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Display Driver Crashes and BSOD's w/ new GPU

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 6, 2012 5:46:26 AM

I recently built a new computer using the following parts:

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V PRO
Memory: CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 1866
PSU: CORSAIR HX Series HX750 750W
Storage: 2 x OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD in RAID 0 Configuration and is also the boot drive
320GB Western Digital 7200RPM HDD as a data drive
CPU: Intel i5 3570k
CPU Cooler: Corsair H70 Core w/ 2 Corsair SP120 static pressure fans
lastly,
GPU: MSI R7870 Hawk

I have the CPU overclocked to about ~4.4Ghz using the ASUS motherboard's TPU switch and the AI Suite II's automatic overclocking utility.

My main issue has been more of an annoyance than something that keeps the computer from functioning. I have been attempting to overclock the GPU which is pretty much made for overclocking considering it has the TwinFrozer IV cooler along with other OC features. My problem though is that even with minor overclocks like 1140 Mhz core clock and 1250 Mhz memory clock while playing pretty much any game I'm having issues with the display driver crashing (I'm assuming that's what is happening as the game freezes, goes black and then flashes back.) This is as compared to the default speeds of 1100 core clock and 1200 memory clock. Not only does the display driver crash I also get BSODs every so often, eight in total now .

The BSODs I'm getting mostly have the error code 0xA0000001 which seems to be cause by atikmdag.sys usually. I also recently tried using 3DMark 11 to benchmark the system and it would actually perform worse when I overclocked the card. The CPU score was always good but the GPU score was rather low. For overclocking I am using MSI Afterburner and watching the GPU temps they have never gone over 53C which I know is a safe temp.

I have BlueScreenView and Windows Debugging Tools installed if you would like more information on the BSODs or any other information.

I hope this is the right section to post this and thanks to anyone that can provide some help.
a b U Graphics card
December 6, 2012 6:00:04 AM

The CPU overclock utilities are useful but cannot compare to a manual overclock in terms of stability. Not all GPU's overclock to the same level and memory overclock is always a touchy. What are your temps right before a BSOD? The lwo 3dmark score might be due to some throttling going on with the overclock. This might be an indication of temp problems. One way to troubleshoot is to only overclock one part and test that part for stability. That way you can narrow down the culprit. Use something like Intel Burn Test or Furmark to stress your components.
a c 92 U Graphics card
December 6, 2012 6:03:49 AM

you got unlucky with the card.

set fan to 100% and run 3dmark again OCed and not OCed.
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December 6, 2012 6:09:19 AM

I actually have been doing my overclocks one piece at a time and then testing with MSI Kombuster's burn-in test though this never seems to produce any of the mentioned issues and they only start to arise once I'm in a game, recently this has been Planet Side 2 at all max settings.

As far as temps they highest I've seen them go is the 53C and this was when I started increasing the GPU voltage settings though I didn't go past 1231 mV. As far as when the BSOD's happen the temps are a bit harder to check instantly as the system is restarting and the card has a feature where the fans run at near 100% speed but in reverse to remove dust which might reduce the temps a bit. Again though they really never seem to get close to dangerous levels. When I don't have the GPU overclocked the system is stable (at least from what I can tell after playing games for several hours with no issues.)

@esrever: I'll do that and post again with results.
December 6, 2012 6:55:49 AM

Okay I tested 3DMark 11 with 100% fan speed non-oc and oc.

Non-OC:
Score: 5883 Core Voltage: 1218 mV Core Clock: 1100 Mem Clock: 1200 Max Temp: 44C

OC:
1st Attempt the display driver crashed during the CPU & GPU test
Core Voltage: 1225 Core Clock: 1215 Mem Clock: 1330 Max Temp: 47C
2nd Attempt
Score: 3535 Core Voltage: 1225 Core Clock: 1200 Mem Clock: 1300 Max Temp: 46C

Both scores are for the GPU only.

Edit: Figured I would add this
Full Non-OC Scores:
SCORE
P6129 3DMarks
GRAPHICS SCORE
5883
PHYSICS SCORE
8542
COMBINED SCORE
5523

Full OC Scores:
SCORE
P3832 3DMarks
GRAPHICS SCORE
3535
PHYSICS SCORE
8548
COMBINED SCORE
3206
a b U Graphics card
December 6, 2012 7:07:57 AM

Hmm there are weird instances where a burn in test will past just fine but the card will still crash in game. Maybe this is an issue?
a b U Graphics card
December 6, 2012 7:12:37 AM

MSI bleerrgg

"AUTO" overclocking also yuck

reset to defaults and run your system at stock for a week or so see if its your OC doing it
December 6, 2012 7:13:41 AM

I think I only remember having issues with a burn in test once, I don't remember what it was though. Other than that all of the problems have come while in-game or running 3D Mark 11.

@apache_lives: I haven't encountered any issues while the GPU isn't overclocked. I have used the card more without the OC than with though I suppose this still could be too small of a sample size to see if there are any issues without the OC.
a c 92 U Graphics card
December 6, 2012 5:28:09 PM

Sounds like you just can't OC your card. Its throttling for some reason in 3dmark, might be from power consumption and not heat.

7870s are not the best OC cards especially if you buy one pre OCed.
December 6, 2012 11:06:15 PM

Maybe I just have a faulty card, because I read quite a few reviews and they all seemed to be able to get a decent overclock from this specific card.
December 7, 2012 12:02:16 AM

Just an update, because a lot of the blue screens were caused by atikmdag.sys I tried using Windows Driver Verifier and after turning it on the computer wouldn't get past the black screen with the windows logo on boot.
!