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HD5970 Nightmare

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 10, 2010 5:59:25 AM

*Warning* Wall o' Text *Warning*

Alright, here it is. I've had my computer for a little over a month now. I purchased it through Alienware and these are my system specs; Alienware Aurora, i7-920 @ 2.67, HD5970, 9GB ram @ 1333, 10k 300GB HDD, 875W PSU, and it is running on Windows 7. Ever since the first day I started gaming on it I've encountered a somewhat annoying, and increasingly frustrating, problem. Well I'm about to just light the damn thing on fire because between a few of my posts on here and correspondence with the Alienware tech support I've still failed to resolve the issue.

What's wrong? Well I don't know. All I know is that while in game (World of Warcraft) the system will decide to lock up randomly. The most typical lock up involves the computer freezing and becoming completely unresponsive. The screen will just freeze on a still image of whatever was happening at the time, and the mouse will not move. I cannot alt tab, ctrl alt delete, alt f4, or use any other sort of escape method. Then there are more unique lock ups. A few of them include; locking up entirely with a strange noise coming from the speakers, locking up and displaying a strange pattern on the screen such as vertical stripes, or a "not responding" tag on WoW in which the computer is still responsive but just WoW has locked up. Now I've also started playing Crysis recently to test my computer's ability, and I'd like to say I'm fairly disappointed. I'm not sure if this has to do with whatever issue I'm encountering, but I play the game on "Very High" settings and I experience some noticeable frame rate drops in graphically intense situations. The game looks gorgeous, but I thought that with my system specs I should be able to play a 3 year old game a little bit smoother than it is. I suppose it's also worth mentioning that I've logged my GPU getting up to 92C while playing Crysis, which somewhat worries me. I cannot, however, think of any instances where Crysis has crashed or locked my computer up.

What I've tried so far to solve the problem? The first thing I did was call Alienware Tech Support. I explained my problem to them in detail and told them I was concerned. His solution was simple. He said they have been recieving quite a few calls about the HD5000 series cards, and that it is not the drivers, it is a power issue. His solution involved me plugging my computer into the wall, rather than a surge protector, because the power strip was "bottlenecking" the voltage and causing my card to recieve power fluctuations. Supposedly the HD5000 series cards are very picky about power consumption. I did this with a sigh of relief, thinking "That sure was easy!". Wrong. No more than a day later, while in WoW, the lock ups persisted. Now I was getting frustrated and found Tom's Hardware as a very friendly hub for computer questions. After going back and forth with a few people, I was told it could possibly be the drivers. "Of course!", I said. So just yesterday, after experiencing yet another lock up, I went ahead and uninstalled my display adapter. I then ran Driver Sweeper, restarted my computer, and Windows automatically installed the drivers I had recently downloaded. I then restarted again, and went along my daily business of browsing the internet and playing WoW. I had thought that solved the problem, but of course later that night, another lock up. So now I really don't know what to do. The only thing I can think of is it is the WoW files itself. This doesn't really make sense to me though, seeing as how even though the lock ups are strictly in WoW, they range from all different areas, actions, and I've even had a lock up at the log in screen.

Really I just need help...I invested quite a bit into this computer and it's falling quite short of my expectations. I will reinstall WoW and see if that solves my problems, but in the meanwhile I was wondering if anyone has any advice? Here are some questions I need help on.

1. Why is it locking up?

2. Is 92C alarmingly high? Or expected.

3. How can I improve performance while playing Crysis? Would overclocking my CPU do the trick?

Thank you all so much in advance. I feel like if I was going to find an answer it would be on behalf of all the very capable minds here at Tom's Hardware. Also if you have any answers or suggestions for me that I didn't explicitly point out or ask for, I would very much appreciate that as well.

More about : hd5970 nightmare

April 10, 2010 6:29:30 AM

It may be the video card. It also may be memory problems. Run memtest and prime. Also monitor your cpu temperatures. Install latest drivers for your video card (uninstall previous drivers and run driversweeper befor installing the new ones). It also may be that the PSU may be failing. Run memtest and prime first though.
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April 10, 2010 7:50:03 AM

Alienware --- warranty.... Send it back for repair
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April 10, 2010 8:06:08 AM

Xridica said:
His solution involved me plugging my computer into the wall, rather than a surge protector, because the power strip was "bottlenecking" the voltage and causing my card to recieve power fluctuations.

That's the advice you get for dropping mondo cash on an Alienware computer? You should've told him to come over so you can plug it into his arse and see if that works.

