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Windows 7: ATI Driver Crashing

27 May 2010   #1
Zerxer

Windows 7 x64
 
 
ATI Driver Crashing

I've read a thread or two on here already (that I found from Google search) that seemed related but they didn't really help much. Considering different cases are usually unique, I wanted to go ahead and ask about this specifically.

I put together a computer for a friend using my old parts (since I upgraded). It worked fine here, though I didn't really do anything on it like watch YouTube. Here are the parts in it:

OS: Windows 7 x64 (a fresh install on a formatted HDD)
Video card: ATI Radeon 4890 - HIS was the brand, I believe.
Motherboard: Newegg.com - ASUS M4A77TD AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 945
RAM was OCZ Platinum DDR3. I had to manually set the BIOS settings for the timings (since ASUS motherboards apparently don't automatically config some OCZ RAM) for it to work properly (computer would randomly lock up completely otherwise, had to manually power off). Mentioning in case this is a factor.
Monitor is a discontinued LG 22", resolution of 1680x1050 (one of the threads I read here pointed out that they were using this resolution too and that it could be incompatible with windows 7?)
Note that all these parts I used to use, except for the motherboard and RAM (I used OCZ Gold). I also used that same resolution, on dual monitors, and never once had any issues. That monitor was actually mine.

What's happening is that the video driver keeps ending unexpectedly (so the screen appears to freeze, flashes off/on, appears black and white, then gives that popup in the system tray about it crashing). Sometimes, it does more than that though, and the colors get all messed up on the screen. Like the desktop background will be a bunch of different colors or other things will just be the wrong shades. The computer has to be rebooted then for it to correct. It also adds to the Event Log about the driver crashing (as type Warning). It's been doing this since they got it, but they mostly just use it for those Steam games since they use their laptop for everything else so it was never completely looked into yet.

The odd thing is that this doesn't happen while they're in-game (on Steam, such as Left 4 Dead and Audiosurf. just those two games actually, don't have any others). It only happens when they're doing normal stuff which is mostly browsing the internet. It started happening very frequently, like every several seconds, once they went on YouTube to listen to some music. I've had them download the latest video driver from AMD's site and install it (didn't do an uninstall of it at first either, just wanted to mention that in case) but it didn't help. As for flash, I had installed the latest version from their download page, which should've been 10.0.* and not 10.1 in case someone suggest that as being the problem. I did this a few weeks ago.

Knowing all this, what are the possibilities that it's a hardware problem like the video card or motherboard dying? Could it just be a corrupt install of the video driver that cleanly uninstalling it first could solve? Could it be something to do with adobe flash? Any other ideas?

Thanks.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 May 2010   #2
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Hello Zerxer - welcome to the forum.

Most likely you are getting a Timeout Detection & Recovery error - "Display driver xxxx has stopped responding and has recovered" - which means that the video card is not responding as expected, and that condition will cause your symptoms.

And yes, memory issues are a primary cause of TDRs. You must get the system to play nice together. I would focus on getting some stable settings with that memory on that board or look at getting some compatible memory.

You should run Memtest Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool to test the memory under various settings until you get a clean pass 5 or 6 times.

Check also that you have the correct type of memory for that motherboard.

There are of course several other factors that can cause TDRs, including defective components and poorly installed or incompatible drivers, but yours sounds like a real case of memory timing issues.

Test that out and let us know. We can look at other factors from there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2010   #3
Fumz

7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Have a look at the Qualified Vendor List for that board: ASUSTeK Computer Inc.-Support-

There are only a few OCZ kits that board likes. My guess is that in order to get that board to play nice, you're going to have to find a kit on that list?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 May 2010   #4
smarteyeball

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Zerxer View Post


(computer would randomly lock up completely otherwise, had to manually power off). Mentioning in case this is a factor.
As mentioned by TVeblen, that sounds like a prime candidate for a memtest run. Incorrect memory settings can play havoc at any given time.

Quote:
Monitor is a discontinued LG 22", resolution of 1680x1050 (one of the threads I read here pointed out that they were using this resolution too and that it could be incompatible with windows 7?)
Not an issue.

Quote:
Knowing all this, what are the possibilities that it's a hardware problem like the video card or motherboard dying?
Not high on the likely list.

Quote:
Could it just be a corrupt install of the video driver that cleanly uninstalling it first could solve?
If the memory passes memtest, then a fresh re-installation of the drivers would be my next port of call.

At this stage, I'd err on the side of it being a memory issue. I was getting this issue using some aggressive RAM timings and Cat 10.4a preview drivers. The issue got increasingly worse the more I adjusted the RAM until it was unusable because of the time outs.

However, I cleaned and installed that driver and used a newer beta version (8.74) and the issue went away
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2010   #5
Zerxer

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Thanks for the replies, guys. It's good to know that RAM can be such a likely suspect for an issue like this. I've been suspicious of that RAM from the start because of my initial problems. That just seemed basic though since it was just that the motherboard wasn't setting the proper timings automatically. All I did to correct that was manually input the timings listed on the product page on newegg for the RAM and then that problem went away. That problem being the computer randomly freezing at time and having to be shut off.

I'll try to walk them through running memtest (unfortunately it was shipped to an out-of-state friend so I can't be of help in person). Now, is it pretty much 100% that memtest will fail some of its pass throughs if the RAM is the culprit? Or is it possible that it'll pass with flying colors and still have the possibility that the issue is the RAM?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2010   #6
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Zerxer View Post
Now, is it pretty much 100% that memtest will fail some of its pass throughs if the RAM is the culprit? Or is it possible that it'll pass with flying colors and still have the possibility that the issue is the RAM?
The annoying answer is Yes and Yes.

