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Radeon HD 5970 Crashing/Freezing (Please Help!)

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March 24, 2010 11:19:56 PM

So, I recently built my very own computer in January, with the following specs:

Asus P6T
Intel Core i7 920
ATI Radeon HD 5970
Corsair 850HX PSU
Creative X-Fi Titanium
Corsair 6Gb DDR3 RAM @ 1333Mhz

all of it running Windows 7 Home Premium x64 in a very nice Cooler Master HAF 932 case.

From day one of using the computer, I have had constant crashing and freezing, both in 2d and 3d usage.

At first, they were only happening in 3d, and would start a hard lockup, requiring the computer to be totally reset. These freezes were solved by correctly setting the RAM timings in the BIOS.

Then, while using the catalyst 9.12 hotfix drivers (the first driver set I installed), I was getting random 2d crashes, where the screen would suddenly be filled with artifacts, and then the screen would go blank, come back and give me the message "ATI Display Driver has stopped responding and successfully recovered". This would happen even if I wasn't doing anything at all, and just letting it sit at the desktop. These were solved by manually editing the .xml files for the catalyst profiles, to turn up the idle clock speeds for the card, as they were originally too low to be stable.

When I installed catalyst 10.2, it was complete bliss. No crashes or freezing at all, I could play or do anything I wanted and it would work perfectly. Finally, after months of total frustration, this stupid, stupid graphics card was finally working! However, this was not to last long.

Lured by the extremely high improvements in benchmarks for the games I play, I decided to install catalyst 10.3a. This was a mistake. Now, I get a hard lockup one minute or so into playing ArmA 2. Battlefield Bad Company 2 will crash into colored stripes within 30 seconds of playing. Almost every 3d application freezes the entire computer and requires a reset.

Sometimes, if I fiddle with the Catalyst Control Center settings, I can get some games to work. Sometimes, I can use the same settings, and a game will crash every single time I try it all day, but the next day it will work perfectly with no changes.

These crashes happen at stock graphics card clocks. I only use ATI Overdrive to set the idle clocks higher (but still underclocked) and to set the fan speed higher, because the default fan speed is so slow that the card idles at 50C.

These crashes happen whether my CPU is overclocked or not (default is 2.66ghz, I have it at 3.2).

Neither the card nor the CPU is overheating.

Could it be that my system is unstable because I haven't increased the voltages for the CPU when I overclock? X-Bit labs did a very nice paper on overclocking the 920, and they said that they could take it up to 3.5ghz without adding any voltage, so I highly doubt it.

I haven't tested the RAM with memtest, but I have tried each individual stick by itself and the system booted fine (did not test any applications though). Even then, I doubt it's my RAM, but it's the second most likely cause.

The first most likely cause is that I have a defective graphics card. I got it from HIS, and I could just RMA (they have a one year warranty) and be done with it. I have found users with similar problems by googling and most RMAed the card and said they haven't had a problem since doing so.

I tried uninstalling the graphics drivers, running driver sweeper, and installing 10.2 again. That makes Bad Company 2 work great no matter what settings I use, but ArmA 2 locks up the computer just as it did before.

Could this be caused by the graphics card having a bit too much dust around it? The HAF 932 is a dust magnet, and I haven't cleaned it out recently.

I'm trying to do everything I can to fix this on my end. RMA is the last resort (4 weeks before I get a new card back!). Please help me. I have used Nvidia cards forever, and this is my first ATI card. The performance is great, but the card just doesn't work, the drivers are terrible (however, I knew that one going in), and it's just so frustrating trying to troubleshoot the card.

Please help!
March 25, 2010 12:30:08 AM

I'm no expert but you should clear the fan and the like with compressed air to be thorough. Anyway AMD has just released their stable CCC 10.3 today. Woops HIS still havem't released their own though still stuck on 10.2. I know this might not help but have you tried it except without the sound card?
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March 25, 2010 12:35:33 AM

I just cleared the whole thing with compressed air. Haven't tested any games though. I will try the official 10.3 catalyst, I guess. It might help.

Come to think of it, when I built the PC, I put the sound card in the PCI x1 slot as instructed, but since the 5970 was a double-slot card, the sound card was blocking it from being in the first PCI-E x16 slot. So, I checked the motherboard manual, and it said there was no difference between the first and second PCI-E x16 slot, so I just put the graphics card in the second slot.

Could that be causing the issue?
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March 25, 2010 12:38:24 AM

If your mobo manual says it isn't a problem it shouldn't be, but try taking out the sound card and put the 5970 in the first slot. The reason I don't think its a problem is because the 920 has a total of 36 PCI-e lanes, so that shouldn't be a problem. Install the HIS drivers.
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March 25, 2010 1:18:35 AM

Wouldn't the HIS drivers simply be the same as the 10.2 official's that I have installed now? Or are they different?
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March 25, 2010 1:25:49 AM

HIS mods their driver to make it work on thier hardware. AMD and Nvidia release general drivers that should work for most cards.
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March 25, 2010 1:39:04 AM

Huh, I had no idea. Well then, I guess I'll go back to my driverless system restore point and download HIS' 10.2 and see how it works.

