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Going insane with my brand-spankin' new piece of c**p that is the ATI Radeon 9700


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Hiya gents,

My setup :

Windows XP Home edition

AMD Thunderbird 1.0 GHz

Asus A7V266 motherboard

512 MB memory

And the culprit ATI Radeon 9700...

Having only today received my new video card, mentioned above, I was very excited. Now, in the evening I am sorely disappointed. I had problems with the card from the very beginning...

It seems I made a terrible mistake in installing the very latest Catalyst 3.6 drivers on top of the ones that came on CD. Well, that lead to mysterious errors, with windows, programs and even web pages closing due to explorer.exe, and other, errors. The end result was that my Windows got so messed up that I started receiving blue screens and instant reboots just after having rebooted my computer. It crashed in less than a minute at best, without me doing anything.

These blue screens featured text about BIOS. That's all I know as I didn't get much of a chance to read them, as the computer rebooted itself instantly.

After having help from a more knowledgeable individual in these matters I found out that things should be done in good order. So, I updated the motherboard chip drivers with the ones that came with the motherboard (too old those ones?), I installed the latest DirectX 9.0b , and then I installed the latest Catalyst 3.6. Problem solved ? Fat chance. Where is the control panel for one ? I installed something called the "bundle pack" from ATI's pages, and it did not install the panels. Not atleast did I find them. I must be stupid or something then.

So, after first installing Windows, and then having installed the appropriate drivers (with first uninstalling the older ones from the way) mentioned above, I confidently set on downloading the needed Windows updates. After installing Service Pack 1 it started to crash again. I could not even open the Windows support thingy, as the window closed due to explorer.exe error. I could not continue downloading updates, as I experienced another blue screen. At that stage, I had had enough. I had been on this for the entire day.

Seems the Radeon has messed up my system that performed so brilliantly just the day before, under GeForce 2 GTS. I am thinking on returning back to it, but can not bear the thought of giving up. The Radeon was a bargain, with only 210 euros. I really would like to continue using the card, should it start to perform. But, I am completely clueless in this situation.

... which leads to this : Has any of you gents any ideas as to what might be causing the glitch ? Out-of-date BIOS ? (I know nothing about BIOSes, and updating them). Insufficient power (my supply is 300 W, it should do) ? Incompatible motherboard/chipset ? Faulty card ? Out-of-date Windows ? Did I install the drivers in wrong order ? And where is the control panel ? Anyone else experienced issues installing Radeon ? Any help, especially leading to the solution, would be deeply appreciated.

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I doubt I'll be able to give you a solution to your problem, but I'll throw out a couple of suggestions.

I can't seem to find anything specific on incompatibilities with the ASUS A7V266 and the ATI Radeon 9x00 family. Some motherboards have had BIOS updates to fix some compatibility problems (though the A7V266 is probably too old to get such updates now). Which specific A7V266 motherboard do you have and what revision is it (this is usually painted on the motherboard near the model number) ?

The latest version of the motherboard BIOS is 1014 - though there may not be much of a difference regarding this problem if you have an earlier version (this is a link to the A7V266-C BIOS, which is probably a good generic for that series). The motherboard revision may make a bigger difference, but I don't know if any change has been implemented that would make the Radeon family more stable. Unfortunately there's almost no way of 'upgrading' the revision of the motherboard since some changes are to the PCB itself. So if this is the case, then a new motherboard would be in order for supporting the Radeon 9700.

Your problem may be with your power supply. Even though it is 300W, it can still be a bit sub-par for amperage for certain voltages (+3.3V would be most likely), though I don't know what a 'good' value would be for amperage to support the Radeon 9700. It can also be an issue with the motherboard being incapable of handling the power requirements of the Radeon 9700 (since this card probably operates at 1.5V and the motherboard would be 'responsible' for stepping down to that voltage from 3.3V). ASUS boards are usually engineered a little better in this regard, but it is a possibility. You do have the power connector on the Radeon 9700 plugged into your power supply, correct ? This is necessary to provide all of the 'juice' that the Radeon needs.

