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Should I RMA my Sapphire 6950 2gb flex

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 5, 2012 2:59:12 PM

Hello all,

I'm having what I believe are video card problems, and I am at a loss. I purchased a Sapphire 6950 2gb flex edition last September and have had spotty performance since the purchase. I am in the process of doing an RMA on the card, but I want to make sure I haven't missed something with one of my other components.

Before getting into the specs, let me cover the issues I have ran into. The two most glaring issues came with SWTOR and Diablo 3. SWTOR was horrible. There were times that the FPS would plummet out of no where. When spinning my character in circles it would be fluent, but then all of a sudden at the same point during the spin it would drop in FPS significantly. Also, when I was in my character's ship, when I would look at the hologram terminal which had that off-blue glowing color indicating you could interact with it, my FPS would drop down to 20. This seemed very odd to me; as if certain object being rendered differently would drop the FPS. This would also happen while I was out in an open area, all would be smooth, then drop in FPS. I went to far as to think maybe SWTOR was accessing the hard drive which was causing some of the wilderness hiccups, but after I replaced my HDD with an SDD, the issue was still present. Now I know that SWTOR had it's performance issues, so I shrugged it off as being an issue with the game, not my hardware. BTW, I ran SWTOR on HIGH settings with numerous tweaks. The weird thing was that it didn't matter whether I ran it at medium, high, or ultra as they all ran about the same.

Diablo 3 is what made me investigate this even further. The game will run just fine, then all of a sudden you can see the performance take a hit. It will usually stay like this for 10 - 15 seconds, then smooth itself back out. Now this isn't a game stopping drop in performance, but you can definitely see the degrading fps. If I don't want to wait for 10-15 seconds, I can press the ESC key to go into options, then ESC again to exist, and the performance is smooth again. While I don't feel this or the other issue I experienced is normal, I have nothing to compare it to.

So here are my specs:

Intel i7 870 2.93ghz stock
Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2
Sapphire 6950 2GB Flex
OCZ Agility 3 120gb SSD
8GB G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
700watt aeon/aion? power supply (came with an ibuypower system I had)
Corsair H60 CPU Cooler
HAF 912 Case
Windows 7 64bit

Now, I have a couple things more to mention. All these are running at stock, I have not done any OCing or anything like that. Another Issue I ran into which required me to change case was that the bottom of the H60 ended up touching the top of the 6950. It actually made contact with a couple soldered components. This happened when I decided to add a push/pull configuration onto the H60. After starting the computer back up, I noticed that when I screwed the the side panel screws that it would make a spark. I believe that the electrical current was transferred into the case because of the contact made. After realizing this, I immediately shut the computer down and purchased a new case that gave it the required clearance. After this, I put all my components into the new case, and everything appeared to work fine. Now, I had the performance issues before and after the issue with the case so this didn't create the problem, but I wonder if it could have created any new problems or added to the existing problem. Now I know that the transference of electricity through computerized components in this manner is not a good thing and that it could definitely have the potential to cause damage, but I do not believe it it did, but I am open to suggestions.

I hope I have included all the necessary information. Last but not least, I have done a clean install of Windows 7 64bit and keep drivers and such up to date. Please let me know if I missed something obvious or if this sounds like a card that could have a defect. I did contact sapphire support and they sent me to the RMA department to start the process. I wanted to check here to see if I had missed something, but I would rather not RMA the card if there is something else that could be the issue. Thanks for your time and help, sorry for the long post.
June 5, 2012 3:17:18 PM

Hi kipd1,

I noticed that both of the games you mention are online. Network hiccups contribute the most to lag in those types of games.

Have you done any testing in an offline game? I would definitely test your card in a way that your internet connection doesn't interfere. Do you have other offline games to try?

I would also run 3Dmark11 and post your score back here. Also try FurMark for stability testing.
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June 5, 2012 3:24:25 PM

I as well suspect network or your system, do you notice any HDD activity when this happens. Any programs having automatic updates can cause this since they will use the network.
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June 5, 2012 3:24:41 PM

Hey Blade,
Thanks for the response. Let me respond to each statement in order.

1. The online-only could be a contributing factor (running a 6mb connection), but I didn't seem to run into any issues while I played BF3 in multi-player in low settings. I can run bf3 single player on high settings and get around 50 fps with some options adjusted.

