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4870 x2 + Crossfire = Stability Problems

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September 16, 2008 5:27:03 PM

I recently built a brand new system:

Asus Rampage Extreme
Intel Core 2 E8600 Wolfdale 3.33GHz
4GB OCZ Platinum DDR3
2 Sapphire 4870 x2
2 Western Digital 1TD Drives
2 Western Digital VelociRaptor 300 GB Drives
Creative 7.1 X-Fi Titanium
Corsair 1000 W power supply

XP Professional SP3
ATI Catalyst Drivers 8.8

I have been having stability issues with the system almost since the beginning. Small things like occasional lag while watching a movie (tried many different codecs) or big things like games crashing (can’t get Mass Effect to run). I assumed, at the time, that the issues where software related.

I have been running the Everest test suite to fully stress my system. My goal was to see if any of the pieces of hardware where not working properly. When I run Everest with my setup the system crashes (0x000000f4). I had suspected that the graphic cards might not be configured correctly, so I took one out, and the system works fine. Upon further investigation I discovered that any combination of single 4870 x2 works fine in the first PCI-E port, however, if I attempt to add the second card the system crashes during Everest. It crashes if I disable crossfire or not. Also, what I find weird is that the once a second card is added, it forces you to use DVI 4 (bottom PCI-E slot) for the monitor, it won’t detect it otherwise (at post).

At this point I see the following as possibilities for the problems:
Drivers
Power Supply not powerful enough (brown outs)
Motherboard

What do you guys think?
September 16, 2008 5:37:40 PM

What is your current power supply? Also can you get the system to work with just 1 card in the second pcie slot?
September 16, 2008 7:26:35 PM

kyeana said:
What is your current power supply? Also can you get the system to work with just 1 card in the second pcie slot?


I have a gauge (kill-a-watt) monitoring my system. It maxes out at 900 W.

I plan on testing one card in the second slot tonight.

Also, I found this online:

http://ati.supportcenteronline.com/ics/support/default....

Does any one know what this hot fix is for?
Related resources
September 16, 2008 8:01:26 PM

you must used 75%, of your power suply. if your power has 1000w, your system must maxes out 750 w.
September 16, 2008 8:40:33 PM

That PSU has 2 rails of 40A each IIRC. Maybe one of the rails has got too many devices on it?
September 16, 2008 9:00:09 PM

elias72 said:
you must used 75%, of your power suply. if your power has 1000w, your system must maxes out 750 w.


Are you implying that a 1000W PS can only do 750W?
September 16, 2008 9:04:37 PM

That's not right. If you measured 900W at the wall, and the PSU was running at around 80% efficiency, then it was delivering 720W to the components. Let's say 250W for each video card, 100W for the CPU, 100W for the MB, something for fans and disks. It makes sense to me. If the PSU is rated 1000W it will take 1250W from the wall and deliver 1000W to the components. At least that's the theory, for a quality PSU, and AFAIK the Corsair 1000W is very high quality.
September 17, 2008 4:43:52 PM

Update: Tested single cards in the second PCI-E slot, and single configuration works fine with any card. At this point, I highly doubt it is the cards themselves.

I will try the 8.54 drivers when I get home tonight.

This brings up another question. I have noticed that the only way to display anything (in POST or XP) is to attach my monitor to the second (lowest) 4870x2 on my Rampage Extreme board. In other words, I can’t use my top card with my monitor. I have noticed that others have been having this problem, but I am wondering if this is normal for Crossfire.
September 17, 2008 5:02:44 PM

aevm said:
That's not right. If you measured 900W at the wall, and the PSU was running at around 80% efficiency, then it was delivering 720W to the components. Let's say 250W for each video card, 100W for the CPU, 100W for the MB, something for fans and disks. It makes sense to me. If the PSU is rated 1000W it will take 1250W from the wall and deliver 1000W to the components. At least that's the theory, for a quality PSU, and AFAIK the Corsair 1000W is very high quality.



i think you got that spot on that means he has some head room in his PSU, so i would say drivers then, that's the problem when you buy new tech you just have to give it a bit of time, plus some say you have to jump to vista with a setup like that
September 17, 2008 5:11:12 PM

Oops... Yeah, that setup has 4 GPUs and AFAIK that requires Vista. Here's a post from an AMD forum:

http://forums.amd.com/game/messageview.cfm?catid=262&threadid=93311&enterthread=y

Quote:
Q: How come CrossfireX is not working! I'm using Windows XP?
A: CrossfireX (Using more than 2 GPU's) is only available to Windows Vista with Catalyst 8.3 and above.


Edit: that post is a year old though. Maybe newer drivers added support for XP. The OP should call AMD Support and ask.


September 17, 2008 5:30:41 PM

rangers said:
i think you got that spot on that means he has some head room in his PSU, so i would say drivers then, that's the problem when you buy new tech you just have to give it a bit of time, plus some say you have to jump to vista with a setup like that


Are you saying just to wait for Catalyst 8.9? What about the POST issue...wait for a new BIOS?
September 17, 2008 11:24:09 PM

I am confused are you running Vista 'jakezeimantz' or XP, because XP only runs 3 processors on GPU max.

