Is my 3870x2 defective? Or is it LOTRO?

Or is it both?

My system:

AMD Toliman 8750
Gigabyte 780G with HD3200 graphics
MSI 3870x2 oc
Antec Neo 650 PSU
Antec Nine Hundred case (plenty of cooling).
2 gigs Kingston DDR2 800
Vista 32

It worked fine under Vista in DX10 mode for almost ten months, but it started black screen crashing after book 14 LOTRO. I went back to Catalyst 8.7 from 8.10 and it seemed okay for a month or so.

When Mines of Moria arrived, it started black screening practically every hour. After it did it three times in a half hour, I tried Catalyst 8.11 to see if the issues were addressed by AMD.

Usually, I could just end the game in Task Manager and then log back in, but the last time I had to reboot and there was a black screen right after the Vista load. After several tries, I could not get the card to display anything in Vista, all the while the fan was unusually loud.

Normally, I'd say it's just a Turbine/LOTRO, or AMD Catalyst issue, after the Vista black screen with "screaming" fan, that I turned off the PC, removed the card, switched to the onboard graphics and booted into VGA mode, uninstalled Catalyst 8.11 and installed the version for the HD3200.

There were some reports of bad components on partner cards with 3870 GPU's failing after months of use. My wife's 3650 just started the same issues Sunday after having no issues under XP with either book 14 or Mines of Moria the first week of heavy gameplay.

Since Saturday, I've had no issues using HD3200 IGP (essentially an X2400Pro). That makes me think it's not simply a Turbine update issue with AMD graphics in particular. Haven't tried the 3870x2 with any other game in months. Back when I did play Oblivion and The Witcher, it did fine, but it did okay in LOTRO too.

I'm considering a getting both of us the 4830 until next fall when the June refresh should be stable.

Or should I go Nvidia? We're mostly playing LOTRO and that's a TWIMTBP game.
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More about 3870x2 defective lotro
  1. Hmmm. This is a strange one. Normally Id say RMA. Can you even play any other games? I saw your mentioning this in the cpu section. Thought Id bump it up to 1st page agin, as besides drivers, its HW. What have you done as far as drivers? Sometimes driver cleaner plays nasty with your system, if youve tried that. If thats how you reinstalled your drivers, Id recommend a complete backup/reinstall, but try a different game if you can first. Since its both cards, you and the wifes, could be drivers and or installation
  2. Drivers:

    After it first happened, I uninstalled 8.10 and went back to 8.7. It seemed to be fine. This was a few months ago with book 14.
    Then, a few weeks before Mines of Moria, it happened again and I gave 8.11 a try. Last week, just before MoM, it happened twice in one hour in an intensive area. After MoM, it was several times every half hour in Eregion with 8.11. I turned off DX10 mode and it still happened.

    Since it flaked out under Aero in Vista, I figure it's hardware (even if AMD and Turbine are pointing fingers with driver issues and recent AMD cards). I have good cooling and a good PSU, so I guess it's similar to the resistor issue affecting Gecube manufactured Diamond boards. It might also be the factory overclock failing after almost a year.

    Last time I played anything other than LOTRO was in July, and it was fine in Oblivion and The Witcher. I'll wait till I get a new GPU before I even think of Mass Effect. I was just wondering if anyone else with 3xxx series cards had encountered this problem here. It's been brought up on both the Turbine and AMD boards, but usually related to AA with 4xxx series cards. I did not have AA checked.

    Should I go Nvidia? If I did give it a try, which card within the $120 to $160 price range? I do know I won't opt for an overpriced dual GPU card again!
  3. My wife runs a 3870, no trouble after nightly play since MoM came out. I would test with other games before I dropped cash on anything else. If it is the card, and you have 160 to spend, a 4850 can be had for that after MIR now and would provide a decent performance boost. Are you by chance a hunter with an exquisite black ash bow equipped? There's a bug with that piece of gear that's causing a crash. Did you notice any changes after Monday's patch?
  4. I know about that bug from the log in message link. My main character on Windfola's a lvl 53 hobbit mini, with a dwarf guardian and hobbit warden alts. No exquisite black ash bow, and it amazes me how an item could cause crashes.

    The black screen's been reported on 3850's, 3870's and 3870x2's due to a partner manufacturing error. Though my card did well for 9 months, I noted that many MSI factory overclocked 3870x2's ended up as open box cards on Newegg. I should have bought the Sapphire instead.

    I could hold off RMA'ing it till next week and reinstall the card plus The Witcher and Oblivion, but it's just a matter of shipping it off. I don't absolutely need to get a new card right now. I could use it until the next refresh, once I get a reconditioned replacement.

    The main reason I want a new card is that LOTRO dislikes both Crossfire and SLI. I was going to wait till fall 2009 (new ATI cards in June and drivers should be stable by fall). I only got Crossfire performance in Oblivion and The Witcher and was holding off on Mass Effect till I got a new card. Except for Heroes of Might and Magic V, I've only played CRPG's the past few years.

    I'm just glad that the 3870x2 died while still under warranty. Since the HD3200's doing well at medium/high (as opposed to very high with the 3870x2), I'll err on it being the card and not a flaky driver issue that wasn't solved by turning off DX10, trying 3 different Catalyst versions, or turning Aero off under Vista.

    My wife's only had her crash once. That's more likely to be LOTRO because she could close the game in Task Manager and log back in. No screeching fans or issues booting into XP (but also no Aero).
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