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Any crossfire experts? 3dmark Canyon Flight freezing at the same point

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May 11, 2009 10:56:51 PM

recently set up a 4870 xfire solution. problems ensued. i estimate I have spent about 40 hours this past week troubleshooting.
anyway, I am quite determined to get this working and have been trying to sort it out on my own for the past week. hopefully the experts on this forum have some pearls of wisdom to share.

system specs:

XP pro 32 bit
e8400 z 3.6ghz ~1.3 vcore with true-120
asus rampage formula x48 mobo
4gb mushkin redline
2x ati 4870 512mb
ocz gamexstream 700w psu
all the latest hardware, chipset drivers and software hotfixes

Individually both cards pass 3dmark. Ran orthos cpu/ram blend overnight for 10+ hours no problem.


3dmark06 was running fine for a few days, getting scores around 18.3k on default settings. Scored dropped to around 10k at 1920x1200 with 4xAA 16xAF. I'm not sure if this is normal, or suggests that xfire isn't working with AA enabled. more on that later...

anyway, after a couple days (no changes in hardware or software) 3dmark06 stars crashing at pretty much the exact same point in canyon flight when run at default settings. right when the dragon leaps over the airship. all other tests run fine.

weirdly, sometimes I can get canyon flight to complete if I change the resolution and quality settings. however, this doesn't always work.

tried reinstalling 3dmark and redownloading it
tried uninstalling graphics drivers, running driver cleaner and reinstalling
tried reinstalling dx9

still freezing at the same point.

I know this is just a synthetic test, but its frustrating nonetheless. Could it be that my gpus are not receiving enough power? Benchmarks suggest that total system draw for a 4870 crossfire rig is around 430w. I would think that my 700w psu would be sufficient. especially since 3dmark was running just fine for days, then suddenly decided to start spazzing on canyon flight.

If anyone has any help, it would be most appreciated. I have had crossfire installed for about a week and have had mixed results in games:

source games (HL2, L4D) - seem to run fine and scale decently. all iq settings working.

fallout 3 - since I stupidly downloaded this through steam, I cannot rename the .exe "oblivion" for enhanced xfire support. however, if I alt-tab out of the game and re-apply my catalyst control centre settings, it seems to enable xfire in the game (logo shows up and frame rate jumps dramatically.) however, I can't seem to enable antialiasing with crossfire.

found a workaround that suggested if you turn catalyst ai off, then you can enable antialiasing. however, I'm not sure if this completely disables crossfire or not. I will have to download fraps for some further testing since there is no other way to display fps in fallout 3. just been basing observations on my naked eye so far.

WoW - again, I have to alt-tab out of the game and re-apply xfire settings for it to work. No AA with crossfire as far as i can tell although I've barely tinkered with this game at all since installing xfire.

Stalker: Clear Sky - scales nearly 100% with crossfire! however, right around the same time 3dmark06 started crashing, so did stalker. after several minutes of play with crossfire enabled, it freezes. i have yet to play it again since reinstalling all my drivers. this problem could be fixed.

all games played at 1920x1200. i tried bumping up the fan speeds on both cards manually to see if heat was an issue. i have a well ventilated thermaltake armor case and with both gpu fans going at 50% their temps were fine (50-60c).

this all leads me to believe that these problems are likely software issues. however, at this point I feel like I have exhausted most possible solutions short of a complete system reformat which, at this point, might be grasping at straws.

any guidance would be most appreciated! thanks :) 

Update: I removed one of the crossfire bridges (was running 2) after reading that it can cause instability on x38/x48 mobos. just ran a few successful runs of Canyon Flight. A full 3dmark is in progress right now. /fingers crossed.
May 11, 2009 11:47:27 PM

You have 2 512bit memory cards in xfire. 512+512 does not = 1024. You're suffering from lack of video memory at that resolution for one.

If you run a game that does not scale well in xfire your expectations are going to make the situation worse. All the games you listed are very graphics intensive. Lower your settings.

May 12, 2009 12:03:21 AM

Quote:
You have 2 512bit memory cards in xfire. 512+512 does not = 1024. You're suffering from lack of video memory at that resolution for one.

If you run a game that does not scale well in xfire your expectations are going to make the situation worse. All the games you listed are very graphics intensive. Lower your settings.


