Topic Title: FIXED: Massive Flickering while running games fullscreen with HD5800 Crossfire
Topic Summary: Since making an upgrade to my PC, been having tons of problems with visuals
Created On: 03/10/2014 02:43 PM
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 03/10/2014 02:43 PM
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WizarDru
Peon

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My current rig, which has worked fine for four years:

Alienware Aurora (R1, I believe) - A11 BIOS version

12GB memory, Two Radeon HD 5800s running in Crossfire mode

WIndows 7 Premium, 500 GB drive

Multiple versions of Catalyst drivers (13.9, 13.12, 14.2b)

Running resolution: 1440x900 at 60HZ, 16:10 ratio

My rig has been getting a little long-in-tooth, so I thought I do some minor upgrades.  The first was one was to increase my ram from 6GB.  I purchased two 4GB PNY modules.  To insert these modules, I had to remove one of my HD 5800 cards to reach the memory properly.  After messing with it, I ended up removing the old memory (3x2GB 1066 modules) and just using the faster new 4GB modules I had purchased (PNY 2x4GB 1333).

After a few days, I had experienced about four BSoDs and replaced the new memory with the old.  I now only had 4GB and graphics had serious interference/flickering problems when running fullscreen (more on that in a moment).  Thinking this might be a loose connection, I pulled the memory and the card, blow out any dust, cleared the area out and then replaced them.  After trial and error I discovered that at some point, one of my 2GB DIMMS and it's associated slot had both failed.  Moving all the memory around, I now have 12GB of memory.

However, the  graphic problems remain.  I discovered by accident that switching to windowed mode for any 3D games I launch fixes the issue, but that's really not a solution.  I think disabling the Crossfire option (which I suspect is the same thing as running in a window) seems to do the same thing, which again is self-defeating.  Games like Warframe, CubeWorld and Rise of the Triad, which all worked previously, now no longer do.  I even launched Unreal Tournament 2003 (via Steam) and had the issue.  I see from googling that this appears to be a common problem, but no one seems to be agree to the source or the fix (and some folks are using the same words to represent different errors).

My problem is this:  while running full-screen in any game that uses 3D, the screen flickers CONSTANTLY, like a strobe-light.  It appears to be rendering the game correctly, otherwise.  If I modify the screen refresh rate between 60HZ and 75HZ, I can change the flicker to more of a series of white bands that flicker like a poorly tuned old television set.  I have tried multiple versions of the drivers, with no real change in this behavior.

I have tried playing with the buffering, v-sync and AA modes, all to no real effect.  I assume this is a configuration problem, so I was hoping folks here might be able to offer suggestions on things to try to resolve the issue.  My graphic performance was fine prior to this.  When in Warframe, I use all the defaults (High for pretty much everything).  If V-sync is set to on, I get the rolling lines.  If it is set to off, then I get the constant flickering.

Thanks for any suggestions. 



Edited: 03/31/2014 at 08:52 AM by WizarDru
 03/11/2014 09:06 PM
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WizarDru
Peon

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Well, I thought I had a solution, but it was just disabling CatalystAI, which I guess just disables crossfire in all but name.  As soon as I did some testing and saw it wasn't using the second card, I restored and back to the problem.

 

In Cubeworld, changing the FPS setting changes the frequency of the inteference.  I assume this a vsync kind of issue, but not sure what to do about it.  This USED TO WORK.  

I see a lot of references to changing the performance levels, but I don't see any actual settings that match them.


Does anyone have any suggestions of things to try?

 03/12/2014 02:23 AM
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AVF
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I have a similar issue, i have just upgraded to a r9 270x and upon installing several drivers including the latest 14.2 beta driver im getting frame skipping in games in fullscreen, however its fine in windowed borderless.

I'm also running windows 7 64 bit, so im assuming its a win 7/driver compatibility issue.

Dota 2 in fullscreen skips like crazy, but is butter smooth is windowed borderless. I dont mind playing in windowed borderless, but i dont want to just because i have to.

Hope this gets resolved sooner than later.



Edited: 03/12/2014 at 02:31 AM by AVF
 03/12/2014 07:41 AM
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WizarDru
Peon

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More data:  Last night I tried turning on and off just about every option I could think of, as well as changing the resolution in some games.  No real change, per se. 

In CubeWorld, if I changed the FPS setting, it would vary the speed of the interference, going from every other line being white (a sort of screen door effect) to huge bands of green/white lines like an old tv set with poor reception.  In Warframe, toggling the v-sync option on or off would do the same thing.

I tried a non-3D game, Broken Age, which ran completely normally.  Oddly enough, I ran Torchlight II and that looked totally normal, despite being a 3D game.

