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Best drivers for 4870X2? Experiencing BSOD, artifacts, etc

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 30, 2011 4:36:12 AM

Hello everyone,
For quite some time I've been having visual artifacting in nearly all of my games, and then an eventual BSOD.
I can prevent the BSOD from occuring by alt-tabbing out of the game, or disabling fullscreen. I believe this disables the crossfire for my card, which seems to be part of the issue. Of course, this results in dreadful performance as effectively half of my card stops functioning. Entering fullscreen again re-enables crossfire and removes the artifacts, but many games experience flickering, sturrering, weird shadows, etc, etc.
Because of this, I believe the issue is driver related.

Has anyone else experienced problems like this on similiar cards?
Which drivers would be best to resolve my problems? Are there any hotfixes I can apply?

My specs are as follows, nothing is overclocked -
CPU: i7 920
MOBO: Gigabyte EX58-UD3R
RAM: 6gb 1333hz DDR3
GPU: Sapphire 4870X2
PSU: 750W Thermaltake


Thank you very much for your time.
September 30, 2011 7:50:46 AM

Download HWMonitor and post the max temps on your card. Dual GPU cards tend to run quite hot, particularly the 4870x2, and as video cards get older, the thermal compound tends to dry up, reducing the cooler's effectiveness. If your temps are really high, you may have to take off the cooler, reapply the thermal compound, and reattach the cooler to get the temperatures back down to safe levels. Dust buildup can also cause heat issues, so if you have a lot of dust buildup in your computer, and especially the graphics card, clean that out.
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September 30, 2011 1:01:10 PM

How much is really high?
I played a few hours of a game.
Average: 78 degs Celsius
Min: 65 degs Celsius
Max: 90 degs Celsius

I don't think it's heat issues, because the artifacting and BSODs happen within a minute or two of the game being open, unless I alt-tab, while the temps would still be fairly cool.
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September 30, 2011 1:23:26 PM

To Check the stability of your setup run it w/ prime95 & memtest.

Remove OC settings for CPU, GPU, and Memory before you run your test.

Prime95 should continue to PASS for 12 to 24 hours if your PC is really stable. Memtest should pass for extended period as well 12 to 24 hrs.

I have crossfire 4890 that runs at ~ 90s when I'm playing games. It is design to run hot.

When you run prime95 check your temperature and voltages. I'm not too sure if 750W is sufficient for your setup. It may be on the edge. I use 850W for my CF 4890.

You check your PC PSU requirement w/ this

http://www.antec.com/psucalc/
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September 30, 2011 7:31:27 PM

Your GPU temps are hot, but not enough to cause problems, your VRAM may be overheating though, if your card has sensors for those you can try monitoring those temps with GPU-Z. Overheating VRAM can cause artifacting problems. Aside from that, as stated above, check your system's stability, and you can try new drivers, and see if you have any luck with those.
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October 1, 2011 3:16:07 AM

I used that Antec calculator, and am being recommended PSU's from 520W to 900W. 750W takes up most of the higher part of the list, though. I'm not sure if it is a power issue, as games are fairly stable once beyond the initial artifacting. Plus I've only been recently getting this issue, as I update drivers. Unfortunately, drivers must be updated to keep games working without shadow flashing, flickering, etc.

Don't Prime95 and Memtest check for CPU stability? I think I'm fine there. All of the BSODs indicate issues with typical AMD driver files.

I think it definitely is an issue with the drivers, but it seems I can't get the perfect ones. Very early ones have terrible optimisation and have bugs with games, recent ones cause the artifacting and BSODing.

I guess I may be fine with alt-tabbing out of games... Are there any hotfixes, CAPs or anything I should look at?
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October 1, 2011 5:29:58 AM

Prime95 check the stability of the entire setup/PC. Memtest is for the memory.

Before you dwell on the GPU and GPU drivers make sure your pc is stable and pass prime95 for 12 to 24 hours. Same thing w/ memtest to make sure none of your module is marginal or defective.

There are not hot fixes for BSOD.
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October 1, 2011 5:33:40 AM

darkaegix said:
Has anyone else experienced problems like this on similiar cards?


Yep. I don't get artifacts, but I do get micro stuttering, BSOD. Just got a BSOD while playing Crisys 2.

Tried using catalyst 10.7, 10.8, same problems.
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October 5, 2011 12:00:06 AM

I ran memtest86 and prime95 for about 12 hours each, and didn't encounter any errors. So I guess this means that the issue isn't related to CPU & RAM?

I got another BSOD yesterday, which was apparently caused by atikmpag.sys.

Is there anything else I can do to diagnose or address the issue further?
Thank you.
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Best solution

October 5, 2011 4:28:32 PM

I'm running the same card and haven't had any issues with recent drivers, just updated to the latest ones last week to try out the BF3 beta.

I would suggest uninstalling the ati utilities/drivers and then completely cleaning out the drivers using driversweeper in safe mode, then installing the latest drivers. Some parts of the drivers can get left behind if just uninstalled and might be corrupt.

Your temperatures look fine for that card but I would also give it a good cleaning with a can of compressed air anyway.

I don't know your specific PSU specs, but could you be overloading a single rail? Try swapping the power cables on some of your components or your card to spread the load.

My card used to lock up my system completely while gaming, requiring a hard reset. I needed to run riva tuner and lock my video clock to prevent my card from entering energy saver mode. It's not a common problem but occurs occasionally on the 4870. I don't think this is your issue, but it's free to try out!
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October 6, 2011 3:49:43 AM

Both of my GPU's power cables are directly connected to the PSU, but I replaced them with spares anyway.
Then, I uninstalled AMD drivers using the AMD uninstall manager. From there, I restarted in safe mode and uninstalled the remains using Driver Sweeper. After another restart I installed the preview drivers for BF3, then I restarted again.

Running BF3, I very quickly got a crash to a black screen, but logs show that there was no BSOD. I ran RivaTuner, and forced the GPU's standard clocks.

I tried BF3 again, and there was flickering and flashes, which I alt-tabbed a few times to clear out.

It's not perfect, and I'll pick up a HD 7000 or GTX 600 early next year, but I'll be sure to reply to this thread later to let everyone know if the issue has been resolved or not.
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October 7, 2011 10:52:05 AM

Best answer selected by darkaegix.
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October 7, 2011 10:53:10 AM

I'd just like to say that the problem has been resolved by using Rivatuner and forcing my GPU's clocks to default. I don't know what it was doing, but things work now.
Still minor flickering, but barely game breaking.

Thank you everyone!
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October 7, 2011 2:12:38 PM

Glad that worked out for you.

There's a shadow flicker problem with the frostbite engine (BFBC2, BF3) and crossfire cards if that's what you're experiencing. Disabling crossfire can fix it at the cost of some performance.

The issue locking the clock on those cards fixes is that it likes to enter energy saver mode when it's unloaded for even a fraction of a second in some games. It seems the clock speed changing up and down, sometimes many times per second, eventually results in an error on the card.
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