Topic Title: Very complex video issue
Topic Summary: I'm having a very bizarre issue with my PC's video, and I think I've tried almost everything
Created On: 07/31/2014 02:41 PM
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 07/31/2014 02:41 PM
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Mattrock607
Peon

Posts: 6
Joined: 07/31/2014

Okay... get ready for a really long OP. I need to explain the problem in graphic detail (pun intended), and everything I've done to fix it. If you read all of that and offer up some advice that doesn't cost me any more money than I've already spent, I will love you forever and buy you lunch and/ or beer if you're ever in my neck of the woods.  And I don't drink!

The Problem

A while back, my monitor would start randomly turning itself off and back on again whenever I was playing Civilization 5 or Archeage (Alpha), my PC was at full load, and there was a lot of gold colors on the screen. After replacing my video card with a new one (see "Attempted Solutions" below), I'm now getting obnoxious random screen flicker, in windows, in games, at startup or full load... anywhere and at any time it feels like doing it. It's like the screen "jumps" up and down super fast and it's really, really annoying.

Attempted Solutions

First, my PC specs when all of this started.  Nothing was overclocked, other than my video card, which Sapphire OC'd in the factory:

Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme4 (990FX north, SB950 south)
CPU: AMD FX-8150 8-core 3.6 GHz
RAM: G.Skill Sniper Series PC1866 (4 GB x 4 sticks, 16 GB Total)
GPU: Sapphire OC Edition HD 6950
Sound Card: ASUS Xonar D1 192 Khz/ 24-bit
SSD: Kingston V200 256 GB
HDD: WD Green WD20EARX 2 TB
PSU: Corsair GS600 600W
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Monitor: Acer 27" LED

Here's everything I tried, in chronological order. I hope you enjoy lists because this is a big one:

  1. Made sure Catalyst drivers are up to date
  2. Made sure DirectX is up to date
  3. Swapped out HDMI cable with a new one
  4. Tried DVI cables
  5. Opened her up and checked that everything was seated properly (even though I hadn't opened my computer for anything other than cleaning in months, nor had it been moved)
  6. Checked to make sure there wasn't any dust built up in heat sinks, fan blades, etc.
  7. Tried replacing my monitor with my girlfriend's LG 27" LED IPS
  8. Tried using my friend's XFX HD 6870 video card
  9. Tried updating the BIOS on my motherboard
  10. Reinstalled Windows 7 and all drivers
  11. Bought an XFX Double-D R9 280X video card, a major upgrade from my HD 6950. The behavior changed; now it flickers, but doesn't reset
  12. Attempted the Jeremy Clarkson thing and added POWERRR! Replaced my PSU with a Raidmax RX-1000AE 1000W PSU
  13. Bought a new Crucial MX 256 GB SSD
  14. Reinstalled Windows 7 and all drivers (again)
  15. Tried changing the monitor's refresh rate to 60 Hz and 59 Hz
  16. Contemplated ending it all, and looked at which bridges in my area of Binghamton NY had the most scenic views
  17. Ran Memtest86 to make sure it wasn't a RAM issue.  Did 12 passes total. It found nothing
  18. Replaced my motherboard with an ASUS Sabertooth 990FX R2.0, which of course means I took the entire machine apart and put the whole thing back together again, from the ground up. Every cable, every fan, even my silly illuminated case feet
  19. Reinstalled my Windows 7 and all drivers (again-again), because I was frustrated and forgot to run Sysprep before moving the mobo
  20. Cried in the shower, rocking back and forth for an hour
  21. Called AMD tech support (waiting to hear back from them)
  22. Came here to ask you fine folks for help

NOTE: I thought this problem was fixed after replacing the mobo; everything was running fine for a time, until a big Windows 7 update with 200-something updates in it. I didn't check what those updates were, and didn't even notice the problem until I got up to full load a while later.

Help!