I had that same problem when running tri-fire...could not run out of the top DVIs. Install 8.54 driver...it's a must.
September 18, 2008 12:23:26 AM

Catalyst 8.9 is out now, go get it
September 18, 2008 12:30:19 AM

jakezeimantz said:
Are you saying just to wait for Catalyst 8.9? What about the POST issue...wait for a new BIOS?



sorry but thats the sacrifice for going with new tech, the companies never give there stuff enough development time they just get it out the door and fix any problems over the life of the card
September 18, 2008 12:33:31 AM

texasreefer said:
I am confused are you running Vista 'jakezeimantz' or XP, because XP only runs 3 processors on GPU max.

I had that same problem when running tri-fire...could not run out of the top DVIs. Install 8.54 driver...it's a must.


XP, and I am running 2 4870x2 cards in CrossFireX. I have never heard of a 3 processors max rule for XP.

Anyway, I will try the new 8.9 drivers tonight to see what I get!
September 18, 2008 12:51:58 AM

jakezeimantz said:
XP, and I am running 2 4870x2 cards in CrossFireX. I have never heard of a 3 processors max rule for XP.

Anyway, I will try the new 8.9 drivers tonight to see what I get!



Yesir....

NOt only that but you also have to take into consideration you RAM usage. GPU ram effects your CPU RAm. Thats 4 GB of ram you are adding to your system. Remeber that 64 bit OS are desined for 8GB of RAm or more, you aren't even running XP 64 ( which sucks BTW).

Look on the microsoft FAQs for the info on GPUs, and might as well look at the RAM issue as well.

8.54 drivers will help, but looks like you need to Newegg an OEM OS as well. TAKE THE PLUNGE.......VISTA
September 18, 2008 2:37:41 AM

but (as above said) its a xp limitation youll have to go with vista and i feel ur pain I myself have been trying to avoid it but the benchmarks ppl have been getting from it (in dual card configurations) like yours make it hard to ignore
September 18, 2008 3:54:28 AM

texasreefer said:
Yesir....

NOt only that but you also have to take into consideration you RAM usage. GPU ram effects your CPU RAm. Thats 4 GB of ram you are adding to your system. Remeber that 64 bit OS are desined for 8GB of RAm or more, you aren't even running XP 64 ( which sucks BTW).

Look on the microsoft FAQs for the info on GPUs, and might as well look at the RAM issue as well.

8.54 drivers will help, but looks like you need to Newegg an OEM OS as well. TAKE THE PLUNGE.......VISTA


Why would GPU Ram effect CPU ram? I understand that 32-bit OSs have a limit of around 4 GB due to addressing, but that is addressing for system memory not GPU memory. GPU memory is not in the same pool as System memory.

Do you have any links to back this up?
September 18, 2008 3:34:29 PM

THis is a quote from an article that microsoft put out about Virtual memory allocation and the changes made in Vista, and in 64 bit OS's

download.microsoft.com/download/9/c/5/9c5b2167-8017-4bae-9fde-d599bac8184a/WDDM_VA.doc

"Nowadays, a GPU can have 512 MB or more of video memory. Applications that try to take advantage of such large amounts of video memory can use a large proportion of their virtual address space for an in-memory copy of their video resources. On 32-bit systems, such applications may consume all of the available virtual address space."

YOu really have to read the whole thing to understand that when XP was developed there where almost no multi - GPU solutions (respectively), and the onset of higher memory levels was affecting the total memory available.

I think your main problem is that you are trying to run 4 gpus on a system that only alots 3 gpus. That is on the Microsoft website as well, but to tell the truth I don't have that much time on my hands. If you don't believe me you will have to look it up yourself.

GOod Luck
September 18, 2008 4:44:38 PM

Last night I tried the new 8.9 drivers. Everything seems to work a little better now. Running World In Conflict on Very High Settings yielded a average fps of 54 in 1920x1200 with no glitches. Not bad considering it is XP.

I have to do more testing to see how stable the new drivers are. However, so far one obvious problem, the CCC won't load. I believe that one of my driver cleaner apps might have screwed something up. In any case, it doesn't matter since Crossfire is obviously enabled.

All in all it looks like a good start, but both ASUS and ATI need to release new stuff before I believe all my problems will go away.
September 18, 2008 8:41:51 PM

Glad you have things working better...



jakezeimantz said:
Why would GPU Ram effect CPU ram? I understand that 32-bit OSs have a limit of around 4 GB due to addressing, but that is addressing for system memory not GPU memory. GPU memory is not in the same pool as System memory.

Do you have any links to back this up?



It is the same pool.