How old is this Radeon 9700 (i.e. - has it been sitting on a shelf for quite awhile ?) and is it an original ATI product or is it an OEM (from Sapphire, Hercules, etc.) ? Is this the 'standard' or 'PRO' version of the 9700 ? Is this a 'used' or a brand new video card - is it 'refurbished' ?

You can possibly tinker with some settings in your CMOS/BIOS setup, but most likely these settings would only adjust for problems that would occur during boot rather than later on. Some possible settings you can change (your motherboard may not have all of them) are (Advanced menu > Chipset Configuration) set 'AGP Capability' to 2X (for troubleshooting purposes), turning off 'AGP Fast Write', 'Graphics Aperture Size' to 64Mb or 32Mb, 'Video Memory Cache Mode' to UWSC or UC (usually a problem here results in no display on boot), 'AGP Drive Strength' you'll typically want to leave on Auto, you can experiment with other settings, but this can very easily result in a system that won't boot (and I'm not sure if clearing the CMOS will fix this problem).

You should be able to download the Catalyst Catalyst 3.6 driver and 'Control Panel' from this page (they are separate downloads). However you may want to try a previous Catalyst driver, though I'm not sure which is the earliest one to support the Radeon 9700 (you may want to try 2.1 or later).

I'd suggest uninstalling your current Catalyst driver completely (and check for any remenants of the GeForce Detonator drivers too using a program called Detonator R.I.P.). Once all of these have been removed reboot. Hopefully your Radeon won't be recognized by Windows XP and you'll end up loading the 'VGA Save' driver. With this driver loaded, try out everything you've been doing that has given you problems and see if they continue. If they don't, then the latest Catalysts may be blamed, though some functions of a video card really won't be addressed until the appropriate drivers are loaded). You will, of course, be unable to run CM or any other games with the VGA Save driver, but since you listed a lot of problems with 2D apps, it may be a good test.

After all this you may need to contact ATI's "Customer Service" in Canada (00-1-905-882-5549) and see what they may know. You can also do some further browsing in the Rage 3D forums ('General Hardware', 'Radeon Drivers and Catalyst Discussion', 'Radeon 9800, 9700, ... technical support', etc.).

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hiya Prinz,

Welcome to the world of ATI. If you decide to keep your new card you'll face many more weeks and months of frustration...period. I'm running a Radeon 9700pro also and speak from experience regarding ATI graphics performance. It seriously sux bro :-( .

In order for me to get mine somewhat stable I endured many system formats and had to settle with a substandard installation. My advice would be to dump the card and stay with an Nvidia. BUT if you insist on keeping it I can offer some comments.

Your system bios is probably fine as is. Your MB doesn't support agp 8x which is the reason for getting a Radeon 9700 in the first place. It's highly doubtful that chainging system BIOS is gonna do any good for this problem. If you have an option for enabling or disabling "Fast Writes" then be sure to turn this off in your BIOS setup.

Regarding driver installation order. Be sure you check which resources the Radeon is using ( interrupts) and try to place other cards in your system in slots that don't share PCI interrupts. Which reminds me, what type of sound card do you use? My Radeon does not like my Audigy 2 and remains an issue to this day.

Once you have that sorted out I advise to do an Fdisk and format your drives. Install the drivers for the Radeon before DX9 as the DX9 files are newer than any ATI stuff...overwriting DX9 files with ATI stuff caused system crashes with me. I get fewer crashes now. I would test the sytem as you go, to troubleshoot where the problems begin. Install some programs and games cold booting often to get Winblows settled in as it tends to change hardware configurations often which causes sytem instability. Install your system cards one at a time cold booting again for reasons above. I found when installing my drivers that I had a consistent conflict with mt Audigy 2 drivers and the ATI Control Panel. With the Audigy drivers installed, the ATI Control Panel crashes. In order for me to get the Audigy in I uninstall the sound drivers, disable the card and then run the ATI Control Panel and set my preferences there, then reinstall the sound stuff.

ATI cards are finicky cards...they work with some systems and don't work well in others. ATI is coninuing to fix their drivers and have been for a long time. I have old Abit and Tyan motherboards that had problems with ATI cards and they are still working on issues related to those. This is why I advise to drop the ATI card as you problem may or may not take quite some time to actually get a Cat release that makes your system stable.