Here are some 5970 WOW threads I found. Not sure if any of these will help though:

http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=313754

http://forums.amd.com/game/messageview.cfm?catid=229&th...
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April 10, 2010 8:11:21 AM

I've ran the Intel Extreme Tuning diagnostics to test the CPU and memory and both tests came back fine. I honestly thought it was the memory at first, but I've had memory issues with past computers and this doesn't strike me as one. I purchased this computer because my last one had critical memory issues and because it was very out dated. When I had memory issues in the past while running WoW the application would simply close out and I'd get a message saying "Fatal Read Error". I've yet to get one of those. In the Windows Solution Center it has been flagging the lock ups as "ATI Display Driver" problems. I don't see how this is right, though. Simply because I uninstalled, ran Driver Sweeper, and reinstalled just the other day and I've still had it lock up since then.

The most confusing part, which I pointed out in my original post, is that my computer has yet to lock up at all while running Crysis, which is a far more demanding game. The only thing that concerns me about Crysis is that my GPU core temp has spiked to 92C while playing and it doesn't run as smoothly as I had hoped.

As for my CPU temps, it gets to about 60-63C while playing WoW or Crysis. I'm not sure whether that is high or not, I would hope not considering my CPU is liquid cooled via the Alienware liquid cooling. I don't see why, given similar temps, it would lock up in WoW and not Crysis, though.

Like I said I plan on reinstalling World of Warcraft, but I'm not sold on whether that would fix it or not. Windows is flagging the error as a Display Driver issue, and I'm not sure if that's what it would report in response to a failure in WoW due to corrupt game files.

I have been considering calling Alienware and sending it in for a full work up, but I'd hate to lose the computer for a week or more if it's something that I could fix myself.
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April 10, 2010 8:22:05 AM

offender_mullet said:
That's the advice you get for dropping mondo cash on an Alienware computer? You should've told him to come over so you can plug it into his arse and see if that works.

Here are some 5970 WOW threads I found. Not sure if any of these will help though:

http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=313754

http://forums.amd.com/game/messageview.cfm?catid=229&th...


Hrmm. The second link was actually very interesting. There seems to be quite a few people having issues with WoW, but only because the game is not designed to handle multi-core GPU/CPU hardware. I suppose that could easily be the problem, but that still leaves me without a solution, :( . From what I read the majority of the people that were having lock up issues ran with both an HD5970 and an i7. This is very frustrating, -.-.
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April 10, 2010 8:25:05 AM

Also, poster of the second thread said he's getting ~60C temps while playing WoW and Crysis. Why is my GPU running so hot, :( ? I read a review that puts the HD5970 load temp @ ~85C, but I feel like I'm the only person actually hitting those temps, and occasionally going beyond them.
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April 10, 2010 9:15:57 AM

please,leave as a photo of your case... inside of course..... to see where is what
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April 10, 2010 1:37:03 PM

Surge protector don't bottleneck voltage. There is no such thing.
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April 13, 2010 2:14:39 PM

I definitely think there is something buggy in the ATI 10.3 drivers. I have been using my system with Geforce drivers for a year on all sorts of overclocking, benchmarking and games and it was stable... but not fast enough...

Then I got a new Saphire 5970 on Sunday and in the last 3 days the display driver has locked up and crashed in various previously rock solid stable software at least 6 or 7 times.

I got lock-ups, weird glitching (like extreme overclock glitching even though i am running stock speed) on Heaven 2 bench (hang/lockup when changing to wireframe mode), Alien vs Predator while changing display settings (works fine after restarting program), 3DMark06 (started with an "overclock looking" glitching mess - pressed escape and it hung machine - had to hard reboot - haven't retried this)... can't remember the rest...

Each times Windows 7 said "The display adapter stopped responding and has recovered"

The weird thing is these seem to be random crashes - you re-run something and it works second time.

When it works, it works amazingly (AvP, Vantage, Dirt 2) - i just don't like how unstable it appears...

