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Windows 7: BSOD with new Powercolor 6950 2GB, ATIKMPAG.SYS

08 Dec 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
BSOD with new Powercolor 6950 2GB, ATIKMPAG.SYS

Hey,

I hope you're well.

So a couple of weeks back I got a new Powercolor 6950 2GB to replace the Diamond one I sent back. The Diamond was a reference model and was running at 103C even at 100% of the fan's rpm. It never crashed though.

This one runs very cool and is very silent but I keep getting BSODs that all point to Atikmpag.sys. I get a CTD as soon as I do any graphics-intensive thing. It was every 5-10 minutes to begin with. Now it is instantaneous and I get a BSOD in after about 3 CTDs.

I managed after a few tries to update my windows experience score. The GPU gets a 7.9. But the driver keeps crashing every few seconds even in this task.


So, because I didn't want to bother you guys with a small driver issue, I did the following:

1. I have uninstalled all of the AMD tools and kept only the driver. I have tried quite a few drivers too. For each uninstall/reinstall I used CCCleaner, Driver Cleaner PRo, and even Driver Sweeper and went through the safe mode and etc.

3. I checked the power cables and every other cable.

4. I cleaned the entire case.

5. I put the card in all three PCIE slots. It runs on the first two slots. On the first slot it crashes the most. On the second slot, for some reason, I could play Skyrim for about 5-10 minutes before I would crash to the desktop or get the same BSOD. I does not work on the third slot at all though I have used that slot successfully before.

6. I pulled out the ram and tried different configurations and placements.

7. I had not overclocked at all. But I thought maybe Windows was undervolting the Gpu. So I set the voltage at a constant 1.10 V (i.e. stock voltage). I have been monitoring voltages. It stays at 1.10 V. Twice I have seen it spike at 1.89V but I think that was an error with MSI Afterburner. Also, it didn't always spike when a crash happened. It has spiked twice and I have CTD'd at least 50 times and BSOD'd at least 20 times now.

8. I finally and reluctantly updated the BIOS of my Asus motherboard.

9. Still no juice. I crash as soon as the GPU utilization goes to near 100%.

10. I also uninstalled the Visual C++ things from the control panel's add/remove.



I sent my card back at this point. I got a new one today. Same issues.

So I did the following:

1. Systematically removed all possible drivers. I even removed Soundmax drivers because I (still) think the onboard audio might be conflicting with the HDMI of the AMD card. So I disabled all of them in the BIOS. Then I disabled (and deleted) the AMD HDMI drivers. The Soundmax window pops up randomly sometimes.

2. I reinstalled Windows in a new drive. Crashed as soon as I installed the AMD drivers.

3. Went back to 11.2 drivers from 11.11.

4. Did memtest, removed ram, moved it around.

5. Used a VGA-DVI adapter instead of a DVI cable.

6. Drank and cried a lot.


My setup is this:

Phenom X4 965 @ 4 GHZ (Well cooled and very stable. Have been on the clock for months).
4GB DDR2 Ram
Asus M3N-HT Deluxe Motherbaord
Thermaltake 875W ToughPower
Windows 7 64-Bit SP1



I honestly do not know what else I can do.

It cannot be something about my nforce-motherboard or PSU because my earlier Diamond 6950 2GB worked perfectly for a week (except that it was really loud and ran really hot).

Please let me know what I should be doing.

Thanks.


Nikhil.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

08 Dec 2011   #2

64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro
 
 

Your .dmp file is reporting a 0x116 video TDR error ... "It's not a true crash, in the sense that the bluescreen was initiated only because the combination of video driver and video hardware was being unresponsive, and not because of any synchronous processing exception.

Since Vista, the "Timeout Detection and Recovery" (TDR) components of the OS video subsystem have been capable of doing some truly impressive things to try to recover from issues which would have caused earlier OSs like XP to crash.

As a last resort, the TDR subsystem sends the video driver a "please restart yourself now!" command and waits a few seconds.

If there's no response, the OS concludes that the video driver/hardware combo has truly collapsed in a heap, and it fires off that stop 0x116 BSOD.

