Inconsistent Crossfire Activity (HD5850)

I have the most inconsistent activity from my crossfire setup, and I cannot figure out what is causing the issues. I have been searching all over the internet for an answer to my problem, and thus far cannot find anything (I'm sure there is one out there). I have two monitors setup using extended desktop, and when I open a game I run it full screen in 1920x1080 on the main monitor. The side monitor has GPU-Z and Trixx running to check activity on video cards. I have tested using just the main monitor and it does not make a difference in the inconsistency. When I load a game, sometimes both cards are active and it works just fine, and other times only the primary card is active with the second card showing 0% activity and running at 157/300mhz. It seems if I alt-tab out of a game, while actually playing (meaning not in menu, but actual gameplay), and then switch back to the game the second card will SOMETIMES become active, kicking on to 725/1000mhz. Anyone know what the cause of this inconsistency could be? In Trixx I have Disable ULPS selected, and I have also edited the registry for each EnableULPS to a value of 0. In Furmark tests the card automatically kicks in and there is never an issue.


MB: Biostar TA890FXE
CPU: AMD Phenom II B55 (unlocked to quad core OC to 3.6ghz - prime95 stable) w/ spire thermax eclipse ii cooler
Memory: 12 GB G-skill Eco Series 1333mhz 7-7-7-21 1.35v
Graphics: Primary: Sapphire HD5850 Reference Card, Secondary: XFX HD5850 ZAFC Non Reference. Both stock speeds 725/1000
Drivers: AMD Catalyst 11.12
OS: Win 7 - 64bit
PSU: Corsair GS800

Games: BF3, NFS Hot Pursuit, NFS The Run, Hawx
21 answers Last reply
More about inconsistent crossfire activity hd5850
  1. Unless the CCC drivers have changed, running any game in a window will automatically disable CF. The 2nd card then idles. Could the 2nd display, not being part of the game program, be causing the driver to stop CF when you switch to it? It may "think" it is now windowed.
  2. Clutch,

    Thanks for the quick response. You are right about the drivers, crossfire does not work windowed. In regards to the screen setups, I'm not sure if the 2nd monitor is fooling the driver as you state (This could be possible?), but I don't switch to it while in game. I can view the info on it the second monitor, such as the Trixx or GPU-Z info as it is displayed, but if I click over to it, it will minimize the game to the taskbar (a forced alt-tab, if you will). I have, however, disconnected the monitor entirely, but the erratic behavior of crossfire is not any different, as it still suffers from the same issues.

  3. Simply disconnecting the 2nd monitor may not be enough. The driver installation may still be programmed for expecting dual displays. (Just guessing here) Maybe for a test... leave the 2nd monitor disconnected, uninstall the driver pkg, run Driver Sweeper in Safe Mode to get rid of any ATI, AMD, and Nvidia graphics driver remnants, reboot and re-install the newest driver. See if the 2nd card still disables.

    Keep in mind that when gaming, if it's not needed, the 2nd card may go to idle. (Again, just a theory) I haven't monitored my 2 cards, but I may do that to see if that is the case.
  4. There is no load balancing, you can expect 100 % card 1 and 40% card 2 that is normal.
  5. I tried the above, but unfortunately the problem persists. As of now it is the same, sometimes it engages when initially loading a game, and other times it does not. usually if I alt-tab out and back into the game it will engage the second card.

    Clutch, if you want to monitor your cards using a single monitor setup, I found it easiest to load two instances of gpu-z, each monitoring separate cards. When in game simply alt-tab out to check the history of the graphs. The graphs will show if the second card was doing anything. I know some use MSI afterburner to do the same, but I do not.

    Thanks for the ideas so far.
  6. spentshells said:
    There is no load balancing, you can expect 100 % card 1 and 40% card 2 that is normal.

    It's not load balancing that I am referring to, it's simple lack of activity from the second card. In game, the primary gpu will be at 96-99% load with the normal speeds of 725/1000 mhz and the second card will be idle with 0% load and speeds of 157/300mhz. As I have stated, sometimes or even usually, I can get the second card to engage by alt tabbing out and back in during gameplay.

    And crossfire is enabled in options, and Gpu-Z shows it enabled as well. EnableULPS is set to 0.
  7. Wouldn't alt-tabbing to the desktop disable CF? As you can tell, I'm somewhat new to CF. All of my previous experience with multiple cards has been with SLI. Long time Nvidia user, new to AMD.
  8. It does disable it clutch (and in my case, enables it when I go back to the game hah), but GPU-Z graphs sensor information and you can tell if the card was active in game by the look of the graph. If there is no activity it will be a flat line. Here are two examples I found on google images of what it the graphs look like:
  9. Back to your issue...
    Does the problem also occur if you swap cards around? Do you still lose the 2nd card occasionally?
  10. Is this happening with all games ?
    I see you are using 11.12 have you tried 11.11C ?
    Do you need trix ? Are you overvolting ?
    Do you have crossfire profiles enabled in CCC ?
  11. Hello spentshells,

    Thank you for the input. I was using 11.11C and then updated to 11.12C. Had the problem on both. I likely don't need Trixx, and I actually was not running it until I decided to try the disable ULPS function in Trixx. Either way it does not change the problem.

