A7N8X w/ Sapphire 9700 pro

By cactustick · 23 replies
May 27, 2003
  1. I just got a Sapphire 9700 pro video card and it is giving me massive problems. I reinstalled windows, updated the bios on my Asus A7N8X mobo, updated direrect X, updated the nforce drivers, and updated the GPU drivers. Still, the darn thing won't work. Whenever I try to run a game or other 3d application the monitor just go black (loses a signal) and I have to restart. Please help!
  2. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 325

    Did you update w. the new Nforce2.1 drivers? If so, Nvidia has pulled them from their web-site due to many problems. What kind of PSU you using, I hear that you Mobo and R9700PRO have been making a great combo..
  3. cactustick

    cactustick TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have whatever nforce driviers are currently on the nvidia webside. I have a Raidmax 400w psu.
  4. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Those Radeon 9700 cards cause more problems for users than any other cards I've come across. I had to send mine back, though your problems appear less severe than mine were.

    Try looking at the forum over at www.rage3d.com where a lot of users discuss various issues with Radeon cards.

    Your most likely problem is with your PSU, which may well struggle to supply enough power when the 3D kicks in. In fact the Raidmax 400w Tri- Lite PSU (you didn't mention any specific model) only puts out a measly 15A @ +12v, which is not nearly enough for todays power hungry systems. You need at least 20A and preferably more.
  5. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 325

    That's what I'm saying, they JUST took down some drivers on May 23rd. Here's a link that *might* be relevent for your chipset drivers. http://www.nvidia.com/view.asp?IO=nforce_udp_winxp_2.03

    Also, do have a proggy that tells you the voltage of the 3.3v, 5v, and 12v rails of your PSU?

    Is this a new card? Did you completley uninstall the old drivers first? May want to do that agian just in case, along w/ uninstalling any R9700 drivers. I've heard from a few people that downloading and installng an older version of CAT drivers, then upgrading to the most current seems to work out some issues as well.
  6. Tarkus

    Tarkus TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 621

    Man, everytime I weaken and start thinking I'll try ATI just one more time, I see a post that makes me go "nevermind!" Thanks Nic for keeping me out of trouble.
  7. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Tarkus, I'm also finding myself weakening again.

    I really want a Radeon card because they take up only one slot, run quietly, and have excellent image quality (apparently, though my screen was always 'black'). What I don't want is a return to all those problems I had the first time I let myself buy a Radeon.

    I'm hoping in time that ATI will come clean on any known issues with their cards, even if it is just quality issues, so that I can make an objective decision on how likely it will be that the card will work.

    Personally, I feel it's scandalous that companies such as ATI have little regard for their users, and don't provide sufficient information about their products, so that users can easily check whether or not a card will work. Granted there will always be incompatabilities, but I'm refering to system requirements, not hardware incompatabilities (unless known).

    For example, why don't they provide some indication of the max current their cards draw from each of the supply rails. Instead they tell you that a 300w PSU is recommended, now what use is that, not useful at all, as many here at TechSpot have already discovered.

    At least nVidia seem to have far fewer issues with their graphics cards, and they do at least respond to support emails, though often days to weeks later. I've yet to hear anything from ATI.

    *** Come on ATI get your act together ***
  8. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Don't be afraid of ATI. Be afraid of yourself. The problem I was having was in Direct3D applications, and turns out it was my motherboard is just a P.O.S. All I had to do was go in SmartGart and lower the AGP speed. BINGO! Works like a dream now!
  9. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 325

    Hehe, yes, I've seen that is the latest batch from ATI and Nvidia, it seems these newer GPU's really stress other parts of the system, revealing weak points that were otherwise undetected. Very, very rarely is it ever the gpu or drivers, almost *always* something else:)
  10. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    It shows a distinct lack of testing and customer relations, that companies, such as ATI, don't make users more aware of the requirements of their hardware prior to purchase. Because of this, customers are left with hassle and expenses that they didn't ask for, while the card manufacturers just turn a blind eye, and don't even respond to emails. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with it. Besides, how can you blame the mainboard manufacturer, when their product works with other graphics cards, was available before the *problem* graphics card had even been designed, and meets the required specifications for each interface it supports. If graphics card manufacturers wish to move the 'goal posts', then they should at the very least make the new requirements known to users.
  11. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 325

    I'd suggest you talk to someone in the MOBO manufacturering business, not in marketing. I suspect it would be an eye opening expiereience for you. It's pretty shocking, once tested, how many mobo do not meet thier own spec.

