TechSpot

Faulty RADEON 9700 PROs??

By Inimbrium
Jan 27, 2004
  1. Hi

    My card has just broke. I think.

    I've been having a lot of trouble with my Hercules 3D Prophet RADEON 9700 PRO 128 MB.

    Every time I start a game (and sometimes in Windows) I get artifacts on the screen. It is hard to describe them, but bassically it looks sometimes like a chess board, or vertical lines, or magic pictures.
    At first I thought it was the drivers, so I got the latest ones and it still does it. I've even tried some older drivers that I had since before the problems started, they made no difference. I got to the point of reinstalling Windows, since nothing would work. That didn't help. I've even turned the heating off one day thinking that it was overheating for some reason, and opened the case, and still the same problems.

    I've looked up the issue on the internet in search engines, and found message boards with a lot of other people are having the exact same problem. Some say it's some kind of inherent defect with the memory?
    This problem isn't limited to the Hercules brand. I've seen complaints from almost all the other brands.

    It could be worse, apparently Sapphire card users are totaly enraged at Sapphire because they won't reply to their emails. Probaby overwhelmed:
    http://www.sapphiretech.com/forum/pop_printer_friendly.asp?TOPIC_ID=20

    Mine lasted well over a year, others only a few months. A friend's cousin also has a Hercules 9700 PRO and he's got the same problem, just under one year of use.
    I think it's hardware related, but I'm willing to bet that maybe some of the later drivers perhaps made more use of the piece of hardware than the older drivers did, perhaps increasing the chance of failiure. That might explain the sudden problems. Or maybe it was kept quiet at the start. Don't know.

    Then again, I've been overclocking mine ever since I've got it, so I'm willing to bet big money that it didn't help. :eek:

    I've looked in the manual and no applicable advice there apart from the 3 year warranty and returning the product. I've already contacted www.hercules-uk.com and alerted them of the situation. Now awaiting a reply.

    IMO the Hercules is the best 9700 PRO (that's why I bought it hehe), so as long as Hercules do their bit to replace it, I won't be anoyed with them. Time will tell. :suspiciou

    I wanted to post this just to alert people, and for some advice. :)
     
  2. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,384   +15

    An issue such as that surprises me (that its not a one-off). If Hercules replace the card they are a true company :)
     
  3. snowman

    snowman TS Rookie Posts: 312

    wouldnt overclocking void the warranty?
     
  4. Inimbrium

    Inimbrium TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    The card comes with overclocking software, which you can only overclock so much, it's capped so that you can't overlock too much. Presumably, if you use that software, you don't void the warranty. The software is called Hercules 3D Tweaker.

    It's kind of irrelevant anyway, since my friend's cousin never overclocked his, and he's got the same problem, only his is worse. It won't even boot any longer. What's ATI's escuse then?

    I've been overclocking mine ever since I got it when it came out, and I've always been careful (and used only 3D Tweaker), so I don't think it's the overlclocking that did it in. Also, all the other people on sapphiretech forums...
    I could live with myself if I broke the card, but I didn't and I don't like faulty hardware.

    It's clearly a problem with the cards. :(
     
  5. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Posts: 822

    Vertical lines and checker boards? Thats what I got just before I cooked my GF4 Ti4200 from overclocking.....
     
  6. Inimbrium

    Inimbrium TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Fair enough, but what about all the other people, and my mate's cousin? I know for a fact that he didn't overclock.:confused:
    My card is brisled with heatsinks everywhere. It came with them.
    It's got a copper GPU heatsink + fan, heatsinks on every memory chip on both sides, and even another heatsink on the opposite side to the GPU, glued to the PCB. Even has silver paste on the core as standard, and a square flat metal thingy that bridges the gap between the gpu and the heatsink.

    Someone in another forum told me of some useful diagnostic software. I think I'll run it and see what happens.
    V-COM System Suite
    PC Check 5.03
    Pc Doctor Service Center 2000
     
  7. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,574

    If you overclock anything you are asking for problems, you are most likely going to get them and if your hardware dies it is your fault. Sad but true. No offence, but take it as a loss and go buy a 9800 Pro.
     
  8. Robert Murphy

    Robert Murphy TS Rookie

    I have a Radeon 9800 Pro and am experiencing the exact same #@%!@% problems. (I at least can get about 15 min. into a resource-intensive game before meltdown...) I also have never overclocked anything on my system--Vcard, CPU, whatever.

    Still seeking solution.

