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Negative crossfire scaling in almost every game

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 3, 2011 4:16:29 PM

A little disclaimer: I've tried the latest CAP, 11.10, 11.11c, and 11.12 beta, to no avail.

Plainly put I'm getting negative crossfire scaling in every game I play except Deus Ex: HR (yay a game I never play!).



Some odd things about it:

I get great scaling in benchmarks, both furmark and "heaven DX11 unigine" see _very_ impressive numbers going into xfire. Skyrim is probably the worst, and was netting me a 15 FPS drop (latest 11.11c got it so I'm only losing like 2FPS). Now, as I said I've tried using these "CAP" things to no avail, and am really losing my patience with this. Other games tested include Witcher 2 and assassin's creed brootherhood, both saw negative scaling of about 5%. (although strangely enough, on cutscenes the witcher 2 saw nearly 85% positive scaling)



misc things:

GPUz says that my first GPU has xfire enabled ("enabled: 2 GPUs"), when I switch to the second one it says disabled.

I've verrified with the GPUz monitor that both cards are indeed doing things.

I've tried switching the card places.

Speccy insists that xfire is disabled, even when CCC says it's enabled.

One of the cards shows up as "antilles" and not cayman(meaning it can't be unlocked ot 6970). I had tried to flash it to no avail. Reason I include this is I was wondering if the failed flash to 6970 BIOS could effect this at all.

A friend suggested I run a memory bandwidth benchmark:

2.7 GB/s

I have the following mobo:

M4A79XTD EVO



I have verrified that the cards are both running in PCIe x8 2.0.
December 3, 2011 5:11:29 PM

Quote:
What are your gpu's?
6970 or 6950?
Also what is the cayman brand as the other is sapphire.



A: they are both 6950's.
B: Cayman is not a brand. Is the codename for the architecture of the 6900 series.
B1: One is of brand "diamond" and is reference (hence cayman)
B2: one is of brand "sapphire" and is not reference (not unlockable, and therefore shows as "antilles"
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December 3, 2011 5:16:15 PM

Quote:
I meant what is the brand of the gpu with the codename "cayman"...
I would try flashing the exact sapphire bios from your sapphire 6950 to the diamond one.
However read up before doing this as it carries a certain amount of risk but is fixable.


Ah, well sapphire,anyway.

>I would try flashing the exact sapphire bios from your sapphire 6950 to the diamond one.
this sounds...uh...risky...yeah

>However read up before doing this as it carries a certain amount of risk but is fixable.
have any specific articles you would recommend reading up on?
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December 3, 2011 5:16:25 PM

Quote:
B: Cayman is not a brand. Is the codename for the architecture of the 6900 series


you don't need to tell him that. he know that :p . btw welcome to the forum :) 
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December 3, 2011 5:24:00 PM

renz496 said:
Quote:
B: Cayman is not a brand. Is the codename for the architecture of the 6900 series


you don't need to tell him that. he know that :p . btw welcome to the forum :) 


Thanks, yeah I got confused, I do that a fair bit.

Anyway to fully clarify because I made a mistake in my last post.

The sapphire one is antilles
the Diamond one is the cayman.

I've downloaded the original BIOS for my sapphire card, I think I'll try flashing that to both of them (I had screwed around with modding the sapphire's BIOS when I first got it to try and unlock dem shaders, so I'm slightly worried that may be causing an issue).
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December 29, 2011 2:30:55 PM

dewittgarry said:
Well, given that A: I purchased it as a 6950:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

B: it has the exact same specs as my other 6950 that shows as cayman

I would disagree.


Oye, I may just return the new one and live with my sapphire.


What did you end up doing to resolve your issues? I also have two 6950s, both from Sapphire, and one is showing Antilles where the other shows Cayman. For me, Skyrim is the only game that shows negative scaling, which is a known problem with that game and xfire at this point...
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December 29, 2011 2:50:53 PM

bluspikez said:
What did you end up doing to resolve your issues? I also have two 6950s, both from Sapphire, and one is showing Antilles where the other shows Cayman. For me, Skyrim is the only game that shows negative scaling, which is a known problem with that game and xfire at this point...



Well, semi long story, get ready:

first of all, between all the uninstalling and reinstalling drivers somewhere along the way I've started getting it to work properly, so yay for that.



Now, stability issues, I was getting crashes due to...something. Screen would freeze after a few minutes of gameplay. So I go and test each card separately, to check. Sapphire passes easily, the Diamond (flashed to 6970 BIOS, and therefore 880/1375 speeds) was crashing until I took the memory clock down to 1320. So, no problem right? Just put them back in and underclock the diamond. Problem #4623364 with this setup: The card wouldn't stay underclocked, tried every program I could find, no matter what it would go to 1375 mem every time I ran a stress test. So I modded the BIOS to lower the stock clocks...

big mistake, as apparently the AMD drivers check that the BIOSis authentic and unmodified. Eventually I flashed to a 6950 w/ unlocked shaders BIOS to have the whole setup working.


Problem ##4623365 with the setup:
ULPS is a ...well I don't know if swearing is permitted on this board so I'll hold my language. Anyway I can't overclock the second card from stock at all without crashing a few minutes into games, I've put it in single card configuration and brought it to 900/1320 just fine, it's only in xfire that the problem arises, and only with the second card.


In the end what I've done is overclocked the antilles sapphire 6950 to 860 or so core clock so it should be on par with the diamond 6950 w/ unlocked shaders.


If anyone has any information on how to get me able to overclock the second card (if it's ULPS I've tried everything I found on google to disable it, registry editing and all) I would be greatly appreciative.
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December 31, 2011 12:49:11 AM

I ran into some similar problems like you did, and just seeing someone else out there with a similar issue made me excited :) , so I'm glad to read your semi long story and try to help.

