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Screen Tearing from Hell

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 23, 2011 4:59:33 AM

My eyefinity array is screen tearing, and as far as I can tell it is a curse sent directly from hell. Here's the full story:

I've been running a 3x1920x1200 (6016x1200 with Bezel Comp) Eyefinity group for about a year now on a Radeon 5830. I overclocked it to the maximum using MSI (the maximum "official" overclock as voltage adjustment was impossible) and never had any problems. I decided to upgrade a month ago. I bought the MSI Twin Frozr III 6950 or something like that. I put the same overclock on it, and temperatures never exceeded 85 F under full load. I didn't know about reference cards back then so I was angry at being unable to adjust the voltage. Anyhow, I'd had it for 2 weeks when I noticed the right screen (the displayport-connected monitor) begin the screen tear--always (games, desktop, everywhere). Sometimes it would go away and return in a different spot at seemingly random intervals. I troubleshooted and determined that it was not the monitor and when I put the old 5850 in again, things went back to normal (I had to upgrade drivers when I got the new card but that went smoothly). So I decided I wanted a reference card anyhow and RMA'd it back to Newegg, minus the 15% restocking fee.

So I went back to the old 5830 for a few weeks without hiccup.

Then I bought the XFX HD 6970 697A-CNFC--a reference card. I installed the card and things were good--it only took 1 reboot and no action on my part to get the drivers and display working (aside from rebuilding the group and bezel compensation). Then I applied a light overclock without pushing past the "official" limits (900 to 950 mhz on the clock and 1375 to 1450 on the memory clock). Then when I began to play a game, excited about my new and improved graphics capabilities, I made it about 5 seconds before the middle screen began to tear. When I closed the game, I noticed later that the LEFT screen began to tear also (which effectively rules out anything involving displayport vs DVI). I swore loudly both times.

So I uninstalled ALL ATI and AMD display drivers and used Driver Sweeper to clean up the rest, rebooting between each step. Then I reinstalled the drivers (catalyst 11.8), rebooted...strangely, the software "remembered" my Eyefinity group and all my settings (wtf?) and the screen tearing is back--the middle and left monitors. I swore again. The tearing line moves around but it's always there. I'm at my wits end. What is wrong here?! I have no idea what to do.

Any and all help will be my salvation, and hence much appreciated.

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September 23, 2011 5:07:54 AM

Ok well I didn't use Driver Sweeper inside of Safe Mode (just regular mode), so I am now going to start over and erase any and all ATI, overclocking, and display stuff I can find and then Driver Sweep in safe mode. I'll post here in an hour or so with the results.

EDIT: Interestingly, no screen tearing occurs without drivers in the 800x600 mode, but I can only see the main screen (stretched) and the right screen (anamorphic), but not the left--so it's hard to assert anything in such a low res and with partial display.

EDIT: Mission unsuccessful. ATI still remembers my settings exactly as they were even after a complete uninstall and sweep in safe mode. A Local Disk search after the driver sweep revealed that the Winsxs folder in C:Windows still contained many files containing "ATI" and "AMD." However, when I set all the displays to act individually in a desktop "extend" function (no grouping) there is no tearing -- I take this to mean that the card is perfectly capable of rendering for all monitors without any tearing. I assume this confirms that the problem is entirely software-related.
September 28, 2011 3:36:48 PM

CKLayoka,
For what it's worth my setup does the same thing. I have even reinstalled windows completely, and then installed new drivers for my HIS iceq x turbo 6950 graphics card. The screan tear occurs regardless of V-sync or triple buffer settings in ccc. For me the tearing occurs on whatever monitor or monitors that are not set as your preferred display screen. So if you have the screen with the display port connection set as your preferred display the two DVI screens will tear, and vice versa. This problem is all over the web if you google "6950 screen tearing". I have tried everything I can think of to resolve the issue to no avail. The most common answer to why this happens is due to a timing issue between the display port and DVI connections. I doubt this though as I have also tried a radeon hd 6990 using display ports only and still had the issue. I have been in contact with AMD, but they are just running me through hoops and pretending like they don't know about the issue. I personally think I am going to make the switch to Nvidia...
!