________________________________________________________________________________________
Intel Core-i7 920 3GHz, Coolermaster V10 CPU cooler, ASUS Rampage II Extreme, Sapphire HD5970 2Gb, 6Gb Corsair Dominator GT 7-8-7-20 2000Mhz, Coolermaster HAF 932 case, 800W Tagan Piperock modular.
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April 18, 2010 3:09:25 AM

I have exactly the same issueswith an I7 and with a 5970--first i would get a screen freeze--where i would have to shut off the computer power and reboot; now with the last patch it will spontaneously enter the "power saving mode" even with the updated graphics drivers. I have a call out to Falcon Northwest, but im not sure they will be able to help. Its unfortunate and embarrasing when you DC like 5 times in 45 minutes in a 25 man raid, especially after I was stupid enough to brag about the new computer I got. How FRUSTRATING!!!--at least im not the only one with the same problem.
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April 20, 2010 6:21:46 AM

That sounds nearly identical to the issues I am having. I know in Crysis when I change the graphics settings and go to load a saved game, it loads into a black screen. Then if I restart the program it typically works. I'm still having the random lock ups in WoW on a day by day basis. Each time it says "Video Driver Error". So is everyone thinking there is some sort of glitching in the driver? I think I've noticed some sort of an in game example of your strange overclocking glitching. In game performance tends to vary slightly for me. Whether it's the FPS or just the overall sharpness/appearance of in game objects. I could just be paranoid when it comes to the later statement, but I know my card has jumped to 92C while playing Crysis, and I don't think it should be reaching that at stock speeds.
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April 22, 2010 9:33:15 AM

This will be the bane of my computer existence.
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April 22, 2010 2:00:15 PM

You have to increase your idle clock speeds. Go into CCC and create a profile.
Edit the profile with notepad or something.

Can be found here. Make sure overdrive is enabled for that profile.

C:\Users\*your user name*\AppData\Local\ATI\ACE\Profiles

The sets of numbers represent clock speeds at idle to load. Up the idle speeds to something a lot higher.
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April 22, 2010 6:33:29 PM

I went into Overdrive and I couldnt find the Idle Clock speed adjuster. I did notice that the clocks were set to 725/1000, though. Down where it says current value, though, it says 157/300. So the drivers are downclocking it that much while I'm browsing the internet? Does that seem odd?
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April 22, 2010 6:41:35 PM

Thats the default clocks. Follow my previous instructions to set the idle clocks. You can't do it in CCC. Instead you have to edit a text file.
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April 22, 2010 6:55:38 PM

The problem is really frustrating but the support ( idea ) you got was concerning.. Anyways, as mentioned above, it could be a memory lockup issue.. How is the 9GB memory arranged..?? If its a 3 x 3GB setup then you can try running you system with one or two of the memory modules removed.. Also patch up WoW to its latest update ( 2.4.0 i believe )...
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April 23, 2010 12:01:44 AM

It's running in 3x 2GB + 3x 1GB. I've heard it's a strange settup, but it was offered through the company. So I don't see why they'd offer a faulty memory arrangement.

Don't the WoW updates happen automatically when you log in?

I'll try adjusting the idle clocks and see what happens.
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April 23, 2010 1:15:37 AM

if you ctrl-alt-del while wow is running BEFORE THE PC LOCKS UP mind you
then you can set what procs. the game runs on set it to only run on one core by unchecking all the three other cores.
see if that works
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April 25, 2010 9:48:43 PM

i have the same problem it driving me mad wow frezes at random times but i think the anser is the 5970
i will test any ideas i kan get hands on till it work. pls help :D 






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April 25, 2010 10:23:19 PM

Emperus said:
The problem is really frustrating but the support ( idea ) you got was concerning.. Anyways, as mentioned above, it could be a memory lockup issue.. How is the 9GB memory arranged..?? If its a 3 x 3GB setup then you can try running you system with one or two of the memory modules removed.. Also patch up WoW to its latest update ( 2.4.0 i believe )...



Holly sh^t you are way out of the loop when it comes to WoW we're in the 3.3.3a days. :lol:  As for memory the error reports for when the client crashes is a sign that there may be a issue with your ram.
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April 25, 2010 10:33:17 PM

Xridica said:
I went into Overdrive and I couldnt find the Idle Clock speed adjuster. I did notice that the clocks were set to 725/1000, though. Down where it says current value, though, it says 157/300. So the drivers are downclocking it that much while I'm browsing the internet? Does that seem odd?

