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System Crashes & Graphics Artifacts

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January 2, 2011 11:03:24 PM

So a little while back I started a topic about my system making whistling noises and crashing at high FPSes (you can find it here: Squealing/Whistling Noise + Crash at High FPS). I couldn't find a solution but I thought my problems were over when XFX agreed to an RMA. For easier reading, here are the facts:

- Since the problem started I have now RMA'd my power supply AND my graphics card.

- I just received the replacement graphics card today and experienced the same crashes (crashes during the 3D video benchmark test of a program called PC Matic, and crashes before I can even reach the main menu of The Witcher: Enhanced Edition).

- I'm also noticing a fair amount of what look kind of like dead pixels, as they're either white or light green in color, except that they move around so it's not the monitor. Sometimes I can't seen them and other times they're all over the place.

- The whistling I mentioned in the previous thread is gone, so that was definitely an issue with the card i sent in, but it may or may have been causing the artifacts and/or crashes.

- XFX tested the 5870 I sent in declared it as defective so it definitely had SOME problem...

- Before the replacement came I was using an 8400 GS which had no issues at all (other than being terribly weak). I've also used a GTS 250 in this system with no issues.

- When I noticed this card having issues I did clean install of Windows so I could be certain the issues weren't caused by conflict with leftover nvidia driver files.

I find it hard to believe that XFX would send me a broken replacement, but if it's not the issue then I'm at a loss...would greatly appreciate any advice.
January 3, 2011 1:02:12 AM

On a whim I googled "ati white dots" and actually found a solution to the white dots... It involves enabling ATI Overdrive, creating a profile, and then editing the profile to up the idle core clock from 157 to 200 MHz and the idle memory clock from 300 to 500 MHz. I did that, and voila, the dots are gone... For that to work, either XFX or ATI are retarded...not sure which...haven't had a chance to see if games are still crashing yet...will update soon...

UPDATE: Did NOT fix the crashes. Just crashed during the intro video in Crysis that plays when you start a new game.
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January 3, 2011 3:02:01 AM

Have you tried the card in another computer?
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January 3, 2011 3:15:59 AM

Tamz_msc said:
Have you tried the card in another computer?


Yes, when I put the GTS 250 in my system I put the 5870 in the other system...and both worked fine.
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January 3, 2011 4:04:48 AM

Have you made sure that all NVIDIA drivers and related files have been cleaned form your system?
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January 3, 2011 4:12:58 AM

Tamz_msc said:
Have you made sure that all NVIDIA drivers and related files have been cleaned form your system?


Yeah, I backed up my documents and music, wiped the whole hard drive and then reinstalled Windows.
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January 3, 2011 4:21:22 AM

I would check the RAM for defects.
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January 3, 2011 12:47:55 PM

Tamz_msc said:
I would check the RAM for defects.


Do you know of a good program or boot disc that would be able to scan my hardware?
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January 3, 2011 1:34:24 PM

Use memtest86+ to test your system ram. Just put it on a USB drive and boot to it, or a CD and do the same. Pretty simple to use: http://www.memtest.org/
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January 3, 2011 1:56:09 PM

Pallimud said:
Use memtest86+ to test your system ram. Just put it on a USB drive and boot to it, or a CD and do the same. Pretty simple to use: http://www.memtest.org/


Yeah, I actually remembered I had a memtest boot cd lying around...ran it, no errors.
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January 3, 2011 6:03:43 PM

Is your PSU new? Maybe it is not giving enough power?
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January 3, 2011 6:10:31 PM

Could be a PSU issue. What is the wattage and brand?

Is it still the coolermaster 650? Do you have the model number?

You could also try if you have another PSU (either from another system or a spare) to put it in to see if the problem still exists.
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January 3, 2011 7:07:38 PM

Snipergod87 said:
Could be a PSU issue. What is the wattage and brand?

Is it still the coolermaster 650? Do you have the model number?

You could also try if you have another PSU (either from another system or a spare) to put it in to see if the problem still exists.


The power supply is an OCZ GameXstream 850W, which I actually RMA'd when this all started because I thought IT was the issue, but nothing changed.
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January 3, 2011 7:58:54 PM

If the card is working in the other system then I venture that it isn't the card but something else.

Have you tried the new CCC? It fixed some issues I was having with my 6850, maybe it will help you.

Is the temperature of the card getting too high? Maybe ventilation issue?

Going down the list...

PSU - good
RAM - good
HDD - assuming fine
GPU - good
MOBO - maybe flawed?
CPU - assuming fine

So, if it is a hardware issue, it seems like the only other thing could be an issue with your motherboard. Maybe a compatibility issue since the Nvidia card was working on your PCI-E port.

If it is software, then it could be the drivers.