You have been very helpful, thank you very much. I really appreciate it. I'll update on how it's working tomorrow.
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March 25, 2010 2:56:35 PM

Okay, here's the update.

I'm now using the HIS 10.2 catalyst. Now, everything works great if I have ATI Overdrive turned off (thus taking away control of the fan speed), but if I turn it on, most games, such as ArmA 2, freeze just like before.

Could it be that the card is defective, and only able to run when underclocked? Because all that ATI Overdrive is doing is simply forcing the stock clocks (and changing the fan speed).

Basically, I can turn it on, play ArmA 2, get a hard freeze in 15 seconds, reset, turn it off, and play ArmA 2 just fine with no freezing or crashing.

If I didn't say before, the sound doesn't stop when it freezes, just the display. I can move my mouse around the screen for about 10 seconds after it freezes, and then it freezes too. The whole time, the sound is going on as normal.

Any ideas?
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March 25, 2010 3:47:26 PM

Hi there m8. Had the same problem with my XFX 5970 BE.
Download MSI afterburner and give your card a little bit more voltage.
I helped me.
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March 25, 2010 5:34:57 PM

I'm running an Asus P6T, so an MSI app won't help me.

Wouldn't ATI Tray Tools also give me an option to increase the voltage for the card?
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March 25, 2010 8:47:38 PM

Well, now that I look at it, I was being foolish earlier.

MSI Afterburner has nothing to do with my motherboard, just the graphics card. And ATI Tray Tools looks scary. So, I think I'll try MSI Afterburner, increase the voltage for the GPU, and see if I can run at stock clocks. It's kind of silly that I would need a voltage increase to run at stock clocks, but I'm up for trying anything after having so many issues with this card.

UPDATE: I haven't tried increasing the voltages yet, but I just tried running ArmA 2 without Overdrive enabled to see if it would give me the same results as yesterday (worked with it disabled, didn't work with it disabled) and it froze just like before. So no matter what settings I use, it still freezes.
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March 26, 2010 12:16:27 AM

Okay, just tried using MSI Afterburner, I put the voltages at the stock 5870 voltages (1.162v), from the 5970 default (1.05v) and it still froze.

Any other ideas? Should I increase the voltage even more?
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March 26, 2010 12:34:16 AM

Why don't you try to run your entire system at as-is settings without any other tweaks?
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March 26, 2010 3:38:55 AM

If it is only fan speed that you need to use the CCC for then just use MSI Afterburner to adjust the fan speed. Works for me.

I don't want to bring the bearer of bad news, and I also don't want you to take this 100% as it is just what I went through. I got two defective 5970's in a row, this was when they first came out these problems very well may have been fixed.

First one just plain froze during game play, ~30 seconds into the game. I could still hear sound. Returned it. Was a Diamond.

Got a Sapphire 5970, and the card couldn't even make it to the desktop without freezing. Returned.

Got an Asus 5970, and all has worked flawlessly for me so far, that is, with stock clocks and adjusting the fan speed with Afterburner if I was going to be playing an intensive game.

As far as this relating to your issue, if it ONLY freezes when you use Overdrive... it could be a few things. Enabling overdrive, I believe that locks your clocks at 725/1000.. I am not sure if the 5970 automatically downclocks if your temps get too high. Check your temps during game play.

I wouldn't increase the voltage anymore, especially if you don't know what your temps are like.

Do this, will rule out a defective card or not.

Run Furmark, 640x480. Have Afterburner running alongside it so you can monitor temps. See how long you can run Furmark, maybe try with and without the Overdrive settings that appear to make your games crash.

Watch the temps, try increasing the fan speed 100% see if that helps.
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March 26, 2010 5:16:15 PM

Thanks for the suggestions.

In an update above, I said that I repeated my ArmA 2 tests with overdrive and without overdrive, and it froze no matter what. So overdrive being enabled doesn't seem to have any impact, I just had it off on a boot that didn't freeze and confused correlation with causation.

In my first post I said that none of my components are overheating. Max during load is 75-80C, idles at 35-40C.

And while I appreciate the suggestion, I'm not running furmark on a dual gpu card. That thing can run temps up to 120C.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if this is a defective card. Especially with ATI having to bin for chips in order to meet the power consumption levels. What I don't understand is that on some boots it seems to work, and on others it doesn't.

Here's what's next on my todo list. Right now, I'm running HIS Catalyst 10.2 with everything at default. No other tweaks except for CPU being run at 3.2ghz, and because of the odd BCLK, the RAM is underclocked a bit.

