I think my eGeForce 8600GT NVIDIA graphics card is going bad – frequent system pauses occurring when complex displays are being processed - & I’m looking for suggestions for an upgrade costing under $100 USD. My system is Windows XP SP3, Gigabyte GA-945P-S3 motherboard, 3.0G Pentium 4 processor, 750W power supply, every driver for every thing is up to date and my registry is free of errors. Any suggestion will be welcomed!!!

I can't give any suggestion for cheap graphic card for your usage but just to confirm your graphic card is working properly or not. Have you try to uninstall and reinstall graphic driver before?

If you still want to get a new graphic card anyway, I would suggest getting nVidia 430Gt or earlier since you still use XP and P4 processor... (Just a suggestion)

Personally, I doubt it is the GPU that is at issue here. How much RAM do you have? If your complex processing needs have consumed all your physical RAM and it is hitting the swap file, then this sort of problem becomes common. So, monitor your system performance and memory usage before you make any assumptions about the video board. I would expect other indications if that were the problem, such as a corrupted display.

I have 4G of RAM, the max my MB will allow, & I do get corrupted displays frequently, in fact I can force the display to become corrupted if I'm playing the Spider Solitary game that came with XP & continually drag a card without ever dropping it. I've also cleaned everything, fans & fan blades & there doesn't seem to be a heating problem - I'll try uninstalling & reinstalling the graphic card drivers - couple questions, though, is the NVIDIA 430GT an upgrade from the 8600GT & if so, where do they get their product model numbering system from??? And finally, I'm now using Process Explorer to monitor system performance & the only process that maxes out when the display becomes corrupted is explorer.exe & I actually don't know that means, what that's telling me, what to do about it & I don't know how to explore the process within explorer.exe to see which might be a problem - any suggestions with regards to explorer.exe will be very welcomed & many thanks for the help so far!!!!

Thanks for clarifying that. As for nVidia cards, there are a bunch of good ones for $100USD or less. You might want to visit the nVidia web site to see what they have these days. My 8800GT card is getting a bit old, but performs very well and was under $100 when I bought it over 3 years ago. The 430GT card seems pretty equivalent in performance, but with more memory than the 8800GT, and pricing it on the nvidia site shows prices in the $60-$70 range. It is also pretty power efficient, drawing a max 49 watts.

Duhhhh, why didn't I think of that, must be that Al's hammer kickin' in!!! Anyhow, super thanks!!!11 Any thoughts on the explorer.exe spikin' when the display stalls?

Duhhhh, why didn't I think of that, must be that Al's hammer kickin' in!!! Anyhow, super thanks!!!11 Any thoughts on the explorer.exe spikin' when the display stalls?

Another question, if I do get a new graphics card, what's most important, memory, speed, power usage or what & if it's important I am not a gamer, I process huge video files, frequently a frame at a time, video editing.

Duhhhh, why didn't I think of that, must be that Al's hammer kickin' in!!! Anyhow, super thanks!!!11 Any thoughts on the explorer.exe spikin' when the display stalls?

Difficult to say. There are too many factors to account for. Possibly a retry loop or something of the sort. Not having explorer's source to analyze, that is just a SWAG.

Another question, if I do get a new graphics card, what's most important, memory, speed, power usage or what & if it's important I am not a gamer, I process huge video files, frequently a frame at a time, video editing.

The 430GT card should do nicely for that. Memory would be the biggest boost here. If you are doing a lot of rendering, then you might want to go with a higher performance board, but one of those would cost quite a bit more, up to $500 or more.

Just uninstalled then reinstalled graphic card drivers & it made no difference whatsoever! I'm still thinking the problem is the graphic cards or something in explorer.exe & I don't have a clue about how to investigate explorer.exe - any suggestion will be appreciated.

explorer.exe is where your windows operate. If you force to end process it, it'll took out your desktop icon and taskbar for a moment then come back on with new explorer.exe... Sometimes in some cases, you'll need to restart in order to get it back up...

Simply to say, explorer.exe is what you see on your desktop and without it, you only have wallpaper on your monitor.

This is merely a suggestion of course... click on start menu and click run. In the box type CMD and a windows will appear... Just type in this line below

chkdsk c: /f /x /r

it should prompt you it'll do it on next restart. enter 'y' and click enter, then restart your windows. Your windows will reboot and it'll come up with check disk screen. Just let it run and left your computer for a moment. It might take 1 hour or longer. If it find some errors, it'll correct it automatically and once it done. Try to see if you still have those problems...