If playing with video driver versions hasn't helped, make sure the box is not overheating.

Try removing a side panel and aiming a big mains fan straight at the motherboard and GPU.

Run it like that for a few hours or days - long enough to ascertain whether cooler temperatures make a difference.

If so, it might be as simple as dust buildup and subsequently inadequate cooling.

I would download cpu-z and gpu-z (both free) and keep an eye on the video temps Let us know if you need help STOP 0x116: VIDEO_TDR_ERROR troubleshooting ... Verify that your GPU is running at acceptable levels ... You may end up having to return the card for replacement ...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hey,

Thanks for replying.

I do realize this is a TDR error. I guess that means there is nothing wrong with Windows itself?

I made certain there is no dust. Also, I forgot to mention the temps. The new card and the old card both idle at 28C and at load go up to 63C. Of course, I haven't managed to run Kombuster for long to see what temps that gets.

My main thing is: what are the chances I'd get two faulty brand-new cards in a row?

Nikhil.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


08 Dec 2011   #4

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Nikhilvoid View Post
7. I had not overclocked at all. But I thought maybe Windows was undervolting the Gpu. So I set the voltage at a constant 1.10 V (i.e. stock voltage). I have been monitoring voltages. It stays at 1.10 V. Twice I have seen it spike at 1.89V but I think that was an error with MSI Afterburner. Also, it didn't always spike when a crash happened. It has spiked twice and I have CTD'd at least 50 times and BSOD'd at least 20 times now.
Windows doesn't touch the voltages. That's dictated by the cards BIOS depending on what powerstate it's in/needed.


Double check the voltage spikes with GPU-Z

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Nikhilvoid View Post

My main thing is: what are the chances I'd get two faulty brand-new cards in a row?
Can't give a percentage, but it's always possible.


If not GPU, I'd be looking at your PSU - it may be behaving 'out of spec' (dodgy).

What voltages do the 12v show up as in BIOS? (*short of a PSU tester, it's the closest you'll get towards an 'accurate 'reading.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

It is coming up as 12.03v in the bios's hardware monitor.

The card is usually volted to 0.898v in idle and 1.09v when under load.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2011   #6

 
 

Okay, nothing instantly obvious with those PSU volts and the cards VDDC

When using GPU-Z, make sure you have Log to file and Continue refreshing this screen ticked. Also, under the drop down arrow of the VDDC (voltage) select "Show Highest Reading"

If the card is indeed spiking, the log file will show it.

Attachment 187450

*

Does the card cause any POST errors (PC fails to boot, fan ramping, freeze/black screen or crash before Windows loads), or is it only crashing once inside Windows?

If only in Windows, try uninstalling all Catalyst drivers/manager/CCC and try with the 'default' AMD driver for a bit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hey,

Thanks for getting back to me.

GPU-Z shows no spikes during a CTD. Only the VDDC Current seems to be high at 61.0 A.



I have noticed, however, that the fans do spin up occasionally outside of windows.

I once had a problem where Windows would not complete to load and the speakers would pop, the fans would go to max rpm, and the system would crash. I fixed that by doing a system restore.

Yesterday the problem got much worse and I was crashing during minimizing windows. It would not even BSOD. It would simply freeze and the sound would continue (only media player and not games). I would have to manually restart.

I uninstalled the drivers and installed them again and now the problem is limited to CTDing when the GPU usage goes above 30-40%. It does not crash when at 29%.

The whole screen goes grey now, the sound continues for a bit, and then I CTD or BSOD. I found this problem that might be similar to mine but they do not mention BSODs:

PowerColor 6950 2gb - Games freezing and fan speed

Also, Catalyst install does not work so I am manually installing all of the drivers (including the sound ones).

I also ran Seatools and LinX and MemTest. No errors.

Thanks.

Nikhil.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2011   #8

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Nikhilvoid View Post
Only the VDDC Current seems to be high at 61.0 A.
iirc, the VDDC Current is the entire AMPs that the card is drawing - your PSU has a single 12v rail @ 72A, so all that looks to be within spec.


