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Old 2013-01-27, 01:15   Link #1
Urzu 7
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Artifacting in a PC game: It could damage graphics drivers? (I have a problem)

So I have a problem, and I inquired about it at a forum, and someone responded, but I haven't got any other responses after theirs. Here is what I wrote in the OP:

Quote:
I started a new game on a new computer. Clean install. I have about 55 to 60 mods installed right now. I have noticed that I've had minor issues ever since I installed about 50 mods at the start of a new game, but it isn't stability issues. Sometimes, for a fraction of a second, I'll see a glitchy display of imagery on the screen. Usually, it is black or white, covers only a portion of the screen, and covers it in a random array. They have straight edges and it is a random array, no conventional shapes. It lasts for only what seems like a few hundredths of a second or so. It'll occasionally pop up on the screen for a small fraction of a second. Most times, it happens in the outdoors. It may have happened indoors before. I'll have to keep an eye out for that; make note of it if it happens indoors.

I've been a little worried since I've seen things like this since the beginning of this game. I did decrease the frequency of this by tinkering with some mods. I installed one and then installed another and it asked me to replace files. I uninstalled both mods, and installed one before the other, and then did not replace files, and this seemed to improve things.

But I'm just wondering if I should be worried. This flickering on the screen doesn't happen all that much. I'm just wondering if I should be worried about corrupted saves. Should I be worried about that or anything else? The game runs real stable. However, the game has done sudden CTDs before. I'm at about level 27 or 28 now. At around levels 18-20 (I forget where), I had a sudden CTD while running down a path, and today I used a feature from a mod (which was classified as a power and you hit the dragon shout button to activate it) and right after using the mods feature, the game CTD.

What do you guys think? Should I have some concerns, or am I likely to be fine?
Here is someone's response:

Quote:
Sounds like artifacting.
Have you checked the temps of your drivers while running the game? Dusted out your computer?
Artifacting indicates a fairly serious driver problem, usually--many times this can be fixed by reducing the demands on your driver by decreasing the game's graphic settings, using less-taxing graphics mods (have you tried not using ENB?), etc. Sometimes the problem is with a driver download--- have you tried updating/rolling back your drivers?

In any case, over time if you do not address the problem, you might end up killing your drivers, especially if you are overheating. I would stop playing, personally, and focus on fixing this problem, even if it means starting a new game.


Now I'm worried about playing this game (it is Skyrim). I don't know if that person is on to something, or if my problem is harmless. I hope some people here can help me. If anyone wants to try and help me and needs more info, ask some questions and I'll see if I have the answers.
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Old 2013-01-27, 01:52   Link #2
0utf0xZer0
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Overheating doesn't damage graphics drivers, it can damage your graphics chip. And yes, artifacts can indicate overheating. But I don't think that's the case here - especially if it doesn't occur in other games or if you have less mods installed. If it's only Skyrim with many mods installed, I'd say it's either that the game isn't dealing with that many mods well or that your system's memory subsystems aren't keeping up very well - in particular, a lack of system RAM or graphics RAM can cause short lags when loading new graphical assets.

If you're really worried about it, you can try running Speedfan or a similar program that measures GPU temperatures in the background while playing then look at the results - and remember, a lot of high performance GPUs actually do run quite hot, Anandtech frequently finds cards running 75 Celsius and up when testing the cards under load.
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Old 2013-01-27, 02:21   Link #3
Urzu 7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
Overheating doesn't damage graphics drivers, it can damage your graphics chip. And yes, artifacts can indicate overheating. But I don't think that's the case here - especially if it doesn't occur in other games or if you have less mods installed. If it's only Skyrim with many mods installed, I'd say it's either that the game isn't dealing with that many mods well or that your system's memory subsystems aren't keeping up very well - in particular, a lack of system RAM or graphics RAM can cause short lags when loading new graphical assets.

If you're really worried about it, you can try running Speedfan or a similar program that measures GPU temperatures in the background while playing then look at the results - and remember, a lot of high performance GPUs actually do run quite hot, Anandtech frequently finds cards running 75 Celsius and up when testing the cards under load.
Haha, I've only been playing Skyrim. I have no idea if this will happen in other games. I'll try some other graphically intensive games. I'll try The Witcher 2.

I have 8 GB of 1600 RAM, so it shouldn't be that. My GPU has 3 GB of RAM, so it shouldn't be that.

I would use HWMonitor. That should do the trick. How long should I play for? I was thinking of playing for 2 to 3 hours during the day (this Sunday). I'll monitor the GPU temps. I looked at GPU temps recently and I never saw anything above 60 degrees Celcius.

