experienced ONE freeze/computer crash. (Keep in mind, before I wasn't able to play longer than 5 minutes before having to hard-reset the system.)

So there you go. You actually have to mess with the BIOS, thus loosing warranty (which I don't have anymore anyways) to actually get your GPU to run stable. Unbelievable.

john albrich Aug 09, 2011, 03:07pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 09, 2011, 03:15pm EDT

>> Re: [SOLVED] XFX GTX 260 Black Edition freezing to random color and looping sound

Thanks olvrdh!

I've been looking at XFX and EVGA "overclocked" cards lately so this was good info to have. I hadn't run across that kind of manufacturing "glitch" during my research of overclocked video cards.

I came THIS close to buying an EVGA GTX460SE superclocked for $100 last night (the model I was looking at supposedly ranks right up there somewhere between GTX460 and 5830). One reason I would buy an manufacturer's "overclocked" card is because I don't want to hassle with OCing the card myself...possibly voiding warranty, etc. It would be very annoying to find out I STILL had to hassle with it just to make it work.

edit to add:
Something else I learned while researching, is that when buying video cards, watch out for suffixes on the model numbers. For example, on the EVGA card I almost bought, the "-TR" suffix means it had a "limited TWO year warranty", whereas an "-AR" suffix on the model number means it has a "limited lifetime warranty". I had thought that all new EVGA cards came with the "limited lifetime warranty" and so stopped looking at the warranty details while shopping...which I now know would be a mistake.

Reason   Aug 09, 2011, 03:12pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: [SOLVED] XFX GTX 260 Black Edition freezing to random color and looping sound
Thanks for taking the time to post the solution. It doesn't affect me personally, but it's good to see you helping others.

Ultima Ratio Regum
olvrdh Aug 09, 2011, 03:40pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: [SOLVED] XFX GTX 260 Black Edition freezing to random color and looping sound
@john - yeah, you'd think you're safe buying a GPU that's been OC'd by the manufacturer. Guess again. But to be fair, I've had this card for over two years now (I think?) without ANY problems whatsoever up until I got my new system. Funny enough, what used to be my most powerful component (the GPU) has now turned into the bottleneck - and all of a sudden it's crashing and freezing my system.
I'm still wondering why I could run Furmark without a hitch though - If anybody's got a theory on that, please do enlighten me.

@Reason - yeah, I hate it when I find a thread where someone has the exact same problem as I do only to find a closing post that reads something like:
"oh, nvmnd, fixed it."

Meats_Of_Evil Aug 09, 2011, 06:10pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: [SOLVED] XFX GTX 260 Black Edition freezing to random color and looping sound
Wow I never would have thought of adjusting the voltage. Thank God for Google huh? lol

You should inform XFX of the problem when you have time, maybe they'll send you something nice in return hey? I doubt it but one can always dream :_)

Everything I write is Sarcasm.
jirka dusek Apr 20, 2013, 02:41am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: [SOLVED] XFX GTX 260 Black Edition freezing to random color and looping sound
Hi, I have same problem you did, Im glad someone found a fix. I downloaded what you said still I could really use some precise instructions how to do that. besides you dont tell what did you use NiBiTor for. I also tryed to look on the link you have provided: But it only directs me to forums main page. I dont know why if the link does not exist or iv nvidia exluded that topic I dont know. Im desperate as only you can imagine and im not really with money to buy new GFX. Please help me.

Stuart Travers Jun 08, 2015, 10:27pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: [SOLVED] XFX GTX 260 Black Edition freezing to random color and looping sound
I realise this is an old post, however this issue raised its head in Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls with no response from Blizzard, and I'm pleased to report that this solution fixed the problem.

Issue: A specific effect that occurs when fighting a certain boss (Malthael) in Diablo 3 caused the screen to turn a solid colour (varies) and sound to loop, locks the entire system and requires hard boot to reset. 100% consistent and repeatable.

Fix: Use GPU-Z to make a copy of the GPU ROM, use NiBiTor to edit voltage from 1.12 to 1.06, use NVFlash to copy the new ROM back to the graphics card. No more crash.

Thanks olvrdh for this.

jens andersson Apr 26, 2016, 03:39pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Apr 26, 2016, 03:39pm EDT

>> Re: [SOLVED] XFX GTX 260 Black Edition freezing to random color and looping sound
This graphics card is pretty dead but I'm still using it for my extra computer and I've had problem with freezes in games since about i bought it.
It has gone worse since the card is being heavily utilized in the newer games.

I tried changing the voltage from 1.12 to 1.06 but it didn't help. It just made the problem worse.

What i had to do was to let the voltage be and just lower the performance to the standard specs for GTX 260.
You can get the standard specs here:

Hope this helps someone that's still using this card.

rubenoe gibson Jun 24, 2016, 01:06am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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