2. I will run a new 3dmark11 tonight and post the score. The last one I ran was around the normal (for a 6950) mark, but always a little low.

3. I have ran FurMark and not ran into any issues. The FPS I score is usually at 30-40 fps if I can remember right.

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June 5, 2012 3:29:06 PM

Quote:
I can run bf3 single player on high settings and get around 50 fps with some options adjusted.


Quote:
I have ran FurMark and not ran into any issues.


Quote:
The last one I ran was around the normal (for a 6950) mark, but always a little low.


Each of the things you mentioned (including network speed) re-enforces my suspicion of the network connection. Do you have a friend with a faster connection? Could you visit someone and try you your rig on a faster connection?
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June 5, 2012 3:32:51 PM

rolli59 said:
I as well suspect network or your system, do you notice any HDD activity when this happens. Any programs having automatic updates can cause this since they will use the network.


Rolli59,
I do not believe that the HD is being pegged, but I can try and monitor this. I did not suspect this as a bottleneck as it is an SSD. I can definitely see your guys' point on it being network related, but I just can't jump on that train. The reason be, is that I have all updates set to be done manually and the issues I'm experiencing happen every time I play. If updating were the cause of the issue then it would mean that my computer is updating constantly. My system is pretty bare considering that store on an SSD is limited. I have Windows, or course, a couple games and that's bout it. The only software that would auto update if I let them would be Windows, Java, and Adobe products, and I have them set to manual. If I missed something here, let me know, these are the oversights I am hoping you guys can help me with.
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June 5, 2012 3:38:50 PM

Somebody sharing your connection?
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June 5, 2012 3:43:11 PM

rolli59 said:
Somebody sharing your connection?


I am the only one on the connection. There is no streaming (netflix, etc) and no other devices connected to the network. My wife and I both have iPhones but mine isn't usually connected to wifi unless I connect it myself. Otherwise my pc is flying solo on the 6mb connection.
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June 5, 2012 3:49:31 PM

I do not see anything you missed and it might be a card issue, you will know for sure after RMA though.
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June 5, 2012 3:50:49 PM

blade061188 said:
Quote:
I can run bf3 single player on high settings and get around 50 fps with some options adjusted.


Quote:
I have ran FurMark and not ran into any issues.


Quote:
The last one I ran was around the normal (for a 6950) mark, but always a little low.


Each of the things you mentioned (including network speed) re-enforces my suspicion of the network connection. Do you have a friend with a faster connection? Could you visit someone and try you your rig on a faster connection?


Blade,

I will see if I can take my PC over to a friends house with a speedier connection to see if that eliminates the issue. I don't suspect it will, but I have been wrong before. At least this will confirm / deny this which will be beneficial.
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June 5, 2012 3:56:28 PM

Quote:
At least this will confirm / deny this which will be beneficial.


Exactly. I would do this before you send your card back. If you still have issues there, proceed with the RMA and let Sapphire see if there are any problems.

Let us know if playing at a speedier connection fixes your problem.
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June 5, 2012 3:58:22 PM

I will post back if a faster connection resolves the issue. In the meantime, if anyone else has any comments or suggestions, it would be much appreciated.
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June 5, 2012 9:44:02 PM

I would think it might be the power supply, as iBuyPower does not put the greatest power supplies in their computers. It might be old and not manufactured well.

That being said, you stated you have no problems with 3DMark or Furmark or anything else. It might be some sort of problem with software.
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June 6, 2012 1:52:41 AM

Deemo13 said:
I would think it might be the power supply, as iBuyPower does not put the greatest power supplies in their computers. It might be old and not manufactured well.

That being said, you stated you have no problems with 3DMark or Furmark or anything else. It might be some sort of problem with software.


Deemo,
This thought actually crossed my mind a couple times as I have had other strange issues relating to power. I was thinking that if the PSU was iffy that it might bottleneck the power hence the drop in FPS. I have contemplated replacing the PSU but wasn't sure what I should go with. Do you have any suggestions on what size I should be looking for or a specific model? I don't ever plan on sli or xfire so I don't think I would need anything too powerful. I would like something good enough to provide good/clean power to my card. Thanks for the suggestion.
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