    The "Goal Posts" as you put it, are quite simple. Both Nvidia and ATI top of the line products require power, lots of it, along with a host of other tolerances that must be met. When mobo manufactures and PSU manufacturers do not meet their own spec, you think it's the graphic cards companies fault?

    As far as I can tell, both Nvida, ATI, Matrox, all have a min. PSU requirement. If your PSU doesn't put out the wattage or voltage under load that's it's advertised as being able to do, you would have us blame the GPU for that???

    No thanks, I'd rather lie blame where it belongs..

  12. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    I have to agree with PS here... Mobo makers are way to lax when it comes to following the specs... (Placement of capacitators, how much current it can handle/transmit etc.)

    Anyways, over to the problem...

    cactustick> Can you give us your smartGart settings?
    You can find the regular through (desktop properties -> settings -> advanced -> smartgart), and the advanced through (start -> run -> smartgart)... That'll give us an idea if something could be up...

    Also, make sure you've got the correct nforce drivers as PreservedSwine said... It could mean a world of difference...

    Which ATI drivers are you using? (Cat 3.2 or Cat 3.4?)

    Are you sure the card is securely fastened in the AGP slot? (Reseat it to make sure)
  13. cactustick

    cactustick TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The smartgart settings were on 8x I belive. The card is tightly fastened.
  14. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Good to know the card is secure... That leaves out any problems which could've arised from that :)

    What about the nforce drivers... Which version are you using?

    Try setting the AGP speed to 4x..

    Is fast-write enabled? (basic smartgart setting)
    AGP write/read? (advanced smartgart setting)

    Run AsusProbe (it came on the driver cd for the mobo, choose history, and set it to record voltage....
    Let it run for a while (whilst doing whatever you do on your machine), and tell us what it says... Does it get any strange increases/decreases?
    Try using the recording and play a game (just don't choose a game which forces you to restart your computer)...

    Has AsusProbe recorded any strange readings for the time you've been playing?

    I'm sorry for giving you these tasks, but I can't think of any other way to make sure there isn't a weakness with your PSU/mobo...

    If you get any strange readings, it could be that either your PSU is at fault, or your mobo... If not, it could be the card...
  15. cactustick

    cactustick TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I got tired of messing with it and took it to a local repair place. They say it is deffective. I this a possiblity or did the just not know how to fix it?
  16. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    I think they just did a very simple test, and decided it was faulty...

    But if I don't miss my guess, it wasn't anything you could fix without voiding your warranty...

    I've come across quite a few people with boards that didn't work, but as soon as they changed the cooling worked perfectly...
    It would seem ATI did err on the side of caution when they designed the cooling... They added a (can't remember the word, so let's say shim) around the core to make sure it wasn't crushed...
    But they made it a wee bit too high, so without a lot of thermal paste/thick thermal pad it would overheat...

    It isn't too hard to fix, but will void your warranty, and that isn't a good thing... (Especially if I'm wrong, and it's something else entirely!)

    At least you should get a working card back, and then you can see why so many of us are happy with our Radeons :)
  17. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Guys: Thanks for all the comments on mobo manufacturers. I'm sure all these points are valid, and mobo makers have a lot to answer for.

    I'm just a little upset at my own experience with ATI's products. When you think that they have banks of possibly hundreds of test PC's on which they test their cards, it seems hard to believe that they didn't find any issues themselves prior to release of their product. Maybe they just like to keep silent so as not to damage potential sales, and instead choose to upset unlucky users who choose to try their products.

