|Resolved -> faulty video card| HD4850+Vista 64bit constantly locking up in games. Downgrade to XP?

I highly recommend turning off the ATI External Event service. I was having huge problems with TDR bombs for months and this has almost entirely eliminated them, though I still get an occasional one. The TDR registry hack I don't recommend because all it does is cause Vista to freeze your system when a TDR would normally be triggered. It doesn't stop the cause, it just gives different symptoms.

Yeah, now that you know it's hardware, I'd undo whatever registry changes you made.

Thanks for all your suggestions. My friend will come over with his card tomorrow and we'll see what happens. I hope the problem is my card and that I'll be able to have it replaced without troubles.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

I highly recommend turning off the ATI External Event service. I was having huge problems with TDR bombs for months and this has almost entirely eliminated them, though I still get an occasional one. The TDR registry hack I don't recommend because all it does is cause Vista to freeze your system when a TDR would normally be triggered. It doesn't stop the cause, it just gives different symptoms.

I've had it disabled ever since it was first suggested in this thread.

Malor wrote:

Yeah, now that you know it's hardware, I'd undo whatever registry changes you made.

I backed up the registry before I made those changes and then restored it.

My guess is that it will work fine with your friend's card. If it still crashes, then the power supply would be the next thing I'd check, and then finally start tweaking with the RAM. But I think system RAM is pretty damn unlikely, since vsync sets off your problem.

I'm surprised that no one here pointed out the obvious alternative. Drivers or DirectX 10.

Was pointed out that changing from 8.10 to 8.9 effective some game play positively. There is a very good chance that the ATI drivers are not written well nor optimized for Vista x64. ATI isn't exactly stellar on their driver releases.

With the introduction of DirectX 10.x and a 64 bit OS it's possible that older games may not perform as well as they used to. However that there are issues with Company of Heroes (which isn't that old) and Fallout 3 (which is well past the X10 release date) so I don't think DirectX 10.x is the source of the problem.

A temp of 51 Celsius is normal and not even close to extreme temperature wise. Unless the temp monitor application is broken and throwing a false temp. then temperature is not the issue here.

Now the PSU theory is possible. If the voltage going to the card is not constant for some odd reason then it's possible that the card may be flaking out. However we have some event happening that such a theory doesn't make sense. If you are able to play a game all the way through, such as L4D and then not play another game all the way through just because it's old, has nothing to do with the PSU.

Honestly nothing points to a specific Hardware issue here. Everything points to an incompatibility with either an application or a driver, IMO. Though I must admit the vsync issue is confusing.

Kilroy, think your way through it. Every game fails except the one that has vsync on, and that one fails as soon as he turns it off.

What does Vsync do? It cuts down the stress on the video card.

Ergo, it's almost certainly hardware. The actual temps are pretty much irrelevant, if the card is defective. Maybe this one croaks at 55 and works okay at 51. I've seen exactly that behavior from an X1950.

If it were a driver problem, not every game would fail.

This is true but we haven't really seen a huge sampling of games. Is it only Steam games that are croaking? Do disc installed games do the same? Is Left for Dead the only modern game attempted? I could very well be a defective card but just seems weird that it would work for L4D when that's the most intensive game taxing the video card and on lower games with less draw on the card bombs. Just seems weird.

Games that I have tested (all purchased through steam):

- Left 4 Dead
- Rome: Total War
- Company of Heroes

All crash in the same way

It's the vsync, Kilroy. That cuts the heat output of most games a great deal. Valve games aren't terribly GPU-intensive to begin with, despite how good they look. Like with Blizzard, that's talented artists working with a lesser engine, instead of something like Crysis.

Typically, L4D will pump out WAY more than 60FPS on virtually any modern card; turning vsync on cuts its heat output by at least a third, and maybe as much as half. On games with more sophisticated engines, vsync doesn't help as much, because the harder the card has to work, the less time it has to go idle between frames. But L4D gets crazy framerates on almost everything, so vsync pays off big.

I'm not absolutely certain that this is the problem yet, but I think it's the overwhelmingly likely explanation.

I think the card swap test with your friend will show it is the videocard. Please let us know how it works out.

Just installed Crysis from disk. Found no way to turn vsync on or off. Had the game autodetect the optimal settings for my system but turned the resolution up from 1024x768 to 1280x1024. The game didn't even make it through the opening in-game cinematic before the computer locked up. This time saw the multicolored lines for a split second before getting a blank screen with no signal going to the screen, before an automatic reboot.

Am now going to try a different HD4850 card.

Wow, I'm glad I got my friend to come over with his HD4850 instead of blaming Vista and reinstalling XP. It seems my video card is at fault

With my friends card I have played the following games for extended periods of time with no problems:

- Left 4 Dead (with vsync off)
- Crysis
- Company of Heroes

With my video card: The highest temperature I saw while playing CoH was around 62°C
With my friend's card, which has silent pipe cooling or somesuch: Temperature went as high as 92°C, but the system was stable as a rock.

I guess after all my video card is to blame.

Should it make any difference that my card has 512MB while his has 1GB? That's really the only difference between our two cards.

Man, it feels like I'm beating my head against a brick wall here.

Your video card is defective. When it gets hot, it dies. Whatever the measured temperatures are, past a certain point, your particular card stops working. You can play Left 4 Dead because that game turns on vsync, so the card doesn't reach crash temperature.

I'm not sure what else to tell you. I showed you how you can force your card into failure by turning off vsync in Left 4 Dead. When you swapped cards, everything started working. Yet, you're asking again if it's really the card.

