• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

An Intresting Yet Sad Story. Any Ideas Please?

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

Xandrino

Registered
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Hi there. I'd keep the intro and cut to the point.


System #1
Built 2008 fall:

LC Power Metatron ARKANGEL LC8850 V2.2 (850W)
ASUS P5E64-WS EVO (Intel X48 Chipset)
Latest BIOS version 0802 (2009/JAN/04)
Intel Core2 Quad Q9550 (2.83GHz)
2x 2GB Kingmax DDR3 SDRAM 1333 MHz
ATI 4870 X2
Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro (left from a previous system)
Compaq 21" Trinitron CRT
Seagate Barracuda 500GB
Samsung Spinpoint 640GB
Vista Ultimate SP1 x64 / XP Pro SP3

Mainly used for gaming. Basicly ever since purchase there has been problems with it. Significantly less frequently in the begining, with time it became worse. CTDs, BSODs, artifacting, random reboots, ingame freezes, black flickering screen, see the pics and taken videos below. Main suspect was the VGA, and in the end since it was unable to pass its own test in CCC, the retailer its been purchased at replaced it for a 5970 (with add money). This took place 2010 fall. It hasnt been in the box for long and it crashed as if it was still the 4870. This 5970 passes the CCC test (yet). The box behaved basicly the same from this point on. See pics and vids for similarities / differences.

(Audigy 2 was replaced by a SB X-Fi Titanium card 2009 december (due to being outdated, not because any specific problems with it))



System #2 (current one)
2010 december, new system is built around the 5970

The PSU is the the same item as above
ASUS P6X58D-E (Intel X58 Chipset)
Latest BIOS version 0405 (2010/OCT/04)
Intel i7 930 (2.80GHz) + Scythe Mugen 2
3x 2GB Corsair DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
SB X-Fi Titanium (from Sys #1)
WD Caviar Black 500GB
WD Caviar Black 1000GB
IBM 21" Trinitron CRT
Win7 Ultimate x64 / XP Pro SP3

...And the problem presists. Again, pics and vids below for comparison between the systems.

There were no overclockings on this cpu/ram yet. The VGA have been underclocked once for a brief period of time to see if games react to this change as part of troubleshooting. They do react (see 'resolution change' issue below).

The PSU been tested with a multimeter in this current setup and showed supprisingly good readings. All 24 cabels of the ATX mobo / 8pin mobo connector, and PCI-E connectors were tested (even the molexes) and it showed no defects, it gave 12 / 5 / 3 volts everywhere correctly. About 5 tenths more or less.

Tools that were used for troubleshooting:
Prime 95
MemTest86+ v4.10
Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool
MemScope 1.10
ATI Tool
Video Card Stability Test
WD HDD Diagnostics

Ran overnight or more like over day and night, no flaws...

Some temperatures while browsing net and running winamp (in celsius degrees):
CPU: 36 (fan at ~700rpm (60%))
GPU: 53 (fan at 1300rpm (30%))
HDDs: 31

Games that ran (and were failing) on either this or the previous sys include but are not limited to titles like:
Alien vs Predator (2010)
Crysis
Far Cry 2
Borderlands
GTA4
Unreal Tournament 3
The Witcher
STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl
NFS Pro Street
Doom 3
Half Life 2
GTA San Andreas
Halo (2003)
Return To Castle Wolfenstein

Different engines, different DX versions, and games as old as 10 years.

There currently is a phenomena present where games "dont react" to resolution change. As in frame rate is lets say 30-40 in said game in a certain area at 1920x1440 and if its changed to 640x480, FPS stays in that margin. Also if the camera is pointed on a particular static surface of a game (a wall or the ground) and is not moved, the FPS is constantly - say - 80 at 1920x1440 reso, change it to 640x480 and its exactly 80 regardless. Using different third party FPS measuring tools or the built in measuring of a game, its the same theres no misstaking.

Games do react to changes in graphics quality (to some extent) like setting textures or shadows high/low quality.

Also games tend to run at laughable frame rates. SplinterCell Conviction wont go above ~40FPS in most areas (and remember it wont increase even if played at 640x480). Where that ~40FPS is more like ~30 in Borderlands around the DLC4 areas of the game (quite sad).

Talk about Borderlands. In that game (so far) while playing at 30FPS, there is quite noticable tearing as well. Which occurs when the game is runing at much higher FPS than the refresh rate of the display if im correct, and should be resolved by turning on VSync. It is not in this case.