Also, that poster said this:

Quote:
Sounds like artifacting.
Have you checked the temps of your drivers while running the game? Dusted out your computer?
What do they mean about the "temps of my drivers"? I'm confused by that. Did they type out the wrong info? I thought drivers were only some types of software.
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Old 2013-01-27, 03:48   Link #4
0utf0xZer0
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If you're getting 60 Celsius I don't think it's a heat issue, like I said Anandtech regularly has high performance GPUs hit 75C and up during benchmarking with no issues.

A driver is a piece of software, not sure where someone got the impression they can overheat.

It's possible you're running up against the limits of the game engine. Skyrim is a 32 bit application, even with the large address aware patch Bethesda put out (which you have if you're game is relatively up to date) it can't use more than 4GB RAM.

Now that said, more than 4GB can still be useful for games because GPUs can use extra system RAM to store graphics assets. Insufficient RAM for the GPU to use can lead to graphical elements popping in rather than loading smoothly:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...de,2778-6.html

Granted, with 3GB of graphics memory and 8GB of system memory this is unlikely to be your problem, but I thought I'd mention it just because of the symptoms you describe.
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Old 2013-01-27, 05:16   Link #5
-KarumA-
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Possibilities:
- the mods could be causing it, many mods can cause in game problems sometimes
- drivers, I don't know what GPU you have but drivers is an option
- failing videoram:

I had this problem on an old pc a long time ago, whenever I played WOW and murlocks were involved I would see massive tearing like someone turned on a flare light with traingles shooting out of the murlock's mesh in bright yellow making it impossible to see.
I played WOW like that for several years, I never had problems in other games even those that were considered as new in those days.
What did happen years and years later was that the gpu started dying, you see small pink or curly lines all over your wallpaper which get more and more common until your display cannot find an input any longer and you're stuck with no way to have a screen.
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Old 2013-01-27, 07:22   Link #6
Kudryavka
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Well, it might not be your PC. It could be that one of your mods is corrupting your game. Maybe a mod conflict or a badly coded one?

I would rule that out first before thinking about the computer itself. Especially since you said that you had no problems before installing 50 mods.

In the unlikely case you didnt already, you should backup your saves.
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Old 2013-01-27, 07:38   Link #7
Urzu 7
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Should I try this: Disable all of my mods, and then start a new game and play it for a while, keeping an eye out for the problem. After enough playtime, if I don't see it, I can conclude that it is conflicting mods. Sound like a good plan?
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Old 2013-01-27, 08:10   Link #8
Kudryavka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urzu 7 View Post
Should I try this: Disable all of my mods, and then start a new game and play it for a while, keeping an eye out for the problem. After enough playtime, if I don't see it, I can conclude that it is conflicting mods. Sound like a good plan?
Yes, I would suggest that.

How did playing TW2 go? If you got around to doing that?
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Old 2013-01-27, 17:41   Link #9
synaesthetic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urzu 7 View Post
Should I try this: Disable all of my mods, and then start a new game and play it for a while, keeping an eye out for the problem. After enough playtime, if I don't see it, I can conclude that it is conflicting mods. Sound like a good plan?
Disable your mods. Then play and see if you find artifacting. Enable one mod at a time until you find artifacting. When you find it, you'll know exactly which mod is causing it.

Basic scientific method. Change only one variable at a time!
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Old 2013-01-28, 03:11   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Enable one mod at a time until you find artifacting. When you find it, you'll know exactly which mod is causing it.

Basic scientific method. Change only one variable at a time!
A slight improvement on this method is to divide by two . Run half your mods, check for the artifacts. If you don't see any, then run the other half. When you do see the artifacts in one-half, divide that half of your mods by two again, and run only one-quarter, etc, etc. Hopefully it's just a single mod causing this, and not a weird combination of mods.
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Old 2013-01-28, 20:45   Link #11
Urzu 7
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Do I have to worry about this causing corrupt saves? Should I restart my game? Or is that not necessary?
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Old 2013-01-28, 22:50   Link #12
sa547
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No, the procedure of disabling mods is safe for savegames.

You use the most recent save, and after testing, you can simply exit quickly by opening up the console and entering qqq to quit ASAP without having to save. I do this when testing mods.

I'm thinking of the possibility that there may be some munged files somewhere -- textures, meshes, etc -- so try to run chkdsk to check for file integrity.
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Old 2013-01-29, 11:52   Link #13
Urzu 7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sa547 View Post
No, the procedure of disabling mods is safe for savegames.
My worry about corrupt saves isn't about disabling mods. I installed Skyrim on my computer (a new computer) around January 1st and started a new game of Skyrim around then, and have had this problem ever since starting with a fresh reinstall (I reinstalled it a few times because of other reasons).

I'm wondering if I should just start a new game. Once I solve the issue, and especially if it was due to mods conflicting, maybe I should start a new game, lest I want to risk having game breaking glitches hours later into my current game. Does it sound like I'm on the right track, or would starting a new game not be necessary?

