So last weekend I decided to go ahead and upgrade my computer- new motherboard, processor, RAM and install windows7. I picked up a MSI 790GX-G65 motherboard on sale at frys with an AMD quad-core processor, a couple of sticks of DDR3 ram and an OEM copy of win 7 and I was ready to begin. The install was probably one of the simplest I’ve ever done. Pulled out the old hardware, connected the new, reinserted my geforce 9800 gt card and all I had to do was install windows. I selected boot from cd/dvd in the bios, inserted the windows disc, told it which partition to install on and in a matter of 20 minutes or so had a fully functioning windows seven desktop running. I enjoyed the new aero desktop software and it’s ability to be customized fairly easily. Next I began getting the rest of my software installed, AVG antivirus, comodo firewall, audio and video utilities etc. Lightroom and photoshop for photo editing installed easily and lightroom imported my old catalog file easily enough, though I did have to point the folders back to the original ones since the drive letters had changed.
So far everything had gone rather well and I was very pleased. Then I decided to install a game. I tried borderlands as this is one of the newer games I’ve played, just finished it a month or so ago in fact. The install seemed to go fine but when I tried to play the game the screens (I have a multi monitor setup) went blank. ctrl-alt-del, tab etc did not respond and finally I was forced to shutdown the computer and reboot. Next I tried mirrors edge, this installed and ran just fine. At this point i had no idea what was wrong but I began to suspect the video drivers might not be setup correctly so I started cleaning out old files and tried re-installing the drivers, directx etc. I then tried Unreal Tournament3 and found that it ran but would occasionally do the same thing as borderlands, black screen, no response to keyboard etc. After a couple of days of trying different things I tried installing nvidia’s latest beta drivers (195.81) and then found Unreal tournament 3 working, I tried borderlands and it ran, I also tried Farcry2 and it ran, so success! The next day however I tried a game and once more was faced with a black screen. I did some research and found this page, could this be my problem? I disconnected my ethernet cable, turned off comodo and finally all the games ran just fine, I even installed crysis and quake4 without any major hitches (you have to right-click on the quake4 installer and run it as admin or it gives a bunch of errors). It appears that what’s happening is a lot of these games connect to the internet on start up, either to confirm you have a legitimate copy, to download updates or for online playing. However they first take control of the video giving you a blank screen. then when they try to connect, comodo blocks the connection and waits for you to approve it, since you can’t see the screen, that never happens and the system just sits there! Looks like I may be looking for a new firewall program, perhaps pctools firewall plus which claims to have a full screen game mode for just such instances.
Oh and since this motherboard had two pci-e slots I’ve installed my old geforce 8400 card in the second slot so now I can run a third monitor to display speedfan and other monitoring programs while I’m gaming or editing pictures.