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Diagnosing locking problems after X850 Flash

Discussion in 'ATI' started by BD, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. BD

    BD Guest

    Hey, all.

    Bought an X850 Pro last week, an Arctic Cooler 5 and Some Arctic
    Silver.

    Installed the cooler. I used the Cooler's pads on the RAM, and did not
    try to use any AS on anything but the GPU.

    flashed it to X850XT PE BIOS (one which purported to include 'fan
    control'), and the flash process appeared to work - I now had 16
    pipelines instead of 12, and my default speeds were 540/590 instead of
    500/500.

    Reinstalled the 5.6 OEM Catalyst drivers, and found that the Overdrive
    panel was now available. I'd done some reading and it had been
    suggested that only the XT will let you into the Overdrive area of CCC.

    Ran the latest 3DMark, and got a roughly 10% overall increase in
    performance. That kind of an increase is nice, but I'm not convinced
    it's worth it, given subsequent behavior.

    Ran some games, and got my first VPU alert - I'd been running FEAR I
    think, and it locked up.

    Tried Half-Life 2 this morning and it also locked up once - but
    previous sessions in that game had gone for far longer than this one,
    and HL2 is a little wonky sometimes, so who knows if it was heat that
    caused it.

    I ran ATITool - the GPU temp was idling in the mid-40s. It went up to
    63, and then my system locked. It had run for about 3 minutes at that
    point, and no errors had been reported. Not sure if it was the vid card
    that siezed or the CPU, but I had to do a hard reset.

    Next step will be to use ATITool to bring the speeds back down to
    500/500, and see what that does to ATITool's behavior. If _that_ makes
    no difference, I'll try to flash back to the original firmware (which
    I'd backed up previous to flashing).

    If anyone has any other ideas/suggestions, I'm all ears. ;-)

    Thanks,

    BD
     
    BD, Jul 28, 2006
    #1
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  2. BD

    Kent_Diego Guest

    Look for a firmware with all 16 pipes but with 500/500 or even better
    500/590 default speed.
    http://www.mvktech.net/component/option,com_remository/Itemid,26/func,selectfolder/cat,1/
    Otherwise ATITool will work.
     
    Kent_Diego, Jul 29, 2006
    #2
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  3. BD

    BD Guest

    BD, Jul 29, 2006
    #3
  4. BD

    Kent_Diego Guest

    The only way to work is for ATITool to be set to run at Windows startup.
    Otherwise the card will be at firmware default.
     
    Kent_Diego, Jul 29, 2006
    #4
  5. BD

    First of One Guest

    The RAM chips don't end up at a uniform height after soldering. To use a
    common, flat heat sink on all the chips, you need flexible pads to take up
    the varying gaps. Nothing else to do there.
    Consider the GPU and RAM speeds separately.

    For the GPU, remember those pipes were locked for a reason. Either they were
    defective out of the fab (not the case with yours), or they just can't hit
    the 540 MHz to qualify the GPU for XTPE usage. In some cases you may even
    have to run it *lower* than 500 to achieve stability, but the performance
    will still be greater than a default X850 Pro because you now have 33% more
    rendering pipelines.

    Since the RAM chips are lower-rated (and less costly) than those on XTPE
    cards, they probably won't hit 590 MHz. Ultimately this will limit
    performance in some games - 33% more rendering pipelines without a
    corresponding increase in memory bandwidth.
     
    First of One, Jul 29, 2006
    #5
  6. BD

    BD Guest

    Since the RAM chips are lower-rated (and less costly) than those on XTPE
    Oh, I see. I presumed that this was simply a firmware distinction, and
    that the actual hardware between the Pro and the XT was the same.

    I've decided this isn't worth the risk. For the brief time the flashed
    fw was present, I was getting maybe 10% more in 3DMark, and the
    difference in game performance was negligible.

    If I can find a firmware which opens up the 16 pipelines, does not
    compromise fan performance, and keeps the clock speeds at 500/500
    without the need to keep ATITool resident, I may try again. But the
    marginal increase in performance on my system (which is likely
    CPU-bound as I'm running an Athlon 2500+) coupled with the dicey
    behavior is making me rather gun-shy. ;(
     
    BD, Jul 29, 2006
    #6
  7. BD

    First of One Guest

    The GPU and PCB are essentially the same. However, the RAM chips are
    commodities purchased from the likes of Samsung. In fact, the price
    difference between Pro and XT cards primarily comes from the lower-rated
    RAM.
    Ultimately this is your choice. However, as you noted earlier, the card had
    no problems running at XTPE speeds in 2D, so there's no real danger in
    booting to 540/590 to the desktop.

    Simply set ATiTool to load a profile, consisting of 500/500 and forced
    constant 100% fan speed, at Windows startup. There's no need to keep ATiTool
    in resident memory. And since the Arctic Cooler is essentially silent,
    there's no need to throttle the fan.
     
    First of One, Jul 30, 2006
    #7
  8. BD

    BD Guest

    Ultimately this is your choice.

    Yep; I think that I'll coast on 12 pipelines. I haven't overclocked
    'just for the numbers' in years, and I think that this is mainly what
    that extra 10% would be about. Games are running much faster than with
    my 9800, and I think I'll just enjoy the 850 at its stock settings for
    awhile... I may feel braver down the road. ;-)
     
    BD, Jul 31, 2006
    #8
  9. BD

    straybeat

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    Hey BD,

    Sorry for coming into this a month late. I have just done exactly the same thing as you, X850 Pro to XT PE. With mine I could only hit 520/540 all the time. So I flashed the BIOS to this. From here I can use ATITOOL to get to 530/570 in certain games or programs. Generally I just leave it at 520/540. Like you, I didn't notice enough difference to justify tweaking it back and forth for everything.

    HTH,
    Mark
     
    straybeat, Aug 27, 2006
    #9
  10. BD

    straybeat

    Joined:
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    BD,

    I should have added that I'm running the Zalman 700 too with the included ramsinks. I think the ramsinks are too flimsy to get the better memory clocks, been debating on something beefier.

    Mark

    Edit:

    One thing I read is that both of us need more voltage. The pros don't run as high as the XT PE's, which is why we can't hit the 540/590 clocks. I've been looking high and low for a volt mod, but all that is out there is the PCI-E version. Another thing too, my Zalman must be settling in finally, I'm running at 535/560 all the time now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2006
    straybeat, Aug 27, 2006
    #10
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