Hi - first post here on the AMD forums so doing my best to do everything correctly. That said, firstly here is my system configuration.
Codegen 1000 Watt PSU
Intel DZ68BC MB with latest (0042) BIOS
Intel Core i7 2nd gen 2700K 3.50GHz CPU
Kingston DDR3 HyperX RAM 4 * 4GB, Total 16GB, Dual Channel
AMD Radeon R7 200 Video Card running 14.4 (current latest official) drivers
Dell U2410 LED Monitor
OCZ Vertex 450 SSD 500GB running Win 7 x64 Ult SP1 Fully patched
Note: Using DisplayPort Cable - never used another output on this card
Note: SSD also has latest firmware and is on AHCI off Intel S-ATA not Marvell
What I am about to describe is only my experience in the hope that it might help others and while it might not make sense that this should impact graphics performance so far it appears to be the case for me. So here goes:
1. Before I purchased the AMD card I was running the same system off the MB's integrated Intel HD graphics. At that time I was having no issues.
2. Then I decided to upgrade the graphics so I had a look what I could get for around what I wanted to spend and went for the R7 200.
3. As soon as I installed the card I started having BSOD and black screens maybe a couple of times a day based on at least 3 - 5 hours usage.
4. At this time the v14 drivers were still beta (notice in my specs above I use official to mean non-beta) so I did a system cleanup (temp files, uninstall all display drivers, reg clean using latest ccleaner, and a system restore) followed by a fresh download and reinstall of the latest official drivers at the time which I remember being 13.12.
5. This eliminated the BSOD and the black screens and performance drops still persisted at least once every couple of days. At the time I had not looked at these forums so suspected system file corruption more likely or perhaps less likely a faulty R7 video card.
6. After the v14.4 drivers had become official I did a clean install (deleting the partitions on the SSD) on the same hardware (without even opening the system case or changing any external cables) and installed all latest Intel drivers for my MB and installed v14.4 video driver.
7. BSOD did not come back, but black screens and performance drops persisted but now only once or twice a week. This made me even more suspicous of video drivers and looking at people describing similar issues does all except prove so.
8. This is where the story turns different from other I had read on these forums. Two weeks ago on Wed 9th July 2014 I had a problem that would seem unrelated in downloading Microsoft Updates. Basically when I checked for updates it would fail in about five seconds every time with an error code that was an unknown error. I installed the System Update Readiness Tool as well as running another Microsoft Fix It Troubleshooter which both had no impact on the problem or the error message or error code. I would normally do a System Restore which would have likely fixed it but this escaped my mind on this occassion so I spoke to Microsoft Windows 7 support on the phone and within ten minutes of remotely operating my system they had resolved the problem.
9. Microsoft said they had replaced one or two system files which may have either been buggy or corrupt but they were unsure which or how. The interesting part is - I will need to report on this in another week or two on how this is going - since then I have not had the performance drops or black screens. It has been two weeks - normally at least once a week there would be a black screen and there has not been - normally a performance drop or black screen would occur after a half hour to two or three hours of continious use in a session (if it was to occur during a particular session - sometimes it would or sometimes it would not - random!) and I have spent several hours in front on the computer on at least a couple of occassions in last couple of weeks where it has not occurred (and expecting it to occurr if it were going to!). So long sentance but have not had the problem at times where it would likely occurr.
10. I had a look tonight (local time) at the driver property driver file list in device manager and checked the timestamp of each file in Windows Explorer and there were no timestamps on any of those files later than the date of installation of Windows and the video driver. Then I looked at Windows, Windows\System32 folder and Windows\SysWow64 folders. Sorted from latest date the only two files I could find timestamped 9th July 2014 were the MRT.EXE file which is to be expected as updated every month and the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\FNTCACHE.DAT file, which had the appropriate date and timestamp, 488KB, no version number but a creation date of 14/07/2009 at 2.45pm which must have been when Microsoft wrote this file (assuming MS as is no author listed either). Keep in mind the date and time stamp are simply when it was copied into the system while the creation date is from the details tab under properties.
11. Now I can only guess at the purpose of this file from the filename but wonder why a 2009 file is written to the system months after the O/S has been installed. Does anyone have expertise on the purpose of this file apart from guessing the obvious?
12. Anyone willing to check their properties on this file and see if the creation date and time and size seems the same? This would be appreciated and tell me if I am looking at nothing to do with anything or in fact a useful observation.
13. Note the Microsoft Updates after Microsoft resolved them completed 4.16pm according to the latest update in the update history, so 4.18pm could be the timestamp on that file after the stages 1, 2 and 3 when restarting after installing updates.
13. Note I have just also looked at the timestamps in the AMD and ATI folders under Program Files (and x86 and Program Data) and there are no other files with a timestamp of 9th July 2014 or later apart from the Profiles.XML file in C:\Program Data\ATI\ACE folder which is 18/07/2014.
14. Note I would not expect Microsoft Update problems to have a fix affecting video drivers, but only went through this procedure to look at the video driver files (and I know the FNTCACHE.DAT file is not a video driver file) because since the Microsoft Update problem I have not experienced further video issues.
15. Also note I checked for updates the day prior to the the Microsoft Updates problem and it checked fine - note also the problem was actually checking for updates and NOT downloading or installing them - I could not sucessfully check and therefore could not even get the list of updates to be downloaded until Microsoft resolved the issue.
16. I warned you this may not make any sense but if further weeks pass proving the video issues have been resolved in a different way on my system I will be leaving the video driver installation and version alone now as I would be suspecting and fearful of reintroducing the problem by attempting to update the driver.
I hope after describing all this I have helped at least one person and have not wasted everyone's time in reading a lengthy post. Please note that I have done so and spent nearly two hours in checking system files and typing this post without experiencing any video issues - so I have hope!