X1900XT Problems

Hey all.
I've been having some trouble with my Sapphire X1900XT 512MB card for some time now, and I honestly don't know what to do about it.
I've had this card for a bit over a year now, and it's been running pretty well until about 6 months ago.
I started getting artifacts (to be specific, lines coming out from a 3d object that appear to be stretching infinitely) in almost every game I played. When it started, it wasn't as bad as it is now.
Anyway, by the time the card started artifacting, I had already planned to get a new cooler for it, and it did seem like it was overheating, so that's what I did. I got a Zalman VF900-Cu back in September, and it dropped temps by around 5C, and I liked it a lot especially after being driven mad with the stock cooler's noise, and lack of efficiency.
In the first 2 months of use, the artifcating was very minimal and it was rarely that I even got any. The third month, though, it started to artifact more and it was getting more and more annoying.
My first thought was heat, even though the temps never exceeded 80C, and I know the card could take much more than that. Nevertheless, I took the card out, cleaned it, dusted it, and put it back in.
For an hour or two, it seemed like the problem was gone, but very soon, it was apparent that it actually wasn't.
A couple of days ago, I decided that I had enough, so I took the card out, removed the cooler, cleaned it very thoroughly, re-applied thermal paste (AS5), and did everything anyone could possibly think of to clean the card.
I put it back in, and running ATITool's artifact scanner, temps never exceeded 75C, but after a couple of minutes of running it, I started getting artifcats.
It seems VERY unlikely to me that it is a heat problem, nor is it a power problem as I have a PSU more than capable of running the card. So, what else could it be? Could it be that the card has gone bad?
I'm afraid that it may have been damaged by an incident that had happened back in June, where I installed the card in another computer and forgot to remove an extra PCI slot cover for the heat exhaust (was using stock cooler at that time), and it overheated many times reaching 100C+ (and showing a lot of artifacts onscreen, mainly red and yellow figures, etc..), before I could figure it out.
The artifacting (if memory serves) never happened before that.

I'm sorry about the long post, but I figured it's better to give more details than less.

Here are a couple of screenshots from ATItool while running the artifact scanner. As you can see, in the first one, the card started artifacting after a mere 3-minute run, and temps seemed more than OK to me:



Here, it started artifacting exactly 7 seconds later after completing 10 minutes with no problems. Temps are pretty similar to the above:



I've also tried increasing and decreasing voltages, neither of which did any good.

So, what do you guys think? Is it time to let this card go, or is there something I'm missing?
I was planning to use this card for at least another year, as I'm not very keen on spending money on a graphics card every year, especially when this one runs practically every game (Crysis excluded) very well on high settings.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Any help is appreciated.
30 answers Last reply
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  1. I would say that if the card ran perfect for the first 6 months, but after overheating in June it started to artifact and now is doing it all the time then something in the card is experiencing a thermal breakdown. This can happen even if the operating temps don't change now. It's just that a component is failing. Could be anything. But it does sounds like you toasted something. If the card is still under warranty (some cards have a year) then return it. I would also consider contacting the manufacturer to see what they say and see if they will still honor a replacement return. If not, you may have to shell out for a new card. Sorry I couldn't have a more positive solution.

    Phantom123
  2. phantom123 said:
    If the card is still under warranty then return it. I would also consider contacting the manufacturer to see what they say and see if they will still honor a replacement return.

    That's all the help I can give you too, sorry!
  3. Thank you both for your input. :)
    I appreciate you taking the time to read that long post.

    I think the warranty for this card is over by now, so I'll just have to put up with it, until something decent enough that is worth the upgrade comes along later this year.

    BTW, I tried running games at the 2D clocks of the card, and it didn't artifact (so far at least), so that's a temporary solution for my problem I guess.

    Thanks again.
  4. Hi bash,

    I think I'm having the same problem as you. Here's a couple screenshots of what's happening.





    Usually a few minutes or so into the game it starts happening. Even happens in less graphic intensive games like Civ4. Once the artifacts appear, they don't go away until you exit the game. My card never gets over 75 C.

