Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Horrendous screen tearing with Sapphire 7970

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
Share
March 25, 2013 10:51:48 AM

I purchased a new Sapphire 7970 OC edition two weeks ago and things seemed like they were going well. All of the games I ran played well, the visuals were stunning, etc. I started to run into some issues over the weekend, however, and now I fear that my card is defective. I believe it started around the time that I attempted some mild overclocking, and I emphasize mild very strongly.

I first noticed issues in the new Unigine Heaven 4.0 Benchmark. Whenever I overclocked I began to notice screen tears, graphical glitches, flickering shadows, and subtle lines moving up and down my screen. I figured this was a sign of an unstable overclock, but after some testing I realized that it occured if I applied even the smallest of overclocks (talking 1 MHz here) to the core or memory. It didn't matter whether I applied the overclock through Trixx, MSI Afterburner, or CCC. The same issues persisted. Normally resetting my GPU to stock fixed all of the visual problems, but after performing my final test in Heaven where I tried a single MHZ overclock, stock settings immediately became infected with the same problems.

It is worth notiing that in the middle of my testing I successfully overclocked without any graphical hiccups on Heaven. I had to start the benchmark at stock settings and then Alt+Tab to the desktop to apply the overclock. Normally I had exited out of Heaven every time I changed any settings. After successfully overclocking up to 1040 MHz using this method, I tried to run it again, only this time after restarting Haven. Sure enough, the problems resurfaced.

My next step was to test everything in game. Crysis 3 being the most demanding game I own, I chose that. Not only was I experiencing the same issues I had in Heaven 4.0, but they were much more apparent. Just moving my crosshair left and right repeatedly gave my screen so many tears it looked like a jigsaw puzzle. And yes, I have VSYNC enabled.

Throughout this process I've troubleshooted nearly every possible angle. I've re-installed my drivers, tried the up to date and older ones. I've reset my BIOS. I've fiddled with countless settings, including advanced ones like dynamic vsync. I've even tried hooking it up to my 50" Panasonic Viera with no success.

Upon further testing I am able to fix the problems in Heaven through enabling VSYNC, and running it windowed seems to work as well, but those are not solutions, and they are evident in other games even when VSYNC is enabled. I don't want to return the card if I don't have to, but if I can't figure out a fix quickly I feel it is the only option I have. Would be a shame too, as this card has been magnificent otherwise.

Here's a quick video I took that gives a prime example of what I'm talking about. Skip to 20 seconds into the video (also be sure to play in 1080p) by clicking the timestamp from my comment. Look at the wooden door as the camera enters through the gate (I show it twice). See the lines frantically moving around? That is not the video quality, that is exactly what I'm seeing on my monitor. That is the same effect I see all over my screen on Crysis 3 whenever I look around.

I've got roughly two weeks to decide whether or not I want to return the card to Amazon. If nothing changes soon I'll have no choice. If anybody has any advice on how to successfully troubleshoot this ailing card I'd be more than happy to give it a shot. Thanks.
a b K Overclocking
March 25, 2013 10:56:15 AM

dont overclock on the beta drivers as they have stability issues
in games you can turn v sync on
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 25, 2013 10:56:58 AM

What are the rest of your specs? Specifically what psu?
m
0
l
Related resources
a b K Overclocking
March 25, 2013 10:57:54 AM

What make/model of PSU (power supply) are you using? Also, to confirm, all apps display properly at stock speeds. Correct? Last, for now, what are you idle/loaded GPU temps at stock and OCed?
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 25, 2013 11:04:21 AM

If you have problems with video tearing and v-sync doesn't fix it, something else is going on. Just exchange it through Amazon. Most of the time, they'll ship a new one next-day or two-day and you can return the old one after you get the new one. Might be different with GPUs, but other things, you have up to 30 days to send the old one back.

Go to your orders in Amazon and click the return or replace button then you'll see your options.
m
0
l
March 25, 2013 11:09:08 AM

alvine said:
dont overclock on the beta drivers as they have stability issues
in games you can turn v sync on


When I re-installed my drivers they were at 13.1, and I'm aware of what VSYNC does. It's not the problem, and this goes well beyond normal screen tearing anyways.

wanderer11 said:
What are the rest of your specs? Specifically what psu?


Sorry, should've included those.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/IZnX

COLGeek said:
What make/model of PSU (power supply) are you using? Also, to confirm, all apps display properly at stock speeds. Correct? Last, for now, what are you idle/loaded GPU temps at stock and OCed?