Quote:
I have noticed, however, that the fans do spin up occasionally outside of windows.
Hmm. Some cards will ramp up once on a cold boot, but sporadic ramping is usually a sign of a H/W problem.

Quote:
I once had a problem where Windows would not complete to load and the speakers would pop, the fans would go to max rpm, and the system would crash. I fixed that by doing a system restore.
If you can remember, how far into the Windows loading did it get?

It's towards the end of Windows loading that the generic driver hands over to the Cat driver. ie Did the card choose that moment to crap itself, or was it during driver handover etc

Unfortunately it's a bit inconclusive due to the chicken/egg nature of the situation.



Quote:
Yesterday the problem got much worse and I was crashing during minimizing windows. It would not even BSOD. It would simply freeze and the sound would continue (only media player and not games). I would have to manually restart.

I uninstalled the drivers and installed them again and now the problem is limited to CTDing when the GPU usage goes above 30-40%. It does not crash when at 29%.

The whole screen goes grey now, the sound continues for a bit, and then I CTD or BSOD.
If it were just a CTD I'd be pointing the finger at software, and BSODs/ hard freezes/grey screens can be caused by drivers; but it can also be indicative of faulty h/w. As you are learning



Quote:
I found this problem that might be similar to mine but they do not mention BSODs:

PowerColor 6950 2gb - Games freezing and fan speed
Similar - but not enough info to categorically state one way or the other if it's the same as yours

Quote:
Also, Catalyst install does not work so I am manually installing all of the drivers (including the sound ones).
Now that sounds like software. Catalyst install failures, especially after Driver cleaning tools can sometimes have an adverse effect.

Yet:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Nikhilvoid View Post
2. I reinstalled Windows in a new drive. Crashed as soon as I installed the AMD drivers.
Did you install all the mobo chipset drivers before trying to install the drivers? (Have you installed the chipset drivers?)

Was it just the driver you installed, or the CAT suite?


Quote:
I also ran Seatools and LinX and MemTest. No errors.
.
Yeah, I don't think it's HDD, CPU or even motherboard based.

The fact that the previous card ran fine (heat aside) would also tend to rule out the PSU as well.

When you disabled the the onboard sound etc, did you also disable the integrated GPU?

Since you flashed the BIOS, it resets to defaults which would most likely re-enable it. Check Device Manager>Display Adapters - if you see two entries; your card and the integrated; disable the integrated GPU in the BIOS. If this enabled, it could be part of the CAT installation failures/root of the problem. If you've already disabled it again, then scratch that from the equation.

(This could also be why your 3rd slot is not working now. The BIOS update 'may' have changed the 3rd slot to x1 ie x16/x16/x1 instead of x16/x8/x8 etc)


Tbh, I'm reluctant to emphatically state 'your cards a dud - send it back' , only to have you go through the process and still have the same issues with a 3rd card if it turns out it is software related.



Quick reiteration of things to check/double/triple check (it's easy to overlook simple things when frustrated )

  • Re-seat card. Ensure it's firmly secured and not 'bowed' (card sagging towards rear)
  • Ensure mobo chipset drivers are installed (look for any yellow triangles in Device Manager)
  • Triple check the PCI-E plugs are firmly secured
  • Check device manager/BIOS that the integrated GPU is disabled (Advanced>Chipset>Onboard GPU>[disabled])
  • Advanced>Chipset>Primary Display Adapter>[PCI-E]
  • Advanced>PCIpnp>Plug n Play OS [yes]
  • Advanced>Onboard Device Configuration>HD Audio [disabled]
  • Advanced>Onboard Device Configuration>Hdmi Audio [disabled]


And last resort:


  • Format/fresh install OS again with all BIOS settings above in place.
(You can just create a small ~30GB partition, don't activate it since it's just a testbed OS to try and eliminate software from the equation)

  • Install all chipset drivers etc first - install the CATALYST suite last.
  • Cross fingers while you have drink
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2011   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by smarteyeball View Post
If you can remember, how far into the Windows loading did it get?
It was actually on the card I sent back and that was a few weeks back. So no recall at all.

