Topic Title: R9 290 CrossfireX (only) freezing
Topic Summary: Freeze (hard lockup) when using CrossfireX
Created On: 07/22/2014 10:20 AM
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 07/22/2014 10:20 AM
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Yalon
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TLDR; My machine freezes when using CrossfireX and I'm looking for a way to fix it. Behaviour description first, specs at the end.

Behaviour

I recently upgraded my computer and I thought I would try CrossfireX in games. Unfortunately, it causes system freezes. It is not a big deal as the main reason for the upgrade was OpenCL (mining) and the games run very well with a single card, but why not use them both? The character of the freeze is a hard system lockup. There is no BSOD or display corruption, the freeze-time picture is stuck. There is nothing in the log files, or in other words, the end of the log file is corrupt because the file system wrote the file size change before updating the content.

The freeze happens both with Windows 7 Ultimate 64 and Ubuntu 14.04 64, but it manifests itself slightly differently. On Windows, it freezes within about second after the game turns on CrossfireX (which I can see after enabling the show logo option in Catalyst Control Center), for example after turning on the fullscreen mode on. The mouse cursor can briefly move after the CrossfireX logo shows up but almost immediately freezes as described above. Without running a crossfire-enabled game, it works fine. On Linux, after turning CrossfireX on, X does not start anymore, I have to boot into rescue mode and manually remove the crossfire definition chains from the config file (amdconfig does not want to make the modification without X, and X freezes, so I have to edit the file directly, the file name is something like /etc/amd/amdpcsdb). Windows and Linux are each on a different drive (Win on HDD & Lin on SSD).

The apps that I tried are World of Warcraft, Planetside 2 and the Passmark PerformanceTest 8.0. GPU-Z displays that Crossfire is on but does not cause a freeze (I suppose it does not try to actually use it).

I tried the latest stable and beta Catalyst drivers without any changes. I flashed the BIOS to the latest available version and again no change. Windows was freshly installed when I upgraded the hardware a couple of weeks ago.

I don't think it has to do with power or cooling, as with OpenCL I can fully load both GPUs for hours without any problems, and the temps stay below 80 (below 70 on the bottom card). I'm trying to mod the case to add fans so that the temps are even lower. I also tried to do proper cable management (most cables are below the mainboard) to improve airflow and so that they don't get stuck in the fans or something, and I also removed some inside case parts to further improve the flow.

Without CrossfireX, there are no problems with the machine whatsoever. I do overclock my CPU slightly (5%) but turning it off does not change anything. I can't think of any obvious reason why the freeze occurs, only some weird incompatibility (like having different models of monitors).

Machine specs:

Antec P183 Case, 2 intake fans in the front, 2 exhaust fans (top+rear)

AMD Phenom II X4 965BE, Noctua NH-U12P Cooler, 1 push fan (the rear exhaust fan is right behind the other side of the fan)

Asrock 970 Extreme 3 R2.0 Mainboard

2 x Sapphire D5 R9 290 Tri-X

Xilence Modular 1000W PSU

Hitachi 1TB HDD, Intel 160GB SSD

2 LG monitors (L226WTQ-SF and W2252TQ-PF), both connected to the primary card

8GB RAM

Conclusion

Let me know what you think and if you need more info.

 07/23/2014 02:40 AM
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Thanny
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A system lockup like that usually indicates a bad power supply.

Yours has six 12V rails, which makes it awfully easy to overload any one of them if you don't have things plugged in just right, assuming that's even possible for the load you have.

It's also possible that your motherboard needs a BIOS update.

 07/23/2014 04:40 AM
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Yalon
Peon

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Thanks for the reply Thanny,

I suppose I could get a different supply, but I don't think that's the problem for two reasons. The first one is that I can fully load both GPUs with OpenCL without any problems, for hours. Even running fully loaded OpenCL on one GPU and a game on another one (in either order) causes no problems. The second reason is that the freeze occurs before the GPUs can even do much, e.g. on the login screen of the game, X freezes before it even fully starts.

I'll however try to rearrange the PCI-E cables. Which PSU would you recommend for this setup?

I already wrote that updated the BIOS.

 07/23/2014 06:51 AM
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Thanny
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The PSU explanation sounds less likely given that the cards work at full load otherwise.  If you did get a new PSU, go with single rail every time, and remember that you absolutely don't get what you don't pay for.

