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Graphics glitches/flickering

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 22, 2013 1:52:15 AM

(Note: I posted a similar topic in the Games forum and received no replies, but as I'm pretty sure it must be a video card issue I figure here might be a better place for it.)

Specs and info:
Intel Core i5 3.30ghz
4gb DDR3 RAM
Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870
Windows 7 64 bit
Run games at 1920x1080 on a 23" display
Using AMD's 12.11 beta drivers (with CAP 2, as was recommended for Far Cry 3 specifically by the site).

I installed my new graphics card (along with a new monitor) near the beginning of this month. In at least 3 games (Skyrim, Far Cry 3, and Crysis) I have experienced graphical glitches, generally flickering stuff.

In Skyrim, I had an issue at the bottom of some stairs at the entrance to a dungeon. I would look around and just see a bunch of flickering stuff by the walls/floors. Once I climbed the stairs and got out of there, it was fine. I haven't been able to duplicate this and haven't noticed any major issues in the game since. Note: I had this issue BEFORE switching to the beta drivers (which I did when I got Far Cry 3).

In Crysis, say when I'm running through the jungle, I notice extremely fast small flickers. It's hard to describe them because they're not constant at all, just every now and then, and too fast to see very well. I also noticed that the edge of the island where it met the water was flickering a bit when you drop in via parachute. This is one of the least distracting of the issues I've had. If I had to choose. :p 

In Far Cry 3, I've had a couple issues: one is just your average flickering texture. In an early mission, you sneak into an area containing a big beached boat. Using my binoculars to look at the boat, one of the doors on it was constantly flickering. I can't remember if this stopped once I got up close to the door or not. I don't think it's a door you actually enter. I've also had general minor flickering shadows/stuff while playing.

The second Far Cry 3 problem occured in the starting village of the game. I've actually found someone with the same problem on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CwsSiit9Z4
Now, this video shows a much, MUCH more severe case of the problem. I would consider the game absolutely unplayable if I had it that bad... but it's the same "effect". Mine is both more infrequent and smaller. I was also, at one point, able to see through the jaw of a character. Not sure if that's just a glitch with the game itself or not, though.

The first thing people tend to recommend with graphics issues is always to make sure drivers are OK. I kept that in mind, and uninstalled and reinstalled mine. When it didn't fix anything the first time, I did it again, this time using a step by step guide to delete anything AMD-related in the registry to ensure that it was a clean install. Still having problems.

One last thing: when I'm uninstalling my AMD drivers, the monitor receives no signal after the display driver is uninstalled.
The two times I uninstalled the drivers, I left the computer on for 10-15 minutes to make sure it was done uninstalling before I did a hard restart. How do I prevent that? When I just got the card and uninstalled my old drivers, it didn't do that - it just kicked me back to 640x480 or whatever it is and let me continue.
January 22, 2013 2:19:46 AM

I have the same problem with Far Cry 3 on my 7870, though apparently not as severe as your case, flickering textures on the vegetation and some distant objects when viewed through binoculars or sniper scope being my main problem. I do get the flashing square artifacts too, but they are infrequent. At the moment there doesn't seem to be any solution. All you can do is wait for a game or driver fix for the flickering textures and flashing artifacts, or just put up with it for the moment. The problem persists with 12.11 Beta, 13.1, and 13.2 Beta. You can try some older driver revisions and see if you have any luck, though you may lose out on some performance boosts in Far Cry 3.

Skyrim has had issues with Catalyst Driver revisions after version 12.8. I've played the game recently on 13.2 Beta, and it seemed fine, so you may want to try that version, or downgrade to 12.8.

As for your uninstallation issues, that is strange, though some people do seem to have issues with the Catalyst Install Manager. If you really want to make sure that you got rid of the old driver, you can boot into Safe Mode and use a program called DriverSweeper to clear out the remnants of the AMD drivers. Then reboot Windows into normal mode, and install whichever AMD driver revision you want to use.

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January 22, 2013 6:03:15 AM

Tomorrow I think I may try rolling back to 12.8 just to see if it fixes any of these issues (and I'll try DriverSweeper). Thanks for the reply.
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January 22, 2013 7:33:57 AM

make sure your mb bios has all the updates. could be a bios issues or glitch. make sure you did not instal the mvp software that bonds intel ipgopu with a gpu. that software is buggy and can cause issues. make sure the newest intel chipset drivers are installed. also run cpu-z and gpu-z make sure your ram is running at it rated speed and timing and the gpu running at right pci-3.0 speed. one thing also to try is switxch from pci 3.0 mode to pci 2.0 mode if your mb has that option to see if it the video mux chip on the mb that having an issue.
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January 22, 2013 10:59:19 PM

Just for today I've done a clean install of the 13.1 drivers. I'll get back to you guys on whether or not that changed anything, and then I'll start trying some of this other stuff...