For memory to be good it should pass Memtest at least 5 or 6 times to 100% without any errors. The longer you run it, then the more thorough the test, and the more likely to turn up any errors. I like to run it over night whilst sleeping.

Unfortunately there have been instances where memory that has passed Memtest with flying colors has ultimately turned out to be bad.

That is why it is important to check to see if your exact model of memory is on the motherboards tested and recommended list. If it is then you can be more confident that a Memtest pass will eliminate memory as a cause of the TDRs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2010   #7
smarteyeball

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Zerxer View Post
I'll try to walk them through running memtest (unfortunately it was shipped to an out-of-state friend so I can't be of help in person). Now, is it pretty much 100% that memtest will fail some of its pass throughs if the RAM is the culprit? Or is it possible that it'll pass with flying colors and still have the possibility that the issue is the RAM?
It's very hard to say mate.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with memtest, so I'll err on the side of caution and provide more information rather than less, just in case.

Memtest should be run with a minimum of 8-12 passes. Tell your friend to run it overnight, as it as exciting as watching paint dry. However if it starts throwing up errors straight away, halt the test. (Although as TVeblen mentioned, it's still not a 100% guarantee that the RAM is okay)

If it does show errors, then it's a case of determining if it's the modules themselves, or the timings.

If no errors appear on the RAM, your friend may have to uninstall the drivers, run driver sweeper in safe mode and then re-install the drivers.

One thing I forgot to mention was that I also had a 4890 with the Cat 10.4a drivers and never had an issue with display driver failing and recovering, even with the aggressive RAM timings.

It only started to occur when I switched to a 5970.

If the problem persists even after a fresh driver clean / install you may be looking at a faulty card.

To eliminate the card as faulty, you could get them to download MSI After burner + Kombuster, or Furmark to stress test the card. If it artifacts badly, the card may be a dud.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2010   #8
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

(Got bored of doing estimates - so I just looked up that motherboard on Newegg.)

Thinking about the statement: "ASUS motherboards apparently don't automatically config RAM"

First, know that the native speed for the memory on that board is 1066. Anything you set higher than that is "overclocking". If you bought faster memory (1600 for example) it will run just fine throttled down at 1066. For diagnostics purposes you should run the memory at the default motherboard speed - 1066. You can play with "overclocking" it to 1600, or whatever, later.

The people who were complaining were having issues with getting that board to run faster memory and keep a stable system. It just makes more sense when you are having stability issues to run everything at default settings. The simplest way to do this and reset everything back to "normal" is to "load BIOS defaults" in the EXIT menu of the BIOS.

Some people also complained about voltages on that board. Meaning they needed to manually change the voltages to get correct (spec) readings. Not many though. There were surprisingly few negative reviews for that board. But it is one more thing to check against spec, because poor voltages will also cause memory errors.

A note about memory: manufacturers do not make modules exclusively for each specific speed. They make a big batch of modules and then test them at various speeds. The modules that start to fail when clocked above 800 go in the 800 bin, the ones that start failing above 1066 go in the 1066 bin, etc. A few modules seem to be able to be clocked infinitely and they go in the 2000 bin.
So often any stick of memory that shows errors at a certain speed can theoretically be "throttled down" to work at a slower speed. So don't be afraid of testing that system at 800 to see if it becomes stable. Then start ramping up from there.

Hope that helps
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 May 2010   #9
Zerxer

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by smarteyeball View Post
Memtest should be run with a minimum of 8-12 passes. Tell your friend to run it overnight, as it as exciting as watching paint dry.
Haha, yeah. I've ran memtest myself already back when I was having problems with my own computer before I discovered it was the motherboard.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TVeblen View Post
Thinking about the statement: "ASUS motherboards apparently don't automatically config RAM"
Well, it was something I read somewhere when I was Googling around back when I put it together. People were saying that some ASUS boards don't use the correct timings for OCZ memory (not all memory in general).

Here's the RAM, by the way:
Amazon.com: OCZ OCZ3P13334GK PC3-1066 DDR3 1333MHz Platinum Series 4 GB Kit: Electronics

If it does turn out to be faulty, I'm not going to mess with trying to get 'more stable' timings. Because that would just be really hard to walk them through. I'll just order them better/more compatible modules and have them return the old ones to me and then I can RMA them (hasn't been all that long since I purchased them).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 May 2010   #10
HMonk

Dual boot XP Pro SP3x86 and Win7 Pro x64
 
 

With 7x64 I run dual monitors, both LG, one 1680x1050, both "discontinued": no issues. I also use OCZ RAM in my ASUS mobo: no issues. ASUS BIOS setup has extensive OC tools to setup up optimal CPU/RAM/NB/SB voltages for your needs; the mobo does not autoconfig except to load "defaults" in order for most to get up and running when they first power on. Now none of this necessarily serves you but I suggest that there are no inherent incompatibilities with the components you are using.

If you suspect gfx driver (which, for me, is my first focus), uninstall it and run Windows generic driver or Safe Mode for test. When you install gfx drivers do you completely uninstall the old driver? For its legacy drivers, ATi states you must uninstall before you upgrade; I always uninstall any gfx driver before upgrading.

Monk
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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