I've gone back as far as the 13.9 drivers.  I may try going further back, to see if it's purely a driver issue.  I do recall one other thing which may be a factor: when I first saw this error, it was right after I'd upgraded my memory the first time and I ran FutureMark's 3D Mark program to see if the faster memory got me any speed boost (spoiler alert: +1%).  At that point, I assumed it was because it had run the cards so hot that it goofed it.  Rebooting returned things to normal.  May be unrelated, but thought it was worth noting.

 03/14/2014 07:27 PM
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WizarDru
Peon

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For those who are interested, here is a youtube video of what the problem looks like.  You can see me change some options here in Warframe and turn it on and off.

 

 

 03/15/2014 11:31 AM
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UcouldBrong
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How did it run on one card?

Have you disabled ULPS?

What are the gpu temps?  Overclocked?  Underclocked?

What type of cpu?  Cpu temps?  Overclocked?  Underclocked?

What motherboard  How old is A11 BIOS version?  Have you reconfigured the mobo settings for the new memory? 

Would have probably used an older driver for these cards and those games.



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Non-noob components.

 03/15/2014 03:58 PM
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WizarDru
Peon

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I had never heard of ULPS until you mentioned.  One quick google later and it is now turned off.

The GPU temps are (at this moment): 52C and 61C....and while I was typing this (after testing Cubeworld again) they are down to 47C and 58C.

CPU is an i7 2.7GHz.  The A11 BIOS is probably a year old and as stated, this is an Alienware Aurora Mobo.

The things, all of these games worked fine with Crossfire and all these versions of the drivers prior to my trying to upgrade the memory.  That's what is so infuriating about the whole thing.  If this was some new installation, I could understand: but the only thing that has changed is the amount of memory.  And even when I retained the original memory chips, I still had this problem.

That I see people reporting this problem going back 5 years leads me to believe its either a hardware or config problem.  Almost invariably, the first suggestion for these issues is: 'have you tried the new driver?' 

 03/15/2014 04:31 PM
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WizarDru
Peon

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Specifically, my cards are dual Radeon HD5870s.  Also, I've verified that the A11 BIOS firmware is the most recent, as of June 2013, when it came out.

 

Odd: Minecraft runs fine.  I suppose it has to do with how it renders.

 03/16/2014 05:34 AM
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AVF
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Also just had a BSOD for the first time in 3 years on this machine with the 14.2 beta driver.

The variables being amd hardware and amd software.

Thanks AMD, sort it out or im going to Nvidia, atleast they have a clue.

 03/16/2014 01:46 PM
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WizarDru
Peon

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Some more data points, all of which lead me to believe that the problem is a driver related one:

The following games run fine:

Team Fortress 2, Minecraft, Fez, Broken Age, Diablo 3, Torchlight II

 

The following games need to be in borderless window to run:

Warframe, X-Com: Enemy Unknown, CubeWorld, Unreal Tournament 2004, Hard Reset, LoadOut

 

The following games started with the flickering, but stopped and didn't return:

Titanfall

 

It's just weird.  I've tried completely uninstalling and reinstalling drivers and nothing really has changed.  I DID disable ULPS, but I have noticed any real difference from doing so.  I considered that it might be something to do with memory timing, but that would suggest a consistent problem with every game...and that's not what is happening.  It doesn't seem to limited to new or old games, either.  I also reviewed the memory timing settings (8-8-8-24) and they haven't changed (and are correct for 1066 memory).  

Likewise, I have tried running with any of the AMD overclocking features off and they don't have any change.  Only disabling Crossfire makes a difference.

 03/25/2014 01:16 PM
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WizarDru
Peon

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A quick correction: Titanfall apparently pulled a fast one.  When I went to play with it's settings, I discovered that it had auto-set to 'Run in a Window' and by default runs borderless.  Alt-Tabbing out and then back in reveals the window, in fact.  As soon as I enact full-screen, the same problem occurs for it.

 

Is there any specific test I can run that will verify that both of the HD5870s are working normally?  I ran Alienware's Autopsy utility, which found no problems.  The drivers don't report an issue and catalyst can clearly see and talk to the card.  I might try migrating my monitor connection back to the other card and see if that works, but it did when this problem started (I moved it to the second card when I started having the problem).

 03/26/2014 08:28 AM
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RipxINC1962
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E A was not  told by Respawn that the game was not made for Crossfire or sli. You have to turn off your crossfire to run, Nice job of offloading a beta for 60.00 a pop. It was Respawns job to write the code seeing they had the driver system code for both.