Among things to try which probably won't make a difference, you can swap card positions, swap monitor positions, and try disabling one monitor.  All I can suggest beyond that is that you contact ASRock and inquire about that board's compatibility with non-bridge Crossfire.

One thing to keep in mind is that at that resolution with that processor, you will be CPU-bound in pretty much every game using a single GPU, so there's no real reason to use CF.

 

 07/24/2014 07:54 PM
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SailZStarZ
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i was just about to post with the same exact problem down to the exact details o.o, if it helps i have the same cards and mobo. I have a 1000w gold corsair psu so i doubt the psu is the problem. I think we may be on to something here. If you find a fix dont forget to post because i'll be waiting here. My guess is the motherboard.



Edited: 07/24/2014 at 08:03 PM by SailZStarZ
 07/24/2014 08:43 PM
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Yalon
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Thanks for the info SailZStarZ. I actually am thinking about giving up on the problem. It's more a theoretical problem for me (I dislike when things don't work and I don't know why) because games run fine without CrossfireX.

As you have a different PSU, I suppose I would put the blame on the motherboard then. I actually already contacted Asrock support prior to posting here but I got no reply.

 07/24/2014 08:47 PM
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Yalon
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Also as I side note, after Thanny's post, I rearranged the PCI-E power cables so that each card has the 8 pin on the 30A and 6 pin on the 20A rail, but there was no change in the behaviour.

 07/24/2014 08:51 PM
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Yalon
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Also forgot to mention, I tried it with one monitor only, and again no change.

 07/25/2014 01:19 AM
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SailZStarZ
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My theory, like Thanny's, is that our boards do not support bridgeless crossfires after reading the manual and seeing the only way shown to crossfire is with a bridge. I would love to hear a response from asrock if you recieve one though. My specs arn't good enough either to run the two cards  so i'll just keep the MOBO until I am ready to make some upgrades.

 07/26/2014 01:21 PM
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Yalon
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I can report a bit of progress. Trying to find out what could be the cause, I encountered this: http://www.asrock.com/support/faq.asp?id=361

Please make sure that you have installed the latest BIOS and two 1866MHz or higher frequency memory modules in dual channel.

CPU-Z claimed that my memory is only running at 800MHz. So I fiddled around with the BIOS settings and increased it to the maximum it can take, 1400 (the system would not start at higher frequency). And to my surprise, Planetside 2 now stayed alive for about 10 seconds before the machine froze. In none of the prior attempts did the system last this long before.

Further research indicates that Phenom 2 x4 965 maximum officially supported memory frequency is 1333 (which actually matches my setup because I have 5% overclock). I thus think that it is possible that a FX processor is necessary for CF on this board (in addition to having a faster RAM).

Coincidentally, I will have access to 2400MHz RAM next week as I'm building a new gaming PC for my wife. I will try the faster RAM on this system and report. Maybe I'll manage the overclock?

SailZStarZ, do you have access to a FX processor and faster RAM? What is your CPU and RAM frequency now?

 07/26/2014 02:05 PM
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Earnhardt
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ALL my Phenoms have run 1600 Ram with 0 issues.Running faster ram will not improve anything.

Explains it better than I could.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWgzA2C61z4

 



-------------------------

AMD Phenom II 1100t @4.0Ghz /Asus sabertooth 990fx/2x Gigabyte 3G 7950's in crossfire/500G samsung 840 ssd/16G G-Skill Ripjaw 1600/2-samsung 24" monitors 1920X1200/Corsair AX1200W psu/W7 pro 64,G19 keyboard,Roccat kone pure mouse,Cooler master HAF932,Corsair H100i water cooler,Zalman ram cooler.Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion Series,Logitech Z5500 speakers,Roccat Kave 5.1 headset.

 07/26/2014 02:23 PM
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Yalon
Peon

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Originally posted by: Earnhardt ALL my Phenoms have run 1600 Ram with 0 issues.Running faster ram will not improve anything.

 

The goal of this thread is not to improve performance, but to prevent the computer from freezing. The ASrock quote is from a section about the requirements for using CrossfireX, not performance-tuning.

Thank you for reporting that 1600MHz should work. I'll see what the max speed of the new memory in the mainboard is and whether it helps with crossfire.



Edited: 07/26/2014 at 02:34 PM by Yalon
 07/26/2014 02:37 PM
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SailZStarZ
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I do have an fx processor but only have as much ram as you do. I'll check their frequencies later today and post back.

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