I was able to fix the negative scaling issues in Skyrim by running the 12.1 preview drivers AMD has on their site. Apparently there were quite a few fixes in there, as I now get more appropriate scaling in Skyrim. So, I'd recommend trying those if you haven't already.

As for the BIOS issues, I've tried a few things with mine, and here's my story (also semi long, so get ready :p ):

I had the Antilles card first. Both of the dual BIOS settings were the same thing, no unlocks or overclocks from the factory. I went back and forth with Sapphire support to try and get some answers as to why it had an Antilles chip, but all I got out of them was that it was normal and that I shouldn't worry about it. After playing with the card quite a bit, I figured out it would overclock quite well (900/1400 if I remember correctly), so I was happy.

I picked up the Cayman card just recently. It also has the dual BIOS - the failsafe being a normal 6950 BIOS, and the second of the dual BIOS being an unlocked 6950 BIOS with no overclock. I tried the unlocked BIOS on the older card, as I first assumed that the Antilles indicator was in the BIOS, but I was proven wrong. Nothing seemed to work then (windows rendered all black with some reds/blues, and that was it), so I reverted to stock BIOS.

Having all of the BIOSes stored on my computer, I went to work trying each card by itself. The new Cayman card took to the unlock just fine, so that's how I still have it. The Antilles card finally took the unlocked BIOS (so it and the Cayman card are now running identical BIOS images), but it didn't unlock any more shaders on the card. GPU-Z still reads it as an Antilles chip as well.

So, I now have the unlocked Cayman as primary and the locked Antilles as secondary. Everything so far has been gravy (after the update to 12.1 preivew); BF3, DiRT3 and Skyrim all seem to scale well with the two cards in use. With some slight overclocking (my 2600k at 4.5ghz and my video cards at 840/1325), I'm able to run 3dMark11 and break 10k, so I'm happy.

Anyways, the short way of saying that is that I've gone through a very similar process as you have and haven't run into the issues you have. If I was in your shoes, I'd give the 12.1 preview driver package a shot, and also try to get the cards to run as similar a BIOS as possible. Before I changed my drivers to the 12.1's and did the BIOS updates, everything seemed a bit squirrely.
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December 31, 2011 1:03:31 AM

Yeah, I got the 12.1 preview immediately when I saw the review on anandtech, custom application profiles is win. Works pretty well, but this was after most of my issues had been sorted out. Now my only problem is that I can't OC the second card, no matter if I use the sapphire or diamond in the second slot, it's weird. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to get it working with an OC, but in the mean time it's still pretty beast at stock settings, and the unlocked shaders help it keep up with the lite OC I have on my sapphire (860ish, as previously stated). I'm glad you got your issues sorted out, I think I'll try flashing my sapphire card to the same BIOS that the diamond card has, perhaps that will resolve the final issue, and I have these guys running at 900/1350 like I wanted originally(slight edit: was rereading the thread and noticed I had apparently tried this before, I guess I'll give it another shot, perhaps using the command line method of flashing).
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December 31, 2011 2:02:04 PM

dewittgarry said:
Yeah, I got the 12.1 preview immediately when I saw the review on anandtech, custom application profiles is win. Works pretty well, but this was after most of my issues had been sorted out. Now my only problem is that I can't OC the second card, no matter if I use the sapphire or diamond in the second slot, it's weird. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to get it working with an OC, but in the mean time it's still pretty beast at stock settings, and the unlocked shaders help it keep up with the lite OC I have on my sapphire (860ish, as previously stated). I'm glad you got your issues sorted out, I think I'll try flashing my sapphire card to the same BIOS that the diamond card has, perhaps that will resolve the final issue, and I have these guys running at 900/1350 like I wanted originally(slight edit: was rereading the thread and noticed I had apparently tried this before, I guess I'll give it another shot, perhaps using the command line method of flashing).


For what it's worth, I did have to try the flash a couple times for it to work properly. The command line method ended up being what I needed as well, as the ROM was locked on my Antilles card and needed to be unlocked before winflash would let me do anything (the error you saw, which I got as well). If you'd like, I can share the BIOSes that I'm running, if you think that would help.
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December 31, 2011 4:34:22 PM

bluspikez said:
For what it's worth, I did have to try the flash a couple times for it to work properly. The command line method ended up being what I needed as well, as the ROM was locked on my Antilles card and needed to be unlocked before winflash would let me do anything (the error you saw, which I got as well). If you'd like, I can share the BIOSes that I'm running, if you think that would help.


Share away, can't hurt to try it any.
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December 31, 2011 5:05:08 PM

dewittgarry said:
Share away, can't hurt to try it any.


Here's a link to a .zip file with the four BIOSes my cards came with from the factory (they both have dual BIOS).

http://www.filehosting.org/file/details/297549/6950bios...

The files with the 1's in the name are the failsafes, and the 2's are the second position that I played with. I ended up using the "cayman-factory-2" BIOS on both of my cards with good results.
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December 31, 2011 5:20:32 PM

bluspikez said:
Here's a link to a .zip file with the four BIOSes my cards came with from the factory (they both have dual BIOS).

http://www.filehosting.org/file/details/297549/6950bios...

The files with the 1's in the name are the failsafes, and the 2's are the second position that I played with. I ended up using the "cayman-factory-2" BIOS on both of my cards with good results.



and to confirm, that particular BIOS has 6950 clocks w/ unlocked shaders?
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December 31, 2011 6:37:31 PM

Yes, that's correct. I haven't touched the clocks in any of those BIOS images, they are all at stock 6950 speeds.
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