 03/26/2014 08:53 AM
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RipxINC1962
Peon

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Turn off crossfire , worked for me.

CPU Type   QuadCore AMD A10-5800K, 4200 MHz (42 x 100)
Motherboard Name   MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 (MS-7793) (2 PCI, 3 PCI-E x1, 2 PCI-E x16, 4 DDR3 DIMM, Audio, Video, Gigabit LAN)
Motherboard Chipset   AMD A85X, AMD K15.1
Video Adapter   AMD Radeon R7 200 Series (2 GB)
Video Adapter   AMD Radeon R7 200 Series (2 GB)
Video Adapter   AMD Radeon R7 200 Series (2 GB)
Video Adapter   AMD Radeon R7 200 Series (2 GB)
Video Adapter   AMD Radeon R7 200 Series (2 GB)
Video Adapter   AMD Radeon R7 200 Series (2 GB)
3D Accelerator   AMD Radeon R7 260X (Bonaire)
System Memory  

16336 MB (DDR3-1333 DDR3 SDRAM)

 

 

 

 03/26/2014 09:19 AM
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WizarDru
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So at least one suggestion has been made on the alienware forums to me that my memory upgrade might be involved in the problem.  I'm not entirely sure I buy into that theory, but I'm not rejecting it out of hand, either.  The problems certainly started after I upgraded my memory...or attempted to at any rate.

 

After some testing, I'm pretty sure that my Memory Slot 1 in my Aurora R1 is faulty.  Any memory placed there is not recognized.  This prevents me from running in Tri-Channel memory configuration, instead downgrading to dual-channel.  The question is, would that have an effect on the graphics cards running in Crossfire mode?  I honestly don't know.  Not sure how I'm going to address the issue, either.  It's very frustrating, because fixing that issue is no guarantee that the problem will be solved.

 03/27/2014 12:10 AM
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UcouldBrong
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Dual channel memory is NOT really a downgrade.

You first stated that you had 12Gb of memory and then you obtained two 4 Gb sticks (instead??)  You didn't mix both versions did you??

 

Obvious test would be to use 2 x 4Gb RAM.



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 03/27/2014 02:14 PM
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WizarDru
Peon

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Yeah, I tried that originally...that's when I started getting the BSoDs, which made me move stuff around.  I now realize that was when I first seeing signs that memory Slot 1 was messed up. 

I actually have TWO alienware auroras running with crossfire configurations.  I bought a pair back in 2009 so my wife and I could both play Diablo together.  Originally hers was a single HD 5870, but about 6 months ago a friend upgraded and I picked up his spare.  Now my son uses that PC (my wife is on the 3DS more than not).

This weekend I'll try swapping some cards around and see what that does.  If one of my cards is faulty, then swapping in another one should fix it immediately.  It could be a motherboard problem, too, theoretically, but I'm not sure how I could determine that...unless when I swap cards my son's PC has no problems with my cards.

I'll report what I find.

 03/29/2014 09:48 PM
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WizarDru
Peon

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And, in the interest of making sure future google searches prove helpful to other people: PROBLEM SOLVED.

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the correct ones.  After a lot of testing, I determined only two things could be the problem: the cards or the motherboard.  Swapping and individually testing the cards showed that they worked fine OUT of crossfire.  That suggested the problem was in the crossfire process itself.  After moving the bridge cables, the intereference CHANGED.  That suggested the solution, which testing bore out.  One of the bridge cables that connect to the two cards for crossfire communication was the problem.  When I removed one, crossfire instantly worked again.

Closer inspection revealed a hard to see tear in one of the bridge cables, causing the problem.  Since crossfire only need ONE connector to function, I did so and the problem instantly resolved itself.  

Of course, doing so also caused me to discover the massive problem with Crossfire mode in Titanfall...but that's another kettle of fish.  

 03/31/2014 12:06 PM
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UcouldBrong
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WizardDru has proven the old adage:  Read TFM!



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Non-noob components.

 03/31/2014 02:35 PM
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WizarDru
Peon

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I'm not sure what manual I was supposed to read that specified 'look for tiny, almost invisible tears in only one of your bridge cables', but YMMV.  I was under the impression that the dual cables were necessary (and it took multiple google searches to verify that it wasn't, as I found people claiming they were until others showed they weren't).

One reason I purchased a prebuilt machine from Alienware was to avoid this kind of PC troubleshooting.  It's why people buy consoles.

 03/31/2014 03:36 PM
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UcouldBrong
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Oh sorry...was referring to the manual they printed in 2009 for that series.

The manual that indicates to connect one bridge.



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Non-noob components.



Edited: 03/31/2014 at 03:54 PM by UcouldBrong
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