I'm not sure this has anything to do with my problem. My problem is 3dmark06 freezing at the same point. My post has nothing to with performance expectations or image quality settings.

Moreover, the 4870 is not a 512-bit card, but rather 256. you can clearly see this in the description of any 4870 online. http://www.hisdigital.com/un/product2-413.shtml for example.

My problem is not crossfire scaling, but rather glitches and crashes associated with it. Namely, 3dmark06 locking up at the exact same point each time. Sorry if my initial post wasn't clear. Again, this has NOTHING to do with crossfire scaling, gaming performance or image quality. Simply the inability to complete a single test in 3dmark06.

sorry I wasn't clear.

anyway, to get back on topic, i tried removing one of my crossfire bridges and now 3dmark06 seems to be running without a hitch! This problem might be solved.
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May 12, 2009 2:12:49 AM

It's a 256/512 card. 512 video memory, and if you think video memory doesn't make a difference, think again. As far as having 2 xfire connectors on 2 cards..... I only ever used 1.
May 12, 2009 2:25:55 AM

yes, swifty, i understand that it is a 512 meg card. not sure what this has to do with my topic though.

anyway, 3dmark seems to be working fine now. I will post again if there's anymore problems.
May 12, 2009 2:28:08 AM

I'm not sure what swifty is talking about but have you checked your graphic card temps? What brand are they? Do they come with sufficient cooling. I myself have almost an identical set up as you except I am running 4850 CF instead of 4870 CF. I even have my CPU clocked to 3.6Ghz as well. I have not had any issues with using 1 bridge or two bridges for crossfire. I am getting 17500 3DMark06 scores so 18.3K sounds about right. I didn't really think of it until now but I heard that PSU was not so good. How many amps does it have on the 12V rail? Do you have enough amperage on the PSU to run your system?
May 12, 2009 2:38:47 AM

If you know it's a 512 card why did you contradict me and say it was 256 ?

As far as heat goes I was going to post before about xfire. The card on top will suck hot air off the card on the bottom, especially when there is no "extra" pci slot between them.

May 12, 2009 2:38:59 AM

Quote:
I'm not sure what swifty is talking about but have you checked your graphic card temps? What brand are they? Do they come with sufficient cooling. I myself have almost an identical set up as you except I am running 4850 CF instead of 4870 CF. I even have my CPU clocked to 3.6Ghz as well. I have not had any issues with using 1 bridge or two bridges for crossfire. I am getting 17500 3DMark06 scores so 18.3K sounds about right. I didn't really think of it until now but I heard that PSU was not so good. How many amps does it have on the 12V rail? Do you have enough amperage on the PSU to run your system?


I bought a powercolour 4870 512mb right when they came out last summer. last week, I picked up a 1gb sapphire 4870 to take the crossfire plunge. I got the 1gb 4870 because it was cheaper than the 512s the store had.

the sapphire runs much cooler than the powercolour, especially when the fans are left at auto. however, neither card gets particularly hot. if the fans are manually set at ~30% both cards generally stay under 70c.

anyway, i doubt heat is the problem as I am not getting any artifacting or random lockups in other applications. i have encountered cards that have been overheating before, and generally they exhibit pretty distinct symptoms.

anyway, removing the second crossfire bridge seemed to fix my 3dmark problem. it is running without a hitch now. if I have some time tonight, I will see how it performs in some games.

as for my psu, it's a couple years old but not something I'm eager to replace at this point. swapping out psus is a big pain in the ass.
i'm pretty sure that it pumps out 24 amps on the 12v rail, though I could be mistaken. I got it before I knew a whole hell of a lot about psus. that said, various postings on the vendor website where I purchased it seem to indicate that it can run 4870 crossfire no problem. I don't really have a power-sucking system (only 1 hdd, no watercooling, etc.) so I think it should be OK.

May 12, 2009 2:40:05 AM

Quote:
If you know it's a 512 card why did you contradict me and say it was 256 ?

As far as heat goes I was going to post before about xfire. The card on top will suck hot air off the card on the bottom, especially when there is no "extra" pci slot between them.


I said it was a 256-BIT card, swifty, you moron.
May 12, 2009 3:28:44 AM

swifty_morgan said:
Screw you retard!



swifty, you are a real idiot. however, the simple fact that you can use a computer impresses me.

good job.
!