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It's our old friend amdkmdap come back to visit.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 9, 2010 4:04:08 PM

I hope this thread is in the right place. While my issue seems mostly to be with my graphics cards, I'm also having some other problems that I'm going to talk about as well.

I recently purchased a new computer and it's giving me some trouble to say the least. But before I go through the hassle of getting it RMA'd, I wanted to see if I could possibly fix the problem myself.

Here are the specs:

Processor: Intel Core i7 x980 3.33GHz 3.34GHz
Motherboard: Asus P6T SE with Intel x58 chipset
Memory: 12GB DDR3 RAM 1600
Graphics: Dual ATI Radeon HD 5850 cards
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Power-supply: 800W
My monitor connects to my computer with an HDMI cable, but I use speakers for sound.
The computer idles around 38 - 41 degrees Celsius and gets up to about 59 - 63 degrees when playing a graphically-intense game.
One concern I have is that the dual graphics cards are one on top of the other because of a very short Crossfire bridge. There is another PCI-Express x16 slot that would put the cards farther apart but I would need to get a longer bridge, if they exist. (This is the first computer I've had with Radeon cards instead of Nvidia, not counting my laptop.)

Everything seemed fine while I got everything set up; ZoneAlarm, Windows updates, programs like Winamp and AIM, installing games, etc.

The first thing I noticed was that my computer would sometimes only read 8GB instead of 12GB. This I cannot reproduce with any kind of success. Most of the time it reads 12GB, but sometimes it will only read 8GB. Sometimes a restart fixes the problem, sometimes it doesn't. Right now as I type this it's indicating that I have 12GB, and I know that my motherboard can read up to a maximum of 24GB.

Now, this next problem is the last one that has come up but I'm talking about it now because the main problem takes a lot more explanation. But sometimes Windows 7 does not load on start-up about half-the time. I think the record is having to manually shut down my computer three times before Windows 7 would finally load to the desktop. And each time I would get the "Windows 7 failed to start" prompt where it would ask me to launch a repair utility or start Windows 7 normally. (More on this later.) Sometimes it freezes on the "Starting Windows" screen, sometimes it loads into a black screen, and one time it loaded into a black screen but I still had control of my mouse.

But onto the problem that will take the longest time to explain. I'm going to try to do so categorically for each game I've played, and then talk about some of the fixes I've tried.

The error bubble I get at the bottom right corner of my screen is "Display driver amdkmdap stopped responding and has successfully recovered." Sometimes, 'amdkmdap' just reads as 'AMD' but it's always reported the same in the Event Viewer under Warning, ID 4101.

All games are running at max graphical settings unless indicated otherwise.

Mafia II: Guaranteed to freeze within fifteen minutes. The action on-screen freezes but sound continues as normal. I have to ctrl+alt+delete to get back to the desktop, but if I wait too long I just have to shut down the computer manually.

Final Fantasy XIV Beta: Running at maximum settings except I have Ambient Occlusion and Depth of Field disabled. Freezes anywhere from within the first fifteen minutes to one, maybe even two hours. The action on-screen freezes and the screen goes black or grey (one time it was even a pleasant blue) and then the client crashes to the desktop.

Crysis: Running at maximum settings except I have motion blur disabled and I have to disable Catalyst AI in the CCC to solve a flickering issue. I can run this game no problem and play without worrying about it freezing.

Mass Effect 2: Having logged about twenty hours into this game, the only issue I've had is the computer freezing after launching the game from its desktop icon. The screen goes black as if to load the game but the 'hourglass' (the little green circle that spins in Win7) is there and it isn't spinning. This has only happened twice in the twenty hours I've played. The Event Viewer attributed this problem to the game itself.

World of Warcraft: It ran fine, and then there was a period of about three hours where it would freeze momentarily, give me the amdkmdap issue and the screen would go grey, and then the game would run as normal. During this three-hour period it would happen about once an hour. Since that time, I've been playing anywhere from two to five hours a day with no problem.

Dead Space: I played this game from start to finish and only once did the action freeze, give me the amdkmdap error, and then continue as normal.

Playing older games like Fallout, Planescape, Baldur's Gate, etc. give me no issues whatsoever.

So it seems to me that the higher the system requirements for running a game, the higher the chance of getting the error. I am running version 10.8 of CCC currently, but I've tried using 10.6, 10.1, disabling Catalyst AI, disabling Crossfire, all to no avail.

At one point I was removing all my ATI drivers in Safe Mode with a combination of the Windows uninstall features and Driver Sweeper and upon restart, Windows 7 tried to install generic VGA drivers all on its own and I ended up getting a BSOD. The computer would restart, try to start Windows, and then blue-screen in an endless cycle.

Eventually, even if Windows 7 did start, sometimes things would chug very slowly on the desktop. Trying to open the Start menu, Firefox, CCC or anything else would take a long time and it would almost seem like the computer had frozen. And sometimes the 'welcome' screen would chug, with the 'hourglass' barely able to rotate properly. That was the first time I decided to format my 80GB SSD.