    Robert

    P.S. Go to ATIs tech-help board! ...And it's about as helpful as an anorak in the Sahara...
     
  9. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 1,040

    I have a Saphire 9700 Pro, it really enrages me because for stable settings, they can only be set at normal clock speeds. Raising it does the chess board stuff etc, and I have aftermarket heatsinks on the ram as well as an aftermarket cooler/heatsink, all using thermal compounds, and I only got it to go +5MHz and +5RAM for stable with all those upgrades!

    Sapphire pisses me off.
     
  10. Robert Murphy

    Robert Murphy TS Rookie

    Inimbrium,

    While my card is not a Sapphire (stock ATI), I managed to solve this problem on my rig. (Again, mine was not, nor ever had been over-clocked, so this wasn't the issue.) One or more of the following did the trick:

    1. Be absolutely sure your DIMMs and the G-card are securely in their slots. Of course one need nor should not force anything into place; just be sure there is a nice snug fit. For the DIMM modules, this means that the white 'tabs' on each side are fully 'up' into place.

    2. Regarding DIMMs, be sure they are placed in the configuration (i.e. the specific slots) recommended in your MoBo's manual. Also, BE SURE THEY ARE IDENTICAL IN ALL RESPECTS.

    3. This may be inconsequential, but I noticed I had plugged the other end of the power cord which comes with the Radeon card into my CD-ROM, not the HD as per the instructions. I don't know if 'correcting' this did anything, but it didn't hurt.

    4. Run Ad-Aware (hidden, running scumware processes can cause real instability, I understand), and a good, updated anti-virus program scan.

    Hope this helps--good luck!!

    Robert

    P.S. I'm NO expert--any of you genuinely tech-savvy fellows, feel free to 'correct' any of the above.
     
  11. InsaneMonkeyBoy

    InsaneMonkeyBoy TS Rookie Posts: 201

    9700 Pro's. I hate the 9700 pro's. I had mine for 9 months and it did just what inimbrium's does with all the magic wierd shapes coming up on the screen. Eventually after sending it back 4 times they realised it was a memory problem :mad: . I think they use samsung memory chips of some sort on the radeon 9700 series.
    Now that I've got a 9800 it's lush. But I'm now having more god damn problems. I dont overclock but after 15mins of playing games or something it crashes and the VPU Recover kicks in every time. If any 1 here can help I'd be grateful :D

    My history of VGA cards have sucked..................
     
     
  12. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 375

    Disable VPU recover in your ATI control Panel
     
  13. Robert Murphy

    Robert Murphy TS Rookie

    Mr. Monkey Boy,

    How does it crash? Does it lock-up, does the monitor suddenly die, (i.e. goes off suddenly then won't come on,) or does your screen progressively artifact-up into disintegration?

    My advice is what I posted above, plus...

    Screwy ram modules (especially and in most cases dissimilar) can cause mysterious, seemingly insoluble problems... I bought a rig a few years back from the now (happily) defunct Comtrade. Ran fine. Then one day I added a new sound card. Now, any game ran for 5-min tops before totally locking up, accompanied by a nails-on-chalkboard sound coming out of the speakers... Couldn't figure this one for the life of me, until I looked at the Ram modules--the Buggers at Comtrade had installed a stick of PC-66 with a stick of PC-100! Corrected that, end of problem...

    Good Luck,

    Robert

    P.S. Have you updated your Mother Board drivers/Bios recently? When I first assembled my system, with the motherboard I had bought only one month (December) prior, I couldn't get the AGP to run. Downloading the latest scheiss from Asus and updating solved this...
     
  14. BrownPaper

    BrownPaper TS Rookie Posts: 467

    InsaneMonkeyBoy, in your sig, your cpu and fsb is overclocked. your motherboard and cpu may be the culprit behind your instabilities. run your cpu at stock and see if your video card is still the problem.
     
  15. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 375

    To add to Brown paper's post, RADEON's don't have a vewry high tolerance for an overlcoked AGP/PCI pus. If you Mobo has the option, keep it locked at 66Mhz, and don't go over 70, or you will indeed have an unstable rig....
     
  16. InsaneMonkeyBoy

    InsaneMonkeyBoy TS Rookie Posts: 201

    I tried my CPU at Stock Speed and as I expected it didn't make a difference. Would turning off my VPU Recover really help? Surely the whole PC will restart instead?
    And could it really be a RAM problem? I hav 512 ram but i dunno what speed. When it crashes it says it's my device driver for my vga. I hav Cat 4.1 but I dont think it's my vga.
    To Rob Murphy ---> Most of the time my game freezes and then loads of tiny different coloured horizontally scratch marks come up, and then VPU Recover comes up.........sometimes the monitor dies and then restarts. It sucks.



