Artifacts. The dreaded artifacts. I don't mean archaeology, I mean video card problems. Dots and colors wrong and patterns. Crap.
My first hope was that somehow my video card was too hot; I'd heard that can cause it. It was a slightly warmer day, so who knows, freak event. I turned off the computer, pointed an 18 inch fan directly into the case, and gave it a half hour. That didn't fix it.
Crap. That means actual hardware. Or maybe still overheating. So I pulled the fan off it, cleaned up the dust and old cement, and gave it a new coating, using some high-quality sanded stuff that I borrowed from my brother's remodeling project. Or it was thermal compound that I keep calling cement for no clear reason.
For good measure I reinstalled my video drivers. It worked! Oh glorious.
This all started with Fallout 3, a crash that went crashier than usual. And it happened again, with Fallout 3, crashing crashier than usual.
Here's what the situation looks like: From the moment anything is displayed on the screen, including the motherboard show-off screen, there is a pattern of dots everywhere. Sometimes this goes away during the Windows loading screen and I can get to the desktop with no visual problems. Then it inverts the colors, applies some patterns, and starts flashing, before just stopping entirely. Since it is there throughout startup I figured it was a hardware issue of some sort.
But I'm writing this post using the video card on a perfectly clear screen with no problems, except I don't have the nvidia drivers installed. That suggests that the hardware is okay but the driver causes problems.
Installing the driver causes no problem. But starting Fallout with the driver will soon trigger the crash and then the problem starts.
This makes no sense to me.
P.S. Tried again with fresh drivers again, but without all the other stuff nvidia tries to install, control panels and all that stuff. Now it seems to be fine. I wonder what my next problem will be.
7 hours ago