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Is my Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB defective?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 17, 2013 1:02:37 AM

Hello, I am worried that my GPU may be defective in some way, and I want to know if that is true, or if it is only my CPU bottle-necking the performance.

Here is a GPU-Z screenshot:


Does everything look fine?
a c 160 U Graphics card
January 17, 2013 1:24:46 AM

Yes everything look perfect. But how will a GPU-Z screenshot help us determine if the card is defective?
What issues do you have?
If you have low FPS in Far Cry 3, that is normal.
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January 17, 2013 1:38:42 AM

Well, I have low FPS in many games, unusually low (which I have made a thread about). I learned that my processor is bottle-necking, but what I just found out is that my GPU's core clock is stuck at only 500MHz when I am playing games. I am still trying to find out how to fix it, if it's possible.
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a c 160 U Graphics card
January 17, 2013 1:50:58 AM

imrevned said:
Well, I have low FPS in many games, unusually low (which I have made a thread about). I learned that my processor is bottle-necking, but what I just found out is that my GPU's core clock is stuck at only 500MHz when I am playing games. I am still trying to find out how to fix it, if it's possible.


How have you determined its "stuck" at 500MHz?
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January 17, 2013 2:00:26 AM

Novuake said:
How have you determined its "stuck" at 500MHz?


Well, I did some research on it and it is a semi-common problem that AMD GPU's apparently have, where they will drop down to 500MHz when adobe flash player is being played (YouTube video for example), and I guess whenever some other software is running (as far as I know, there isn't a specific kind of software), the core clock will remain at 500MHz, even when you are playing a game.

I have been monitoring my GPU with GPU-Z and it's core clock stays at exactly 500MHz when I am playing a game.
This happens when I am not watching a YouTube video or have a web browser open. It must be some other software.
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a c 160 U Graphics card
January 17, 2013 2:08:25 AM

imrevned said:
Well, I did some research on it and it is a semi-common problem that AMD GPU's apparently have, where they will drop down to 500MHz when adobe flash player is being played (YouTube video for example), and I guess whenever some other software is running (as far as I know, there isn't a specific kind of software), the core clock will remain at 500MHz, even when you are playing a game.

I have been monitoring my GPU with GPU-Z and it's core clock stays at exactly 500MHz when I am playing a game.
This happens when I am not watching a YouTube video or have a web browser open. It must be some other software.


I only see one past regarding this. On is not enough to warrant a concrete finding.

Do you have the latest drivers installed?
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January 17, 2013 2:18:19 AM

Novuake said:
I only see one past regarding this. On is not enough to warrant a concrete finding.

Do you have the latest drivers installed?


The posts I found were not on Tom's Hardware.

Yes, I have the latest drivers. I have tried the latest beta drivers as well, no help.

I also re-installed Windows a few days ago, after I got the card, so I could have a clean install.
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a c 160 U Graphics card
January 17, 2013 2:28:04 AM

Hmmm well I doubt the card is defective.

Try this :
Run Unique Heaven Benchmark and check with GPU-Z what the max MHz is during a run-through.

Then restart and kill as many non-critical processes as possible in task manager, run the heaven benchmark again.

Post the results.
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January 17, 2013 2:36:34 AM

Novuake said:
Hmmm well I doubt the card is defective.

Try this :
Run Unique Heaven Benchmark and check with GPU-Z what the max MHz is during a run-through.

Then restart and kill as many non-critical processes as possible in task manager, run the heaven benchmark again.

Post the results.


Alright, I just did a test.

On Steam, I played Dragon Nest and the core clock would be at 1100MHz (what I overclocked my card to) in the login menus; then it would drop back to 500 when I actually got into the game.

I played TF2, it stayed at 1100 the entire time, I was getting 90-300 fps.

I will try the Unique Heaven Benchmark.
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January 17, 2013 2:45:28 AM

What is the system besides the gpu? did you update to latest drivers there has been some problems before drive updates can you give more details of your system?
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January 17, 2013 3:06:29 AM

Novuake said:
Hmmm well I doubt the card is defective.

Try this :
Run Unique Heaven Benchmark and check with GPU-Z what the max MHz is during a run-through.

Then restart and kill as many non-critical processes as possible in task manager, run the heaven benchmark again.

Post the results.


Here are the results: http://i49.tinypic.com/2hpi0y0.jpg

It was at 1100 the entire time.
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a c 160 U Graphics card
January 17, 2013 3:13:24 AM

Before or after you killed the processes?
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January 17, 2013 3:20:09 AM

Novuake said:
Before or after you killed the processes?


Before, the only processes I ever have up are Skype, Steam, Microsoft Security Essentials, and Dxtory (video recording, I don't record, just use it to see my fps).

Would you like me to do a benchmark with those processes off? (excluding Microsoft Security Essentials as it's my antivirus)

Also, I discovered that in Garry's Mod, my MHz will drop down to 500 when I look in an area that has more to render, therefore decreasing my FPS. When I look into a more empty area, my MHz will go up to 1100 and increase my FPS.

And when it is at 500, sometimes it will jump up to 850, then go back down to 500.


My CPU bottle-necks my GPU, so that may play a part in this mysterious issue.
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a c 160 U Graphics card
January 17, 2013 3:26:10 AM

imrevned said:
Before, the only processes I ever have up are Skype, Steam, Microsoft Security Essentials, and Dxtory (video recording, I don't record, just use it to see my fps).

Would you like me to do a benchmark with those processes off? (excluding Microsoft Security Essentials as it's my antivirus)

Also, I discovered that in Garry's Mod, my MHz will drop down to 500 when I look in an area that has more to render, therefore decreasing my FPS. When I look into a more empty area, my MHz will go up to 1100 and increase my FPS.

