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XFX 7970 EyeFinity Artifacting

Discussion in 'AMD / ATI' started by Xenturion, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Xenturion

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    Well, I ordered an XFX 7970 Non-Ghz Edition card just before Thanksgiving. (It was the deal where Newegg had it at $330 after Main-In Rebate) As it was intended as a Christmas gift, I decided to test it a bit before setting it aside just to ensure it wasn't DOA. I tested it in my personal rig and it POSTed, booted, and gamed just fine. I was only able to test a single monitor at the time as I hadn't bought an ActiveDP adapter for EyeFinity yet. When I did purchase the adapter, I had already assembled the computer I was giving him, so I decided to test the card in that. I attached it to my 3 1600x900 resolution monitors and gave it a go. Worked well in WoW and worked remarkably smoothly in BF3. I'd say I tested BF3 for a good 30 minutes and WoW for probably and hour or two (largely instances, though). (I'm really not all that much of a gamer anymore, if I'm honest, I'm a lot more focused on crunching now. My brother still maintains the one-track mindset to pull off several hour gaming marathons, though, so I knew the gift would get plenty of use) After being satisfied that the card functions, I set his new rig up to run WCG/BOINC for a few days as extra assurance. It ran just fine pulling in some seriously nice numbers, as one would expect from an i5-2500K @ 4Ghz and a 7970. Admittedly, it was only running 1 GPU Work Unit at any one time. After running a few days, I powered the system down to wrap it, fairly confident that the computer was going to be reliable. Sadly, while it certainly hasn't been unreliable, it's functionality is far from "ideal".

    First thing, which is possible I missed during my testing, is that in a 3x1 EyeFinity setup with his 3 1080p screens, one screen always has a horizontal "refresh line" across the middle. This line varies where it appears vertically on the screen, but essentially looks like a line of pixels across the screen which aren't updating properly. When it is on the side screens, it is just a nuisance, but on the center screen, it is seriously annoying. No combination of different connections or arrangements of the monitors seemed to fix it. It seems almost completely random. Changing the resolution or display characteristics of the EyeFinity array often times shuffles the line to a new screen, so you have to swap the cables to get the line back to the least annoying position. You'll have it on the right screen, and then setting the setup to 4800x900 and back to 5760x1080 will move it to the middle screen, sometimes the left. I've tried all sorts of combinations of connections: DVI/DVI/ActiveMiniDP, DVI/HDMI/ActiveMiniDP, MiniDP/HDMI/ActiveMiniDP, etc. and in the end the result is always the same. One screen has an annoying line that is quite visible any time there is movement on the panel. (The screens are essentially identical. It's two Dell ST2320s and one Dell ST2321)

    Second thing, which was missed by my testing, is that the card will display artifacts under extended time at full load. My 4800x900 displays didn't really push it enough. My time in BF3 was far too short and the time spent in WoW was mostly in instances where the GPU load is much lower than open areas. Basically, after a long duration in an open area in WoW, the screen will go largely white with some geographic shapes. Alt-Tabbing seems to solve it in the short term, but that's likely because of the drop in 3D load. The card's GPU isn't over-heating. Monitoring temperatures I've never seen the card go over 70 degrees C at about 60% fan speed. I'd love to know if maybe the memory chips are over heating, or possibly the VRM, but there's no temperature sensors there. Being a BitFenix Prodigy, it isn't the world's best airflow case, but it isn't shabby either. The whole system is in a Minnesota Winter-cooled basement at the moment with an ambient I'd imagine around 60 Degrees F. I really don't think thermals are the issue, but it's hard to tell.

    The annoying thing is, my brother is going back to school here fairly shortly (1/15) and there's definitely no way I'm going to get it RMA'd and back by then. I suppose he can probably live with the quirks for now and I could get it sent in when he comes back for Summer Break. I'm sure using a single monitor, there'd be no issue, but that isn't surprising given it's going to take a fair bit to bring a 7970 to its knees on one 1080p monitor. What I might try to do is get it replaced, see if I can't part with it for about $300 and get a GTX 670 instead. I'd really rather not need an Active Display Port Adapter if I can avoid it and I would have definitely gone Nvidia had I know that the 600 series cards could do Surround without an extraneous adapter. The 7970 just offered amazing value at that point which is why I went with it. I've got a 1GB 6870 and a Galaxy MDT GTX 465 (that's covered in milk residue, long story) I could put in his system, but neither will provide playable framerates at 5760x1080.

    I submitted a support ticket to XFX. Almost laughably, they suggested I purchase some thermal paste and reseat the heatsink myself. I'm sorry, but on a card just over a month old, I don't think so. In their second response, it looks like they'll allow me to do an RMA, which definitely makes me feel better about the whole situation. Now I just have to figure out the logistics of this whole thing. Might just send my brother back with my desktop, I can use my little Elite 120 build in the mean time while the card is away.

    Has anyone else experienced a similar phenomenon in EyeFinity? Is it possible to have a fully-functional, flawless EyeFinity array when using 3 displays that don't natively support Display Port? Are issues like this inherent to Active Display Port Adapters?

    Anyone with a similar (or the same) XFX card? It's the Double Dissipation XFX 7970 925/1375 with 2 DVI ports. From what I understand a non-referenced board. I'd also like to know if the fans on others' Double Dissipation cards also sound out of balance and are nearly intolerable at 60% fan speed and above.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  2. Sasqui

    Sasqui

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    You should edit your post title to "XFX 7970 Eyefinity Artifacting"
    Xenturion says thanks.
  3. Xenturion

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    Yeah, you're right. *Changed*
  4. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    Sounds like usual stuff with Eyefinity. DisplayPort-native monitors seem to have less problems ,as there are some active adapters that do not function properly with Eyefinity. Lines across monitors and such are the indicators that the adapters are the problem.

    XFX is pretty good with RMAs...I have had many many RMAs with them, and they are great to deal with. I RMA'ed no less than 9 5870-'s with them, and they stuck it out until they got my problems fixed.
  5. Sasqui

    Sasqui

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    One question - any artifacts with just plain vanilla HDMI?

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