BTW, regarding calling ATI tech support, you only have a short time of courtesy support with them, after a month or so you will be required to call a 900 number for help so if you decide to call them, be sure you get EVERYTHING worked out since they leave you to your own to fix incompatabilities with their products.

[ July 31, 2003, 07:35 PM: Message edited by: WarDogz ]

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Hello PE. I too have a ATI 9700pro, and have had problems with my system. At this point everybody in the room says "HI Tom". Yes, there are many of us, who have this addicton. We get sucked into the fast speed, and color. Then, we hit the wall with system lock up and crash.

I have worked on my problems for two months, here is what I can offer.

First, my system. P4, 2.4b, running XP(home)SP1 and some of SP2. Motherboard is a DFI Pe21-EL.

533MHz and 512MB of PC2100 DDR (2X256). DX 9.0b.

When I got the 9700pro, I did a clean install, removed all the prior drivers. Installed the ATI driver off the disk and started the machine (kick the tires, light the fire, and fly). After boot and in the first game, I get a system lock up, reboot. This happened a few times. Now I check everything. Yes, all the power lines are hooked up, and the 9700pro does not share anything. So, I have to have a problem with the drivers or the motherboard. Windows is telling me it is a device error, no real help.

Next, I upgrade the motherboard chipset. Here I find my first hint of problems to come. I find out that my board has the VIA chipset, and when I go to the VIA website, I find a lot, A LOT, of 9700pro owners reporting problems with that chipset, in all kinds of motherboards. The things your parents didnt tell you.... I update the chipset Hyperion drivers (currently at 4.48) and then the new Cat drivers from ATI. I then let DFI know I am having problems.

I still get the same problems. Now I go to the Rage3D web site. I find all kinds of possible workarounds, but, you know there is a problem that is bigger than you at this point.

I turn off the fast write and lower my AGP setting to 4x. Now, for the first time, my system plays whole games of CMBB without a lock up or crash. But, then on the next game or in Raven Shield, crash. I still get the problems, they just are less often. I still get the Windows alert that I have recovered from a bla, bla, bla. Still tells me a device driver is a problem, no help.

I up my agp voltage to 1.7 and then to 1.8. A little more stable at 1.7, games go longer before a crash. At 1.8, they crashed faster. Back to 1.7.

My heat detector tells me that my system is in the normal zone, as does the motherboard power detector.

Many more hours, days, trying the Omega drivers and various emails to ATI, DFI, VIA.

ATI points to the VIA chipset drivers as the problem. VIA points back telling me they have more people who have systems that work then that do not with ATI, no help.

DFI, does not want to take a position, so they tell me to flash the motherboard bios, which is the one thing I have not yet done, I will after I get a back up ready next month.

I too have had problems with the onboard sound and my system, but that turned out to be a problem not with the ATI driver but with the Avance Audio in conflict with the sound card driver (even when the on board sound card was disabled, which is one reason why DFI wanted the bios to be flashed, even they admitted that was their board problem).

So, where does that leave the 9700pro? When it works, it is the Panther tank feared by all. The color and speed, even at high settings is great.

When it doesnt work, it is the Panther with teething problems, a target for all.

You most likely can take your card back within two weeks of purchase, I would try everything above, and on the last day, if it still is giving you problems, take it back. It will save you a lot of time and talking bad to your computer.

Tom

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I have decided against keeping Radeon, and have reinstalled the Geforce 2.

Today I started to experience something that was completely beyond me. I had not got to reinstalling the newest Catalysts I once had, due to worrysome crashes. My computer, after having fired up started after some time to crash. It did this once, bang, it shows me the blue screen and reboots. The I continue using the computer, and it reboots again, now not so long after havong loaded the Windows. Bang, yet another reboot.

This would continue to the stage where after another reboot it would reboot again even before Windows was properly loaded. I can tell you, it is that :mad: much fun watching it, your computer crashing and rebooting in an endless loop.

It had become apparent I was helpless with the problem, and would not upgrade the BIOS, which might've been one solution, as it is risky for someone like me to do.