As linked above, I'm using the Corsair bronze 850w PSU.

Yes, everything appears to be displaying correctly in GPU-Z.

Temps are pretty normal. Around 35 celsius idle and anywhere from 55-65 depending on the game and what my OC settings are. Never beyond that, except when stress testing, and I only started doing that after these problems popped up.

m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 25, 2013 11:14:45 AM

The link indicates a 650w PSU and you state 850w. Either should be sufficient.

Temps are good as well.

What GPU (if any) did you have installed before the HD7970?
m
0
l
March 25, 2013 11:17:51 AM

ubercake said:
If you have problems with video tearing and v-sync doesn't fix it, something else is going on. Just exchange it through Amazon. Most of the time, they'll ship a new one next-day or two-day and you can return the old one after you get the new one. Might be different with GPUs, but other things, you have up to 30 days to send the old one back.

Go to your orders in Amazon and click the return or replace button then you'll see your options.


This is probably what I'm going to have to do. Amazon has been terrific to me and I've been a pretty loyal customer so hopefully they would issue me a replacement before asking me to ship it out to them, that would be nice.

Only other thing I can think of is to try my other PCI-E slot and see if that fixes it, and at that point I think I'm just grasping for straws.

m
0
l
March 25, 2013 11:21:27 AM

COLGeek said:
The link indicates a 650w PSU and you state 850w. Either should be sufficient.

Temps are good as well.

What GPU (if any) did you have installed before the HD7970?


Looks like I forgot to update it. I did get the 850w though, with the intent of adding another 7970 down the road for Crossfire.

This is a brand new rig that I built from scratch, so none of the parts have been replaced.
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 25, 2013 11:25:54 AM

ibycfota said:
ubercake said:
If you have problems with video tearing and v-sync doesn't fix it, something else is going on. Just exchange it through Amazon. Most of the time, they'll ship a new one next-day or two-day and you can return the old one after you get the new one. Might be different with GPUs, but other things, you have up to 30 days to send the old one back.

Go to your orders in Amazon and click the return or replace button then you'll see your options.


This is probably what I'm going to have to do. Amazon has been terrific to me and I've been a pretty loyal customer so hopefully they would issue me a replacement before asking me to ship it out to them, that would be nice.

Only other thing I can think of is to try my other PCI-E slot and see if that fixes it, and at that point I think I'm just grasping for straws.



Switching slots is worth a try and doesn't take much. Try it and see if that works. I hope it doesn't make it better since it would indicate a problem with the slot on your motherboard.
m
0
l
March 25, 2013 11:43:22 AM

gebran bassil said:
Question: You're saying you get screen tearing. Could you please run Fraps during gameplay and make sure you're getting the right framerate?
http://www.fraps.com/free/setup.exe


I have Fraps and the framerates match up closely.

4745454b said:
Might be a windows/driver issue? Doesn't hurt to try. Remove drivers, use driver sweeper and install again. See if it changes anything.

http://www.guru3d.com/content_page/guru3d_driver_sweepe...


Will try this later tonight, although I thought driversweeper was mainly used when switching from a GTX card or vice versa. Can't hurt to give it a shot I guess.
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 25, 2013 11:49:03 AM

ibycfota said:
gebran bassil said:
Question: You're saying you get screen tearing. Could you please run Fraps during gameplay and make sure you're getting the right framerate?
http://www.fraps.com/free/setup.exe


I have Fraps and the framerates match up closely.

4745454b said:
Might be a windows/driver issue? Doesn't hurt to try. Remove drivers, use driver sweeper and install again. See if it changes anything.

http://www.guru3d.com/content_page/guru3d_driver_sweepe...


Will try this later tonight, although I thought driversweeper was mainly used when switching from a GTX card or vice versa. Can't hurt to give it a shot I guess.


I used to have to use driversweeper with every AMD driver update. Hopefully it works out for you.
m
0
l
March 25, 2013 11:52:55 AM

What do you mean match up closely? You mean they're exactly the same right?
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 25, 2013 12:05:23 PM

TBH I'm not sure it will change anything. But its a free option that shouldn't hurt anything. Might want to go into the bios and load defaults as well. Just in case as you've tried to fix it you flipped something you shouldn't have.
m
0
l
March 25, 2013 12:06:47 PM

gebran bassil said:
What do you mean match up closely? You mean they're exactly the same right?


