I've only been using my new Sapphire Vapor-X 7970 GHz Edition for a couple weeks. It's acted kinda funny ever since the start. I get artifacts at STOCK clocks and volts. I haven't done anything like BIOS flashing and the GPU core has never reached more than 70C. VRM's have never reached more than 80C. I haven't done anything to this card that would damage it any way. It's never crashed while playing games or stress testing at stock settings, but it has crashed upon opening GPU-Z (when the app reads the card settings) several times for some reason. The only time I've ever heard of a system freeze/crash when opening GPU-Z is when the clocks are completely unstable at the given voltages. So all this leads me to believe that my card is not 100% at the stock voltages specified by the manufacturer, which I consider to be defective. It also has a piss-poor ASIC rating of 63.4% so I guess I shouldn't really be surprised. When I'm playing games, not only do I see occasional artifacts, I also CONSTANTLY see flickering shadows in pretty much every game, no matter what clocks or voltages I'm using. Texture flickering at longer draw distances is pretty common as well. Sometimes things are rendered in completely wrong colors as well. I have gone as far as completely wiping my drive and doing a fresh install of Windows and fresh install of all the latest Windows-certified drivers from AMD. Nothing has changed.
Here's the problem with this all: While the shadow flicking is constant in any game, the discolored textures and artifacts and crashes are actually pretty rare. Still, even if they only happen once in a while, they shouldn't happen at all, and they still bother me. The artifacts are very random and unpredictable and I cannot find any reliable way to reproduce them. The only GPU color error that I constantly see 100% is the green and pink textures in the 2nd video. I want to RMA this card, but I'm afraid that when the manufacturers are testing the card, they wont be able to reproduce these errors because most of them are pretty rare, and they'll just send my card right back to me and I'll have wasted a handful of cash on shipping and insurance on the card.
Even though it's only a couple weeks old, returning the card for a refund or exchange is completely out of the picture because I bought it from SuperBiiz, and they do not accept anything that has been even taken out of the box, let alone installed and run. I would also have to pay them back for the $180 in free games that came with the card. So the only option is replacement.
Do you think I'll have any luck RMA'ing this card? Will the manufacturers actually be able to detect these problems, or do they only look for the most obvious errors?