    Mine started acting up a few months back, probably August or September. I've been trying to find an answer to it, but this is the first time I've stumbled upon someone having the same problem.

    From the replies, it looks like I'll be buying a new card.

    Is this similar to what you're experiencing?
  5. I have seen driver issues cause this on ATI cards....in fact it was my X1900XT as well, but its was limited to only a few games, when it gets this bad you start to look at bad ram or a damaged core.

    I would try to lower the memory about 30mhz or so and see how it fairs....at least you can rule out the core(since it has the biggest impact on most games). The ram may live a long life this way...or it may be so far gone that it lives a few months....

    Just so you know i have had my X1900 over 90 without such a issue in the past....hell my 8800 even has a brush with 90 now and then....i dont know how cool everyones house is, but not mine....
  6. boondock said:
    Hi bash,
    I think I'm having the same problem as you. Here's a couple screenshots of what's happening.
    Usually a few minutes or so into the game it starts happening. Even happens in less graphic intensive games like Civ4. Once the artifacts appear, they don't go away until you exit the game. My card never gets over 75 C.
    Mine started acting up a few months back, probably August or September. I've been trying to find an answer to it, but this is the first time I've stumbled upon someone having the same problem.
    From the replies, it looks like I'll be buying a new card.
    Is this similar to what you're experiencing?

    Yep, that's pretty similar to what happens with my card.

    I've underclocked the card to about 584/680, and at first it seemed that that did the trick with the artifacting thing, but yesterday I was playing Crysis and all of a sudden the artifacting came back. Temps did not exceed 60C, and the artifcating seems to happen randomly. If I alt-tab out of the game and get back into it, the artifacting goes away, though.

    I'm starting to think that it could be a driver problem, since you and nukemaster have had the same problem. It seems that you also started to have the same problem about the same time I did, so that doesn't seem so unlikely to me now.
  7. Overclocked CPU will do this. LOL, i remember when my X800Xt did this i thought it was my card, then i clocked it abck and nothing changed, it was my first overclock and thought i killed it lol....
  8. try new driver dude?
  9. Having exactly the same problem. Started about 5-6 months ago. Alt-Tabbing fixed the problem for me also so I think it is a texture/buffer corruption.

    I tried every new driver since then with no impact. Havent tried rolling back to an older driver.

    Opened up the casing, but extra fans, etc.... Temperature always stays below 60 so probably not a heat issue.

    I will give a try and roll back drivers to an early 2007 version.
  10. If you have another computer, try the card there to see if the same happens.
  11. I'm having the same issues, older games run fine but newer games like Crysis and Supreme Commander: FA look as if they are falling apart. I have tried everything listed above, air duster, checked the HSF (Aratic X2), cleaned out the driversm installed the newest ones nothing has helped. I'm going to email Sapphire and see if they are feeling generous………
  12. I wonder if the X1900's are just time bombs waiting to die.....guess its time to break it out and try some stuff with the newest drivers....
  13. Ok I've created a support ticket on Sapphires website, I suggest everyone else who has had problems tell there manufacturer as well. I'll bump this thread if need be with any news I get from Sapphire.
  14. yay said:
    Overclocked CPU will do this. LOL, i remember when my X800Xt did this i thought it was my card, then i clocked it abck and nothing changed, it was my first overclock and thought i killed it lol....

    CPU is not overclocked here. :)

    Quote:
    try new driver dude?

    I've been using the newest drivers out ever since I got the card. Right now using Catalyst 7.12, which as far as I know is the latest.

    Anyway, I didn't know that many other people had the same problem.
    Now I'm even more inclined to think that it may have something to do with the drivers after all.
    I'll try one of the older drivers later and see if that helps at all.
  15. I'm currently using 7.11, so I'll try to rollback to a previous driver as well. By the way, it displays movies, desktop apps, etc. just fine. It's only in games that it happens. So far the games have been PES2008, Civ4, even WoW was doing it.

    I'll post after I test the old drivers.

    Thanks for everyone's responses. This is the first place anyone's been willing to help.
  16. No luck here. Rolled back to Catalyst 6.4, still does it. Even tried rolling back directx with no luck.
  17. Yeah, unfortunately, no luck here as well.