I've tried formatting and doing a clean install of Windows 7 and all ATI drivers and that hasn't done the trick.

At one point when Windows failed to start I did decide to launch the repair utility. It performed a kind of system restore it looked like, saying something was wrong with the Boot Manager, and everything seemed normal. Then I restarted and Windows 7 would only run with the Windows Classic theme, the sound wouldn't work, and there was no internet connection to speak of.

So there are my issues; computer not always reading all the RAM installed, Windows 7 reliably not starting, the amdkmdap error. There are so many things going wrong that I'm not sure where to begin.

I've supplied all of the information I could think to offer, but if I failed to give some vital piece of information let me know and I will be sure to give it.
September 9, 2010 4:45:13 PM

Well, to start, the first problem regarding memory could very well be causing the rest of the problems. I would definitely test it, both with the Win 7 built-in test, as well as Memtest86+ ( http://www.memtest.org/ ) and proceed from there accordingly.

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September 9, 2010 4:52:22 PM

Agreed with RazberyBandit. From what you have written it is very possible that your memory is faulty and causing your boot errors. If you can't boot at all you may have a bad Stick of memory that your system was trying to write to but unsuccessfully. Try memtest and see what errors you get if any.
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September 9, 2010 4:55:17 PM

One of my 8800 GTS 512mbs died again. It would make it so that windows only booted successfully, maybe ~70% of the time. I didn't know a GPU could cause that, but we are always learning. Anyway, I pop it out and use my master card as my only card and everything is happiness, smiles, and mediocre framerate...

If it were not for my personal experience, I would be completely worried about your RAM and maybe your power supply. Check those.

Hope this helps.
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September 12, 2010 8:41:08 PM

Okay, update time. Thank you for the help so far.

First a couple of things I forgot to mention. Another game that I had no trouble running at all was Far Cry 2. Ran perfectly except it would sometimes freeze on start-up like Mass Effect 2. And another problem I had was that sometimes after Windows 7 shut down, the computer would not automatically turn off and I would have to do it myself.

But onto what I've tried, and there are some positive results.

Windows Memory Diagnostic turned up no problems, and the memtest turned up no problems. However, I only ran the memtest for six hours so I was thinking about running it again tonight and letting it go longer.

I also tried taking out one of my graphics cards. I still got the amdkmdap error. I then replaced the one still inside with the one that I took out and I was able to play the games that were guaranteed to freeze (FFXIV Beta and especially Mafia 2) until I got tired of playing them. Both games ran maximum settings with no problems. So I think I've gotten that issue sorted; something is wrong with that graphics card.

Along with that, Windows has started and shut down like it's supposed to every time. I tested it a lot, turning it off and on several times and just turning it off even if I was leaving my computer for the smallest thing like getting a drink from the kitchen.

But an issue I'm still having is with the RAM, one reason why I want to run the test again. It sometimes only reads 8GB, though a restart usually fixes this on the occasion that it happens. While I was running the memtest I noticed something like 8-8-8-20. I don't really know how to read things like that, but in the reading I've done I've only ever seen 9-9-9-24 or something like that. Could that be an issue?

Also I was wondering about the way the graphics cards were stacked in the computer when they were both inside. The fan on the original card that was on top (the one that I believe is malfunctioning) was kind of stuck between the top card and the card below it because the Crossfire bridge was bent close. Could that have caused a heating problem that could lead to the top card failing?

Okay, so to sum up ..

Solved (seemingly, I probably won't breathe easily until a couple more days have passed): amdkmdap errors, windows not starting, computer not turning off after shutdown.

Still an issue: Sometimes only detecting 8GB of RAM instead of 12GB.
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September 12, 2010 11:16:12 PM

8-8-8-20 and 9-9-9-24 are DDR3 memory timings, which are set within the BIOS, either to their default SPD setting, or manually by a user.

It's possible some of what you're experiencing with FFXIV and Mafia 2 is pretty much the usual CrossFire and Catalyst driver issues that often accompany beta and newly released game titles. However, given that you still ran into problems while the other card was the only one installed, it's more likely the card itself.

And yes. With your CrossFire bridge preventing one card's fan from working properly while they were already tightly stacked, you've probably found the culprit of that card's woes. Both factors can easily contribute to card failure, and combined it's even more likely.

As for the RAM issue, I'm not sure what could be causing an inaccurate count. One thing you may want to do is test each DIMM individually, rather than the whole kit at once. (This is a 3 x 4GB matched kit, right? If not, that could be a problem.) Two full passes of each Memtest86+ test is usually sufficient.
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September 12, 2010 11:25:26 PM

If this computer was shipped to you , even if it wasn't. You might want to try and reseat all your ram sticks. note what is where, and maybe switch them up ?
Anyways, the many gold fingers in there can sometimes not contact completely on both sides from multiple reasons.
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