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PC..died on me

Posted 11-12-2014 at 03:40 AM by Mav

So a couple years ago, thanks to the listeners of a gaming podcast I had created, were kind of enough to donate slowly over time so I could upgrade from my Dell laptop to a proper desktop, which at the time could run Star Trek Online at max settings, while streamed, for our podcast. We had a good following, thousands of downloads of the audio version of the show each week.

Had that PC for just about two years now and..she's pretty much dead. I updated to Nvidia's recent set of non-beta drivers (November 10th 2014 version). I always had kept back a version or two just in case of bugs, but some friends had gotten me into playing a new F2P game on steam called Heroes & Generals. It's a neat game, reminds me of RTCW a lot. However the game, for a beta, is very system heavy, and even people with monster computers (dual SLI cards, tons of ram, OC cpu etc) saw huge performance drops. So I decided to upgrade to the latest drivers and see if that would help me, my mid range system was really chugging while playing it.

Installed the new drivers, rebooted, everything seemed fine. Windows loaded, logged into Steam, launched game and played a few rounds. New drivers I noticed gave me a nice 4 to 5 gain in fps, which was nice. So, played a few rounds then decided to call it a break and play some old retro games, I noticed my system locked up while I was plugging in my 360 pad to my PC. All that was running at the time was a youtube video.

Ok so I reboot, monitor has no signal at all from the tower. Odd... So I reseat the cable, same issue. Swap ends of the cable, same issue. No matter what the monitor was not getting anything from my low end GT 610 gpu. Luckily my system has a on board intel graphics card, so I could at least get into Windows. Connected the monitor to it, works fine.

Then as I started poking around I noticed, things were bad.... Device Manager no longer even recognized my Nvidia card as being installed. Trying to retrigger it by installing drivers again, just gave me an error message saying there wasn't a Nvidia card installed.. Then I noticed my USB ports were acting super friggin odd. Mouse was fine, keyboard fine, external usb microphone fine. Headset gave no sound. Windows detected the usb headset, it wasn't muted, it was the primary sound device, etc. I reseated the usb connector for it, same problem. Reseated in a different port, same problem. Unhooked the controller, sound came back. Not sure if the Nvidia card splurt out some kinda little surge when it decided to die but the usb ports are definitely acting funny.

At the moment, I'm kinda fucked. My old laptop can't run any games really. This Intel card certainly can't (literally can't, since it's just dedicated as a "standard vga connector" so theres no specific driver for it to upgrade to, it lacks shaders so even the most basic games you would think would be super easy to run like Hex, or Hearthstone, Minecraft, etc no go. It'll browse the internet that's about it.... A lot of googling showed me this has happened to other people, from previous drivers. Sometimes almost identical to me where they upgrade then the card poofs on them. Reseating the card doesn't resolve it, and even if it could this particular 610 sits ontop of a large heatsink, that has five screws, two of which are accessible, the other three would require me to take out all of the fans in the case to make room.

The real kicker is, since it was a prebuilt, they went with what is either a Mini ATX or Mini ITX motherboard, inside a full size tower case.. So even if i had money to buy a new gpu, I'd have to upgrade the entire motherboard..

So yea, I'm fucked. Being in between jobs for over a year+ now, can't find work, don't own any consoles, PC gaming has been my hobby for years and years and years. Now..I can just sit off to the side, watch Youtube videos, read forums, and not play myself. It's been a long night trying to fix this and I haven't slept in over a day. Just the thought of me being the third wheel to my friends while they are gaming and all I can do is sit there and listen...It's gut wrenching.

I think I'll try to get some sleep after being awake so long, time to go cry myself to sleep, literally.
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