Why are you so resistant to this diagnosis? You've absolutely proven the source of the failure.

Yes, you really need to replace it. Go buy a new one. End of story. Vista's not causing your crashes.

But are you sure? Maybe it's Vista...

I'm with Malor on this. I know it sucks, but your tests really point to the fact that your VIDEOCARD is D E F E C T I V E.
Its unrelated to the amount of memory on your card. Maybe the gpu is bad, maybe it's overheating, maybe its bad memory on the videocard itself, maybe its the electronics of the board itself (bad capacitor or something along those lines.) It really doesnt matter, its demnstrates a repeatable critical failure, as evidenced by the fact that your friends card worked as expected in your rig.

You get your Vista desktop etc, because ATI cards wind down to 2d mode/settings in XP/Vista until you start pushing the hardware with a 3D application, at which point it opens the throttle and your 3d clock-settings etc kick-in. This is where whatever is defective is getting taxed beyond what it can handle and you see the critical failure.

*Legion* wrote:

But are you sure? Maybe it's Vista...


Yeah, i heard there's some sort of nasty TDR bug.... perhaps he could try a registry hack?

Maybe Vista is trying to install it's own drivers over the ones you installed in the first place again. I love how it thinks it's driver choice is better than anything we can download ourselves. I blame Vista XP 64bit FTW!

I sent the store the link to this thread before going in with the card and that's why I wanted to be as thorough as possible. I was convinced long ago that the card was defective.

When I arrived they had read the thread and were so convinced my card was defective that they gave me another HD4850 to use while they run their own tests. If they determine that the card is defective, as I'm sure they will, then I'll just keep this card.

So far the machine has been stable as a rock in all games.

Thanks for all your help!

You're very welcome! Glad you got the problem solved. I had a 1950 fail the same way. I could kind of get it to limp along by blowing a big fan at it, but I ended up RMAing it and switching to the 8800GTS.

Hopefully it'll last you a good long while. I just got a 4870 myself, and quite like it.

This 4850 is nothing but a PITA. Installed Vista 32-bit to try it out and I get a blank screen at the moment it should be putting up the Vista logo and then the monitor goes into idle. Allrighty then. Installed the 8.12 hotfix drivers, those kinda work. However, if the PC goes into standby the resolution drops to the lowest possible setting and the mouse becomes laggy. Rebooting seems to solve the problem, however once rebooted Vista installs the driver for the 4850 AGAIN.

I've the 64 bit Vista coming later this week for a fresh install. Here's hoping that will solve these maddening issues.

I'm running a 4870 here in Workstation 2008, 64-bit, and it's just gorgeous. Great card. Zero hassles.

I've had 0 issues with my 4850 and I snagged another one last week and I'm running in crossfire without problems as well. If you're running a DVI connectiong check in CCC and under the digital panel section you should try the bottom 2 settings and see if that makes any difference.

RichyRambo wrote:

Installed the 8.12 hotfix drivers, those kinda work.

Richy, I'm just writing in case you might've made a driver mistake. The only 8.12 Hotfix drivers I'm aware of are their AGP specific Hotfix drivers. AMD stopped supporting AGP in their official driver releases, but whenever they release a new version (i.e. 8.12) they release a new AGP specific 'hotfix' version of the same driver so AGP users can install it. (i.e. the 8.12 Hotfix). They've done this all the way back to 8.6 or earlier. Since all the 4850 videocards are PCI-E, is it possible you've been installing the AGP ones by mistakenly choosing the 'Hotfix' driver versions? I havent ever read them using the term hotfix any other way in relation to their driver releases.

I've had the joy of getting quite familiar with the cyclical 'hotfix' delay, because my rig sports an AGP HD3850.

Irongut, the hotfix I used was here . I tried it even though I'm not running Crossfire.

Catalyst 8.12 HOTFIX.

* Improves DirectX10 performance in various applications in multi-core CPU systems
* Resolves BSOD issues using dual ATI Radeon HD 4850 in CrossFireX configurations.

If I run the driver from Windows Update it runs fine, using anything from ATI and the problem persists.

JC, I've checked those boxes and I'm wondering if that is what is causing the resolution reset. Once I do the reinstall I'll stick with the release drivers and try those settings first.

Some of the other suggestions were to use a VGA cable rather than the DVI (won't there be some quality loss?). There also may be a conflict with my Dell 2405FPW widescreen LCD.

Just bizarre as I've run ATI cards and loved 'em since switching from Nvidia and never had the headaches this one is giving me. This experience is really souring me though...

Ah ok. I'm sorry. I got so used to hearing it in reference to the AGP hotfixes.

Hmm, wonder if you might have another bad card?

Or just unlucky in my monitor/card combination. Seems this has been an issue for over a year on the ATI forums.

RichyRambo wrote:

Or just unlucky in my monitor/card combination. Seems this has been an issue for over a year on the ATI forums.

These issues are maddening.. usually involves a mistiming between what frequency the card is outputting vs what the monitor can or will accept. Downloading a tool like Powerstrip or some other form of custom resolution timing can usually fix this long term.. or RMA the card or Monitor to some other brand can also sometimes fix things up.

i had this issue at work with one of my machines and a particular LCD so I ended up just swapping the LCD with another persons LCD and viola it fixed my problem.

Seems to only plague DVI connectors as well.. running on the VGA port always worked.

Hmm, I have a 2405/4870x2/Vista64 and no problems. If it's giving you that much grief I'd just snag an Nvidia or something. The prices have come down quite a lot on the 280s and what not.