So far I've spent something like $700 or $800 total trying to fix this, so I don't want to replace my CPU and/ or my RAM unless I really, really, really need to. But I don't know what else to even try. I'm hoping this is some obscure software issue that I could've fixed in the beginning had I known what to do. But has anyone had anything similar happen to them? have you ever even heard of a problem like this? Because I've been building computers my whole life and I'm seriously stumped! Help!

Updated Full PC Specs

Figured it would help. I'm including every single thing in my computer that's drawing power... the case, the fans, lighting, peripherals, everything. And note that this is my PC today, NOT when I started, so all of my new parts are listed here.

CASE STUFF (I'm sure none of this matters but I'm adding everything that uses juice!)
Case: Apevia X-Trooper (red)
Fans: 1x Apevia 200mm Red LED, 1x Apevia 120mm Blue LED, 2x Xigmatek FCB 120mm Purple LED, 1x AeroCool Shark 120mm Red LED
Lighting: Logisys 4" red cold cathode, 4x Logisys laser LED (2 red, 2 purple), Logisys red LED acrylic case feet

EXTERNAL DRIVES & CONTROLLER
LG 12x Blu-Ray Drive
LG DVD Burner
AeroCool V12XT Fan Controller Panel

GUTS
Mobo:
ASUS Sabertooth 990FX R2.0
CPU: AMD FX-8150 (8-core, 3.6 GHz)
CPU Cooler: Zalman CNPS5X Performa 92mm FSB CPU Cooler (sealed with Artic Silver Ceramique 2 Tri-Linear Ceramic Thermal Compound)
GPU: XFX Double-D R9 280X
Sound Card: ASUS Xonar D1 192 Khz/ 24-bit
PSU: Raidmax RX-1000AE 1000W

STORAGE
SSD1: Crucial MX100 256 GB
SSD2: Kingston SSDNow V200 256 GB
HDD: WD Green WD20EARX 2 TB

PERIPHERALS
Logitech G510 Keyboard
Logitech G500 Mouse
Saitek X52 Flight Control System/ Joystick
Dynex Headset
HP 2.1 Speakers
Acer 27" LED Monitor



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In an interstellar burst, I'm back to save the universe



Edited: 07/31/2014 at 02:58 PM by Mattrock607
 07/31/2014 02:53 PM
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black_zion
80 Column Mind

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Joined: 04/17/2008

I didn't see it where you tried to use DVI or DisplayPort.

-------------------------
ASUS Sabertooth 990FX/Gen3 R2, FX-8350 w/ Corsair H60, 8 GiB G.SKILL RipjawsX DDR3-2133, XFX HD 7970 Ghz, 512GB Vertex 4, 256GB Vector, 240GB Agility 3, Creative X-Fi Titanium w/ Creative Gigaworks S750, SeaSonic X750, HP ZR2440w, Win 7 Ultimate x64
 07/31/2014 02:58 PM
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Mattrock607
Peon

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Joined: 07/31/2014

Ahh, left that out... yes, I did try it, back when I tried the new HDMI cables.  My bad for not including it.  I tried DVI, but not displayport. But different monitors and different video cards produce the problem, so doubt it's connection-related



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In an interstellar burst, I'm back to save the universe

 07/31/2014 05:47 PM
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Mattrock607
Peon

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Joined: 07/31/2014

Update: I tried taking both of my RAM kits out one by one, and tested the machine with 8 GB RAM (2 sticks) at a time. The problem persists in every configuration of RAM I tried, so I'm assuming it can't be the RAM.

I'm guessing that means it's probably an issue with my FX-8150 CPU, but I don't want to drop another $200 replacing my CPU if it's been some sort of software problem from the start; if I replace my CPU and this problem is still happening, I'll probably become a pyromaniac, destroy my PC, and go become a hermit who lives in the woods and dresses in old newspapers, eating twigs and berries until a bear finally ups and eats my face off. I'd rather that not happen, so if anyone has any ideas I'm all ears.



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In an interstellar burst, I'm back to save the universe

 07/31/2014 07:56 PM
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Thanny
Alpha Geek

Posts: 1408
Joined: 07/13/2009

You need to describe the actual problem in more detail, starting with which problem it is you're having right now (the monitor "turning off", or the "flicker").

