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Artifactings woes

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 12, 2006 3:28:54 PM

Well a few of you may remember me posting here a week or two ago asking about problems to do with artifacting and my X1900XT - the general consensus was that i should return it, which i did and now (£20 poorer - stupid company) i have the graphics card back with the company (www.overclockers.co.uk) stating that the card is perfectly fine... Whilst they may be right i'm doubtul so i've decided to come back to you guys :D 

Firstly, my system:

Asus P5W DH Deluxe
2G Corsair XMS2 6400 C4
Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4GHz
Antec TPII 550W
X-Fi Xtreme Music
Antec P180
2 x 160G Hitachi DeskStars (RAID 0)
Windows XP Home

The weird problem is that the card only artifacts on certain apps - these being:

3DMark06 (canyon test and arctic test)
AOE3
WoW

On both games it only occurs when i raise the settings. One of the main things that is confusing me is that with games like F.E.A.R on full settings (1280x1024) it works perfectly, and i thought that F.E.A.R was more demanding than WoW.

So in short if anyone has any tips on what i should do that'd be greatly appreciated, it's a real pain having to play WoW on my old 6600GT on my old comp, atm it's CS:S for me (which works perfectly)

A few of you mentioned altering volts? Not too sure about how i do this but in short any tips on what i should do would be greatly appreciated as after knowing that the company who i bought it off will do nothing about it i'm prepared to start doing stuff that will void warranties :D  Thanks for any help

More about : artifactings woes

September 12, 2006 3:43:25 PM

:!: Is it running hot?

I'm sure you already went over this though.

Perhaps you should only put the video card on one power chain with nothing else.
September 12, 2006 4:11:07 PM

When you say "artifacting", are you actually seeing plane or point blowout, texture drops or what? Some "artifacting" can be explained by poor or corrupt geometry (sometimes related to drivers or game files), while others are most clearly a hardware issue (either overheated or malfunctioning hardware).

I'm guessing your card is probably suffering from the former, not the later, unless you are suffering from overheating. As a genral rule, whenever I get a card, after I have done a burn test on the hardware, I will generally remove the heatsink and wipe the crap that the OEM's call thermal paste and replace it either with AS5 or their ceramic stuff (if I have it on hand). Seven times out of ten, this will give me betwen 5-7° C better cooling. Those other 3 times, I'm water cooling anyway, and I won't even go into how much cooler the GPU runs at that point.
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September 12, 2006 4:12:26 PM

If it were up to me, I'd return the card again!

If possible get it in another system to verify the problem.

Read overclockers terms and conditions, it's very likely that they will refund your postage (up to a certain limit) if you provide postage receipt.

It is possible that the problem lies in just one of the memory chips and thus only occurs at higher resolutions. When I have overclocked video cards in the past, artefacts normally occur when the memory is overclocked too far.

I would guess that they did little more than plug it into a system and ran a game that did not stress all the memory on the card.

I would contact overclockers and express that you are still having the problems (explain when the problems occur and ask what testing they did) and that you are not happy that they have returned the card to you without testing the card correctly and thus wasted your time and money. It should be no issue for overclockers to return faulty products to ATI which they likely do in batches.

It may be worth opting for a different supplier perhaps ebuyer.com. I hate to recommend them because I hate Ebuyer but their RMA system has never let me down.

The consumer is always right (even when they are wrong).
September 12, 2006 4:40:00 PM

Thanks for all the tips guy - firstly id just like to say that your comment made me laugh monkey :D  the one reason i didnt go with ebuyer was because their RMA has let me down in the past, guess its different often

As for temp issues it seems not, before this problem i ran the card with fan maxed out (100% stock fan) and despite the card running at 60c i still got the problems :( 

The artifacting im describing varies between simple black dots all over the screen to something which is kind of hard to describe, it kind of looks like all the mapping has screwed up and everythings kind of jagged, poking in odd directions, kind of like if you had a big wooden boat and dropped a ten tonne weight on it and looked at the splintered remains.