And when it is at 500, sometimes it will jump up to 850, then go back down to 500.


That does not seem very consistent. How about this. I think its steam related. Try running a game that runs well but is quite intense graphically(1100MHz constently), then add it to your steam library. Run the game through steam and see if it lessons.

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January 17, 2013 3:29:35 AM

Novuake said:
That does not seem very consistent. How about this. I think its steam related. Try running a game that runs well but is quite intense graphically(1100MHz constently), then add it to your steam library. Run the game through steam and see if it lessons.


I don't have any installed. I would play Far Cry 3, but I haven't reinstalled it since I formatted my HDD :/ 

I don't think it is Steam related though, as TF2 had my core clock at 1100 constantly, and my FPS was usually in the 200's.

I will download Far Cry 3 over night, then install it tomorrow, just to have it.
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a c 160 U Graphics card
January 17, 2013 3:31:37 AM

imrevned said:
I don't have any installed. I would play Far Cry 3, but I haven't reinstalled it since I formatted my HDD :/ 

I don't think it is Steam related though, as TF2 had my core clock at 1100 constantly, and my FPS was usually in the 200's.


yeah But TF2 runs on Hlaf life 2 engine which is not intense anymore.
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January 17, 2013 3:39:17 AM

Novuake said:
yeah But TF2 runs on Hlaf life 2 engine which is not intense anymore.


If Steam allows TF2 to run fine with my GPU.. that leads me to believe that Steam isn't the problem.

I will test how Far Cry 3 runs tomorrow though, then try running it through Steam.

I appreciate your help, this is such a pain in the ass xD

Edit: Also, Dragon Nest doesn't have to be downloaded through Steam, so I can also download it from it's own launcher and try it that way. That'll have to wait until tomorrow though.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
January 17, 2013 3:45:10 AM

I would expect ANY 3D GAME to jump above 500MHz.

1) I assume when you "monitor" the GPU frequency you actually leave GPU-Z in the background, run a game for a few minutes, then close it and look at the GPU frequency history.

2) If your GPU frequency is stuck at 500MHz there's a definite problem. Any 3D game should force the GPU much higher.

3) Try setting the GPU clock back to DEFAULT to ensure it's not overheating and dropping to 500MHz to protect itself. Probably not the problem.

4) Your CPU would not throttle you to the point of locking at 500MHz. If you're throttled at 500MHz it's almost definitely AMD's drivers causing this.

5) I find it unlikely that linking a game through STEAM would affect anything. That simply adds a LINK into Steam. It's no different then you adding a Shortcut to your desktop.
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January 17, 2013 3:51:26 AM

photonboy said:
I would expect ANY 3D GAME to jump above 500MHz.

1) I assume when you "monitor" the GPU frequency you actually leave GPU-Z in the background, run a game for a few minutes, then close it and look at the GPU frequency history.

2) If your GPU frequency is stuck at 500MHz there's a definite problem. Any 3D game should force the GPU much higher.

3) Try setting the GPU clock back to DEFAULT to ensure it's not overheating and dropping to 500MHz to protect itself. Probably not the problem.

4) Your CPU would not throttle you to the point of locking at 500MHz. If you're throttled at 500MHz it's almost definitely AMD's drivers causing this.

5) I find it unlikely that linking a game through STEAM would affect anything. That simply adds a LINK into Steam. It's no different then you adding a Shortcut to your desktop.


I actually have a second, smaller (1280x1024) monitor to the right of my main monitor. I use the second monitor to view my GPU and CPU stats.

I will try setting my GPU back down to default.

Update: Setting back the core clock to 925 (default) didn't do anything.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
January 17, 2013 6:22:54 AM

imrevned said:
I actually have a second, smaller (1280x1024) monitor to the right of my main monitor. I use the second monitor to view my GPU and CPU stats.

I will try setting my GPU back down to default.

Update: Setting back the core clock to 925 (default) didn't do anything.


You should be testing with the second monitor UNHOOKED. This may be the source of your problems.

You can have your GPU history being created, then close a game and look at it to see what frequency it was running at.
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a b U Graphics card
January 17, 2013 6:39:59 AM

This happens occasionally to me for my crossfired cards. Occasionally it goes in a low clock state, and quite often it'll stay that way, especially after finishing a game. One way I found out how to fix it, was to use MSI kombustor during a game if I had low fps due to it not clocking up. Kombustor FORCES the clocks, and then I just close it and resume my game.
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January 17, 2013 3:24:06 PM

JJ1217 said:
This happens occasionally to me for my crossfired cards. Occasionally it goes in a low clock state, and quite often it'll stay that way, especially after finishing a game. One way I found out how to fix it, was to use MSI kombustor during a game if I had low fps due to it not clocking up. Kombustor FORCES the clocks, and then I just close it and resume my game.


Hmm.. can you give me a link to the program? The one I am seeing says that it's only for GTX 600 series cards.
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January 17, 2013 4:08:46 PM

Okay, this is very weird, my core clock is now going up to it's highest (1100) when I am playing games. I installed a few more games and maybe I got a newer version of DirectX or something?

I still get kind of low FPS in Dragon Nest and Garry's Mod, like 35 FPS in the town or 35-40 FPS in areas that have a lot to render (on max settings). Though I am guessing that is my CPU bottle-necking as my core clock isn't down to 500.

So... looks like the problem randomly solved itself? I don't think I have any less processes running or anything. It's weird.
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a c 160 U Graphics card
January 17, 2013 5:45:35 PM

That seems like good news.
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