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Impossible Problems: Sapphire Radeon 9550 256MB. PLEASE HELP!!

By Phil_OFarrell
Jul 23, 2006
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  1. Dear all,
    I've installed a new Sapphire Radeon 9550 256MB onto my system and have had a myriad of problems with it ever since. I've had a look at cjb and Wallace's threads on these forums, tried everything that was recommended, but still to no avail.

    After first plugging it in, I downloaded the latest Catalyst Drivers, MS Net framework, and updated my system BIOS. Whenever I started a 3D application however, after a few seconds it went to VPU recover.

    I wiped every trace of ATI off my system in safe mode using many programs suggested and tried again with the drivers from the CD. Same problem.

    I disabled VPU recover, now the system just crashes or hangs.

    I've tried a number of different drivers, right now I'm running the Omega driver versions of Catalyst because at least they allow me to tweak the settings more, but I still can't get it to work properly. Sometimes it even crashes during 2D apps like Firefox.

    Bizarrely enough the system works even worse when I try to reduce to 4X AGP or when I disable fast write. When I do either/both of those windows won't even start. I just get a blank screen. I've heard that certain AMD 64 systems need fast write usingthese cards, but not being able to go down to 4X surprised me.

    Because it's mid summer, and crashes duw to overheating are common, I've done most of this with my case open, and monitored the CPU temperature. It's stayed well below 40 degrees. However I have no way of monitoring the GPU temperature. Still, it has a big fan (that came with it), and a free bay beneath it, so surely with the case open that couldn't be the problem?

    Then there's the PSU, which I've learnt from these forums could also be the cause, yet my system needs a max of 360W and I'm using a 500W supply (admittedly only by a manufacturer called Magna - I'm not sure how to test if it's causing the problem though, what voltages etc shold I be looking out for?)

    My system ran everything fine before, although some of the 3D apps and games were a little slow, so I'm convinced it's not a memory or motherboard problem, unless anyone knows of specific manufacturer incompatibilities?

    OK, enough of my treatise for now. If anyone can offer any new advice PLEASE HELP!! Unsurprisingly, this is driving me mad, and has become extremely time consuming as I'm not really an expert so have just been going round and round in circles. Here are my specs, any help GREATLY appreciated - Phil:

    Abit AV8 mobo
    AMD Athlon 64 3000+
    Magna 500W PSU
    Two sticks of identical 512MB DDR RAM
    Sapphire 9550 256MB
    A reliable Adaptec SCSI card
    SCSI RAID array of 10K Seagate Cheetahs
    Yamaha DS2416 Sound Card with AX44 breakout bay
    Some digital TV card or other that doesn't really work
    DVD, floppy, ethernet cards etc
  2. KingCody

    KingCody TS Guru Posts: 1,568   +7

    Hi Phil and welcome to techspot :)

    did you remove the old drivers prior to installing the new card? also, you don't need catalyst. try with just the drivers alone and see if it works.

    well first off, crashes due to overheating are not common. if your system overheats frequently than that it a major problem in itself and needs to be addressed.

    running it with the case open can be even worse than with the case closed if you don't have a fan blowing into the case (like a desk/table fan for example)

    the fact that it says "500W" means nothing. the amperage of the +12v rail is what really determines a PSU's power output. cheap PSUs often have low amperage 12V rails. and even if it's rated high, it likely will only provide 50%-70% of what their label says they can do under normal conditions. there is a very good chance that your PSU isn't powerful enough for your rig.

    1. so first off you should address your overheating issue, either add fans or replace them with more powerful fans. if possible, position a fan to move air to/from the video card area that in most cases gets very little air flow. at the very least have a table fan blowing cooler air into the case if you wish to leave the side panel off.

    2. secondly, even if it's not the cause of the problem, it's never a bad idea to replace a generic PSU with a quality unit from a known reputable manufacturer. not only for system stability, but for hardware protection as well.

    good luck :wave:
  3. Phil_OFarrell

    Phil_OFarrell TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the reply. My 500W (or so it says) PSU says the +12V rail is 17A. What current should I be looking for for a 350W system? I have a couple of other Antec PSUs I could try but none of them over 350W. Still, with everything open and as cool as it is I don't think it's the PSU or the fans I should be looking at. I've never had crashes due to overheating before with my Radeon 9800 (I only mentioed heat related crashes because of all the other fan related posts on here), but with a new card and my room temp being about 32 degrees this month I'm ruling nothing out (hence blowing fans into an open case at the moment). What I'm most concerned about is the fact that I can't reduce the BIOS to 4X AGP without the computer crashing completely. Is there anything else I should do in my BIOS or in the OMEGA options to try to make things run OK without having to super cool my graphics card (which really is only mid-range in the market) ? It seems like I'm missing something terribly obvious!
  4. Phil_OFarrell

    Phil_OFarrell TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hmm, did some research on my Magna 500W PSU, and it seems it is crap after all. There's one thread that says it's only a 350W dressed up as 500w, and 17A on the 12V rail is quite low. What would anyone recommend to replace it?
  5. Phil_OFarrell

    Phil_OFarrell TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I don't believe it! I've bought a 430W Seasonic PSU, and I still get crashes when I bump up graphics hardware acceleration to 100%. Can anyone suggest something that hasn't been mentioned above?? HELP!
  6. mark.dmh

    mark.dmh TS Rookie

    hey all,
    I'm having the same problem. I just bought the ati radeon 9550 today, installed all drivers (updated) and software.
    Anyway when i start up 3D apps (like HL2 or CS:S) they work for a while but then the screen goes blank and switches to standby or i get a message saying "Sync. Out Of Range"... i reinstalled the drivers but the problem still presists. I think it might be an overheating problem, but i'm not sure.

    Any suggestions?

    cheers,
    -Mark
  7. cjb

    cjb TS Rookie Posts: 54

    Hi

    I see you've read my thread and had no luck with the suggestions. However Ive recently had a suggestion that sounds a likely cause. Anyway someone (posted on my thread) said that the sapphire card had a bug and compatibility issues with VIA mobos, called "faulty agp interactions". Also, he said your mobo manufacturers should have updated drivers on their website to fix the problem. The only problem is that i cant find them on the MSI site...My advice is to go to your mobo manufacturers website and search for BIOS updates under 9550 and 9600 bugs.

    I think this may be the most likely cause because so many people have had problems and im sure not that many people would all have faulty PSUs etc. I.e its nothing else the PCs that are bust, its the gfx and mobo interaction (the fault of Sapphire me thinks.)

    Anyway, hope this adds another possible cause of the problems which i know first-hand are a real pain, to diagnose and to fix.

    The last thing to try is to get a new card thats not made by sapphire, or try one of the older models of card (like the 9200) cause they use the same drivers.

    cjb
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