    I guess I'll probably give ATI one last go, but I do wish that they would provide meaningful system requirement specs with their products, rather than vague attempts which aren't specific enough to make a valid judgment on. We all know that all 300w PSUs are not created equal, so why even quote this figure? The graphics card makers do have much to answer for, as do mobo makers, but its us consumers that end up being out of pocket due to their negligence.
  18. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 325

    Nic, It's up to the user to install latest BIOS to get the mobo's to run within tolerance, or have the new BIOS provide other workarounds as to not crash when they don't meet spec...and of this you can be sure that ATI has told many a customer to make SURE they have the most current BIOS available. Outside of poor PSU's, that seems to be second on the list of troublesome spots.

    I don't understand why you wish to single out ATI on this issue, as Nvida's FX5800 suffer the identical problems?

    But I agree on one thing, it would be verynice if PSU's were to accurately post specs on their hardware.

    As far as Mobo's being out of tolerance, as long a a BIOS flsh is readily available, I feel the mobo companies are doinf thier job, more or less. Certainly leaves room for improvement, though.

    Same thing w/ chipset drivers:)
  19. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    I know, but I'm just p*****d off with all the hassles I had with an ATI AIW9700, and that was with two systems, both had the latest bios, both had high-end PSUs, and one was a brand new latest model mainboard. It doesn't half make you wonder sometimes. :)

    PS: I've never once had any problem with nVidia products (and they do at least respond to emails, unlike ATI), so that's why I'm picking on ATI.
  20. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Nic> How many different motherboards are there currently available to end users?
    How many more are created for OEMs with special needs?

    ATI themselves said that they've tested many configurations, but that there is no way that they could've tested every motherboard on the market...

    Especially since no motherboard maker is adverticing the fact that they've decided not to follow the specs to the letter...
    I'd much prefer that mobo makers did tell us if they'd followed the specs precicly...
    I've had problems with my graphic card (the V5, not R9700pro), cpu hsf etc... If they'd told me ahead of time in what way they'd decided not to follow spec, it'd be much easier for me to see if my fan/gpu/whatever would fit or not...

    But back to ATI
    As you can see, it tells you that you need a motherboard which is following one of the AGP specs... And that your PSU might not be up to the task, but that a 300w should suffice...

    But I agree it's kinda hard to translate that into "will possibly not work with your motherboard if the mobo maker didn't follow the specs closely enough"...
    Unfortunately, having the latest model motherboard doesn't mean it's following specs

    About tech support, they don't answer your emails? That is bad...! Hope they fix that ASAP, as having problems with tech support is a very bad thing..

    Oh, well... Guess I've been fanATIcal enough in this post... :D ;)
  21. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    You know what? Well I think I'm going to give ATI one more chance, and buy another one of their cards, perhaps a 9800 me thinks, hmm ... hmm. Ah what the heck, why not. Hope this one is as much fun as the last. A new bios (v1.4) was recently released for my mobo (Abit NF7-S v2.0) so I hope it does the trick, though I suspect that my card may have been faulty. :)
  22. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,722   +376

    I've been running an Sapphire Radeon 9700Pro 128mb with the Abit NF7-S v2.0 at 8x AGP without problems since I got the Abit. And before that I had it working perfectly in a KT400 board at 8x AGP. All on a 350w Enermax PSU. Plugged in both P4 power connecter and standard ATX one. I should be receiving a 550w Antec True Power today to give me ultra stable power for overclocking and future overclocking.
  23. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Just thought I'd add this little reply from an interview with Terry Makedon over @ DH...

    (my emphasis)
  24. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Very interesting. Lets hope they keep it up, and in time the situation will stabilise and no one should have any more problems. nVidia are pretty lucky really, seeing as their products have been used as reference for quite some time now. That probably explains their good compatability compared to ATI.
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