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XFX 6870 Artifacts/Weird anomolies

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 5, 2011 2:55:01 PM

Hello folks. Long time reader, first time poster.

I have been building my own computers for about 15 years now. Needless to say, I have a little experience in this area as it is part of my job as well. That aside....

I recently upgraded my PC. Here's my specs:

MSI 970A-G45
Athlon Phenom X4 955 at Stock speeds(used from previous rig)
Corsair Vengeance 8GB PC12800 DDR3 1600MHz at Stock speeds(new)
XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB GDDR5(new)
OCZ 120GB SOLID 3 SERIES SATA III 2.5 Hard Drive(boot drive) <- also has most used programs, drivers and games.
Western Digital 500GB Green (programs and documents)
Sony DVDRW 24x(used from previous rig)
BFG 550W PSU(used from previous rig)
Windows 7 64bit Ultimate

I purchased the new equipment on Nov. 11. Everything ran great for a while. I generally play Battlefield Bad Company 2 and occasionally I play Battlefield 3. Those are the only two games I currently play. While playing Battlefield Bad Company 2 on Nov 25th I started getting some weird blocks on the screen. They looked almost like big block walls blocking my view etc. I exited the game and the menus had lines shooting thru them with flickering effects. I rebooted and tried the game again and it seemed to run fine.

Next day I decided to play again and the game started out fine again and then started acting up as before. This time, I gave up and went to bed. The next day I tried the game again and the artifacts in the game began almost immediately. That same day I decided to submit a support ticket to XFX before opting to return the card. They advised me to try another video card if I had one. I did (an XFX Radeon 5670). It ran fine and did not exhibit the same behavior as the 6870. In lieu of that they asked me to RMA the card, which I did.

I got the replacement card on the 30th of November. I proceeded to again play a few games of Battlefield Bad Company 2 and the card and graphics looked fine. Then again last night I started getting the weird lines shooting through the menus and flickering. I did not get any of the weird Artifacts yet like the previous card, but my fear is this replacement card is about to go belly up as the first one did.

IMO, comparing the 5670 to the 6870 is apples to oranges as the 6870 uses more power and has two 4 pin power connectors that the 5670 does not require. Could this be a power supply issue? I highly doubt it as this is not a cheap low end PSU. But I am open to anything at this point.

P.S. I have of course tried the usual, uninstalling drivers, updating drivers, updating MB BIOS, installing latest System drivers etc etc etc.

P.S.S. I also have been running a hardware monitor to see what the temps are. The highest I have seen the card temps at is 70C. The CPU runs highest at about 50C.

Any ideas? Another bad card?

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to be thorough.
December 5, 2011 3:26:02 PM

The likely culprit in this story is your PSU. When PSUs are being maxed out, or failing, they tend to run hot and not provide adequate power to the system (like GPUs). This will lead to artifacting. Also, the additional heat generated by a hot PSU can cause the GPU to overheat as well.

Do you have another PSU that you could swap in for troubleshooting purposes?
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December 5, 2011 3:36:52 PM

Unfortunately, I do not have another PSU I can try. My only option on that front is to buy another PSU. When I am running the game and maxed out as far as temps go, my PSU feels cool to the touch.

I called XFX and they have advised me to try the new 11.11c AMD Drivers. That driver just came out on Dec. 1.
I also asked the tech if he thought it could be my PSU as well. He said not likely, but anything is possible. He also said that 70C is well within specs and this does not sound like an overheating issue.

The fact that I am getting almost the same results from both cards I have tried is beginning to make me lean toward the PSU as the culprit. I just hate to fork out another hundo for a PSU and it not be the issue...however, the only way to know is to try.


EDIT: HANG ON! I DO have another PSU. My Wife's PC has an Ultra LSP 650W PSU...I'm going to swap it out and try it!!
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December 5, 2011 4:05:23 PM

AY. I swapped out the PSU's and will give it a try over the next few days and see what happens. I am also upgrading to the 11.11c AMD Drivers as well per XFX tech advice.

I'll post back with my results.
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December 5, 2011 4:12:36 PM

I just had that issue too on my machine from playing BF3. I have a HD 6870. Installed the lastest drivers (11.11), thinking "of course you should get the latest drivers." I got the same artifacts, screen tearing, flickering, like the screen shifted to the right. It got worse when I would restart the game/computer, the screen tearing would happen right off the bat. I tried changing settings in the CCC. Nothing worked. I read different forums of people saying that trying older drivers worked and solved the issue.

My Solution: Unistalling 11.11 drivers and installing 11.10 drivers worked for me. No more screen tearing or artifacts. Been playing BF3 for hours with no issues.

I hope this solution works for you too. Good luck.

-iceppak :wahoo: 
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December 5, 2011 5:03:52 PM

Thanks iceppak.

If the PSU swap doesn't fix things, I'll revert back to an older driver like you did and see if that helps. Currently, I a have installed the 11.11c driver XFX recommended.
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December 8, 2011 1:52:34 PM

So far so good. I haven't had the artifacts again yet. Will keep an eye on it and post back.
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December 8, 2011 2:12:01 PM

areamike said:
So far so good. I haven't had the artifacts again yet. Will keep an eye on it and post back.

So, what changes are you using (PSU and drivers)?

How are your GPU temps at idle and under load?
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December 8, 2011 3:11:29 PM

Went to 11.11c AMD Drivers.

Went from BFG 550W PSU to Ultra LSP 650W PSU.

Minimum temps on GPU are about 40C-45C.
The highest I have seen the GPU temp is 70C

XFX phone support said that 70C is well within specs.
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December 8, 2011 3:53:11 PM

areamike said:
Went to 11.11c AMD Drivers.

Went from BFG 550W PSU to Ultra LSP 650W PSU.

Minimum temps on GPU are about 40C-45C.
The highest I have seen the GPU temp is 70C

XFX phone support said that 70C is well within specs.

This all looks good. Is the system still stable?
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December 8, 2011 4:36:44 PM

It seems to be stable. I haven't noticed the artifacts when gaming since changing PSU's and Video drivers so I can't really say if or which one may have solved the issue.

I'll try to keep an eye on it and do some testing.

XFX recommended I run Heaven benchmark on the video card. I plan to do that as well.
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December 8, 2011 4:45:18 PM

Good deal. Got my fingers crossed for you. I still stand by my previous concern with the PSU.

So, how is the old PSU doing in the wife's rig? If that is where you put it, you might want to keep an eye on it as well. Nothing worse than breaking the wife's machine and I definitely speak from experience there!
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December 8, 2011 4:59:29 PM

Her PC is not as power hungry as mine. It has my old XFX Radeon 5670 video card which uses far less power than the 6870. Plus there's no real gamer using her PC other than our daughter and her SIMS games.

I think the "old" PSU was fine. It perhaps was just not enough to run my current rig. We'll see though.

One other thing. XFX had me check to make sure AMD Overdrive was not enabled in CCC. By default it appeared it was , so I also disabled that.
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December 8, 2011 5:20:00 PM

Understood. Your GPU could have been automatically overclocking and with the weak PSU and additional heat could have been causing the problem. That is likely why the 11.11 install and correction you made is getting the job done now.

You did good. Have fun!!!
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!