Another issue is that in some games the refresh rate of the display changes to 60Hz from the normal 85Hz at 1600x1200 resolution which is used in both windows and all games (1920x1440 was used only for testing as that is the highest possible). It is noticable because 1: the screen is flickering / 'vibrating' in a way that is quite unmisstakablely exclusive to running a CRT monitor at low refresh rate (in lack of lingual knowledge to describe more precisely) 2: if VSync is turned on, FPS tops at exactly 60. Also this was the case with 2 other monitors (both CRT (no test was undertaken with LCD display so far)). CCC refresh rate override wont do squat either. This issue is appearently not present in games where there is an option to set the refresh rate manualy (so far).

And then one more thing related. Here is another system:
Enermax EG465P-VE (460 Watt)
Gigabyte GA-8I955X Pro (Intel i955x Chipset)
Latest BIOS version F4 (2005/APR/28)
Intel P4 551 (Prescott (3400MHz))
2x 1GB Corsair DDR2 SDRAM
ATI 3870
Either display from the 2 above
Samsung Spinpoint 160GB
XP Pro SP3

No extensive testing were going on on this one, but listen to this one aspect. Fresh XP install on it, latest drivers and DX. Doom 3 ran on it and exhibited both the 'resolution change' and 'refresh rate' issues mentioned above. Two Worlds ran on it, that one "only" showed lack of reaction to reso change. True enough this ATI 3870 was quite sick in the past too. Showed massive artifacting. In game the image was 'fallin apart' so to speak. Plus the bios of the mobo is appearently not flashable to a new version... I cant provide anything else on this box. Thats about confessions but still, this is a mystery (and misery) that 3 different systems are spitting fundamentally the same crap in people's faces.


Some thoughts about System #2. Needless to say OSes have been reinstalled several times, no changes failing-wise. Most always the latest drivers are used on the box. However its all the same with drivers from the CDs/DVDs coming with the hardware component boundles.

The HDDs are flawless according to WD Diagnostics, nevertheless the system disk has been zeroed out once and a fresh Win7 install were issued onto it (the other disk been removed beforehand). With literaly only the latest mobo / VGA drivers on it (put from a dvd). No win updates were done. The box wasnt connected to the internet while undertaking this scenario. The sound card was removed from the PCI-E slot durring this. Also changed the peripherials to simple corded USB mouse and keyboard (hell..). No other devices were connected to the box durring this. Devil May Cry 4 was used to test if the problem presisted. It didnt react to resolution change (the refresh rate issue is not present in this game anyway) and even produced a black flickering screen after a while.

VPU recover / "Ati driver stoped and recovered" occured durring watching a film in windows and editing videos in Sony Vegas. Its not regular.



So here are the pics and vids of certain occurances:

System #1

Vid taken durring Far Cry 2.

A part of the same vid played in BS Player from windows.

The infamous Flickering Black Screen

NFSS / GTA4 / AssaCreed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEtLe1H572Q

This one shows the CCC test (in a new way..).
http://img600.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash09.jpg/

http://img46.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash08.jpg/
http://img651.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash07.jpg/
http://img62.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash06.jpg/
http://img833.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash04.jpg/
http://img854.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash03.jpg/
http://img848.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash02.jpg/
http://img683.imageshack.us/i/shift04.jpg/
http://img69.imageshack.us/i/shift03.jpg/
http://img16.imageshack.us/i/shift02.jpg/


System #1 with 5970 in it instead of 4870 x2

No comment on these, let them speak.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps5Zag6_-qs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3rXd67h18g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRmIU3oH4sY
http://img233.imageshack.us/i/bsod05.jpg/
http://img20.imageshack.us/i/bsod04.jpg/
http://img9.imageshack.us/i/bsod03.jpg/
http://img849.imageshack.us/i/bsod02.jpg/
http://img845.imageshack.us/i/bsod01.jpg/
http://img806.imageshack.us/i/crash04.jpg/
http://img15.imageshack.us/i/crash03.jpg/
http://img228.imageshack.us/i/crash02.jpg/
http://img851.imageshack.us/i/shiftb.jpg/
http://img688.imageshack.us/i/shiftam.jpg/
http://img849.imageshack.us/i/avpq.jpg/


System #2

http://img863.imageshack.us/i/reliabilitymonitor02.jpg/
http://img638.imageshack.us/i/reliabilitymonitor01.jpg/
http://img863.imageshack.us/i/eventviewer.jpg/
http://img855.imageshack.us/i/atikmpag.jpg/
http://img638.imageshack.us/i/ati2dvag.jpg/


Wish I could provide more info on this *edit: bypassing the swear filter is not allowed -mbentley



Its almost certain that not all relevant things have been dissected here. Point out any short-comings at any area, do ask questions, and tell your opinion (let alone any ideas regarding a potential resolution). I may post an edit if i gather a couple of thoughts that come about my mind worth discussing.