    PS: I hav got reasonably updated motherboard BIOS and drivers for my asus motherbaord but I'll check anyways :)

    PS: Thanks so much for your help!:D
     
  17. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,919   +9

    I had to return my Hercules Prophet Radeon All-in-Wonder 9800SE twice because of these artifacts described in the first post. The third card works fine now :)

    I wasn't overclocking the card(s), maybe it was just a faulty memory chip or GPU.

    By the way, my AGP bus speed has been about 75 - 80 MHz all the time, 4x, fastwrite enabled, without any problems with it.
     
  18. InsaneMonkeyBoy

    InsaneMonkeyBoy TS Rookie Posts: 201

    Isn't the 9800SE the really cool minature card? What's it like? I wanna get one. I've heard they're really fast for their money. :D
     
  19. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 375

    Disable it.....and see. It only takes a sec to disable, and you stand a VERY good chance of solving your issues...
     
  20. Inimbrium

    Inimbrium TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Sounds like a lot of angry people with a lot of broken cards.:(

    I've alerady tried my Hercules 3D Prophet 9700 PRO on another computer with exactly the same problems. It's not the DIMMs. The AGP clock, or the FSB isn't overclocked. Neither is the multiplier, but i do ocasionally. Not now tho.

    Hercules have replied, and now I got to get a hold of the invoice. Then they'll take it in, and hopefully replace it.

    If you guys got the same problems, make sure that it is broken, as opposed to some incompatibility. Try the card on another computer, make sure your PSU is 300W or more. Stuff like that.

    If it does what mine does, and you're sure of it, haev it replaced.
    Remember that it has a 3 year warranty, and it's only been out one and a half years, so you all are within warranty.

    Most retailers only do 1 year warranty, but try contactnig them telling them the problem. If they'll take it then good, if they refuse, contact the card manufacturer (Hercules, Powercolor, Sapphire, etc..), or even ATI themselfs :darth:, but i dont think they'll take in 3rd party cards. Infact i dont know if ATI even make the 9700 PRO.

    Either way, don't put up with it, do something about it, or you'll be stuck with a broken card for years to come.
    Email them repeatedy, phone them, snail mail, etc.

    Until next time. :grinthumb
     
  21. lextronman

    lextronman TS Rookie

    ATI will take in third party cards, I know this because I had to send them my 9700 pro POS. They replaced it w/ a new card but i'm still having a problem w/ diminshing frame rates running Nascar 2003. Starts out fine (100fps), but then starts heating up and drops to as low as 10fps. Can't drive my car w/ 10fps. If any one has any ideas other than buying a Nvdia card please respond
     
  22. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 375

    Could be the cpu heating up as well...the R9700P puts off ALOT of heat and will raise you case temp substantially...how's your case ventilation, enough fans? Try taking the side off your case, and position a fan to blow fresh air on the cpu, and see if the problem continues, or goes away. If it goes away, you'll need to increase the case ventilation...

    Good luck:)
     
  23. InsaneMonkeyBoy

    InsaneMonkeyBoy TS Rookie Posts: 201

    My 9700Pro raised my case temp considerably and got a lot hotter than my current 9800pro. I think the 9700pro's were rushed in their designing and the 9800's where a complete fix of the 97's plus being faster aswell.:D
     
  24. DraG

    DraG TS Rookie

    Well don't feel alone my system does the same thing. It drops right out of games locking up the comp. Sometime. It just windows my game and screws up my gamma setting. I have to reboot. This is my second 9700pro. The first one just went out one day all you got was a checker aboard screen I sent it back and I got another one plus bought a asus 9700pro. So after buying two 9700pro (Asus,Gigabyte) I come to the point were the 9700pro just sucks. I have tired different card in my system without any problem so I know it not the system. But I did notice that drivers newer than the oct 2003 drivers crash more.
     
  25. InsaneMonkeyBoy

    InsaneMonkeyBoy TS Rookie Posts: 201

    yeh its wierd you say that, the catalyst 3.8 was a real problem for me. My new card is so much better even though it's less than half a year older:) . Oh, and Gigabyte suck, my previous 9700pro was a gigabyte and yes 9700's generally suck lol :p
     
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