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No Monitor Signal with Radeon HD 7770

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 13, 2012 5:18:04 PM

Hi,

I recently upgraded from a Nvidia GTS 8800 512MB to an AMD Radeon HD 7770 (XFX|FX-777A-ZDF4). My GTS had stopped working after over 4 years of solid performance. The device manager reported an error code for the card and I noticed lockups when trying to access software that would exercise 3-D animation. These issues did not resolve with re-seating the GPU or the latest Nvidia driver.

Anyway the Radeon HD 7770 has presented an odd issue. When I boot up I get the BIOS splash screen and the Windows 7 splash screen (on both monitors of a dual monitor configuration). Then I should get the Windows 7 sign on screen. At this point the monitors do not detect a signal (both hooked up through DVI). If I cycle the power on both monitors everything sorts itself out i.e. I get the Windows 7 sign on screen and once I sign on both monitors open up to an extended Windows desktop. At this point I can play 3-D games and everything seems just fine. I can even resume from a suspend mode and both monitors power up just fine.

I have only noticed this anomaly on a reboot and even then it is not 100% consistent i.e. sometimes it starts OK. Most of the time in a dual-monitor configuration the issue does occur on a reboot. With a single monitor configuration it can still occur but it seems to happen less often.

Since this issue does not impact the BIOS splash screen and the Windows splash screen I suspect the trigger is when the Catalyst drivers are initially loaded. I am running the most recent version of Catalyst (12.6). I called XFX technical support and got a message they are not in and will be back on Tuesday (what?!?). It feels like a Catalyst driver issue but if that was really the case and I would have expected to see a lot of talk about it but my Google seaches did not seem to indicate this is a widespread issue. So I am thinking it is more likley a hardware issue with the card.

Granted this is not a show stopper but I hate buying something that behaves erratically from day one. I am tempted to send it back to NewEgg and instead go with a GTX 550.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Tony

More about : monitor signal radeon 7770

a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 13, 2012 7:05:37 PM

Did you make sure you cleaned out all the Nvidia stuff prior to installing the AMD card? Check into driver sweeper, I would uninstall all the AMD drivers you have right now, and the run DS, then reinstall the latest drivers (might want to try beta 12.7)
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August 13, 2012 8:44:43 PM

Hi and thanks for responding. I did uninstall all Nvidia drivers and utilities before installing Catalyst. I will try give beta 12.7 a try next.
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August 13, 2012 9:03:27 PM

Interestingly enough after I rebooted without ANY driver the monitor issue went away (although they reverted to showing identical desktops instead of a single extended desktop). Now with beta 12.7 installed the issue has returned. Of course it clears up if I simply cycle the monitors off/on. . . . very strange.
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a c 207 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 13, 2012 9:05:33 PM

tony sounds like an issue with the video card and the onboard mb video chipset. looks like at some times windows does not know to boot from the onboard video or the gpu. as you say your mb is a few years old. I would try this download the newest mb chipset drivers and the newest video drivers for the onboard video chipset. I would then look to see in your bios if there a setting for first video boot. see if it set for gpu then onboard. the other thing to see if there a firmware update for the card. try using gpu-z and read the info of the video card and google the bios version of the card and see if there a newer one.
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August 13, 2012 9:17:13 PM

Hi Smorizio. Thanks for the suggestions. I am running a Shuttle SX38P2-Pro (Bare Bone Kit) with Q6600 that I put together in 2008. It does not have an onboard GPU and the system BIOS is on the latest release. Also note that the Nvidia card I was using never had this issue in over 4 years with of extensive use. I'll go ahead and give GPU-Z a whirl, but let me know if the additional information provided sparks any additional insight.
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a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 13, 2012 9:20:26 PM

The fact that you got a video card to work on a shuttle deserves a round of applause. :)  Sometimes they have jumpers to make things work correctly, the BIOS alone may not be enought to config the card.
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August 13, 2012 9:49:13 PM

LOL - thanks Festor! Honestly this Shuttle has been pretty easy to work with, at least until now. The toughest part of the original build was squeezing the Nvidia GTS into the available space inside case. As you know these things are pretty small.

Anyway the results of a little more testing - 3 restarts under Windows 7:

1) Both monitors worked as one would expect.

2) Both monitors showed BIOS and Windows Starting splash screen. Primary monitor provided Windows sign on screen and afterwards the secondary monitor was not getting a signal until I cycled the power. Then both worked as expected.