Also, please tell where else would it be a good move to post this if you have any site in mind.



Better luck with your systems
Xandrino
 
Last edited by a moderator:

onefstsnake

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2007
Location
Fburg, VA
Definitely something with the gpus. Try a different driver or try downclocking the cards a bit.
The psu might not have enough amps to power said gpus.
Never really used ATI cards so I can't comment much on the gpus themselves.
 
OP
X

Xandrino

Registered
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Please someone throw some thoughts! By the way lets assume that the cause is an 'inproper' (in whatever way) AC. What kind of issues would be logical to assume that the AC has in this case and how would you address them?
 

dudleycpa

Member
Joined
May 20, 2002
Please someone throw some thoughts! By the way lets assume that the cause is an 'inproper' (in whatever way) AC. What kind of issues would be logical to assume that the AC has in this case and how would you address them?

When you say "AC" you are referring to electricity? If so I suppose you could try an uninterruptible power supply and see if that helps.

The other thing that came to mind is that you listed your temperature with a browser open and winamp running. What kind of temps are you getting while your playing a game?

Hope this helps!
 
OP
X

Xandrino

Registered
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Hi dudly! Yes I was refering to electricity. Thanks for the tip, ive been told on other forums too to try a UPS or AC line filter.

Having Borderlands run for like 30 mins I get:
CPU: 41 celsius
GPU1: 72
GPU2: 65
HDDs: 32-33

Measured with AIDA64 (just like the above temps).

Right now in windows its:
CPU: 32
GPU1: 56
GPU2: 52
 

dudleycpa

Member
Joined
May 20, 2002
Hi dudly! Yes I was refering to electricity. Thanks for the tip, ive been told on other forums too to try a UPS or AC line filter.

Having Borderlands run for like 30 mins I get:
CPU: 41 celsius
GPU1: 72
GPU2: 65
HDDs: 32-33

Measured with AIDA64 (just like the above temps).

Right now in windows its:
CPU: 32
GPU1: 56
GPU2: 52

Your very welcome! Temps look fine btw.
 

noxqzs

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2005
Location
Boston, MA
Looking at the pictures, my first guess is that the video card is at fault. From my experience, when other components go, the symptoms can range from lockups to full shutdowns. Never have I seen screen corruption for other components. The refresh rate on your monitors is not a problem with the card itself but rather with the software using it. I cannot tell you how many times I have messed with config files to change the refresh rate on games.

Regarding the power supply voltages, monitor the values when the system is being stressed, see if they drop. Voltage alone will not tell you if you have enough current. Voltage x Current = Watts I have a PC&C 750W psu running a 920 and 2 5870s, so as far as specs you should be good. However, I have never heard of the brand you have, and cannot make a call on its reliability.
 

byrdawg

Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Location
Tx
Definitely something with the gpus.... The psu might not have enough amps to power said gpus.

Agreed. I am unfamilliar with said psu, but volts are nothing without the amperage to maintain said volts under load. Can you post the psu manufacturer's amp specs on the 12 volt rail(s).
 
OP
X

Xandrino

Registered
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Thanks for the thoughts!


@noxqzs
Looking at the pictures, my first guess is that the video card is at fault.

Yes but why is it (if so)? Because its already demaged or for example cause it cant do its job due to being shackled by an 'improper' AC flow / PSU?

The refresh rate on your monitors is not a problem with the card itself but rather with the software using it.

You say that its the fault of the games? Id argue on that as I used a number of games that exhibit this phenomena before, on the system prior to Sys #1 and even on Sys #1 when it was new and then they did not act like this.

Regarding the power supply voltages, monitor the values when the system is being stressed, see if they drop.

Ive been advised on another forum to try OCCT and measure the voltage under load from that software. So I did. To no avail though. I couldnt catch it at fault.

