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Weird 6950 problem

Discussion in 'AMD / ATI' started by ShadowU, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. ShadowU New Member

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    Right, so my problem is a bit on the awkward to explain side so I'll take it from the top. It's also my first post so sorry if it comes on as a bit noobish. :D

    My rig:

    Sapphire HD6950 Dual Fan/Dirt3 Edition
    Intel Core I7-920
    PC Power & Cooling 750W PSU
    Asus P6T
    6GB RAM
    24'' Dell monitor + 20'' Samsung monitor


    Even with my previous card, an ATI 4890, I was having this problem in games - the screen goes black for a few seconds and then I get back into the game, with the infamous "Display driver whatever has stopped working" error pop-up. It wasn't that frequent though so it never really bothered me, but in comes the 6950 and since I'm paying top dollar, I figured that I should push it to its limits.

    This particular model comes pre-flashed to 6970 shaders on its second BIOS switch so I change to that, then bump the clocks up to 6970 stock clocks, and decide to give it a spin with some Crysis 2 gameplay. For some while it works okay, but during mostly random points in the game, I get the same black screen then back to the game thing again. I figure, the clocks are probably too high, so I switch back to 6950 stock clocks, which doesn't actually fix the problem, but rather reduce its frequeny by a good bit.

    I decide to investigate, and after many long hours of tedious playing around with CCC, Trixx, GPU-Z and Furmark, I'm still at a loss of what the cause might be, but at least I've been able to come to a few conclusions regarding the nature of the problem.

    At first I thought it was the card simply going too hot and some sort of driver failsafe kills it, but I quickly found out that wasn't the case, as I was able to reproduce the same thing repeatedly on Furmark at different temperatures if I changed the clocks or fan speed a small bit - though it almost always happens when the card is between 82C and 89C. After that I started thinking it might be PowerTune, but some research and multiple experiments with the Power setting on CCC later, that theory held no merit as well - with the Power setting anywhere under ~15% on CCC, the card throttles like mad, which actually stops the problem but is contradictory to the point of overclocking anyway since the clocks don't go anywhere near what I set them to. With the setting over 15%, the card stays at whatever clock I set it to for the biggest part, but eventually does the problem.

    That's where it started getting confusing. If it's not temperature or PowerTune, then I really have no idea what could be causing it. The best description for it is that the card drops ALL GPU load and reverts back to 2D clock for a few seconds, then back to 3D. If I'm playing a game while this happens, I get the black screen, but Furmark just slows down for a small bit and then it's back to normal. It happens at mostly every voltage that Trixx allows me to set, and it happens on both BIOS switches - as in, the 6950 shader one and the 6970 shader one.

    Other things that I considered were that the fans that were on auto for the biggest part weren't doing their job, but it still happens with a manual fan profile. I also tried the registry hack for CCC that allows me to increase the PowerTune limit all the way to +50% but that didn't do anything either. All I can understand is that when the card goes under heavy load - be it Furmark or extensive gaming, it just dies on me. :(

    At this point I'm at a complete loss. I don't want to dismiss it as a faulty card because it happened with my previous card and it's happened to more people that I know, so I'm going to assume that it's something really obvious that I can't think of somewhy. I'm just going to bed so I can't attach any pictures but I'd be happy to when I'm back - any idea at all is welcome. Sorry for the TL;DR and thanks in advance!
     
  2. Outback Bronze

    Outback Bronze

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    It could be a power supply issue. Also, try both monitors one at a time.
     
  3. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Possibly a monitor/cable issue?
     
  4. ShadowU New Member

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    Thank you both for your responses.

    I've tried running on only my main monitor, and the only thing that changed was that it took longer for the problem to occur. I will try running only on my secondary one later tonight, though I somewhy doubt it'd be any different.

    When you say power supply or cable issue, could you be more specific by any chance? How would I go about testing to see what's the problem in that case?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  5. Sasqui

    Sasqui

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    Have you had the screen go blank in desktop mode too? I did, and indeed it was a failing PSU.
     
  6. ShadowU New Member

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    No, so far I've never had it do that on desktop mode. Just under load.
     
  7. ShadowU New Member

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    Actually, scratch that. It just spazzed out on me while just on my desktop - it wasn't exactly the same thing, it was more of a general system freeze, but I'm beginning to think it's the cables or the PSU more and more.

    Any suggestions for a course of action? I don't have a lot of money to burn so I'd like to consider some options, and well, make sure that it's that, before I go buy a new PSU.
     

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