Just seems very strange, I'd say XFX sent you a bad one again, but if it works in another system, that wouldn't likely be the case.
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January 4, 2011 9:04:27 PM

Firstly, I guess the whistling ISN'T entirely gone since I heard it again in Crysis when the framerates went over 4000 fps in the intro videos. Also Beyond Good + Evil - a 7 year old game with distressingly bad graphics - also seemed to run just fine so I went in with Fraps to check the framerate and noticed it was locked at 60fps...as is Mass Effect 2, and Modern Warfare 2 locks the opening videos and menus at 60fps. I tried to force Vsync on through CCC but it didn't effect Crysis OR Witcher. Crysis was at 4000+ fps for the opening vids and 2000+ fps for the menu until I enabled Vsync in-game which locked the fps for the videos and menus at 60fps and fixed the crashing for that game (also, I was wrong, after the clock fix the game crashed immediately AFTER the level finished loading which is when the frame rate jumps back up again). Since I couldn`t find a way to force vsync in The Witcher I used D3DOverrider which forced triple buffering, locking everything to 60fps, and that fixed the crash in Witcher...so it appears that the issue is directly related to the framerates, which also explains why I can`t reproduce the crashes because the only other system I have to test with is an older Athlon 64 X2 system with a GeForce GTS 250. So I think I know how to stop the crashing but I'd still like to know what is causing the problem so I don't have to constantly watch Fraps for fear of framerates climbing too high.
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Best solution

January 5, 2011 12:41:51 PM

Hmmm, the only thing I can think is the common issue when switching from 2D to 3D in game and AMD cards crashing/giving other problems. This happens because the core clock drops down too low in 2D mode, which is during the loading screens of games.

I wish I had a link to a tutorial on how to adjust this, but I don't, so you'll have to settle with my lacking version.

Go to CCC, then turn on ATI Overdrive (unlock it first). Then go to the Profile manager (in the old CCC it was on the top right) and create a new profile and save it. Don't apply it just yet. Now you'll need to edit that profile file, the location is somewhere in your C:\Users\AppData\Local\ATI\ACE\Profiles\ . I believe. You'll need to dig around for an ATI/AMD folder. Then you will find the profile you created, open in notepad, and change the lowest 6 digit number there up (it is for the clock speed). Depending on your card, but change it to maybe 300000. Then save the doc and then load that profile.

Sorry for the sparse instructions, I'm not on a comp with the CCC so I can't do it right now to give you better details. Anyway try it and see what happens.
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January 5, 2011 1:00:04 PM

@Pallimud

Haha, I actually DID find the tutorial for that and you're pretty much spot on. I actually used that to solve an issue I was having with white pixels appearing on the screen (they're here for anyone having this issue: http://www.alteredgamers.com/showthread.php/73-ATI-XFX-5870-White-Dots-FIX)...a guy from XFX support said it had something to do with the idle clocks being too low for Windows 7 or something... But anyways, it fixed the white dots and, oddly enough, seemed to make Crysis last longer before the crash, but they didn't STOP the crashes.
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January 5, 2011 1:15:08 PM

Can you monitor the temp and tell us what it gets to before crashing? Maybe it is overheating. Although that may be a result of many things, might help us figure our the problem.
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January 5, 2011 2:19:37 PM

Pallimud said:
Can you monitor the temp and tell us what it gets to before crashing? Maybe it is overheating. Although that may be a result of many things, might help us figure our the problem.


Well, I can certainly do that (though not until this evening, since I'm at work), but I should mention that I've run Furmark and Prime95 simultaneously for over an hour with no crashing or overheating so I'm inclined to believe that the problem isn't directly related to the component temperatures, but I'll let you know.
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January 5, 2011 2:25:09 PM

I know this is a silly question, but I remember reading that AMD fixed an issue with the driver in Crysis, do you have the latest catalyst installed? lol

They just released it at the end of December, I know it is silly but just double checking since I have no clue what is wrong yet.
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January 5, 2011 3:20:07 PM

Pallimud said:
I know this is a silly question, but I remember reading that AMD fixed an issue with the driver in Crysis, do you have the latest catalyst installed? lol

They just released it at the end of December, I know it is silly but just double checking since I have no clue what is wrong yet.


Heh...yeah I installed 10.12 after reinstalling windows...initially I went with the new CCC gui but changed my mind and went back to the old CCC gui since the tutorials for fixing the dots were written for the older version.
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January 20, 2011 8:08:00 PM

Realized I had never really closed this issue...anyways, I can't really hear the whistling much anymore and I'm not sure if the crashing instability has gone away but it hasn't crashed for some time now which is probably a combination of me using Vsync all the time and not using that one benchmark anymore. I called OCZ and they seemed to think that NOTHING was wrong and that my system simply couldn't handle the extremely high frame rates...I think that was a cop out answer but I'm tired of dealing with it...
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January 20, 2011 8:08:38 PM

Best answer selected by bikeracer4487.
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