Quote:
Did you install all the mobo chipset drivers before trying to install the drivers? (Have you installed the chipset drivers?)
I don't recall the order. But I did install both before I ran the windows performance thing.

Quote:
Was it just the driver you installed, or the CAT suite?
In the fresh install, I first installed the whole suite. I was pleasantly surprised it worked. But I removed it later and installed only the driver and checked again.

Quote:
When you disabled the the onboard sound etc, did you also disable the integrated GPU?
Yep. Only the 6950 is active. The bios is set to deactivate the onboard gpu if a discrete gpu is found. The primary is always set to the PCIE.

Quote:
(This could also be why your 3rd slot is not working now. The BIOS update 'may' have changed the 3rd slot to x1 ie x16/x16/x1 instead of x16/x8/x8 etc)
Hmm. I have to look into this. Maybe I could flashback? lol.


Quote:
Tbh, I'm reluctant to emphatically state 'your cards a dud - send it back' , only to have you go through the process and still have the same issues with a 3rd card if it turns out it is software related.
*sigh* I hate stepping into fanboy-dom. But I think my problems will end when my month-long experiment with ATI ends. It is probably my nforce motherboard.

So I just bought a used GTX 570 from ebay for $200. yay.

I will probably face low-VRAM issues but at least (hopefully) it will work.

Quote:
Quick reiteration of things to check/double/triple check (it's easy to overlook simple things when frustrated )

  • Re-seat card. Ensure it's firmly secured and not 'bowed' (card sagging towards rear)
  • Ensure mobo chipset drivers are installed (look for any yellow triangles in Device Manager)
  • Triple check the PCI-E plugs are firmly secured
  • Check device manager/BIOS that the integrated GPU is disabled (Advanced>Chipset>Onboard GPU>[disabled])
  • Advanced>Chipset>Primary Display Adapter>[PCI-E]
  • Advanced>PCIpnp>Plug n Play OS [yes]
  • Advanced>Onboard Device Configuration>HD Audio [disabled]
  • Advanced>Onboard Device Configuration>Hdmi Audio [disabled]


And last resort:


  • Format/fresh install OS again with all BIOS settings above in place.
(You can just create a small ~30GB partition, don't activate it since it's just a testbed OS to try and eliminate software from the equation)

  • Install all chipset drivers etc first - install the CATALYST suite last.
  • Cross fingers while you have drink
I will definitely do this if the GTX 570 does not work either. Or if NCIX refuses my third return on grounds that I am being an utter moron.

Meanwhile, I am scanning for viruses. haha.

Thanks man. You have been tremendously patient and helpful.

Nikhil.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2011   #10

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Nikhilvoid View Post

Hmm. I have to look into this. Maybe I could flashback? lol.
Unless you're planning on TRI-SLI, I wouldn't worry about it


Quote:
*sigh* I hate stepping into fanboy-dom. But I think my problems will end when my month-long experiment with ATI ends. It is probably my nforce motherboard.

So I just bought a used GTX 570 from ebay for $200. yay.
Bugger fanboism - Catalyst drivers are what sent me back to nvidia

(nvidia drivers aren't perfect either, but at least they don't make me want to rage in frustration ) )

Quote:
I will probably face low-VRAM issues but at least (hopefully) it will work.
If your resolution is over 1920x1200, you might have to sacrifice a few things (anything that is om nom nom on Vram ie AA) Otherwise it shouldn't be that big a hit on performance.


Quote:
I will definitely do this if the GTX 570 does not work either.
Just make sure you do a sweep and clear of all Catalyst drivers and software while the 6950 is in place (if it doesn't crash that is)

You can do it with the 570 in place, but it's less of headache doing the former.


Quote:
Thanks man. You have been tremendously patient and helpful.
You're welcome mate. I certainly hope 3rd times a charm for you.

And if not - at least you'll know it's not the card at fault. Best of luck
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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