I'm not too keen on returning the card to be honest, unless i contact them first as it costs £20 roughly (if you read their T&C you'll see they charge you £13 plus shipping if it's found not to be faulty) though i might ring them

Hope some of the problems i described help diagnose the problems - are there any good burn-in tests you guys can reccomend to catagorically determine that it's a graphics card problem?
September 12, 2006 5:06:17 PM

hee hee.

I no longer use ebuyer because they let me down with deliveries and when you've promised a customer you can do it on time you don't need that kind of help.

60c seem quite high, but it may be the norm for these cards. My 7600gt runs at 49c idle and 52c loaded.

The artifacts you describe sound exactly like those that occur from memory that is clocked too high. Have you tried underclocking the card and running the game again to see what happens then? I use Riva Tuner to underclock my card when I dont need its full abilites. I think it works with ATI cards aswell, I seem to remember unlocking extra pipelines on a 9800se with it in the past.

Hope that helps.
September 12, 2006 5:39:51 PM

Thanks :D  will give that a try later (hopefully today but got a lot of work - might have to wait till weekend or possibly tomorrow)... kind of irritating underclocking a card though :(  how much by though? If i have to underclock it by a significant ammount that'd kind of suck but if it's minimal i don't mind... and couldn't i simply supply it with a higher voltage? (that may seem incredibly noobish but i don't know much about OCing etc :oops:  )

As for ebuyer, great value, no doubt about that - but once i ordered 3 components off of them, only one arrived (a £3 microphone - the £80 memory and £40 PSU didn't) unfortunatly they claimed they'd delivered them... took about a month of arguing on the phone and through emails for them to eventaully cave in a ship me out the parts which didn't come

Oh and this card is supposidly meant to run up to 95c fine - generally runs at 80c though under high load, check out the recent article on THG about X1900XT coolers and you'll see they run hot
September 12, 2006 5:43:40 PM

The reason to underclock is to prove the fault :D 

If you successfully underclock the card and the artifacts disappear then that pretty much proves that the card is at fault.
September 12, 2006 5:46:41 PM

It's a catch22 though - if i ring them and go 'excuse me but you're idiots, i underclocked the memory on my card and it worked fine hence it is faulty' they'll just go, ok we accept your point, the card is faulty.

'However you've modified your card, this voids your warranty and hence we will have nothing to do this with anymore etc'

So unfortunatly whilst i can do that i can't use it as as an arguement :(  ah well - so how much do you reccomend i UC it by? I don't want to break it by underclocking it too much or something.
September 12, 2006 5:48:30 PM

That sounds an awful lot like a driver issue.
September 12, 2006 5:53:20 PM

Ah ok - well i'll try some new drivers as well, i'm taking any help and tips i get atm :D  so what drivers would you reccomend, i'm currenlty using the most up to date ATI ones (i think 6.8 ), should i try and find the 6.7 drivers and use them?
September 12, 2006 5:54:41 PM

You don't need to tell them you underclocked it :wink:

As long as you know that it is faulty then you can fight your corner!

I would suggest increments of 50mhz.

Start with the memory first.

My defaults are 560(core) & 700(mem).

I can happily change the settings to 400 & 500 respectively. I would imagine you could accomplish something similar.

Good Luck!
September 12, 2006 6:45:10 PM

Btw if anyone could give me a link to the 6.7 Catalyst drivers that'd be great. I've found some so far but they seem to be bundled with loads of stuff and if i could find a site with just the drivers that'd be perfect.

Also do i need to uninstall my old drivers before i install the new ones or will it automatically write over them?

EDIT: Just found this http://www.ngohq.com/home.php?page=Files&go=cat&dwn_cat...

If i downloaded the uninstall utility, ran that to uninstall my old drivers then dowlnoaded and run this:

ATI Catalyst 6.7
Size: 24.1Mb
Hits: 11351
Author: ATI
Description: CP
Operation System: Windows XP/200

Would it work perfectly without the need to download something containting CCC etc?
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