Crash issue with MSI R6850

Hi folks, I find myself in a frustrating situation, tried posting in another section without reply, so will repost in the ATI section to perhaps give it another go.

I just purchased a new setup after many years of gaming at or below minimum spec, and am now getting hard crashes in 2 of the 3 games I have re-installed after about 5-30 minutes of play time. No crashes in any other respect, doing anything else (photoshop, web surfing, editing/watching 1080p MKV files, etc).

I have tried various driver configurations old and new for my Audio and GPU, a boot cd with Memtest, SMART self tests, all with no errors found. Temperatures also seem to not be an issue.

Unfortunately my mainboard BIOS and GPU BIOS don't appear to have upgrades that I can find. I tried running the games with forced DX9 in the shortcuts, administrator mode, backwards compatible to win2k and XP SP2, lower resolutions/graphics settings, and it all still crashed eventually.

The good news is, under-clocking my video card seems to have resolved the issue entirely under any graphic or OS setting. I was able to run GTA4 and Two Worlds II for many hours of fun crash-free. The third game I tried, Venetica, has oddly never crashed under any setting ever.

The video card I have is a MSI R6850 Radeon. Running the GPU clock at 750MHz instead of the default 820, and the memory at 1005 MHz instead of stock 1100 lets me play for hours and hours without fail even at high game settings.

So I'm a bit up in the air. Here's what I figure so far:

- the card is fine, but is somehow is causing a conflict with the rest of my new system at default settings.
- or the card merely needs a Bios flash - is there one I can use from another source (crosses fingers).
- The card is defective and a replacement will fix everything. I bought all my parts at newegg, they're pretty friendly about that sort of thing.
- Something else obvious because I'm kinda stupid when it comes to hardware?

Here's a copy of my Gpu-z/cpu-z tabs if it helps

my dxdiag:

Other possibly helpful stuff:

OS: Win7 64 pro and XP sp3 dual boot (crashes under both)
ASRock K10N78D AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA nForce 720D ATX AMD Motherboard
MSI R6850-PM2D1GD5 Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16
AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ940XCJ4DGI - OEM (running at 3300 MHZ)
2 set of [ PQI TURBO 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model PQI26400-2GDB ] for 4 GB Total.
Rosewill RV2-700 700W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V SLI Ready Power Supply
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache
+ 2 older hard drives (See DXdiag)
XIGMATEK LOKI SD963 92mm HYPRO Bearing CPU Cooler
Rosewill DESTROYER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Any help would be very much appreciated!
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  1. Best answer
    Hi, the solution you found (underclocking) is the same as the guys over here in this thread I started over at AMD forums:

    I tried everything, from deleting the games I had problems with (Crysis, Warhead, and GTA 4: Episodes from Liberty City), reinstalling, deleting cache files and profiles, driver sweeper, ccleaner, ati twlcleaner for the drivers, tried Catalyst 10.10, 10.10d, 10.10e, 10.11 (leaked beta with HD6xxx support), and 10.12; tried many driver quality adjustments, in-game adjustments, updated BIOS, chipset drivers, etc, but the only thing that worked was underclocking.

    Personally, I had a standard card, with reference clocks; the solution was to keep the GPU as it was, and just lower the ram from 1000 to 900.

    One or two users with an overclocked card found that by lowering the RAM from the 1050 (or was it 1100 ?) to the reference 1000 solved the problem.

    Another guy said he solved the problem by increasing the load voltage to 1.2v instead of the reference 1.15v. I didn't try this because I didn't want to run the card above specification (and possibly lose the warranty), another guy did and it made the situation worse, so... either way, messing with voltages, or even underclocking is not a solution. You bought a card with certain specifications, running them at lower specs is not what you bought.

    I had many other problems with this card, including the (in)famous and very annoying corrupted mouse pointer bug (that catalyst 10.12 said in the release notes was solved but it wasn't), several games would make the image not fit the screen properly (I had to do press the auto image adjustment on my monitor, and it still wouldn't be completely right); 10.10e even conflicted with youtube videos where the video would stop halfway and wouldn't go on, even if I reloaded the video.

    After countless hours, days and weeks (bought the card right at the beginning) of troubleshooting, starting a thread over at the AMD forum, submitting 2 surveys to AMD driver crew and 1 personalized ticket more than a week ago (almost two), and still no feedback as to the possible cause (driver ? hardware ?), I went back to the store and managed to switch to a GTX 460 1GB.

    All the problems I had are gone! (although only the 258.96 drivers are completely fine with me - incidentally these are the drivers that Windows 7 downloads and installs by default - and for good reason, at least to me they are the best. Note however that with other Nvidia driver versions, under no circumstances did I have the same problems as with ATI.).
  2. Wow, thank you so much for the reply. MSI was no help either, telling me to update to 10.11 drivers which don't even support 6800 series.

    I have exchanged the card for a gigabyte 6850, which I have installed tonight and not tested in a game yet. If it crashes then I know for sure it's not my systems fault and there's nothing I do but either wait for bios/driver fix or RMA it for an Nvidia.
  3. Just as an update for anyone with this issue searching the forum, my second HD6850 had similar issues. It has been tracked down to a under-performing memory voltage resistor some 6850's have issue with. I have since RMA'd the 2nd card for a 6870 which I anticipate won't have any issues *knock on wood.*

    edit: after 3 days of gaming at ultra settings, including crysis paradise lost lvl and farcry 2, not a single crash on the 6870. I'm convinced the 1600mv instead of 1400mv voltage resistor was the issue with both my previous 6850's.
  4. Best answer selected by DigitalSignalX.
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