Radeon HD 4870 Crash Issue - Need Help!

Operating System: Windows 7 64 bit
Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 4870 (single)
Motherboard: ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe Bios Ver 1701
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core 6400+
Memory: 4.00gb
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 650w

After playing certain high-performance games (Mass Effect 2, Star Trek Online) for 1-5 minutes, the computer will freeze and a block pattern will form in an alternating pattern. The screen eventually goes black, and a hard reset is required.

Here are the solutions I have attempted so far:
-Using bare video drivers from Windows database.
-Using the drivers that came with the video card.
-Installing version 10.1 Catalyst drivers from ATI's website.
-Using RivaTuner to manually set the GPU to 750 and increase fan speed to "Boeing 757".
-Used the Catalyst Control Center to alternatively set the GPU to 750 (after the RivaTuner attempt failed)
-Drastically lowered all performance options in the video games.
-Updated Motherboard Bios to Version 1701.

Here are the solutions I have NOT attempted so far:
-Updating Bios on video card.
-Wielding a Sledgehammer of +10 Video Card Smashing.

If anyone else has found something that might work, I'm all ears. I've read that this has been a known issue for the 4870's for a long time, but its very frustrating that they are still selling these things with this problem.


14 answers Last reply
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  1. Do you have another PSU on hand? Earthwatts 650W should be plenty, but if you have a 750W + you could try, give it a go.

    Also, you could try using different PCIe power connectors to the ones you have now, maybe one rail is being too heavily loaded. (I can't recall, isn't the 4870 an eight pin plus a six pin?)
  2. Heya,

    Thanks for the reply

    I have a Mushkin power supply unit with about 850-900 in another computer that I have tried, but I only get the same results.

    Everywhere I read suggests that it is the Superior Powerplay "feature" that causes the problem. Unfortunately, everything I have done to disable it has failed. I'm very close to just flashing the thing, but I've never done it before, so I'm a little hesitant.


    Edit: Oh, the Radeon HD 4870 requires two 6 pin PCI-E connectors.
  3. I'm just going to return this card for a refund. I unfortunately bought it from ZipZoomFly, which has one of the worst refund policies known to mankind, but hopefully they'll cut me some slack if they expect me to buy from them again.

    Goodbye ATi. I'm now officially an nVidia consumer.
  4. OK, first, what manufacturer did the card come from (Sapphire, Visiontek, XFX, Powercolor, etc.) and have you tried asking their tech support for help? They will usually be more than willing to help troubleshoot things like this instead of walk away with pissed off customers. And if it is the "Superior Powerplay" issue, they will probably be the ones who know how to enable or disable it for their specific card.

    Second, you might take a look at this tool:
    I am not sure whether that will solve all your problems, but it might be a 5-minute fix.

    Third, you might also want to check for other issues before you send the card back, such as: Is the card simply overheating? Regardless of its own fan speed, if there's an airflow obstruction or some other heat issue, you could have problems. I'd use a program to test that out. If this is a new system, you may also want to check that your RAM is set to the right voltage and timings, because that causes freezing issues all the time (although this would admittedly be a weird way for it to manifest itself).

    Finally, I would just caution you that this probably is not a good indicator of ATI cards or nvidia cards as a whole. You're probably just as likely to have problems with either brand. The important thing down the road is just to realize that at any given point in time, one manufacturer is going to be ahead of the other in price and performance (which one changes all the time), and you'll usually be able to get a much better card for the money if you're open to either.
  5. Thanks for the reply and for the information.

    I have been researching this problem all of today and yesterday, having spent way too much time trying to solve it. Although I have made up my mind on returning it, I think its fair that I reply anyway.

    1) The card was actually manufactured by ATi and carries no other brand name manufacturing labels. I contacted their technical support, and they advised me to put it in another machine. If it happens again (which it did), they suggested sending it back.

    2) I admittedly have not tried using a Bios editor, strictly because I don't want to get screwed on returning it in case I make a mistake. I'll give it a look though.

    3) I've used RivaTuner to monitor the card while testing whether or not certain modifications worked. Fan speed remained constant, and the temperature only fluctuated 2-3 degrees within its norm prior to crashing.

    4) I understand that one faulty card may be an unfair way of judging a company, but the fact that this problem exists as a firmware issue with no help from ATI on the matter, I believe I am justified to do so. This isn't a new video card, and it isn't a new issue. There are troubleshooting forums dating back to early 2008 with people having this problem, and all of them come to the conclusion that the Bios is immature and poorly constructed.