I was actually thinking of RadeonPro and Fraps not having identical FPS readings. I ran Heaven 4.0 again with fraps and yes the FPS is identical.
m
0
l
March 25, 2013 12:08:56 PM

4745454b said:
TBH I'm not sure it will change anything. But its a free option that shouldn't hurt anything. Might want to go into the bios and load defaults as well. Just in case as you've tried to fix it you flipped something you shouldn't have.


I tried this earlier thinking my overclocked 3570k at 4.5 GHz could be contributing but nothing changed unfortunately.
m
0
l
March 25, 2013 12:54:12 PM

No I mean to ask your framerate is exactly equal to your screen's refresh rate right?
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 25, 2013 10:36:56 PM

With Vsync enabled it shouldn't matter. His FPS will go down to 30FPS and will match up with the 60hz on his monitor.
m
0
l
March 26, 2013 4:49:31 AM

Screen tearing is also a sign of the GPU overheating.
m
0
l

Best solution

a b K Overclocking
March 26, 2013 5:08:57 AM

If you haven't gotten it working correctly yet, I'm thinking a return is still in order.

You just got a high-end video card. It shouldn't be causing you any kind of grief whatsoever. You've upgraded the drivers, you've switched the slots. If it's not working correctly at that point, it's either junk to begin with or there's a defect.
Share
March 26, 2013 5:33:08 AM

Why would you try to overclock a OC edition???
m
0
l
March 26, 2013 5:45:13 AM

CntrlAltDel said:
Screen tearing is also a sign of the GPU overheating.


It does it straight from idle temps, and I've never let the card go past 75c since I've owned it. Highly unlikely to be an overheating issue.

ubercake said:
If you haven't gotten it working correctly yet, I'm thinking a return is still in order.

You just got a high-end video card. It shouldn't be causing you any kind of grief whatsoever. You've upgraded the drivers, you've switched the slots. If it's not working correctly at that point, it's either junk to begin with or there's a defect.


Last night I submitted the return request to Amazon and a replacement is scheduled to arrive in the next day or two. Like you said, there just isn't much in the way of troubleshooting options left. If I have any more problems I'm just going to get the 680 instead.

FWIW. starting to notice the glitching and tearing while watching youtube videos and even scrolling up and down on a post with an embedded video.

Mahisse said:
Why would you try to overclock a OC edition???


What are you talking about? This card was designed for overclocking enthusiasts.
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 26, 2013 6:33:47 AM

ibycfota said:
...
ubercake said:
If you haven't gotten it working correctly yet, I'm thinking a return is still in order.

You just got a high-end video card. It shouldn't be causing you any kind of grief whatsoever. You've upgraded the drivers, you've switched the slots. If it's not working correctly at that point, it's either junk to begin with or there's a defect.


Last night I submitted the return request to Amazon and a replacement is scheduled to arrive in the next day or two. Like you said, there just isn't much in the way of troubleshooting options left. If I have any more problems I'm just going to get the 680 instead.

FWIW. starting to notice the glitching and tearing while watching youtube videos and even scrolling up and down on a post with an embedded video.
...


Yeah. That's a real problem if you're seeing the issues just watching videos.

Fortunately, Amazon has a fantastic return policy.
m
0
l
March 26, 2013 8:09:13 AM

4745454b said:
With Vsync enabled it shouldn't matter. His FPS will go down to 30FPS and will match up with the 60hz on his monitor.


I just want to make sure he really has vsync enabled by seeing the framerate he's getting. I've never heard of anything other than lack of synchronization between GPU and monitor causing screen tearing. And how would high temperatures cause frames to overlap on the monitor?
m
0
l
March 26, 2013 8:14:25 AM

Quote:
Last night I submitted the return request to Amazon and a replacement is scheduled to arrive in the next day or two. Like you said, there just isn't much in the way of troubleshooting options left. If I have any more problems I'm just going to get the 680 instead.


You know, there's one universal rule I've learned, never trust the advice of some random dipsticks on the internet when they tell you how to spend your money.
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 26, 2013 8:27:32 AM

gebran bassil said:
4745454b said:
With Vsync enabled it shouldn't matter. His FPS will go down to 30FPS and will match up with the 60hz on his monitor.


I just want to make sure he really has vsync enabled by seeing the framerate he's getting. I've never heard of anything other than lack of synchronization between GPU and monitor causing screen tearing. And how would high temperatures cause frames to overlap on the monitor?