So I called the business I had bought the thing from, and he asks of my temperatures. They were pretty steep, almost 80 degrees. He thought that was the problem. Sure, any system will fail in those temperatures, and that may've been the cause to my crashes, especially when you consider how they took place. After a cold boot, at first nothing, but over time problems would appear...

I have had my share of temperature-related issues before, as my 1,4 GHz Thunderbird is forced to run at 1,0 GHz.

Removing the other side of the case will surely fix it ? I even brought in one of those table fan-thingies, set it on max power to ventilate the innards of my PC. The temps did drop to about 60, not too impressive still but bearable. It did not remove the crashes though, and even if it did, it would've been an extremely temporary solution. As if I would leave the case open as there is a four-year old in our family !

Having also asked help from other forums, mainly www.arstechnica.com , I came to the solution that there is no one, simple answer. It could be my psu. Or a BIOS. Definately my cooling. The thing is, each of these require money that I don't have to spend. Feels a bit stupid to start spending money to seek a fix to a video card that does not work when I have a satisfactorily one in my GF 2 GTS. I'm not going to run HL 2 too good, but atleast I can run something.

Therefore the situation is that the Radeon, no doubt a powerful card ( that's why I got it in the first place) is now at my mate's for him to test if he likes it. I hope he does, as then his GF 4 Ti 4600 would be free for other uses... ;) If I am not able to sell it, I will return the card to the shop for a refund. At the moment I don't think there is an equal for a working Radeon 9700, which here is priced at 210 euros. As IMO there is no equal to it, there is no use to use that money to a lesser card. I still have my trusty workhorse. CMBB with anisotropic filtering runs without problems, and looks good enought for me. I will, maybe in the future, after having upgraded my motherboard etc. try one of ATI's again, as the current top of the crop of NVidia does not look that promising, with its HUGE boards, poor performance, excessive noise and lots of heat.

I thank you gents for your advice, concern and time. Especially Schrullenhaft , who seems to be the first one to reply whenever there's a fellow CM'er experiencing problems. :cool: It speaks volumes about your character and willingness to help. And may you ATI users someday see a day with stable Catalysts ! ;)

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I went from a GF3 to a 9700 and I havent been happier. Not only does it smoke a GF4 to pieces in terms of frame rate and graphics but it is also optimized for DX9. My 9700 (non pro) is completely stable using Cat 3.6 and DX9b. Rock solid no problems. I also use XP pro on a MSI Delta K7N2 board. Im a happy camper.

Bottom line, I am so very happy with ATI after being a GF user since day one.

TeAcH

[ August 03, 2003, 05:49 PM: Message edited by: TeAcH ]

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Originally posted by TeAcH:

I went from a GF3 to a 9700 and I havent been happier. Not only does it smoke a GF4 to pieces in terms of frame rate and graphics but it is also optimized for DX9. My 9700 (non pro) is completely stable using Cat 3.6 and DX9b. Rock solid no problems. I also use XP pro on a MSI Delta K7N2 board. Im a happy camper.

Bottom line, I am so very happy with ATI after being a GF user since day one.

TeAcH

I have a very similar experience with ATI and Nvidia. Good to hear this instead of all the bashing. smile.gif
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Perhaps I am missing something in my post, but did I "bash" the 9700pro? ATI? I did spend almost $300 on this product, and still do own it, and still work on trying to get it to work on my system, as it should, every week. I only wanted PE to know my situation and what he could be in for.

I do understand that the whole video card "faith" has many followers, and I did not mean to disrespect the 9700pro or ATI in what I had to offer.

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Cut the guy some slack MJ. He has been around at least three years on this board, and I never got the impression he was baiting. I think he really wanted to have someone help him out. When your video card keeps you from playing this game, you can get a little out of control, I know (ha).

Granted, the title was a tiny bit "emotional", that will happen sometimes when the game you love doesnt want to play, when you do.

When I do not get "fog" in our game, I let ATI know they should gives us a CAT that will bring it to us. I hope you have done the same. The 9700 can be better. I hope you agree, and I am sorry you thought I was whinning.

Tom

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I can honestly say my intent was not lambasting anyone in this topic. I've had problems in the past, I understand.