    I'll take a look at the Bios editor anyway... I've never tinkered with anything except my motherboard bios, but that wasn't really a modification. Just an update, provided by ASUS.
  6. It is just a faulty card by the sound of it. Some cards are made only for the sole purpose of sales with very little thought put into performance. I know first had due to my failed 8600 GT which will not boot up to begin with and I have gotten no feedback. ATI won't care at all if your card does not work, it has already sold it.

    @ 4)BIOS is not the issue, you used 2 diff machines to test it so that is not the issue

    @ 1) ATI will send a new one, the card may be the issue so i recommend that.
    @ 2) NEVER edit the BIOS unless you are 100% sure of what you are doing or you risk the fact your PC may never turn on again.
    @ 3) Certain GPU's and Fans have faulty measurements or are set to rotate at fised speeds (fan).

    Hoped that helps you :).
  7. Greg, I'd return the card as they said and get your money back or another card and not this perticular one.You stated that you knew about the problems dating back to 2008.My question is , why buy something you know is not working properly and has plenty of proof from multiple sites?I'm not a fanboy of either graphics company, I've used both and had problems with both.So don't count ATI out would be my advice to you and to take the advice of those who have gone down this road before you.If you didn't know about the problems with this card, sorry but it's your fault again, you have to research , research , research , everything today , and make sure you that you research all the parts being used in a certain build and if they work together well or not.Sorry you had a bad experience with this card, but I have the Sapphire HD TOXIC 4870 with vapor x cooling and it's a great card and you can't find them anywhere.I wish I could , I'd like to add another, thier that good and check the prices of the new cards these days, thier nuts, we can't keep this up for long.We'll all be switching to consoles if these guy's don't watch thier pricing on video cards and all the other hardware you need to run a gaming pc, hope this helps, good luck with your next card!! And let us know what card it is and how's it's performing, thanks...
  8. Same Greg, at this point if it is in teh budget, I would scrap teh old card and upgrade to a more modern card (depending on what your PC can handle PSU wise and CPU wise). a Radeon 4800 and above is good as well as any card above 8600 for Nvidia.

    Happy Hunting for a new card.
  9. I have been having a very similar problem with a VisionTek HD4870 and random/not-so-random hard freezes that have required hard reboot.

    I haven't thoroughly tested, but there's a chance that following the instructions here may have fixed me:

    I think it might have worked because I have played entire campaign of L4D2 without crash now and certain flash-based sites that were once guaranteed to cause the freeze issue have not upon subsequent loads.

    From what I've read, for some 4870-based cards it is speculated that there is an issue with the power saving feature wherein the switching from 500 MHz back to 750 MHz causes the freeze. The above is the only method that I've tried that has forced my card to run at 750 MHz. It's a pain that I have to manually activate the profile, but so far it has shown promising results.

    Hope this helps you and really is working for me.

  10. Well, scratch that.

    Crashes have returned. :cry:
  11. I would agree with one of the above posters that this is a PCI-E issue rather then the cards themselves. I was using a 4870 for a long time before these crashes began. I figured it was the vid card as well so I went out and grabbed a cheap 4850....which had exactly the same problem. But after moving the 4850 to my second PCI-E the crashes stopped.

    I tested my 4870 in the same slot and the crashes started again. Definatly something funny going on with the power consumption.
  12. Hi !
    First sorry for my English, i m French.

    I have also the same problem, on an ATI HD4870 1 GB.
    When i play the game Star Trek online, it freeze, some times about 10-15 miniutes, sometimes after one hour ...
    I ve read in many posts, we have to turn off dynamic lighting in the options, i ve do it, reduce the frequency of game crash, but the problem stay ...

    I ve turn the video card's fan at maximum, uninstall and reinstall the drivers, changing the settings of the game, even at the minimum, but nothing change ...

    I dont know what way to explore ....

    Thanx if someone can help.

    PS: in my others games (far cry 2 and wow, the video card never crash ...).
  13. I have the same exact problem.

    The places where it happens are:

    In Counter Strike

    In 3dsmax when I'm in wireframe mode

    I have an HD 4870 512mo.

    What happens it that suddenly the screen freezes, i have all these blocks on the screen, screen turns black and i have to manually reboot

    Anybody found a solution?
  14. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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