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Windows 7: Radeon 6850 sporadic crashes

19 Dec 2010   #1
society misfit

Windows 7 Professional
Radeon 6850 sporadic crashes

Have a strange problem that I just can’t seem to resolve. Sporadically, and without warning, my video card will instantly shutoff the display and throttle the fan to its (screaming) max! Although I can’t see what’s going on, Windows is still active and does not report a driver error or crash. Overheating is not an issue, the case is very well ventilated and according to numerous monitoring applications the card is well within its normal operating mode. Sometimes a single reboot returns the card to a normal state however sometimes it requires several hard boots to get it back working.

The card is a 2 month old Sapphire Radeon HD6850 and it is not overclocked (nothing is!). The problem started after I installed 2 SSD drives in RAID 0 and performed a clean install of Windows 7 64Bit Home Premium. Prior to that the card has worked flawlessly when the PC was in a non RAID setup with only 1 regular HDD. I originally installed the latest Catalyst preview drivers 10.12, but thinking it might be a driver problem I uninstalled them, performed a clean sweep to remove anything left over, and then installed version 10.10…no difference. The card is not being over driven for this has happened when the computer is idle not running anything (except normal services). I’ve even ran the FurMark stability test for an hour with no problems at all…although the card crashed approx 3 hours later when the computer was idle. During the FurMark test the highest temperature the card reached was 70 degrees celcius…well within its range!

Windows does not report any driver issues or conflicts within Device Manger. The latest Motherboard drivers have been installed and I’ve been running with the most up-to-date BIOS. And the CMOS has been cleared several times.

System specs:
AMD Phenom II X4 955 (not OC!)
Asus M4A87TD EVO (latest BIOS)
8GB Mushkin DDR 3 (occupying all 4 RAM slots)
Corsair 850watt PSU
Sapphire HD6850 Vid card. Cat 10.10 driver. BIOS
2 Corsair F120 SSD in Raid 0 (prime)
WD Green 1TB HDD (backup)

Any advice would be much appreciated.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2010   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64

See if you get same problem with a Linux Live CD: Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora .. You'll most likely need to run 'proprietary drivers' app (not sure if Fedora has this) to get the drivers for your card.

If there is no problem in Linux, then it's a software/driver RAID 0 issue in W7 .. or if not it's a HW issue with the card and/or the RAID SSDs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2010   #3
society misfit

Windows 7 Professional

I got a Knoppix CD…totally slipped my mind giving that a try. Thanks! Although, the problem is sporadic enough that it could be hours/days before it happens again. I’ve taxed the **** out of this machine running several different benchmarks at once and cannot recreate the problem.

One thing I forgot to mention was the BIOS post beep error that would occur sometimes after the crash. 1 long and 3 short beeps. According to AMI it’s a Conventional or Extended Memory failure. I’ve ran numerous memory test and all have passed. Re-seated all the DIMM’s so I guess I’ll have to wait and see
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Dec 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Check you virtual memory settings for the swapfile. It should be 1.5 times the installed memory. Sometime the windows setup sets it lower then it own recommended setting.

Also look for a setting in BIOS that remaps your hardware bios to extended memory locations, try disabling this setting.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2011   #5
society misfit

Windows 7 Professional

Completely forgot about this post but wanted to share my findings for others to reference…or laugh at!

It turned out to be a totally neewb oversight on my part!! The PSU is modular, and the power cord for the graphics card was not properly connected. Black case, black cord and a black PSU made things a little difficult to see. Anyways…I picked up another Sapphire 6850 dirt cheap (gotta love boxing day!) in the event my current one was pooched. Installing the new card is when I found out about the loose power connection (I swear I checked it before!!!). Cause the second card was so cheap I decided to keep it and give crossfire a shot. System has been running stable ever since.

Sometimes the simplest things get over looked. But the good thing that came out of all of this was finding such a wicked deal on the GPU. I now got 2 6850’s that cost me less than the average 6950!!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Radeon 6850 sporadic crashes

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