    I've tried Catalyst 7.1, 7.4, and 7.5 with no change whatsoever to the current situation. Still artifacting. :(
    I noticed that it happens randomly, not after a certain amount of time. Sometimes it takes as little as 5 minutes for the artifacting to appear, other times it takes as long as 30.

    BTW, same as you boondock, it happens only in games (everything else is perfectly fine), both demanding (such as Crysis) and not very demanding games (source games such as TF2 and HL2).
  18. Sapphire told me update the BIOS.

    That BIOS update has cost me £50 in a new video card, the BIOS failed, when I rebooted the motherboard bleeped 3 times and I couldn't get a picture. Any ideas or is my already dying card final dead?
  19. Alright...somewhat positive update. After reading JeanLuc's post, I tried a few different things. Unfortunately, I didn't test after each change. Sorry, I was frustrated.

    Let me post some hardware specs first (maybe some of you have similar stuff)
    MSI K9A Platinum motherboard
    AMD 64 X2 processor (forget which one it is)
    Then, of course, the x1900xt video card (Connect3d)

    OK, I did four different things that seemed to have a positive effect.

    I flashed the BIOS to the newest release

    I downloaded the AMD Dual-Core Optimizer (not exactly sure what it did, description below)

    **AMD Dual-Core Optimizer - The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer can help improve some PC gaming video performance by compensating for those applications that bypass the Windows API for timing by directly using the RDTSC (Read Time Stamp Counter) instruction. Applications that rely on RDTSC do not benefit from the logic in the operating system to properly account for the affect of power management mechanisms on the rate at which a processor core's Time Stamp Counter (TSC) is incremented. The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer helps to correct the resulting video performance effects or other incorrect timing effects that these applications may experience on dual-core processor systems, by periodically adjusting the core time-stamp-counters, so that they are synchronized.

    I downloaded the latest ATI drivers (7.12, Display Drivers only)

    I uninstalled Catalyst Control Center, then installed ATT (ATI Tray Tools) instead

    After I did all that, I finally decided to test it in-game ( :ange: )

    I noticed remarkably less artifacts. After about three games, I only noticed 2 or 3 total, and those were only in cut scenes and did not reappear. (1 artifact per game ain't bad)

    Only concern I have is that I don't think the problem is "fixed", I think it's only being hidden by the ATT or other downloads.

    Hopefully some others can test some of the things I tried and post their results.

    I'll continue to test with some other games and see how it does.
  20. Well, I'm glad to hear it's going better for you. But the problem is still not really solved if the card still artifacts, even if the artifacting decreased.

    I would try flashing the card to a new bios, but after seeing what happened with JeanLuc's card, I probably won't. I can't afford to have a dead card on my hands right now. I'd rather have a working one, even if it is corrupted.

    Quote:
    That BIOS update has cost me £50 in a new video card, the BIOS failed, when I rebooted the motherboard bleeped 3 times and I couldn't get a picture. Any ideas or is my already dying card final dead?

    Sorry, man, but I think your card is dead. AFAIK, when a bios flash goes south, the hardware gets screwed up.
  21. If you boot with a PCI card, Then set it to boot from pci in the bios(so it does not try to run the X1900 on the next boot)....put the PCI-E back in. You should be able to try to flash again(sorry no promise)...

    And Always flash in dos....never windows...
  22. [quotemsg2NäÐ×õ]2C22,34470]If you boot with a PCI card, Then set it to boot from pci in the bios(so it does not try to run the X1900 on the next boot)....put the PCI-E b<B3äï)íÏó¶õõõõõõõõõõõõõõõo try to flash again(sorry no promise)...

    And Always flash in dos....never windows...