Also, a few times the Catalyst Control Center has gone black on me, as in this screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/APMWU71.png

Obviously that shouldn't happen... but I also might just be paranoid about any potential problems right now.
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January 24, 2013 8:15:16 PM

I'm still getting glitches and flickers in Far Cry 3, at least.

Should I really try updating the bios? The website (and physical manual for my motherboard) says only to do it if you're having problems with it and they give a warning saying they're not responsible for any problems as a result, etc. I've never updated BIOS on any machine before, either.

Is there any chance that this is a physical problem with the video card?
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January 24, 2013 10:50:57 PM

I don't think a BIOS update will really help you in this case. I would say try a whole bunch of games out, graphically demanding ones in particular, eg. Crysis, Metro 2033, Witcher 2, Battlefield 3 if you have any of those. If the problems only occur in Far Cry 3, it isn't likely a hardware issue, and RMAing the card for an identical model won't help.
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January 24, 2013 11:50:33 PM

Supernova1138 said:
I don't think a BIOS update will really help you in this case. I would say try a whole bunch of games out, graphically demanding ones in particular, eg. Crysis, Metro 2033, Witcher 2, Battlefield 3 if you have any of those. If the problems only occur in Far Cry 3, it isn't likely a hardware issue, and RMAing the card for an identical model won't help.

Alright, I have a few of those and I'll keep trying stuff out.

One last thing, if it's any help: most of the issues in Far Cry 3 that I noticed when I played earlier today (besides that horrible glitch demonstrated in the YouTube video in my original post) were things I saw from far away. For example, using a hanglider, I'd see some small flickering patches way across the map. That SEEMED to be the case in Crysis as well earlier, as I mentioned noticing things when parachuting into the first area from high above.

Thanks for the continued help.
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March 2, 2013 11:24:57 PM

I know it's been a long time since I updated this thread (I got plenty of emails asking if I'd found my answer yet) but I've tried a couple more of the graphically intensive games recommended by Supernova.

I didn't notice any major glitches in Metro 2033, but I didn't play for long.

I bought and played awhile (3-5 hours) on Battlefield 3 and noticed just one instance of flickering graphics. Like with almost every other game I've experienced it on, it was something in the distance.

I've noticed it a few more times in Skyrim. It's often when looking a great distance to a mountain top or something (the shadows up there will go a bit crazy). I've also had it happen looking across a field/area with random items/structures. Once I get close to the structure it tends to stop. I was going to take a picture of the artifact/flicker but it stopped before I could (although next time I'll try to hit ~ to bring up the console window and pause everything).

Same with Far Cry 3 - when I've played it, I've had the same issues as always.
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March 3, 2013 9:44:35 PM

Something of an update:

I noticed that in Skyrim, if I use a certain mod that changes the lighting system, I get a bunch of graphical glitches when inside a tavern.

I managed to mash F12 and take these screenshots.
http://i.imgur.com/cxz0wUw.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/ZtjQJGN.jpg

Disabling the mod fixes that, but I wonder why it would do that. (I installed the mod properly and in the proper order to ensure compatibility with other mods.) It's sort of similar to the Far Cry 3 glitch, although the squares are larger.
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March 26, 2013 5:21:57 PM

I just played Fallout: New Vegas and when I went outside (aka not in the Strip or an area like that) it seemed like every second chunk of rock/mountain was flickering, along with several objects like railway rails near me. All of this flickering in this many games CAN'T be normal.
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March 26, 2013 6:58:13 PM

Well, at this point you might as well RMA the card, it sounds like there is something wrong with it...
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March 30, 2013 8:44:35 AM

Alright, thanks. Guess I'll finally RMA it.
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September 17, 2013 10:23:40 AM

I have a similar problem. texture flickering, mostly on stuff far away and only visible when moving, the sniper scope makes it visible because of the movement caused by the protagonists breathing. The problem vanishes on low terrain texture quality and is barely noticeable on medium.

HBAO gives similar texture flicking, in this case with a few tiny black boxes, barely visible at the edge of your view distance, moving away as you move forward.

Strange stuff. RMA case or a problem of the Far Cry 3 engine?
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