I think you read too much into my 'bashing' statement, when all I was doing is agreeing to Teach's post, it having been my experience also.

The fog table emulation problem, oh yes indeedy. I really dont know who to point the finger at for that when it works for other games. Just not CM. In all honesty, it doesnt really bother me, Until someone points it out. :mad: But I do agree with you, it should be fixed.

So I say good luck to you, and fair winds.

[ August 04, 2003, 03:12 AM: Message edited by: Major Jerkov ]

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MJ

Millions of people own new Dodge Caravans. Thousands...millions of those Caravan owners have "problems" with them. And somewhere out there there are Caravan owners without problems (yet) looking down their self righteous, virus infested, disease spreading noses covered in dried and crusty bodily fluids from undesireable areas of the human anatomy and railing on those trying to make known their misfortune with their caravans, declaring them product "bashers" and "whining" about their problems.

Unfortunately for these that deem the misfortunate this way, there is no further enlightenment toward wholeness and purity of their Caravan that can be attained. Existance for them is reduced to comparing themselves to those they distain that they may glory in the reflection of themselves in their Caravan's rear view mirror.

But of course this is a hypothetical ideal since I've never met a major jerk off like that. ;)

[ August 04, 2003, 09:21 PM: Message edited by: WarDogz ]

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when nvidia and ati started charging as much as a computer for their vid cards they set themselves up for higher expectations in terms of support, which include but is certainly not limited to the following:

useable functional drivers, better games included with the product (as in the whole game instead of some crap demo), heat syncs for the gpu and vid ram that actually work and don't block an ajoining pci slot (something they currently are not doing), cooling fans that don't fail inside of a year and don't make so much noise they're confused with a leaf blower, and web sites with actual useful and searchable help

when you charge 4-500 dollars for your top end card, the above support isn't going to be seen as a luxury any more by those who purchase your product, it will be expected - as well it should be

conclusion: anyone who owns 9700's, 9700 pros, 9800's, 9800pros, FX 5900's and FX 5900ultras should damn well have the right to bitch all day everyday at ati and nvidia - because both are doing a pretty lousy job of support - and to top it off, they are both cheating their brains out with their drivers trying to make their products look better speed wise instead of actually fixing said drivers and making them work properly

sad state of affairs is what it is - both companies deserve each other - and it'd be really nice to see a 3rd party come along, make a comperable product speed wise that put effort into properly support their card and their customers - i for one, would love to see it

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Originally posted by WarDogz:

MJ

Millions of people own new Dodge Caravans. Thousands...millions of those Caravan owners have "problems" with them. And somewhere out there there are Caravan owners without problems (yet) looking down their self righteous, virus infested, disease spreading noses covered in dried and crusty bodily fluids from undesireable areas of the human anatomy and railing on those trying to make known their misfortune with their caravans, declaring them product "bashers" and "whining" about their problems.

Unfortunately for these that deem the misfortunate this way, there is no further enlightenment toward wholeness and purity of their Caravan that can be attained. Existance for them is reduced to comparing themselves to those they distain that they may glory in the reflection of themselves in their Caravan's rear view mirror.

But of course this is a hypothetical ideal since I've never met a major jerk off like that. ;)

Wow, this paints a very, ummm... bizarre picture. :eek:

I would never own a dodge... on purpose. :rolleyes:

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Perhaps a bit unrelated, but I think I'm unbiased about graphic cards (I've owned both ATI and nVidia at different times, and both have been good and bad, on and off). My setup can perhaps serve as an example of what works well.

My current setup allows me to run CMBB in the background or foreground without problems. Even allows me to run other games in the foreground. I've not had a single crash (despite the fact I never turn off or reboot).

The machine is located inside a walk-in closet, and it's very warm in there. The mean temperature is about 40 degrees C outside the case.

Win2K SP4

DirectX 9.0b

Asus P4C800 motherboard

Intel P4 2.8 (w/ HT)

1GB TwinMOS DDR SDRAM

ATI Radeon 9800 Pro

Antec TruePower 480W PSU

/SirReal

[ August 05, 2003, 02:00 AM: Message edited by: SirReal ]

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