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"Gray Screen of Death"

Discussion in 'AMD / ATI' started by thejynxed, May 21, 2010.

  1. thejynxed New Member

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    Some people have gotten a "gray screen of death" while using their 4xxx and 5xxx series of ATI Radeons, and from what has been gathered, it is most common on the cards from manufacturers that use the reference boards from ATI (XFX, Sapphire, Powercolor, MSI, Asus).

    I wanted to thank this website and forum for providing hints through various threads and providing tools such as RBE, WinFlash and the BIOS database that was able to let me permanently fix this situation on my own, as no "fix" has been forthcoming from either ATI or the manufacturer of my card (Sapphire).

    Now I want to share what I found by digging into the BIOS for my card (Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 1 GB - new hardware revision w/blue PCB instead of brown).

    Apparently there are what are called "PowerPlay" settings in the BIOS to facilitate power-saving modes for all of the newer Radeons (2xxx and above), and this my friends, is wherein the problem lies. According to the information displayed by RBE, my particular card was using low-power settings that dropped the power of the card down to a Windows-95/98 era PC when idle, and these settings were explicitly labled "For notebook computers running on battery power".

    I was like, ok...since when do you incorporate "notebook computer" power schemes into a standalone desktop/workstation video card?

    The answer is that you don't. Ever. The low-power settings and voltages were entirely too low for a desktop card, and it was causing all sorts of issues when swapping from 2D to 3D and back in Windows, especially when swapping from a 3D environment to a 2D loading screen in games. The cards are not getting enough power at the low-power settings it swapped to, and the card basically vomits when Windows attempts to recover the video driver - thus locking up and showing a gray screen with very thin orange or green vertical striping in quite a few cases, and gray/white/black striping in others (this seems to be card model dependent as well, with 4xxx series owners and 59xx owners showing the former, and 58xx series owners showing the latter).

    Now, what did I do to fix it you ask? It's simple. I changed the voltage and core/memory clock frequencies found in a BIOS I downloaded from TechPowerUp and flashed my video card with it. No more ridiculously low power-saving settings. I believe in my case, I was at 216 Mhz core, 115 Mhz memory @ .09v, and was like....wtf. I changed all of those settings, except the previously assigned "Boot" setting and the "Power" setting (the one that displays top overclock limits) to the default settings for my card, which in this case was 750Mhz core/800 Mhz memory @ 1.25v, and the fan settings I tweaked as well (in my case I put the fan to 100%, 100% of the time as I don't mind the noise). If I want to swap into low-power mode at any time, I will just use the power settings in my OS to go into sleep mode/hibernation which turns power to the card off - thanks anyhow ATI.

    I would really recommend at least (if it is available in the database), downloading a copy of your video card's BIOS, and checking the settings contained inside if you are having this problem.

    Several users on the AMD forums got relief for their cards as well with modified BIOS software from their card manufacturers (there's a 98-odd page thread over there about this issue). A partial fix involving Overdrive profiles was found for the 5970 cards, and was a good indication that I should dig into my BIOS, as well as people in this forum mentioning certain things in their problem threads.

    I hope this helps some people fix this on their own instead of having to RMA their cards or give up in frustration that their cards will ever work (aka, waiting on pokey AMD/ATI or their card manufacturer to quit screwing around and release a proper BIOS update). Of course, changing the settings and flashing the card is at your own risk, and may void your warranty - In my case, I didn't care about the 1-year warranty on a $70 video card, I just wanted it to work.
     
    leahzero, Champ, jwebby and 2 others say thanks.
  2. jwebby

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    Great post! I have a Sapphire HD 5750 sitting on the shelf going to waste due to the gray screen crash. I run dual monitors and mine crashes randomly in 2D and is guaranteed to gray screen playing any kind of video.

    A few months ago I tried this method to no avail. The clocks stayed up just fine but it didn't help my crashing problem.

    This post has motivated me to maybe find a reference HD 5750 bios of another brand and try flashing.

    I've never flashed a video card, any suggestions or links where I might find a bios and flash utility?

    Thanks again for the great post.
     
  3. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderatorâ„¢ Staff Member

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    Thanks for your informative post!

    I had solved my 2D & gray screen issue using advice posted by erocker (see below)
    Mainly it involves creating a profile and putting higher 2D clocks:

     
    _JP_ and AudiTuner say thanks.
  4. thejynxed New Member

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    jwebby: I used only the tools found on this very website. The RBE tool contains a button that will automatically download WinFlash for you to use to flash your card with the new BIOS. Remember before doing so to check and double-check your settings in RBE - you don't want to go too low, but you don't want to go above the "Power" settings either, as that may damage your card permanently.

    RBE BIOS editor

    P.S. - You don't need to try another brand, just download a copy of your own native BIOS, modify the settings, and flash the card. It has worked flawlessly for me.


    Black Panther: I mentioned the profile trick in my original post, unfortunately that is only a work-around, and doesn't work for all users for some reason (Catalyst quirks, etc refusing to load the profiles or other stupidity), good info though if people want to try that before taking the BIOS plunge.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
    jwebby says thanks.
  5. jwebby

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    Thanks, I think I'm going to try it tonight and will report back. I'd love to get this card working.
     
  6. jwebby

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    I'm running this HD 5750, with this cooler... fanless. (I need this machine as quiet as possible).

    I run dual monitors so I had the growing cursor bug, gray screen crashes and weird flickering to the point that the card was unusable.

    The only BIOS changes I made was to change Clocks 01 through 05 to what I think this card should run in 2D with dual monitors.
    GPU: 400MHz
    RAM: 900MHz
    Voltage 0.95v

    Clock 00 was left at factory settings.
    GPU: 700MHz
    RAM: 1150MHz
    Voltage 1.055v

    For the last several hours I haven't had a hint of the cursor bug, crashes or flickering. Idle temps are around 45C which isn't toooo bad for dual monitors, fanless GPU cooler and a low air flow case with dual fanless PSU's.

    I'm still in shock but I think this thing is fixed :):):)

    Thank you for all the help :toast:
     
  7. Champ

    Champ

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    I am having this problem. It just crashes to a gray screen when I play COH. I'll read thru this and see whats up.

    Okay, so I'm using ATI Tray Tools right now. To stop this, I turn off auto-switch? The 3d/2D OCs switch automatic the way I have it set. They are are 160/500 1.006 V for 2D and 745/1000 1.16 V.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  8. Athlonite

    Athlonite

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    mine in 2d sits at 400/900 after i used an updated bios from here there was a 2 month difference in bios dates so i thought what the hey i'll give it a crack and it worked
     

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