Often, screen distortion, pixelation, tearing, etc are the result of heat and/or power issues and happen very often when folks overdo their attempts to overclock or have poor airflow/ventilation, inadequate power supplies, etc.

Just sharing common "dipstick" knowledge. Have fun!
m
0
l
March 26, 2013 8:50:08 AM

COLGeek said:
gebran bassil said:
4745454b said:
With Vsync enabled it shouldn't matter. His FPS will go down to 30FPS and will match up with the 60hz on his monitor.


I just want to make sure he really has vsync enabled by seeing the framerate he's getting. I've never heard of anything other than lack of synchronization between GPU and monitor causing screen tearing. And how would high temperatures cause frames to overlap on the monitor?


Often, screen distortion, pixelation, tearing, etc are the result of heat and/or power issues and happen very often when folks overdo their attempts to overclock or have poor airflow/ventilation, inadequate power supplies, etc.

Just sharing common "dipstick" knowledge. Have fun!


Do you have a source that proves that bad Power Supplies, high temperatures, and inadequate overclocks cause screen tearing?
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 26, 2013 9:24:35 AM

gebran bassil said:
COLGeek said:
gebran bassil said:
4745454b said:
With Vsync enabled it shouldn't matter. His FPS will go down to 30FPS and will match up with the 60hz on his monitor.


I just want to make sure he really has vsync enabled by seeing the framerate he's getting. I've never heard of anything other than lack of synchronization between GPU and monitor causing screen tearing. And how would high temperatures cause frames to overlap on the monitor?


Often, screen distortion, pixelation, tearing, etc are the result of heat and/or power issues and happen very often when folks overdo their attempts to overclock or have poor airflow/ventilation, inadequate power supplies, etc.

Just sharing common "dipstick" knowledge. Have fun!


Do you have a source that proves that bad Power Supplies, high temperatures, and inadequate overclocks cause screen tearing?


About a bazillion threads from across Tom's, OCN, AnandTech, etc to confirm. Not really a debatable question.
m
0
l
March 26, 2013 10:02:48 AM

COLGeek said:
gebran bassil said:
COLGeek said:
gebran bassil said:
4745454b said:
With Vsync enabled it shouldn't matter. His FPS will go down to 30FPS and will match up with the 60hz on his monitor.


I just want to make sure he really has vsync enabled by seeing the framerate he's getting. I've never heard of anything other than lack of synchronization between GPU and monitor causing screen tearing. And how would high temperatures cause frames to overlap on the monitor?


Often, screen distortion, pixelation, tearing, etc are the result of heat and/or power issues and happen very often when folks overdo their attempts to overclock or have poor airflow/ventilation, inadequate power supplies, etc.

Just sharing common "dipstick" knowledge. Have fun!


Do you have a source that proves that bad Power Supplies, high temperatures, and inadequate overclocks cause screen tearing?


About a bazillion threads from across Tom's, OCN, AnandTech, etc to confirm. Not really a debatable question.


You mean about a bazillion other random forum dipsticks who say stuff off the top of their heads and act as if they know what they're talking about? Not much of a source.
Cmon, you can't find just one real source? Not even one link?
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 26, 2013 10:08:47 AM

Both of you stop arguing and show some sources. Neither of you are helping OP. Now, have you checked to make sure the refresh rate in display settings matches the rated refresh rate?
m
0
l
March 26, 2013 10:16:25 AM

wanderer11 said:
Both of you stop arguing and show some sources. Neither of you are helping OP. Now, have you checked to make sure the refresh rate in display settings matches the rated refresh rate?


OP has already ordered another card. Pretty much pointless to tell him anything now.
They just hit him with the same generic answers:
"Help there's something wrong with my graphics card"
-->"Download/reinstall the drivers"
-->"Check temperatures"
-->"Replace 700$ card"
-->"Have a nice day"
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 26, 2013 11:11:05 AM

Source: http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/powersupplys...

The collective experience and knowledge of Tom's user community forms the basis of the recommendations made in this (and many other) thread.

In this case, after all the steps were taken and possible issues addressed, it appears that the OP has a potentially defective GPU. It is through these exchanges that the community uses to learn and improve, while helping OPs with their problems.

