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Should I RMA? (MSI R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 21, 2012 3:05:24 PM

I'm having a lot of concerns with my MSI R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC that I purchased a couple weeks ago, but this is the first gaming-level performance video adapter that I have bought in a long time and I want to be able to differentiate between what is normal/expected and what is not (a lot has changed since the days of the Radeon x1900 series).

Problems I have encountered:

In-game:
- System crashes after prolonged running of all high-end games, generally between 2-5 hours of play. No blue screen, the system stutters and freezes then the display shuts off.
- Same problem as above with some select lower performance demanding games, but much more frequent. Possibly related to issues with the games themselves but it is still annoying.
- Frequently under high load with high temps and very loud fans.

Out of game:
- Occasionally when my display shuts off due to idle time, it will not turn back on.
- My display has shut off while resizing high bit rate video (from fraps in this case) in Windows Media Player.
- When overclocked no more than 5% above stock OC (which is 1050/1200 core/memory clock by the way), I experience frequent driver crashes most often while web browsing. It should be noted that all the previous mentioned problems, including in-game, I experience at stock OC. This is the only exception.

I've been using the 12.6 Catalyst drivers and more recently 12.8; upgrading to 12.8 has not affected any of these problems at all.

My system is all pretty new, but this video card is the most recent. I was using a GeForce GTS 250 as a placer before buying this card and although I never tried to high-end game with it, my system was very stable.

My system specs are:
OS: Windows 7 64bit
Main board: ASUS Crosshair V Formula AMD 990FX
CPU: AMD FX-8120 @4.0GHz
GPU: AMD Radeon 7870 GE (MSI R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC 1050/1200)
PSU: OCZ 750W ATX12V
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 4x4GB DDR3 1600 9-9-9-24 (stock)
Boot drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB

Also, my 3DMark 11 GPU score was 6406. I was looking at scores from other users with identical CPU/GPUs and clock speeds and they were all higher than mine, some by as much as 15%. And FutureMark's own base stock score for the 7870 is 6840, still higher than my stock OC card, which I find surprising.

So from the sound of things here... do I have a bad card? Or is a lot of this just normal? Or am I doing something wrong or could I have a different hardware issue altogether? Thanks for any help and advice. Let me know if there's any additional information that I need to provide. :) 

EDIT: I also want to point out that I am aware that the one overclocking issue that I mentioned is not something that I can request an RMA for. I only mentioned that because if it turns out that my cards OC performance is significantly below average, then that would be more motivation for me to go through the trouble of the RMA process assuming that I already have another legitimate case for an RMA. Just pointing that out so I don't get lectured about chip manufacturing, RMAs, warranties, etc.
August 22, 2012 5:15:16 PM

There is little downside to RMAing the card for a replacement: at least you get to compare the performance with another card. Yes you'll have to be without the updated card until the hardware arrives, but nothing bad other than that.
August 22, 2012 11:24:04 PM

It does not hurt to RMA it. Other option would be if you could try it in a different system to find out if it is the card or something else in your system. Have you run memtest on your ram? http://www.memtest.org/
Related resources
August 28, 2012 12:05:03 AM

It took me a while to get memtest running because it turns out I was out of writable media, but here are the results.

My first two attempts to pass memtest with all 4 modules failed, with hardstops at different points within the process before it could detect any errors. My third attempt was real screwy; the memtest screen went white and flickered red in some areas.

When I tested each module individually hower, each one passed without errors. I'm not really sure what this insinuates.

And in regards to the downsides of RMA'ing - for me it would mean that I would lose my rebate and it is one of those cards that included a free game bonus. I've heard some people have been charged for the "free" game when RMAing their products so that's not real inviting either. I haven't even activated mine though so it would be pretty ridiculous if I did end up getting charged for it.
August 28, 2012 3:38:34 AM

Memtest with all modules indicates there is something wrong be it motherboard or maybe to tight timings. Is the command rate for the ram set at 1T or 2T?
August 28, 2012 6:12:33 PM

It's set at 2T.
August 29, 2012 12:46:53 PM

That would leave it to maybe bad slot on the board.
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