Hey.. I'm hoping someone here has some insight...

First, I have about a 3 year old Alienware desktop. Windows XP Home Edition, P4 3.x Ghz processor with an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (256MB) video card. I can get more specifics on specs if it will help, but here is my deal...

Had some ATI drivers from June of 06. I don't play much on my desktop and last updated it after purchasing a game last summer... a few games later, apparently no artifacts, odd looking stuff, etc.. so no need to update drivers. In fact.. WoW was one that we'd been playing. Well, my son has at least. He noticed some odd looking graphical disturbances appeared suddenly in WoW.. the textures were all over the board, some "Scribble" like marks in areas, and other sections that looked normal. A total mess over all.

I rebooted to no avail.. then tried updating the graphic drivers. Boom.. now it says I don't have directx 9.0c or something else is wrong with the video card. I found that was a very specific message to WoW... in fact when I did a Dxdiag it turns out Direct3D is no longer enabled.. it seems like it thinks it's not available.

Tried installed Medal of Honor Airborne (just picked that up) and it installed DX 9 again.. but no luck.. same errors. I rolled back the driver to the June 06 driver.. and re-installed DX 9.0c again.. no help. Rebooted, uninstalled, reinstalled.. repeated a few more times.. no luck.

Left it at the June 06 drivers.. and sadly had turned my Alienware into a web browsing machine. Then I found a suggestion to do what I'd done (uninstall.. reinstall...etc) and then go into the hardware profiles and find the 9800 (not the 9800 secondary) and remove it from there... reboot, let Windows pick it up again on it's own. I did and this worked. But WoW was jacked up still and for some reason Airborne said my card wasn't compatible.. maybe that was true, but it seemed odd...

So of course, I try to upgrade the driver again.. and boom. same things. Now I've tried to roll it back like I did before, but I can't seem to get it to work.

Any thoughts? Software/OS/Driver issue? could it be hardware? Help!


9 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by vicec64

Make sure your computer is free of dust/dirt and has sufficent cooling (enough fans in the machine (water-cooling if you have it)).
Do As Bennet suggests make sure you have the latest drivers for the gfx card.
Did you get a Blue Screen at any time?


The artifacts make it sound like its overheating

the drivers you want are Catalyst version 7.9

Use the wizard here:


The 9800 is old and probably not compatible with Airborne (i think it needs the new pixel shader)

Thanks for the reply.. I guess the compatibility makes sense.. but overheating may be wishful, but it's only part of the problem.... it's not like artifacts I've seen before from a bad card... but the kicker is after going to the 7.9 drivers (I was on 6.x I believe) I can't load ANYTHING that runs direct3d (directdraw , etc..) if I fire up the dxdiag, the DirectDraw Acceleration, Direct3D Acceleration and AGP Teture Acceleration options are disabled and greyed out... as well as the option to test Direct3D.

Again.. yesterday I rolled back to my previous drivers.. no luck.. but then removed the device from the hardware manager, rebooted, let windows just add it back in and it worked, briefly. Unfortunately I tried to go back to 7.9 and everything went "off" again.

I don't think that part is heat related.. right? May be a silly question, but had to ask it. Just not sure why 2 days ago everything worked great and now... pfft...


Oh and no blue screen.. I did crack the case and found a colony of dust bunnies had a home there... but cleaning house hasn't had any positive effect. Plenty of fans..all seem to be humming along.

I'm less concerned about the artifact/weird texture look at this point than I am with the fact that it's not running anything!!


No.. unfortunately no other changes. Good one day.. bad the next. Would it be a fair test to plug in another graphics card?

Unfortunately all I have is a PCI card on an older box (GeForce, probably 3-4 yr old model) but that's a lot of variables to change there.. going into the PCI, not AGP slot, going with GeForce drivers, not ATI... etc...


Sounds like your memory just went bad on the R9800. It could also be that the fan simply needs to be re-seated and some new thermal grease applied. Over time many a R9700-R9800 loses good contact between the GPU chip and fan.

If it turns out out that the card is just bad it will need to be replaced of course. An AGP X1950GT/X1650XT/7900GS (XFX AGP) would be a great replacement for your Son's gaming habits. A good cheaper AGP card would be an nVIDIA based 7600GT.

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