HD 5970 and other HD 5xxx series down clock when you aren't using a 3D app,for me(and some users with a 5970) down-clocking from 725/1000 to 157/300 made many problems so i had to set the 2D clocks to 400/900,try it and it may help you,here is how:

1_Open CCC and choose Overdrive tab,unlock the settings(by clicking on the " Gold Key" icon)
2_Go top options,profile and choose profile manager.
3_In the composition tab,choose "The following settings" and in the "ATI Radeon HD 5900 series"make sure only ATI overdrive is checked.
Then enter a profile name,then save and close it(Do not activate).
4_Go to C:\Users\Your UserName\AppData\Local\ATI\ACE\Profiles (Its hidden so make sure you unlock hidden files and folders)
5_Open the profile with wordpad and do this edits:
<Feature name="CoreClockTarget_0">
<Property name="Want_0" value="40000" /> (default is 15700)

<Feature name="MemoryClockTarget_0">
<Property name="Want_0" value="90000" /> (default is 30000)

and for the second card:

<Feature name="CoreClockTarget_1">
<Property name="Want_0" value="40000" />

<Feature name="MemoryClockTarget_1">
<Property name="Want_0" value="90000" />

Save the changes and close.

6_Open CCC,in options tab go to profiles,profile manager and choose the profile that you saved before and then click on Activate and close.
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June 20, 2010 9:23:47 AM

Xridica said:
That sounds nearly identical to the issues I am having. I know in Crysis when I change the graphics settings and go to load a saved game, it loads into a black screen. Then if I restart the program it typically works. I'm still having the random lock ups in WoW on a day by day basis. Each time it says "Video Driver Error". So is everyone thinking there is some sort of glitching in the driver? I think I've noticed some sort of an in game example of your strange overclocking glitching. In game performance tends to vary slightly for me. Whether it's the FPS or just the overall sharpness/appearance of in game objects. I could just be paranoid when it comes to the later statement, but I know my card has jumped to 92C while playing Crysis, and I don't think it should be reaching that at stock speeds.


Xridica - you are NOT alone. I just received my new Digital Storm pc and I've been having the EXACT same problems with the HD 5970 that you, and a number of other people are having.

I have been trying to receive help from Digital Storm, Electronic Arts, and AMD. So far the only responses I've been getting has been from Digital Storm. EA and AMD will probably take another month or so before I get any response.

This is the Digital Storm forum I'm posting on:
http://www.digitalstormonline.com/forums/forum_posts.as...

I have been going through a myriad of solutions to get the problems fixed to no avail.

However, using benchmarks, such as Furmark and 3dmark06, have resulted in some interesting data about my new, "killer" HD 5970 card. I found that my card can handle 89C temps (maximum) - (minimum was 51C) just fine via Furmark strenuous "Burn" stability testing. So your worries of the card heating up to 92C maybe unfounded. Although, it seems if you can fry an egg on your computer components then you would think the electronics can fry as well. I too, am extremely nervous about these high temps, but I also said that about other cards I've owned over the years, and those cards performed time and again satisfactorily.

Have you found a fix yet? I'm assuming you would post your fix and results if you did. Did you try "Maziar's" suggestion for a fix?

I'm rather hesitant on using fixes like overclocking and downclocking or forcing directx versions. Changing the cards performance outside of GPU driver functions have always got me into other dilemmas and problems in the past. I have found that waiting for the right GPU driver that fixes the vid card bugs gets the job done better. I must admit though, this is the first time where I've experienced a GPU manufacture (AMD) that could not fix a vid card's bugs with any driver they come out with. Even the latest drivers (version 10.6) don't seem to be working for me. I'm wondering if this has anything to do with the fact that there are so few people who were able to purchase the HD 5970 and not enough people complaining about the issues of this card in comparison to the other AMD cards, thereby AMD only responding to the "squeeky wheel" or should I say the "squeekiest wheel". Perhaps, as more "suckers" (at least thats the way I feel about myself at this moment) purchase this card, then theres more of a chance AMD will fix it's bugs through a good driver. I am soooo jealous of those people who have purchased any other AMD vid card besides the 5970, because their systems are not having the same problems as we are. Quite often I get responses to my forum requests for help like, "I'm using the latest ATI driver and I'm not having any problems at all. You must be doing something wrong." And I find these people have 5870 or 4870 cards. NOT EVEN IN tHE SAME BALLPARK!!

Please post any new developments you may have.

Thank you so much for your posts.

"SO MUCH FOR THE FASTEST VID CARD IN THE WORLD!"

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June 27, 2010 4:33:07 AM

My fix? I got the card RMA'd.

Alienware sent a tech out with a brand new 5970 and I haven't had a problem since. Im thinking the HD5970's might have some sort of quality check errors. I had a slight inclination the card was just simply bad because I experience a lock up no more than 2 hours after turning on the game and loading WoW. This was after Alienware had supposedly "stress tested" the components in my rig. If you have some sort of warranty through Digital Storm, just see if you can convince them to replace the card entirely.
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