#1: turn off all mods for ArmA and other games
#2: reset BIOS settings relating to overclocking back to default/auto

I'm trying to backtrack what it is I had changed after it was working fine. I haven't tested everything yet, but only a few applications are freezing, not all of them. I did not have ArmA mods when it was working fine, so they could be causing an issue, at least with that particular game. Even though it worked before when I had it overclocked (even to 3.5ghz), I'll try setting everything back to auto/default.

I'm going to go ahead and test every game I have installed, with the ones that are prone to crashing last. If some games work fine no matter what and other don't, than that tells me it's a software problem with those specific games.

I've heard some reports that people with similar issues are getting hard drive problems because of the constant resetting of the computer. I know that there is some sort of Windows utility that is supposed to fix hard drive errors, but I never had to use it on any of my previous computers. What that's utility called, and how can I use it to know if I have any bad sectors on my hard drive?

Also, I set a system restore point after I had uninstalled my graphics drivers and used driver sweeper. Whenever I restore back to that point (in order to use a different set of drivers), I have to run driver sweeper again because there are some files left over that system restore doesn't remove. Is this a problem? Does system restore not get rid of the actual drivers? Is it safe to use system restore in this way?

Eh, now I'm getting paranoid. Better safe than sorry, though.
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March 26, 2010 6:02:37 PM

Go to my computer or just computer and right click the hard drive. Under tools there is a utility called error-checking, start it tell it to scan and try to recover sectors and restart the PC. For system restore it's fine it restores practically everything except for documents.
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March 26, 2010 9:49:41 PM

Okay, ran chkdsk, didn't get to see if there were any errors (went out to eat because I calculated it would take 2 and a half hours to get through my 1TB drive), but the system was booted to the desktop when I got back, so I assume there were no issues.

Reinstalling ArmA 2 at the moment. I found a possible cause for the freezing, at least in that particular game. Based on a setting I had edited while trying to optimize it for my computer, it was detecting that I had more VRAM than the 2GB I actually have. Reinstalling will redetect the correct values, and, if I'm correct, will stop the freezing.

Update: Just tried running Bad Company 2, which was previously working fine on any setting. Got a black screen crash within 30 seconds, with Overdrive enabled and Catalyst AI disabled.
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March 27, 2010 12:21:15 AM

Damn with all these problems I would agree with Jamrock and RMA the card. Otherwise reinstall this game too.
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March 27, 2010 1:08:56 AM

Okay, here's what I did. Didn't use the restore point, uninstalled the graphics drivers, then uninstalled the leftover drivers in the device manager, let windows find it's own general drivers, ran driver sweeper, and installed the brand new 10.3b hotfix drivers from ATI. Ran Bad Company 2, no problems at any setting. Haven't tried ArmA 2 yet, but I'm liking what I'm seeing.

Update: Scratch that last win. Just rebooted, tried the same settings, crashed to a black screen and had to reset. I'm going to RMA this card in a day or two.

What's the proper procedure, driver/software-wise, for replacing a card with another card? Should I clear out all of the drivers, then take out the card, so that the computer will be driver-less when the new one arrives?
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March 27, 2010 1:48:54 AM

Run Driver Cleaner, then take out card and hope the next card isn't bad too. I bet TSMC is getting swamped with the request for new cards and replacements.
http://downloads.guru3d.com/Guru3D---Driver-Sweeper-(Setup)_d1655.html
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March 28, 2010 1:57:32 AM

Okay, just ran into some new information. Not going to RMA just yet.

Still haven't reinstalled ArmA 2 yet, but I'm looking at some hidden settings in BC2 that might've been changed by the latest patch. This could be causing the blackscreen/coloredstripes freezing I was getting. Still, it's ridiculous that some random setting makes my graphics card act like it was shipped off in the middle of getting wired, but, hey, anything is worth trying at this point.

I'm going to test out Modern Warfare 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, and Company of Heroes as well, and see if I'm getting any of the same problems. Previously, I didn't, but also, I didn't previously get any problems with ArmA or Bad Company either.

Update:

It doesn't matter whether Catalyst AI is enabled or disabled, turning Overdrive on will cause Bad Company 2 to freeze no matter what. I haven't tested this in other games, but it's now a definite. However, this was not the case before. Either the latest patch, or some other thing I did is causing it to do this, but it wasn't doing this two weeks ago.
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March 28, 2010 2:41:10 AM

Did you go to Microsoft and download the latest DirectX runtimes. The latest ones the ones from early this year.
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March 28, 2010 3:28:56 AM

Runtimes, or redist?
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March 28, 2010 1:05:37 PM

Runtime, redist is for developers. The DirectX package upgrades the entire DirectX library for DX9 I think, there is an update that upgrades Vista to the DirectX 11 library, not sure if you absolutely need it though.
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Anonymous
May 5, 2010 10:09:43 PM

Duckmeister said:
Okay, here's the update.