In 32 bit Windows operating systems, the total addressable space available is 4GB. If you install a total of 4GB worth of RAM, the system will detect/use/display less than 4GB of total memory because of address space allocation for other critical functions, such as:

- System BIOS (including motherboard, add-on cards, etc..)
- Motherboards resources
- Memory mapped I/O
- Configuration for AGP/PCI-Ex/PCI
- Other memory allocations for PCI devices

Different onboard devices and different add-on cards (devices) will result of different total memory size. e.g. more PCI cards installed will require more memory resources, resulting of less memory free for other uses.

This limitation applies to most chipsets & Windows XP/Vista 32-bit version operating systems. Again, this is a limitation of the Operating System not having enough address space to allocate to the system *and* the RAM. Not allocating address space to devices renders them inoperable. Not allocating addresses to RAM simply results in the unaddressed section not being used in an otherwise fully functional computer. Therefore the OS designers assign RAM last.

We can have long debates about mathematical fundamentals and discussions about why the original Windows designers couldn't allocate the full theoretical max of 36 bits of address space so that users today would be able to use more resource. But at the end of the day, the designers and engineers 'Didn't Then'. So we 'Can't Now'.


If you install a Windows operating system, and if more than 4GB worth of memory mapped I/O is required for your system, then the below conditions must be met:

1. A memory controller which supports memory swap functionality is used. The latest chipsets like Intel 975X, 955X, Nvidia NF4 SLI Intel Edition, Nvidia NF4 SLI X16, AMD K8 and newer architectures can support the memory swap function.

2. Installation of Windows XP Pro X64 Ed. (64-bit), Windows Vista 64, or other OS which can provide more than 4GB worth of address space.



Note: According to the latest Change Log published by Microsoft, Windows Vista 32bit SP1 will display the installed amount of RAM. This is a display change only.



If you don't believe - Just check the management console and post back how much RAM is available in the OS...


September 19, 2008 5:10:39 PM

Ok, you guys have convinced me. I will be switching to an x64 OS here as soon as I can. Thanks for the lessons on memory mappings!

Obviously, I will want to increase the 4 gigs of memory I have to 8. However, I read somewhere that many people are having stability issues with 4 sticks of memory on DDR3 boards (paragraph above “The Bottom Line”):

http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTU0MSw3...

has anyone else had problems?

Also, Vista 64 or XP 64? Is DirectX 10 worth it? Incompatibility issues should be the same for WOW64 right? My system has both support for XP x64 and Vista 64 drivers. What do you guys think?
October 14, 2008 6:29:44 PM

Also, here is another thing.

I bought the X64 HOmepremium and have run several benchmarks, all indications no significant raise in FRAPS. Also, not all the RAM was recognized ( my OS didn't see all 4GBs) Very confusing, and not cool

Running Vista will still fix the 4 GPU scenario, but I would not put anymore than 4GB of RAm as I see no difference in graphic performance.

I think the Most Powerfull DDR3 RAM would make the most difference, and you must choose the right RAM, CPU and BOard to yeild better OC (CPU not GPU).

I bought a visiontek 4870 @ 750 Mhz, and added it had the same problem, had to run out the lower DVI. Not stable, I thought it was because my X@ is clocked at 780Mhz. I think the X2 by itself works fine, If I was to upgrade I would go with a Q9650 or QX9770 processor. That would probably overclock easily to just over 4Ghz and that would make the FRAPS fly!

As of now, I am not running x64 Vista i'm sticking with x86. I am dual booting XP because with a Single X2, I still get better FRAPS with my benchmarking i.e. Futuremark, Crysis, AoC

Also, my audio, and other accesorie software works better with XP.
October 15, 2008 3:02:22 PM

jakezeimantz said:
Last night I tried the new 8.9 drivers. Everything seems to work a little better now. Running World In Conflict on Very High Settings yielded a average fps of 54 in 1920x1200 with no glitches. Not bad considering it is XP.

I have to do more testing to see how stable the new drivers are. However, so far one obvious problem, the CCC won't load. I believe that one of my driver cleaner apps might have screwed something up. In any case, it doesn't matter since Crossfire is obviously enabled.



I was under the impression that ATI crossfire had the resolution limitation of 1600x
and you are running 2 ATI cards in crossfire under 1920x resolution with no error?
October 19, 2008 2:54:41 PM

It supports up to 2560x1600 if you have a monitor that is rated at that res. I run crossfire at 1920x even with my older x1950 pro in crossfire, only it wouldn't let me run at 60Hz. THe 3870s in crossfire let me run at 60Hhz though (using the DVI to HDMI converter)
October 25, 2008 10:23:02 PM

you need new ram

the ocz platinum ram you have isnt compatible with the asus rampage extreme mobo - get corsair, and your problems will be fixed :) 

good luck
Anonymous
January 11, 2009 7:20:01 PM

This sounds like a bios setting
this happened to me and it was because the bios setting had a setting where it told the pc to try the other pci/e slots first. Look really hard to find a setting like this mine was
peg/pci
pci/peg
& I had it set on pci/peg & this was wrong it had to be set on peg/pci since peg means pci-express I think
!