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Sapphire 7970 Dual-X: Random bluescreen on bios bank #2 - should I flash newer bios?

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#1
Edit: Solved

Ordered the Sapphire 7970 Dual-X in late October 2012 and got it early November. This is the first dedicated graphic card I've bought/installed, and it seemed to work fine. One day I decided to try bios bank #2 which is supposed to be the lightly overclocked bios: 1000MHz Core Clock and 1450MHz Effective Memory Clock (bios bank #1 is 950MHz Core and 1425MHz Effective Memory). I opened bitcoin mining software to see how it would compare, but it appeared to not have any improvement over bios bank #1. A few minutes later I got a bluescreen. I switched back to bank #1 again and haven't seen a bluescreen in months.

I'm not sure if maybe AMD Vision Engine Control Center software is limiting the 2nd bios bank, if I need to reflash the bios, or if this problem is something different.

I'm looking at this page: http://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/...re&model=HD+7970&interface=PCI-E&memSize=3072

It seems this is the bios I'm looking for: http://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/117406/Sapphire.HD7970.3072.120207.html

I'm familiar with using command prompt, but is there anything I should know about ATI Winflash before I proceed? I heard that I may need to set ATI Winflash to run as administrator.

Also, not quite sure I understand the difference between ATIFlash and ATI Winflash.

Any suggestions / advice is appreciated.

Mine has a blue pcb and I have it connected using 8pin and 6pin.
 
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OneMoar

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#2
you should not flash with atiwin flash always flash from a dos prompt booted from either a USBkey or CD
could be that that gpu is just not stable at those clocks/voltages
 
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#3
Odd i never got a BSOD from an unstable gpu.
 
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#4
you should not flash with atiwin flash always flash from a dos prompt booted from either a USBkey or CD
could be that that gpu is just not stable at those clocks/voltages
I take it reflashing the bios will only flash the one bank that I've booted into? If so, would it be easy to reflash it if I end up with a bad flash? I booted DOS from a disc about 6 years ago, might still have the disc laying around.

I was under the impression that voltage tweaking wasn't necessary seeing that the card has these overclocked bios pre-flashed --- at the same time, NOTHING in the manual is said about it, in fact it doesn't even say where the switch is located, so it took me a minute to find it.

Thanks.
 

OneMoar

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#5
I take it reflashing the bios will only flash the one bank that I've booted into? If so, would it be easy to reflash it if I end up with a bad flash? I booted DOS from a disc about 6 years ago, might still have the disc laying around.

I was under the impression that voltage tweaking wasn't necessary seeing that the card has these overclocked bios pre-flashed --- at the same time, NOTHING in the manual is said about it, in fact it doesn't even say where the switch is located, so it took me a minute to find it.

Thanks.
pre overclocked boards are hit and miss such is the nature of them every system has differences sometimes after awhile the chip will degrade enough and require that you back the clocks off or add some voltage
if you are having issues with stablity dial back the clocks by 30 or 50Mhz and see if that has a effect
you can use this to create a bootable-dos usbkey
http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=197
if you run atiflash -i it should list the chips you wanna flash for example
atiflash.exe -P 0 bios.bin would flash "bios.bin to chip/card 0"
not all boards work like this some indeed only show the chip you are booted into so I would start with BANK2 in this case
really tho if you just wanna test if clockspeed/voltage is the cause of the issue I would first test it by changing the settings with either TRIXX or MSI afterburner
you really need to fill in your system specs in your usercp on the forum
motherboard
cpu
ram
powersupply(this is the big one)
os
 

OneMoar

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#6
if you really want that 1Ghz core try
1000 Core and 1400 Mem sometimes relaxing the memory clock lets you get a little higher core 50Mhz one way or another on the vram isn't gonna have ANY impact unless you are running massive res
 
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#7
powersupply(this is the big one)
Just filled that in --- it's 750W, 80Plus Bronze --- I've heard this is roughly JUST about enough, if not slighly less than enough power to run two 7970's crossfire, so PSU probably isn't a problem (just to clarify: I'm only using 1 single 7970).

It could have been a fluke that I got the bluescreen, but as I mentioned, the bitcoin mining was not improved in the slightest when I was using the overclocked bios bank. The BSoD followed shortly after.

I guess you are right, I could just use software to overclock it to those speeds just to test it, huh?
 

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#8
Odd i never got a BSOD from an unstable gpu.
That is the point of WHQL certification, that if the card fails, driver will reset, and not crash the system. I get BSOD from AMD drivers all the time though.

new beta driver mentions this:

•Resolves a sporadic system hang encountered with a single AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series GPU seen on X58 and X79 chipsets.
•Resolves an intermittent hang encountered with AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series GPUs in a CrossFire Eyefinity setup.
http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/AMDCatalyst1211betadriver.aspx


I am unsure that the problem here is really resolved though.

@ justinjk, sounds like unstable VGA, or maybe just driver issue. using software to lower VGA clocks can verify this, try slightly lower clocks, 25 MHz at a time.
 
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#9
I have no idea why you flashed the bios. The card easily gets ove 1150 to 1200 on the core and over 1600 on the mem. there is no need to flash the bios..
 
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#10
I have no idea why you flashed the bios. The card easily gets ove 1150 to 1200 on the core and over 1600 on the mem. there is no need to flash the bios..
I didn't flash the bios. It came with overclocked bios on a 2nd bios bank and there is a switch on the card to allow me to go between stock speed and overclocked. As I've read, the overclocked bios on the card (Bank #2) is in fact only a very light overclock, easily less than what the card can really handle. I was just thinking of bios flashing because I couldn't think of what could be wrong, as bank #1 works fine, yet the overclocked bank crashed for me and didn't appear to even be overclocked.

I am unsure that the problem here is really resolved though.

@ justinjk, sounds like unstable VGA, or maybe just driver issue. using software to lower VGA clocks can verify this, try slightly lower clocks, 25 MHz at a time.
Yea aside from the 12.11 beta, I hear there is a new one being released... today? I'll upgrade and see what happens. I'll also have a look at the software and see if maybe it's limiting the 2nd bios from doing what it's trying to do.

Edit: http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/AMDCatalystSoftwareSuiteVersion131.aspx
 
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#11
your card is probably not 100% stable at 1000 mhz. try setting the clocks manually down like 20 mhz, while using the oc bios, and see if that makes things stable
 
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#12
Installed Catalyst 13.1, powered off and switched to Bank #2 (overclocked bank). Booted up and opened the AMD Vision Engine Control Center. Clicked the AMD Overdrive section and sure enough, it's checked as enabled and set to the stock speed of 950MHz Core and 1450MHz Effective Memory Clock. I unchecked that, then started the Bitcoin mining software --- it's definitely operating at the overclocked speeds now, no doubt about it.

Thanks all for the suggestions... clearly a rookie mistake on my part.
 

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#13
not a rookie mistake. i'd say it's sapphire's fault for shipping a card that's not perfectly stable at the second bios's clocks