TechSpot

ATI 9800 PRO v. X800

By grunt
Nov 2, 2004
  1. OK, I've had a Sapphire ATI 9800 PRO 256Mg for about 4 months now. In the last few weeks its been locking up during 3D games (ie Joint Operations), and even when Im just surfing. The screen locks up and the sound loops. Nothing new, this is all over this forum.

    Has ANYONE gotten a solid fix for this??

    I'm running an Asus P4P800-E mobo, 2 gig RAM, Audigy 2, Antec Sonota case w/ 380 True Blue psu, Intel P4 3.0, Win XP Pro - ALL latest drivers/patches are installed.

    My next step is to update to the 480 psu, and trashing the 9800 for the new X800. But is it worth the change? So far I've read tonnes of 9800 problems, but haven't really seen many X800 ones (although it just might be too new still). The upgrade is gonna cost me about $400+CN.

    The 9800 card seems to run warm to the touch on the heatsink and hot (although not brutal) on the other side.

    Any suggestions? This has been driving me NUTS - esp. since I have to drive 1.5 hrs one way to get the thing serviced under warranty (I know, stupid to buy that far away, but the prices were good)
     
  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,916   +9

    I don't think upgrading to X800 would end your problems.

    That's just how things are with the latest (ok, almost latest) hardware. They're rushed to the market and companies want you to do the testing for them. Then you'll just have to wait for months to get drivers that will "fix" these problems - provided you have the right combination of other hardware & software.

    This isn't going to get any better by buying even newer hardware, the cycle just starts again, and hardware manufacturers are happy to have people buying their products.
     
  3. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 25,948   +19


    I think Mictlantecuhtli is correct as usual!

    Might I suggest that despite the 1.5 hour drive that you take your card back and exchange it for something that is more tried and trusted you may also save quit a lot of money into the bargain.
    [​IMG]
    Regards Howard
     
  4. grunt

    grunt TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Such as? I would still like to retain a high end card, but do you have suggestions for a "Tried and true" card? Nvidia? ATI? etc, etc.... I've heard/read other horror stories about both brands, and then theres the fun about OPENGL or 3D3 platforms, and which is better and where is the industry going.
     
  5. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,916   +9

    Just my opinion, but I'd try different drivers (AGP and graphics card) before switching cards.

    As for which "high-end" card would be good, I don't know. What I do know is that there are other manufacturers than just ATi and nVIDIA.

    ATi seems to be faster in Direct3D, nVIDIA in OpenGL. But it looks like speed comes with the price of stability.

    I'm a 3Dfx Voodoo5 5500 user myself, had Radeon 9800SE some months ago but I sold it because of its driver instability and lack of support.
     
  6. grunt

    grunt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Lack of support - go figure. Guess what I'll do is try the psu upgrade from the Antec True 380W to the 480W - what I've read so far here and other places is that power might be an issue. I wouldn't have thought slapping in an extra hd and more ram would cause problems, but maybe its just a bit much - I don't know. As for the drivers, I play Joint Ops and Desert Combat and they seem to require the latest drivers to function.

    I've tried Voodoo a few years back and had problems, also have had bad lucj with Nvidia as well - guess I'm just vidcad cursed. :eek:
     
  7. Liquidlen

    Liquidlen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,646

    Before you go off with a bunch of money for all that Hardware,I didn't hear if you experimented with a couple of Bios settings, Games can be very particular.
    Also the card worked before. Any new programs causing a conflict (services running in the background)?Have you run some bug checks?
    Time for some house cleaning ,Games build up fragmented files.
    Try shutting off all unnecessary sevices /programs while gaming.
    I am just trying to bounce some other thoughts around ,I am not covinced that card is bad and you may find a work around until some new drivers show up,cause they will.
     
  8. grunt

    grunt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It runs on a new installation of WinXP-Pro (SP2) - about the only thing running in the background is McAfee Enterprise - which has never given me a problem (and shutting it down doesnt do anything anyway-been tried). Chipsets and Bios have all been flashed/updated - so not there. So I'm back to either upping the psu or card - and the psu is way cheaper at this point.

    And this freezing is random - its locked up during games, or even just when surfing the net with nothing running. I've run MARK3D, having it crash on the first try, then can run many times completely b4 it crashes again. Last night I played about 2 hrs of JO - no problem, only to have it crash afterwards when I ran the benchmark test just to see. Needless to say - getting frustrated. Thinking of doing something radical like filling the box with concrete and using it as an achor (er, well maybe not really)
     
  9. grunt

    grunt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Just a quick update on this. I've had the psu replaced with a 480 Antec true - still not working.

    The BIOS has been flashed to the latest, and all other drivers inc. the ati are the latest.

    We've even swapped the 9800pro with a asus x800 pro and the problem is still there. We've now sent the 9800pro bacl to ati for a replacement.

    I kind of think that maybe the mobo's just cant take it - which is rather odd. Both the old asus P4P800-deluxe and my new P4P800-E delux give the same problem.
     
  10. Mendota

    Mendota TS Rookie

    I went through all the same things as you did. In my case the card was sent to me as a RMA replacement for a 8500 that croaked out. Some replacement! Oh it was beautiful for the two or three minutes that it would work. I spent hours and dollars on the phone with ATI.

    At this point I gave up on the 9800, and the so called high end. I went out to CompUSA and purchased a lowly ATI 9250 card. It cost $64.00, but hey it has 128 megs of DDR ram, a Radeon chip, and it works flawlessly. AquaMark benchmarks told me that it will run smoothy all current and modern games. You know sometimes paying more doesn't get you more.

    :rolleyes:

    Good luck to you.
     
  11. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,199

    Howdy Grunt,
    Your system almost identically mirrors my own, being:
    Asus P4P800E-Deluxe
    P4 3.0ghz Northwood
    4x512 (2 gig) Mushkin DDR 400 (dual-channel mode)
    ATI AIW X800 XT
    Audigy 2
    Win XP Pro + SP2
    Catalyst 5.6 drivers w/ CCC

    I've had to instigate absolutely absurd cooling, albeit my region probably has much to do with this as it's pretty warm here (5 case fans= 2 intake/front, 2 exhaust/rear, 1-side intake pointed at VGA slot/shimmed). Antec 480W TruPower, yadda yadda.

    Norton and McAffee products have been problematic at best. Even disabled, they can cause issues. They have to be FULLY uninstalled in order to isolate as they leave services and wedge dll/library 'middle men' in places they have no business. If you use either co's products, uninstall them for a test.

    Memory timings are also fairly critical unless using Mushkin memories. I've found these things to be pretty finicky with memory. Try getting memtestx86 to run overnight sometime and also SiSoft Sandra and the bandwidth tests therein.

    Lastly, if you want to isolate power or temperature, download and run Asus Probe and ATI Tray Tools. Both have logging to file so you can launch both of them and have videocard GPU/ENV temp readings (if the Asus has the temp sensors, that is..), as well as all voltage rails, fan rpm and cpu/case temp logging during a crash. I've used this it isolate any weaknesses in the past due to power or temp issues.

    Good luck! Stability IS possible with these boards but I'm betting there is something we're all overlooking or misleading. memtest, Asus Probe and ATI Tray Tools should help in at least isolating/removing things from the list of what could be causing it. :)
     
     
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