I will give that a try & let you know results a little later today, got some work to finish first. Two other symptoms that I forgot to list include: occasional, maybe once a week I get a BSOD with nv4_disp.dll being listed as the error cause; and way more frequently, sometimes twice a day, my desktop display a series of vertical green dots, sometimes just a few, now & then a lot, & immediately my system freezes up, key board & mouse keys first then a few seconds later mouse movement freezes, too. If these symptoms give any new clues to what's going on I'd appreciate your comments.

All those problems actually proves for your first answer. It's the graphic card.

If you have another VGA port behind of your CPU, shutdown your computer and unplug power cable and monitor vga cable just in case. Then open your desktop casing, unscrew any component to remove graphic card and removed it.

Plug your vga cable to integrated vga port, plug back power cable and boot. Normally it'll goes to windows without any problems but also sometimes, monitor won't show anything... Probably you won't have an appropriate driver installed for integrated graphic card so you'll need to find a driver for it.

After you've installed all required drivers, just use the computer normally and see if same problems come up. If nothing show up, all run smooth without BSOD, freeze etc. than that means you just confirm it's your graphic card that caused the problem...

Of course, you can try chkdsk first before you try this method just in case it wasn't graphic card problem...

Don't have another VGA port; so, can't do that check. Ran dskchk, took forever & ran clean, but problem persist; so, I’m now in the market for a new graphic card. I’ve found out that you’re not goin’a get a top of the line new graphic card for under a hundred dollars US, so I’ll be looking for one in the couple hundred dollars range. My plan down the road is to upgrade my motherboard to a 64-bit processor that will support 16G of RAM, and to upgrade to the 64-bit version of Windows 7; but, that’s all down the road after I get another couple paychecks. For now, my question becomes: are there graphic cards out there that will work with my Windows XP, 32-bit today, that will also run with Windows 7, 64-bit version later on?

Most any nVidia or AMD video card will run well in both 32-bit or 64-bit environments. Myself, I like nVidia, but that's just my personal preference. I run them on my workstation and laptop in both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems without problems. As for sub-$100 cards, there are a number of them that are very good in the performance category. Spending more is not necessary to get good game or video performance, unless you are into really high-end software. My old 8800GT nVidia board handles dual HD flat panel displays and can provide full-screen, full-motion video without stutter on both displays at the same time. An equivalent (or better) board today will cost you about $60-$70 USD.

high quality graphic card isn't worth it for mobo with pentium 4 core. It'll make buying good graphic card a waste of money. I agree you should upgrade your motherboard at least an intel i series which can drain more graphic card ability or... you should just buy a brand new desktop. You can get some of the latest one for about $700 USD and above plus, a new graphic card is inside already...

Decided to go conservative – got a brand new EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GT240 off eBay - $62 shipped, but hasn’t arrived as yet – nearly double the memory, slightly faster clock w/triple the memory clock speed & w/DDR3 SDRAM – even if this don’t fix the problem I think this will be an upgrade worth the cost – BUT – I sure do be hoping that my next post will simply be “solved”! Regardless, thanks for everyone’s help.

Since you have already made the purchase, I can only say good luck at this point, hoping that your new graphic card works.

And post the results here as well. We want to know if it succeeded or not.

SOLVED!!!!!11 New card works great, computer's working better than ever, better than when it was brand new as a matter of fact, not a single problem at all since yesterday & I have tried everything, in maxed out mode, that was causing problems earlier, with no trouble of any kind at all!! Thanks to all!!!!!1

Sometimes, newer is better! :-) Glad that the new card did the trick.

Hi , some of your descriptions of this issue are indicative of some sort of device related system file errors, ie dragging elements using i presume a usb mouse to induce the issue , so I suggest if the chipset driver has been updated then go in to device manager > system devices and uninstall both system board and pci bus, in that order .
Your computer will freeze so force power off and then reboot which will reinstall the hardware devices, restart again to positively install and initialize all devices, then unplug all usb devices especially the mouse and then reconnect to reinitialize them.
This will hopefully clear any Windows system file/driver processing errors if has been a problem, and so may improve video stability
But first save all valued personal files to removable storage and set a restore point.

The OP has already solved his problem so there's no reason to continue posting. Please let this thread die and for some people around the world to review the same problem and solution they can solved.