Good luck, ibycfota, on your exchange! Have fun!!

m
0
l
March 27, 2013 5:52:11 AM

Thanks for all the responses guys. The replacement is scheduled to arrive in the next few hours. Should I uninstall all of the drivers before I put it in or does it not really matter? Same exact card of course.
m
0
l
March 27, 2013 5:55:54 AM

ibycfota said:
CntrlAltDel said:

Mahisse said:
Why would you try to overclock a OC edition???


What are you talking about? This card was designed for overclocking enthusiasts.


Well since the card is OC'ed from factory I would have thought there wouldn't be much more room for further overclocking but reading more into it I guess it should be able to provide more juice.

Edit: Did you try to switch the BIOS on the card. Apparantly they are running at different speeds?
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 27, 2013 6:01:51 AM

ibycfota said:
Thanks for all the responses guys. The replacement is scheduled to arrive in the next few hours. Should I uninstall all of the drivers before I put it in or does it not really matter? Same exact card of course.

You shouldn't have to re-install your drivers. However, I would uninstall and then re-install just to make sure there were no issues from the previous install. Good luck with the new GPU!
m
0
l
March 27, 2013 7:18:14 AM

Mahisse said:
ibycfota said:
CntrlAltDel said:

Mahisse said:
Why would you try to overclock a OC edition???


What are you talking about? This card was designed for overclocking enthusiasts.


Well since the card is OC'ed from factory I would have thought there wouldn't be much more room for further overclocking but reading more into it I guess it should be able to provide more juice.

Edit: Did you try to switch the BIOS on the card. Apparantly they are running at different speeds?


It has a Dual Bios setup, the first overclocks the core by 25 MHz and the other by 75MHz. The second setting also unlocks some of the overclocking limits on your card relating to your core and voltage while enabling a more aggressive fan setting.

By all accounts it's a pretty tenacious overclocker, and I've been able to achieve 1100 MHz without even touching the voltage.

COLGeek said:
ibycfota said:
Thanks for all the responses guys. The replacement is scheduled to arrive in the next few hours. Should I uninstall all of the drivers before I put it in or does it not really matter? Same exact card of course.

You shouldn't have to re-install your drivers. However, I would uninstall and then re-install just to make sure there were no issues from the previous install. Good luck with the new GPU!


Figured as much. Probably will run driver sweeper before I put it in.
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 27, 2013 7:22:05 AM

Good idea and will certainly do no harm.
m
0
l
March 27, 2013 8:06:24 AM

COLGeek said:
Source: http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/powersupplys...

The collective experience and knowledge of Tom's user community forms the basis of the recommendations made in this (and many other) thread.

In this case, after all the steps were taken and possible issues addressed, it appears that the OP has a potentially defective GPU. It is through these exchanges that the community uses to learn and improve, while helping OPs with their problems.

Good luck, ibycfota, on your exchange! Have fun!!



Your source says absolutely nothing about screen tearing.
And as for "collective experience and knowledge", are you sure you're talking about a forum?
m
0
l
a b K Overclocking
March 27, 2013 8:10:35 AM

Tearing is a form of display distortion.
m
0
l
March 27, 2013 8:23:47 AM

COLGeek said:
Tearing is a form of display distortion.


No tearing is when two different frames overlap on the monitor, something that could only happen if the GPU is not synchronized with the monitor. If there was one single frame being drawn on the monitor at a time, nothing could cause that one frame to appear as two distinct frames at different times. You're giving an extremely generalized definition of display distortion, one that was clearly not meant in the source you posted. What they probably meant was artifacts, lines, fuzziness, or as they said "Dots, lines, flashes on the screen".
m
0
l
March 27, 2013 9:01:46 AM

FWIW I'm not sure if what I experienced was screen tearing, something else, or a combination.

All I know is that something is seriously wrong when I'm getting tearing like effects on various games and benchmarks when under 60 FPS. That shouldn't be happening. Right?
m
0
l
March 27, 2013 9:37:37 AM

ibycfota said:
FWIW I'm not sure if what I experienced was screen tearing, something else, or a combination.

All I know is that something is seriously wrong when I'm getting tearing like effects on various games and benchmarks when under 60 FPS. That shouldn't be happening. Right?


Screen tearing can happen if vsync is not enabled. Usually the people who see screen tearing are the ones that use Nvidia adaptive vsync, which causes screen tearing whenever the framerate goes below the screen refresh rate, but I don't know if AMD cards have something equivalent to this feature.
But in the video you posted, I couldn't really see any tearing, so it might well be something else.
m
0
l
!