@byrdawg
Theres no decal (just #&@$-all) about volts on the PSU itself. The manufacturer claims 60A on the 12v, though people who seem to have the faintest idea about it say that what LC claims on their products is bullocks. And by the way to react on the comments about the mistery veiling the PSU, I have in fact dug up some unpleasent info at reputable sites. According to those - in a nutshell - one should avoid this brand.

Im not much for smilies but... :bang head
 

noxqzs

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2005
Location
Boston, MA
Regarding the video card artifacts, most of the times I have seen this is from the actual card failing. A weak psu would just shut off if it was overloaded and would not show artifacts on the card. I am not completely sure about artifacting with a weak psu, but I have never experienced or heard about it personally.

As far as the refresh rates, just because it worked on one system does not guarantee it will work on another. I have been gaming since the early 90's and a lot of games that ran on my early computers fail to run reliably on my newer ones.

When you measure voltage, the worst thing you can do is rely on software. It can be used to give you an idea based on actual reading, but for the most part, they are very unreliable. It is the same thing as onboard temperature sensors, they are used as a reference, but they are not entirely correct. The best and most reliable is with a digital multimeter and with temp probes.
 

byrdawg

Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Location
Tx
If you have a named brand psu with good power available to borrow, I would still give it a shot, or purchase one locally that has a return policy that you may return it. Considering changing it out in this manor is free for the time being, and it is the only component that was in both systems, I think it is a viable troubleshoot.
 
OP
X

Xandrino

Registered
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
@noxqzs
Regarding the video card artifacts, most of the times I have seen this is from the actual card failing. A weak psu would just shut off if it was overloaded and would not show artifacts on the card. I am not completely sure about artifacting with a weak psu, but I have never experienced or heard about it personally.

I tend to disagree in spite of things Ive learned recently in this area. I belive its quite possible to be due to a defected PSU. As someone suggested it could be a blown/leaking capacitor (I aint gonna disassemble it though). Or inconsistencies (surges/sags whatever) in the AC that the PSU cant handle. ...Or the VGA is indeed damaged (due to for example a surging AC to loop back that way), hell if I know. Anyway. Anyone got a solid opinion on this argument please share it.

When you measure voltage, the worst thing you can do is rely on software. It can be used to give you an idea based on actual reading, but for the most part, they are very unreliable. It is the same thing as onboard temperature sensors, they are used as a reference, but they are not entirely correct. The best and most reliable is with a digital multimeter and with temp probes.

No no. No. I see now what I said was missgetable indeed. I meant that I put the system under load with OCCT software and then probed the back of the ATX/EPS/PCI connectors with a meter. About the temps well ye ofc they arent quite accurate but they tend to be within only a few degrees of the actual value (or at least its been stated so many times that I already belive it).


I could/will borrow a PSU, though Im already searching for (found) a new one. I dont trust in this unit anymore. Over 2 years old, only 720W continuous power (probably like 30% less due to aging (500watt sheesh)), and bad reputation.


dudleycpa:
Found this using Google (Note you'll have to translate since it is German):
http://skinflint.co.uk/?sr=227424,-1

Thanks for the link. I see they like it, but I wont change my mind about the PSU for the sake of grudo, David_Hasselhoff and compuhans from germany (LC Power is german).
 

MechaWyvern

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Location
Somerset KY
Agree with above statements. I would suspect the GPU or power supply. I would swap the power supply first for a new good brand and see what happens.
 
OP
X

Xandrino

Registered
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
So! Things happen when they do now dont they?

A test was conducted with a different AC power source (bout 200 kilometers away from previous one), plus this time a 24' LCD display is in place of the CRTs just in case. No change. System is trippin, wouldnt react to resolution change.

The PSU been finaly sacked as well. New one is a Corsair TX850 V2. Which is nice but guess what! Yep, the heap of shhh... is still on the carpet. Still no change, problems presist.

For now Mobo, CPU, RAM, VGA been returned for troubleshooting. Wish I could at least belive they'll be back cured.
 

RJARRRPCGP

Member
Joined
May 30, 2004
The PSU been finaly sacked as well. New one is a Corsair TX850 V2. Which is nice but guess what! Yep, the heap of shhh... is still on the carpet.

I feel better that the LC got sacked! (Possibly some random Chinese crap.)

Sorry, I think the video driver wasn't written properly. Or wasn't installed properly. More likely, AMD needs to get spanked.

I think the res problem is a software problem.

Note: You must install the chipset drivers before the video driver!