I mean, I kind of don't want to start from the beginning, but I guess it wouldn't be that bad. I started planning out a couple of character builds in case I start a new game, and I am kind of eager to bring one of those character builds to fruition.
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Old 2013-01-29, 14:37   Link #14
Kudryavka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urzu 7 View Post
My worry about corrupt saves isn't about disabling mods. I installed Skyrim on my computer (a new computer) around January 1st and started a new game of Skyrim around then, and have had this problem ever since starting with a fresh reinstall (I reinstalled it a few times because of other reasons).

I'm wondering if I should just start a new game. Once I solve the issue, and especially if it was due to mods conflicting, maybe I should start a new game, lest I want to risk having game breaking glitches hours later into my current game. Does it sound like I'm on the right track, or would starting a new game not be necessary?

I mean, I kind of don't want to start from the beginning, but I guess it wouldn't be that bad. I started planning out a couple of character builds in case I start a new game, and I am kind of eager to bring one of those character builds to fruition.
So you've been noticing the problem since before you installed mods? Now I'm confused.
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Old 2013-01-29, 15:53   Link #15
Urzu 7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kudryavka View Post
So you've been noticing the problem since before you installed mods? Now I'm confused.
No, I installed mods and then started a new game. Don't tell me that was a bad move.

This imagery that flickers onto the screen, it happens for a split second and it doesn't happen often. Let's say I play for 90 minutes. It might happen something like 5-8 times in that time period. And like I said, it lasts for a split second.

This issue doesn't really bother me, but it concerns me. I'm worried about corrupt saves occuring, and then let's say I continue to play and then some things really get screwed up and then hours later into my current game, I get game breaking glitches. This is why I'm thinking maybe I should start a new game once I solve the issue. Yeah, I've made some progress, but I'd rather start anew now rather then be forced to start from scratch if I get up to level 45+; after making much more progress in the game. My current level is 28, so I wouldn't really wanna restart, but I don't think I'd bother restarting if I had to restart when I had a character that was level 48 or 54 instead.
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Old 2013-01-29, 16:22   Link #16
Kudryavka
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Well, if you haven't already, please make sure it's not a bad mod before panicking.

Was your session without mods flicker free?
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Old 2013-01-30, 10:08   Link #17
Urzu 7
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So I played the game after a reinstall, and with no mods, and I disabled the Bethesda HD texture packs. I made the game totally vanilla. I had the problem still. When I get a chance later today, in the evening, I'll play some other PC games and see if I have the same problem with different games. If I do, this might be some drivers issues. If I don't have the problem with the games I try (I'm gonna try a couple or few games), it could still be drivers issues, right? Driver issues might happen with certain games but not all games. That is how it can be, right?

If I can rule out that it isn't a mod issue, then perhaps I don't have to worry about corrupt saves. If this is a driver issue, would I have to worry about corrupt saves? If not, then that is some relief, as I wouldn't have to start from the beginning. I backed up about 30 of my most recent saves in the game, so I should be able to pick the game back up. I just gotta solve my current issue, because I don't know if it is harmless, or if it'll lead to problems later on.
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Old 2013-01-30, 13:41   Link #18
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The thing is when I had failing videoram it didn't always show up in other games just one or two maybe, untill later.
I would still suggest a screenshot of said artifacts.
Try reinstalling drivers or going back to the previous drivers version from the manufacturer page (I still don't see anywhere what gpu you are using either).
And no if it is drivers then your saves will remain good. Drivers have nothing to do with gamesaves.
A reinstall might be in order if drivers are excluded from the problem.
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Old 2013-01-31, 17:50   Link #19
Urzu 7
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Looks like it is an issue with drivers. See here: http://forums.nexusmods.com/index.ph...tchy-graphics/

I have a Radeon HD 7950 and the people with the same problems as me have Radeon HD 7000 cards.

Someone said a new drivers beta from AMD helps a lot. I'll try it out.

If these driver issues don't put you at risk for corrupt saves, could I still play the game with these issues? The issues aren't that bad and I could play the game with them, I was just worried about corrupt saves. Are these driver issues harmless? Or are they harmful to my computer system and/or my drivers?
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Old 2013-01-31, 22:35   Link #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urzu 7 View Post
Looks like it is an issue with drivers. See here: http://forums.nexusmods.com/index.ph...tchy-graphics/

I have a Radeon HD 7950 and the people with the same problems as me have Radeon HD 7000 cards.

Someone said a new drivers beta from AMD helps a lot. I'll try it out.

If these driver issues don't put you at risk for corrupt saves, could I still play the game with these issues? The issues aren't that bad and I could play the game with them, I was just worried about corrupt saves. Are these driver issues harmless? Or are they harmful to my computer system and/or my drivers?
You don't need to worry about your saved games, the worst that'll happen with an unstable driver is a BSOD - you'll lose unsaved progress due to the crash, but your saved files will be fine.
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