I'm now using the HIS 10.2 catalyst. Now, everything works great if I have ATI Overdrive turned off (thus taking away control of the fan speed), but if I turn it on, most games, such as ArmA 2, freeze just like before.

Could it be that the card is defective, and only able to run when underclocked? Because all that ATI Overdrive is doing is simply forcing the stock clocks (and changing the fan speed).

Basically, I can turn it on, play ArmA 2, get a hard freeze in 15 seconds, reset, turn it off, and play ArmA 2 just fine with no freezing or crashing.

If I didn't say before, the sound doesn't stop when it freezes, just the display. I can move my mouse around the screen for about 10 seconds after it freezes, and then it freezes too. The whole time, the sound is going on as normal.

Any ideas?




just wanted to say i had bought a xfx black edition 5970 and from the moment i had installed it and after trying multipule drivers i had amazing amount of artifacting on 2d so after looking on forums youll read to increase core clock and memory speed.but also games would freeze up sometimes instantly when i started them or some times could be a hour in.had enough of the issues sent it back to new egg.so this friday i picked up the sapphire 5970 regular edition.tried the new 10.4 drivers and 2d application was perfect so got excited that this cards going to work.but minute game started instant freezing.so i rolled back to 10.3 drivers 2d perfect games ran fine was like awesome finally.but of course it started games started to freeze up to the point had to reset computer every time.so tried older drivers then them and same results games work some times and other times instant freezing so again sick of this *** sent it back today.i had a diamond hd 5870 before i decided to try the 5970 line and never never had any kind of issues with the card.i have good computer antec 1200 quatro i7 920 all cutting edge parts solid build so ii comes down to this either somethings wrong with the 5970 line or driver issues with the dual gpu
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May 6, 2010 3:03:57 PM

this scares me from getting a 5970 xD
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Anonymous
May 11, 2010 2:02:01 PM

Hey, I had an XFX BE 5970. Darn thing Froze in Windows 7 64-Bit, on the desktop and even in games. I'd either get a heap of short verticle lines on the screen with a black background, or just a plain black backgroung. System would then reboot on its own. Re-installed the O/s at least 5 times with the most basic of vanilla builds (only my EVGA x58 mobo drivers & Catylist 10.3). Even built o/s without mobo drivers and still issues. To me seems to have been related to drivers because issues appeared after installing CCC. Tried older versions of CCC...all the same. Even when it did work for short periods, within Crysis i'd get extremely late pop-up of rocks/plants. For $900 odd dollars (AUS) this ain't what I expected. Gave up after 7 days, took it back to the store and going back with nVidia. Never had an issue with my GTX295 - with EXACT same hardware as I'm using with the 5970. My new EVGA GTX 480 arrives tomorrow - you beauty. As an FYI, my system specs are : i7 920, EVGA X58 Classified, Corsair Dominator 7-7-7-20 6gb 1600mhz, Enermax Evolution 1050 Watt PSU, 1 x 300gb Velociraptor, 2 x 1TB WD Blacks, Dell 23" Monitor and using DVI connector. Sorry ATI - fix your drivers up for the 5970 before gaining any respect from me. 7 days of hell.
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Anonymous
June 1, 2010 8:39:22 PM

same *** here ... ATI sux at support ... Maybe has the fastest card, but poor support, so if u aint lucky to get working one on 100% than u r scruwed .... i hope but dont think so, that there is any way to download specific driver, then set it corectly in Catalysm and it will work. I guess i will just return it and hope to get the rite one ... Btw was having problem on win7 64bit and now on XP 64bit ... For example COD4, gets fps drop every 5 secs like heart beating for about 3 minutes, then it goes off.. but still its not rite. Or VLC player gets lags ...
BTW my spec:
XP 64bit
Asus maximus 3 formula
Coolmaster SilentProM850W
4x 2Gb ram
EAH5970
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September 16, 2010 8:22:42 PM

Just wanted to give an update after so many months. After using driver sweeper, I have not had ANY of the problems I used to.

Driver sweeper did the trick, and the only problem I've ever had since using it was some BSOD's that were solved by uninstalling the rollback drivers from the Device Manager and THEN running driver sweeper.

The cause of the ArmA 2 freeze was that I had installed it in regular Program Files, not Program Files (x86), and the game is a 32-bit application. Apparently, something about that was causing everything to freeze. A quick reinstall of it in the x86 Program Files and everything is working fine.

I am currently using Catalyst 10.8 with absolutely no issues on all my games. Thanks to everyone for all of their help, and I never needed to RMA my 5970!
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September 17, 2010 8:36:28 PM

Best answer selected by Duckmeister.
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September 17, 2010 8:41:06 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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