 

 07/31/2014 09:23 PM
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Mattrock607
Peon

Posts: 6
Joined: 07/31/2014

Right now I'm enduring screen flicker, because I'm using the R9 280x.  If I switch to either the HD 6950 or the HD 6870, the flicker goes away, but the monitor will reset itself over and over again at full load, regardless of what monitor I'm using or how that monitor is connected.

It's difficult to describe how the monitor flickers. It's like all of the windows open will "jump," as if someone is shaking the screen in front of you. With just the PC idling and no windows open, it can go hours without a single flicker. If I turn on RealPlayer and browse the web (any browser; it doesn't matter) the flicker gets worse and worse.

Now here's the strange part: Sometimes when I play games, no flicker, but then the flicker on the desktop after said game gets really, really, really bad. But I can play Battlefield 4 for a few hours, and not experience any problems until I go back to my desktop.  Or, I can load up BF4 and all hell breaks lose, with sporatic screen jitters/ flickers that are so frequent and violent that I find myself racing to power the machine down for fear it could somehow catch a fire in the box or something.

I'm trying to record a video of what's happening. If I get that working I'll put a link to it in the OP.

 

EDIT: Strange?  So I just recorded a short video of my problem on my PC, to show the flickering. But when I played it back on a different PC, the flicker isn't showing. I'm not sure what that might mean. I recorded it with MS Expression 4. There isn't much point in showing it if the flicker isn't happening but I can try and record it again later or something



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In an interstellar burst, I'm back to save the universe



Edited: 07/31/2014 at 09:34 PM by Mattrock607
 08/01/2014 06:00 AM
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Thanny
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Joined: 07/13/2009

When you say the monitor resets itself with the other cards, it sounds like you're seeing the display driver reset.  There'd be a message in the event log saying (approximately) "display driver stopped responding and successfully recovered".  That's typically indicative of either defective hardware or insufficient voltage with a GPU overclock.

The "flicker" you describe may be a consequence of the GPU memory clock changing.  You'd have to use an external camera to record it.  See if there's an updated BIOS for your card available.

 08/01/2014 11:43 AM
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Mattrock607
Peon

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Joined: 07/31/2014

My machine isn't overclocked (the HD 6950 is factory-overclocked by Sapphire, the HD 6870 isn't). I've replaced all of the hardware shy of the RAM and CPU, and nothing is appearing in the log.

I've never replaced a video card BIOS, I'll Google that and see if it helps. It's strange that it's the only card that does it. I figured it was because it's based on new architecture or something, it being an R9 series card and not an older HD series.

I can try to record this on my cell phone and upload that via YouTube so you can see the issue directly, I'll try that when I'm done writing for work. I appreciate the advice!



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In an interstellar burst, I'm back to save the universe

 08/01/2014 05:49 PM
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Mattrock607
Peon

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Joined: 07/31/2014

DUDE, Thanny, you are my HERO! I gave XFX a call, because I've never flashed a GPU BIOS before and didn't want to break anything/ void my lifetime warranty. When I started describing the problem to the guy on the phone, he told me this had been happening to everyone who bought my same video card from Newegg around the time I bought it, and sent me a file to flash the BIOS with.  I did that, and now, poof, no screen flicker no matter what I throw at it!

This still doesn't explain why the HD 6950 or HD 6870 would force the monitor to restart randomly. It may have been a blown northbridge or something, on my old ASRock Extreme4 mobo? I have no idea. But I don't feel like taking my now fully-functional R9 280X out and putting one of those in. If it works, don't fix it

Thanks a million Thanny, you saved me from possibly buying a new CPU out of frustration. I wish I came here first before going through all of this nonsense!

To people in the future who find this thread, if you have this same problem with the XFX Double-D R9 280X (core or black edition), just give XFX a call and they'll sort you out. The HD 6950/ HD 6870 issues are unresolved, though I'm guessing it was my old mobo's northbridge giving up the ghost.



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In an interstellar burst, I'm back to save the universe

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