    As far as crossfire profiles enabled in CCC... am I missing something? I have crossfire enabled in CCC, and I have CAP3 installed.

    Note: have not been able to get NFS hot pursuit to work with crossfire, even using the alt-tab out and back in that helps enable crossfire on BF3. Again, crossfire works fine in any benchmark tests.

    Visit here and look at the bottom download.

    I see this game is a bad console port and does not require or ned crossfire.
    Disable all forced settings in CCC along with crossfire and play it maxed vsync on.

    Sorry this is all I could find. It is just preference but that game looks terrible. (graphics)
  13. hmm. Ok I say I am running cap3, it was 11.11 CAP3, but it is actually now 11.12 CAP1 released 12/15/11. I'm assuming this newest update also includes the profiles from the link you posted?

    listed here:
  14. Maybe this is a dumb question and I am by means an expert on CF, but is it possible that you're crossfire bridge if faulty? Maybe it has some type of short only communicating half the time or less with the other card. Just a suggestion as it seems nothing else is solving the issue
  15. Spentshells: You are right in regards to the graphics on NFSHP, I have, however, been able to get crossfire to work twice on it. Other than that, it does not typically enable. On BF3, Crossfire does not enable when I start the game, however, when while in actual gameplay (not in main menu, etc) I can alt-tab out and then back in and crossfire enables every time. The show fps function in BF3 shows 60-63 fps on ultra settings @ 1920x1080.

    Rage33: I don't think it is a bridge issue, I have 5 crossfire bridges for some reason, and I have tried every one of them. I've tried just the single bridge, and also using a double bridge. Nothing makes a difference. Thank you for the input though.

    Thanks again guys, I'll keep searching, and hoping something comes to your minds!
  16. clutchc said:
    Back to your issue...
    Does the problem also occur if you swap cards around? Do you still lose the 2nd card occasionally?

    Hey clutch, thanks again. Yes the problem occurs in either setup. My board is the biostar TA890fxe, so the closeness of the x16 slots is known to not be ideal. I have one reference card and one non-reference card, and I eventually settled on the reference card on top and the non reference card on the bottom. The reference card has much better cooling and the temperature stays much lower at full GPU load for both cards when set in this order.
  17. Is it possible that you just have a faullty motherboard? Maybe the northbridge chipset? Seems like you've tried everything else.
  18. Hi Paul,

    Did you resolve this issue? I know I am resurrecting this thread after some months, but just curious.

    I have 2 ATi/AMD HD5850 cards (identical) and think that my CF is not functioning. The reason why I say this is because in game, the fan(s?) make quite a noise so I am assuming the 2nd card is idle and all the work is being done by the primary card.

    Also, I checked CCC whilst in World of Tanks (runs in a window), but I think this is - as you guys have said - due to CF being disabled.

    Diablo 3 also cranks the noise up.

    I just got Ghost Recon Future Soldier and can't even run that anywhere near high graphics settings as it just lags graphically.

    I am going to 'record' with GPU-z what the cards are doing in game with D3 and GR.

    Used to be an nVidia fan, then just went to ATi/AMD due to a good deal on 2 cards, but in my view I have always had much better results with nVidia (reliability, graphically, etc.). So, will probably go back there some day.

  19. @Paul
    You're using the 2 white PCIe slots, right? And have the aux power Molex on the board fed with a power supply connection, right?
  20. I found my problem was that I had flash running in a web browser while attempting to game. Example: if you have a browser window open, even minimized, that includes something with flash, such as Youtube, even if the video is not playing, the video card was being forced into a low performance mode.

    Jay, are you running any web browsers or anything with flash while you are trying to play?

    How is your crossfire setup and what is your system specs, including motherboard mfg and model? FYI I use both crossfire connectors for the two cards.
  21. clutchc said:
    You're using the 2 white PCIe slots, right? And have the aux power Molex on the board fed with a power supply connection, right?

    Yes to both... seems to be performing properly now with the above described issues corrected. Only issue now is overclocking. Can't overclock without crashing. Haven't looked too much into overclocking with crossfire, but I know one of my issues is using different boards. One of my cards is a reference board while the other is a non-ref. I put the non-ref on the bottom due to it heating much worse than the reference card. Reference card has far superior cooling.
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