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Radeon 9700 Pro Woe (Corrupt Graphics)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 23, 2003 5:10:04 PM

Ok here goes.

Had a Hercules Radeon 9700 Pro for about a year now. Originally I had big problems with the well-documented ‘infinite-loop’ error, where the pc would just freeze and lock up seemingly at random. A month or two down the line the problem was resolved, can’t remember exactly what I did, but possibly a driver update, or just switching to 4x AGP. Anyway, almost a year later another problem arises, corrupt graphics.

From booting, even the text showing BIOS info is corrupted, as is often the windows loading screen. In windows itself sometimes the graphics are corrupted from the start and sometimes they look fine. If I run a 3d game the graphics are completely corrupted or corrupted within about 3 seconds (don’t know if it’s any 3d game, but Dark Age of Camelot and Star Wars Galaxies both do it). Huge polygons appear out of objects, text is illegible and sometimes small rectangular boxes of ‘corrupt-ness’ run diagonally across the screen. When returning to windows graphics are always corrupted after this point.

Here’s what I have done so far to try and resolve the problem:

Checked and reseated the card itself
Switched power connectors and tried the card on it’s own power connector w/o ‘piggy-backing’
Tried all versions of Catalyst drivers since 3.0 (and some Omega drivers) including completely uninstalling old drivers (even used driver cleaner)
Formatted hard drive and reinstalled from scratch
Playing with just about every option in the ATi control panel (fast writes off, smartgart at 0x, 4x etc etc)
Changing BIOS settings for some possibly related things (USB, shadow RAM etc)
Using Rage3D Tweak to overclock or underclock
Flashed and Updated BIOS
Updated chipset drivers
Changing power supply
….but can’t change motherboard AGP voltage as no option :/ 

I’ve read a LOT of forum posts about issues with this card, but most discuss the ‘infinite-loop’ error, which I haven’t had for a long time. Nevertheless, I’ve tried many of the suggestions made in those forums to fix my ongoing corrupt graphics problem; to no avail. Also, it’s worth noting that my motherboard uses the ‘Granite Bay’ chipset, which, it appears, is known to cause problems with the R9700Pro, but I have found only a handful of mentions regarding the corrupt graphics issue, and no solutions.

ATi do document the corrupt graphics issue <A HREF="http://www.ati.com/support/infobase/4075.html" target="_new">here</A> , but there is no suggestion other than switching power supply (which I have tried) to solve the problem. Regardless, I’d be surprised if it was a power issue after it has run fine for about 10 months, and started occurring at a time when I had made no changes to the system or hardware.

I really appreciate the quality of this card, but after struggling for weeks now trying to solve the issue I’m getting to the point where I’m about to give up and replace it, which I really don’t want to have to do (it was expensive for a start). ANY advice or suggestions you can make would be very much appreciated.

Here’s hoping...




System Specs:

PIV 2.4, 533FSB MSI GNBMax (MS6565, Intel E7205), 1024mb DDR 266, Hercules Radeon 9700 Pro, SonicFury 5.1, 2* WD360GD (Raptor), WD400JB (Caviar), Yamaha CRW-F1 CDR-W, Hitachi GC7000 DVD, Enermax 460w EG465AX-VE(G) PSU, Coolermaster ATC210cAX-1, 19" Iiyama 1451 Visionmaster, Altec Lansing 5100, Fujitsu FDX310 ADSL Modem. WinXP SP1, DirectX 9.0b
December 23, 2003 5:26:19 PM

Probrably a silly thought, but is the fan working on that vid card?

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December 23, 2003 7:43:03 PM

Yeah, the fan on the card works fine. I have considered the possibility in the past that the card is overheating, but I have nothing near it at all inside the case, and often have the panel off, yet still there is no difference.
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December 23, 2003 7:50:24 PM

Quote:
Also, it’s worth noting that my motherboard uses the ‘Granite Bay’ chipset, which, it appears, is known to cause problems with the R9700Pro, but I have found only a handful of mentions regarding the corrupt graphics issue, and no solutions.


It wasn't the 9700Pro and the Granite Bay chipset specifically... it was any AGP 8x card combined with said chipset. Apparently, there is a very slight timing issue with the GB chipset; making it not fully AGP 3.0 (8x) compliant. It has been up to mobo manufacturers to offer BIOS updates to fix the problem.

What board do you have? I have the Gigabyte GA-8INXP, and it wasn't until very recently that they issued a new BIOS that fixed the timing issue and allowed my card to be run at 8x AGP. I never had a problem with display corruption, but the drivers did crash many times until I switched to 4x AGP.

I agree with Coyote... check to see if the GPU fan is running. The issues you're having may indicate your card is overheating.

<font color=red> If you design software that is fool-proof, only a fool will want to use it. </font color=red>
December 23, 2003 7:57:14 PM

GPU fan is definitely running. Mobo is: MSI GNBMax (MS6565, Intel E7205)
http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/mainboard/mbd/pr...

Yeah, i remember reading about the AGP 3.0 implementation issues - but still, i have this problem no matter what, whether using AGP x8 or not. It's persistent, not just stopping me from running at 8x AGP instead of 4x.
December 23, 2003 9:31:10 PM

Have you had any recent power outages? or blown a fuse? or even unplug the computer without turning it off? I had a radeon 8500le that had display corruption after a power outage when it was in my friend's computer (the friend still owes me money for that BTW) Not sure if your warrenty is still good or not, but you might try getting a replacement from hercules :\
a b U Graphics card
December 23, 2003 9:49:23 PM

It could be long term heat damage, get your free replacement card.

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December 23, 2003 10:48:06 PM

Yeah, I'm coming to the conclusion that the card itself has developed some sort of fault, even though it's only about 12 months old. Guess I'll have to look into the warranty situation... not too hopeful though :( 
December 24, 2003 10:26:54 PM

Just think of what ATI makes the GPU do with the given HSF. I can see long-term heat damage occuring and could cause this. take it out with another AGP and see wat happens.

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ATI Radeon 9800 Pro(420/700)
December 30, 2003 10:34:20 PM

Ok, now I'm seriously peeved. The Hercules Radeon 9700 Pro works flawalessly in my old 1ghz Athlon system. I guess the MSI GNB-Max (or should I say Intel E7205 Chipset) is seriously fooked when it comes to x8 AGP implementation.

Hopefully the Abit IS7 will solve my problem and allow me to use the Radeon 9700 pro with the rest of my current system.

Just to be clear - the old athlon system runs the card at x4 AGP (Can't remember what chipset it is, but I guess it doesn't really matter).

[Edit: just some extra info]

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by arkus on 12/30/03 07:36 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 30, 2003 10:46:03 PM

Forget that - the athlon just booted up with corrupted graphics, so I guess the radeon really is fubar'd.
December 30, 2003 11:12:04 PM

got another card lying around? give it a try, if you've not already.

AMD 2500+, 1gb DDR333, Radeon 9800 Pro, Audigy 2. Yummy...
January 2, 2004 4:11:34 PM

I had an AIW 9700 pro and I had the exact same problem. Let me tell you that it gets worse in time and in my case I came to such a stage that the display got corrupted even when I am using non 3d applications such as Windows! Now after doing some research in forums (and trying the stuff that you did such as switching back to 4x agp) I concluded that it is the overheating that causes the problem. Specificly the rams on your card overheats which corrupts the graphics. I sold my card and switched to AIW 9800 pro. The guy (who works in a computer shop) that I sold my 9700 pro to, told me that he has see it happen before and he can fix it with ram coolers (preferably zalman. So maybe you can give it a shot to go with ram coolers and check the problem. If not, Good luck :) 
!