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Sapphire Ultimate X1950 PRO screen sparkles

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 16, 2007 11:46:01 PM

I recently acquired the Sapphire X1950 PRO Ultimate version (Zalman HSF) to go with my new Asus A8N-SLI Premium mobo running an Opteron 154 @ 2830 MHz w/2x512 Ballistix @ 2-2-2-8 1T (default voltage) with an Antec TruePower 550v2 w/TrueControl in an Antec P160 case, WD1500 Raptor, yadayada.

System cranks 110 FPS in HL2-Lost Coast compared to 58 FPS on my previous Athlon64 3200+ on Gigabyte NF3 mobo w/Sapphire X800GTO w/unlocked bios (12 pipes) using same case, PS, RAM, and all other cards/devices except mobo, CPU and vid card.

One problem may be I run Win2K SR4 and the drivers supplied with the 1950 PRO are for XP, although I'm using the display driver delivered by Sapphire and it "works" just fine ... for 15-20 min, then screen sparkles all over ... BUT ONLY in a game, never ever otherwise. :roll:

CPU temp in a game never exceeds 114 deg F, memory temp runs 122-124 deg F, and the 1950 PRO (temp sensor against base of Zalman heatpipe base) is just 122-124 deg F as well.

Today I removed the 1950 PRO, and discovered several of the (4) thumb screws that secure the Zalman unit were loose, so I removed the Zalman, cleaned off the big blob of aluminium colored thermal paste from both the Zalman and the GPU, applied new thermal paste and reassembled the whole mess. Result ... same 15-20 min great performance and then wham! The checker board sparkles were back!

As I've listed all significant details of the system components along with typical measured operating temps I'm at a loss to understand what's going on here. The Sapphire Forum dudes recommend replacing the Antec TP550 v2 with a three rail Enermax? I don't buy their reasoning! Is this an RMA situation? I don't see how the OS (W2K vs XP) can causes the sparkles, when they only show up in games because otherwise the system runs beautifully.

Thanks in advance for any responses :D 
March 22, 2007 11:52:14 AM

The card will obviously misbehave in games only. In desktop or movie, your running 2d and/or movie mode through the movie chip.

Can you see memory temps?
Removing the cooler might be an issue, as they will most likely check that on RMA.

I can only think of heat as an issue. Lack of power cuts the card out to windows, or more extreme causes the PSU to go into a high demand situation that will cause it to shutdown/reset (PSU).

Just for interest sake, check the behaviour of the card in OpenGL vs DirectX.
March 24, 2007 6:36:27 PM

I have a Sapphire x1950 Pro myself, and it recently started doing nearly the exact same thing. It played WoW and Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends fine, but when I stick in F.E.A.R. or Neverwinter Nights 2 it gets screen sparkles and either spontaneously restarts, locks up, or I manage to shut the game and then the computer down really fast. I was trying to troubleshoot the problem myself because the guys at Cyberpower Inc.(where I bought my computer) just told me to try my vid card in another computer or on a different PCI-E slot in my own computer.


I was an idiot and was paying attention to the system, CPU, and case temp and forgot to check the actual vid card temp for awhile. Everything else runs at about 30-40C my vid card IDLES at 50C and quickly climbs to the point where my computer goes THUD.

So, it probably is temp, since we are having the same problem, but maybe not. Anyway, any cooling suggestions anyone could give me would be welcome.
!