    A lovely bit of lateral thinking. Thank you.
  23. I had exactly the same thing happening with my X1900XTX in September. It only seemed to happen in really intensive games like STALKER (actually specifically STALKER). I thought it was a problem with STALKER because it didn't seem to happen with any of my other games. Then I ran ATI Tray Tools benchmark and it would artifact while scanning. It would take around 5 minutes before it would artifact (same as STALKER). The cool thing with ATI Tray Tools is that it would consistently artifact in the same place. This points to a VRAM problem. I found that once the GPU reached around 70C it would take about a minute after that to artifact. Anyway as I said it was a hardware problem not a driver or software problem. My warranty had run out (damn ATI and there 1 year warranty), but luckily I had purchased an extended warranty at the place I got it from. They tested the card and replaced it with a HD2900XT.

    Sorry to say it, but you have a bad card. RMA if you can.
  24. techgeek said:
    I had exactly the same thing happening with my X1900XTX in September. It only seemed to happen in really intensive games like STALKER (actually specifically STALKER). I thought it was a problem with STALKER because it didn't seem to happen with any of my other games. Then I ran ATI Tray Tools benchmark and it would artifact while scanning. It would take around 5 minutes before it would artifact (same as STALKER). The cool thing with ATI Tray Tools is that it would consistently artifact in the same place. This points to a VRAM problem. I found that once the GPU reached around 70C it would take about a minute after that to artifact. Anyway as I said it was a hardware problem not a driver or software problem. My warranty had run out (damn ATI and there 1 year warranty), but luckily I had purchased an extended warranty at the place I got it from. They tested the card and replaced it with a HD2900XT.

    Sorry to say it, but you have a bad card. RMA if you can.


    Mines with Sapphire and it comes with a 2 year warranty, the trobule is I replaced the standard ATI HSF with an third party one (Arctic Accelro X2) which viods it, despite the new HSF being a lot better then the standard one.
  25. Quote:
    Mines with Sapphire and it comes with a 2 year warranty, the trobule is I replaced the standard ATI HSF with an third party one (Arctic Accelro X2) which viods it, despite the new HSF being a lot better then the standard one.

    Same situation here except I replaced the cooler with a VF-900.
  26. bash007 said:
    Quote:
    Mines with Sapphire and it comes with a 2 year warranty, the trobule is I replaced the standard ATI HSF with an third party one (Arctic Accelro X2) which viods it, despite the new HSF being a lot better then the standard one.

    Same situation here except I replaced the cooler with a VF-900.


    I wonder if you can buy those ATI HSF's anywhere?
  27. did you not keep your stock heatsink in storage?

    I have my 9800pro one X850 and X1900XT ones somewhere....
  28. nukemaster said:
    did you not keep your stock heatsink in storage?

    I have my 9800pro one X850 and X1900XT ones somewhere....


    I planned on replacing when the 3870 X2's came out anyway, until then I have to make do with a crappy X1650 Pro I brought from PCWorld. Had the X1900Xt been working I would have ebayed it, but since it had started to break down I couldn't really sell it on anyway.
  29. When I still had my XTX, I managed to get the same artifacts by enabling Geometry Instancing in ATiTool advanced settings (but only a select few games, Far Cry for instance which supports GI but when enabled causes havoc). Also, a clash in AA from driver side as opposed to ingame (both enabled at once) can also cause some issues.

    Best bet for starters is removing driver, ATiTool and then Driverclean it. Afterwards reinstall both and check if that yields any positive results.
  30. Hi to all,

    My video card, an MSI X1900XTX, have the exactly same problem that you describe as artifacting. I found the problem when I installed a new processor to my system. First, I have a 3200 AMD Athlon processor and then I bought my video card ... ALL WORKED FINE , WITHOUT ARTIFACTING OF ANY KIND.

    THEN,... I bought a new proc, a AMD ATHLON 64 X2 5000+, the problems began. I saw this artifacting in games like Crysis, Mass Effect and Assasins Creed... but in games like World Of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Warcraft 3, Half Life 2... it doesnt appear.

    So, I changed back to my old processor and like magic... the artifacting dissapeared. In my case, this is a dual processor or driver related problem. Maybe a conflict with the video card drivers too, having in mind that YOU ALL suffer from the same problem.

    Another thing that in some games did the trick, with the AMD X2 proc, was to disable the AA. Artifacting gone...
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