RIP My Graphics Card R9 380 4Gig

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Many have been wondering why I have not joined Diablo IV’s first season or been online anywhere else. My beloved graphics card which has been quite an insane workhorse for many years has finally been defeated. There is also just a lot of other stuff going on.

Many people assume when you create the kind of content I do I must have some insane setup. The fact of the matter is I have never had an insane computer. I’m usually buying hardware when I can that is generations old to start with.

Past Hardware Failures

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Many also assume when I have some kind of hardware failure I can just rush out and replace it quickly. That is sometimes the case and sometimes not. Back in the day when I started this blog, it was just to earn some extra money to buy a new computer and replace things as needed over time. Oddly enough while I could that means selling at a price I don’t agree with.

As some of you know not that long ago my power supply took a dump. It sucked but that was at the time something I went out and order a new one of. I’ve had plans for quite some time to make a new computer anyways. So I just went and bought around the power supply I was going to get anyways.

At least with power supplies if you buy a decent quality they will last quite some time. The one I even got has a decent warranty on it. So I don’t mind getting that now. It’s better than the one it replaced so it in theory should be saving a small amount due to it being far more energy efficient.

Back in May I also had to replace my desk. Most of my belongings are still in boxes. Since my old desk had to be moved a couple of times it did not survive. I at least got something decent that is easier to move and can withstand how things are going for me currently in real life.

Back at the start of the year the keyboard I had died. Before that, the mouse went. I’ve even had to replace my second monitor not that long ago either.

A lot of stuff over the past couple of years has been failing and for the most part, I’ve been able to replace it. Back when I was attempting to make a game in Unreal Engine 4 I even had 32 Gigs of ram. Then two of my ram slots died on the motherboard. At least two of them still work so I have 16 Gigs of ram.

I have also had the CPU cooler fan replaced. There is that infamous time during the Steem days when I was not gone for weeks on end due to a hurricane but waiting for an RMA CPU cooler fan. Yes, it is the same system this thing is getting old.

Then there is the wonderful headset I have that I should have replaced a year ago. After some minor repairs, it has a much shorter cable now, and it only has sound when the jack is pointing in a certain direction. This was going to be the next thing I was going to replace.

While I love computers there seems to always be something upcoming that is failing. I kind of pride myself on a computer on working around issues, find solutions, and continue moving ahead without there being massive downtime in content being posted.

This time however I can’t fix it. I also don’t want to toss more money into my current build as it’s on its last legs. The CPU fan again sounds like it’s on the frits. Even the other fans in the current system made my ears bleed when I have things on.

Trying To Troubleshoot My R9 380

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Back before the Diablo IV session 1 started I was putting in some insane hours. I wanted to have some time to play in the new session while also ensuring I had a lot of content for when I’m gone due to IRL stuff.

One night my screen flashed while I had a game open and it went black. It’s not the first time I’ve had a black screen and I doubt it will be my last time. At the time I thought this was going to be something I could fix.

I rebooted the system and was met with what most people fear a no-signal black screen on the monitor on startup. As far as trying to troubleshoot what is wrong with a system. They might as well just give the person the middle finger. Having a working screen at least feels like you have some kind of fighting chance.

What I felt was at least the good news. Both the GPU fans and the lights on the logo were working. That made me hopeful I could quickly resolve the issue at hand.

The first thing I did was turn everything off and leave it off. It’s quite hot and humid here. The room I’m in will make you sweat like crazy since it's summer and it’s the last room to get any AC. I assumed things needed to cool off for a bit. It would not be the first time.

I later returned and was again greeted with no signal on both of my monitors. I unplugged them and got a speck of dust out of the plugs. I did not think that be the issue but things have worked themselves out in more strange situations. No, go.

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Next, I reseated the graphics card and the ram. I felt no point in doing in and then doing the other after testing. I don’t want to sit around booting the system up when I frankly did not care what the fix was if it fixed it at all. It did not.

After that, I inspected the cables and double-checked the power supply. Thankfully there is a light indicator on the power supply so I could see the graphics card was pulling its usual load on boot up. I also replaced the power supply not long ago so at this point I did not suspect that would be an issue.

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Then I felt a bit silly. For most of the issues I have all I have to do is a CMOS clear and it’s fixed. I laughed and thought that is the first thing I should have done. I moved the jumper over clear it. To my shock, I was still looking at a black screen on the system boot.

This is when I got quite concerned. Any one of these fixes should have been it. Also what remained was either the motherboard or the graphics card. While sure there could have been many other things that could have broken during the incident they would not be causing a blank screen.

The only thing I can think of that I have not done is put the graphics cards into a second build and see if it even works on another computer or not. I don’t have the parts laying around to do that anymore. So that is not an option.

Now is there a chance it’s the CPU? Perhaps. But I think I somewhat ruled that out with what I did next.

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Thankfully besides keeping the boxes of my computer hardware which helps when you need to pack things away nicely for moving. I also saved an older graphics card I had. On top of that it does not even require extra power cables being connected to it. While it would be nice to also have ruled out for 100% sure it was not the power supply. I at least had another card to put in.

The R7 250 is so old I was not expecting it to still be working at all. It’s been sitting in the closet for ages. It’s also got only 2 Gigs of Ram and it’s some version of DirectX 11. So gaming is not going to be anything that things will be doing for anything current.

The Final

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To my shock my older graphics card not only had a fan spin there was also a signal to my monitors. At least for now, I have a working computer if I can stand my ears bleeding to run the darn thing. I am however quite limited on what I can do at this time.

The good news is I always have a decent chunk of content already written. Over the years I’ve come to expect hurricanes to hardware failures that can knock me out for a while. So I try and be ready for the unexpected.

The issue is the R9 380 died well over a week ago. On top of that, I had a lot of content series either recently ending or about to end. I was planning to go quite hard into the first season of Diablo IV. I also recently returned from a big trip and I did not have the time I was expecting to work on other content before Diablo either.

So at some point, before I can get back into gaming as I’d like I’m going to be down to only a couple of posts a week if that. Life is also not always a matter of money. As this brings me to the other issue.

While I’ve been waiting for years for a decent dedicated computer hardware store to move into my state let alone the area. They just don’t. That means I always have to order online. Even if I were to go with a $200-300 graphics card which would be a huge upgrade over my R9 380 that I lost. By the time it got to where I currently am, I won’t be here to get it. I also can’t order it for where I’m going as I might not be there in time to keep the porch pirates from stealing it.

Perhaps one day I’ll have a Micro Center or something fun within a reasonable range to go to when stuff like this happens. For now, I just got to wait. I also don’t want to toss more money into this current PC as it sounds like it’s on its last legs.

I even went out and bought some extra storage so I could make sure everything is backed up with multiple copies. I’m kind of at that stage of this computer. If it busted into flames before I finish this post I would not be shocked.

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Farewell R9 380. Everything thought you were not going to be able to play Hogwarts Legacy and so many other games. You proved them wrong. It was not even a powerful game that took you out at the time. Hopefully one day I’ll have a shelf and a wall I can put you on as a shrine to so many amazing memories.


Photos were taken and content was written by @Enjar.