3) Both monitors showed BIOS and Windows Starting splash screen. Then both monitors were not getting a signal until I recycled the power for each one. Then the Windows sign on appears on the primary monitor, I signed in, and both monitors worked as expected.

It seems to me if this was a real Catalyst bug many others would have reported it. My best guess at this point is that 1) I have a bad graphics card or 2) the somewhat dated motherboard (X38 Express based) has some kind of obscure incompatibility with either the HD 7770 or perhaps the Catalyst driver.

I am going to talk with XFX support tomorrow but barring any further progress I will probably return this to NewEgg and give a Nvidia card a try. I am really just looking for a mid-range card to tie me over until I build a new rig around Windows 8 and an i7 processor.
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a b U Graphics card
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August 13, 2012 9:57:13 PM

You could also try to install only the drivers, not the whole CCC package. Its on the AMD site as well. If possible, try using VGA to DVI adapters for each monitor to test it.
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August 13, 2012 10:30:36 PM

festerovic said:
You could also try to install only the drivers, not the whole CCC package. Its on the AMD site as well. If possible, try using VGA to DVI adapters for each monitor to test it.


I was going to give this a try so first I did a full uninstall of the Catalyst drivers. At this point I rebooted and to my surprise the problem did occur with both monitors. Reboot again - the problem occurred with just the secondary monitor.

OK, so it seems the anomaly can occur with both the current Catalyst driver (12.6), the beta Catalyst driver (12.7), and the standard Windows 7 VGA driver. In my mind this would seem to rule out the anomaly being the result of a Catalyst bug or some obscure Catalyst setting that I may have overlooked. I don't see any other possibility than a defective video card OR an incompatibility with my motherboard. I don't anticipate any new BIOS upgrades for my aging Shuttle so I think the logical choice is to cut my losses on this endeavor, send this one back, and try an Nvidia card.

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a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 14, 2012 3:39:13 AM

Are both the monitors the same model? Could be the monitors, and a new card is a waste of time.

One more thing to try: in the catalyst options, there is a tab called My Digital Flat Panel, Properties. There is an option for image scaling, which you should try to turn on. Also, there are some DVI options, give those a whirl.
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August 14, 2012 2:05:26 PM

festerovic said:
Are both the monitors the same model? Could be the monitors, and a new card is a waste of time.

One more thing to try: in the catalyst options, there is a tab called My Digital Flat Panel, Properties. There is an option for image scaling, which you should try to turn on. Also, there are some DVI options, give those a whirl.


Thanks for the ideas. I tried the different DVI options with no effect. I also tried with and without scaling and that did not seem to make a difference.

I am using identical DELL 24 inch E248WFP monitors connected via DVI. I also tried switching the monitors around on the DVI ports on the graphics card without any change. I don't believe this this is a monitor issue since they did not exhibit this behaviour with the Nvidia card and while certainly possible it seems unlikely for both monitors to fail at the same time with the same unusual issue.

Once I cycle the power on the affected monitor the issue goes away completely. This anomaly is not consistent and on a given reboot can affect one, both, or neither monitor. It would be interesting to see if this issue exits with VGA cables, but I don't have any laying around to try. This card is rated as PCI 3.0 while my Shuttle is rated as PCI 2.0. I know that a PCI 3.0 card SHOULD work in a PCI 2.0 slot but . . . . .

I have to believe it is either an oddball incompatibility with my motherboard OR a defect in the graphics card. I will likely build a new rig with an i7 processor and higher end GPU once Windows 8 is out (and stable enough for my tastes). Unless XFX support can shed new light on this issue I am thinking the path of least resistance is to return the HD 7770 and pull the trigger on GTX 550 for $99.99 after MIR. The GTX 550 is PCI 2.0 like my old GTS 8800 so I have a higher degree of confidence it will work properly. While not a power house GPU it is superior to my old GTS 8800 and can hold me over until I go more high end on my next rig.

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August 14, 2012 6:34:08 PM

Talked to XFX support. Suggested I use DS, which Fester had brought up as well. Honestly I was a bit hesitant to use such a tool as I have never had to use one before when dealing with drivers. Anyway I tried and the problem remains. If that did not work the tech at XFX suggested I could quickly get a replacement through NewEgg since I am still within 30 days. It may very well be that the HD 7770 is defective, but there is also the possibility that there is some kind of incompatibility with my aging X38 Express motherboard. So to try to cover both bases I am going with my plan B i.e. return the HD 7770, get the older generation GTX 550 on the cheap as a hold over until I build a my next rig, then go for a higher performance card.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions and feedback!

Tony
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