By james_k1988 · 18 replies
Jan 17, 2006
  1. Right i recently bought a

    Powercolor Radeon X1800XT 512mb PCI-E

    My system spec is in my sig, except of course its not a x800 i have any more. Now i installed this card and booted up my machine, and im getting some strange activity. The first one was that my screen keeps flickering while windows is booting, once its fully booted it seems ok. Although it tends to flicker when the screen rez changes (eg when im closeing a game. Normally goes a black screen then restores back to normal, but its jus flickering) although im not getting this in games so much luckly. But as for games they are performing poorly, not any better than my last card (sometimes a bit worse) when i know this card is MUCH better. Ive tried alot of drivers but no difference. I made BIOS tweaks before but ncase that was it i restored them back to normal. Now i get the logo as my PC is booting (its what it uses instead of showing a POST) and the picture is WREAKED. Looks all horrible and distoreted. Colors all messed (i know what it looked like before, the colors an that were fine). So i dont think it is a driver fault. Any ideas?

    My thoughts are:

    I am useing a converter, as this card only has 2 DVI ports i'm using a VGA-DVI converter, but i didnt think that would make any difference.

    This card has a passion apparently for being noisey. But for me, it is only noisey for 3 seconds after i turn on the pc. The fan starts spinning fast on the card, make a bit of a noise, then goes away and doesnt come back. This is linked to my next bit

    This is the first card ive had that needs power attached to it. I used the converter it gave me an there is power going into it. But i think mybye there isnt enough? Mibe it isnt getting enuf power, as my PSU is a 400w i think and i have 2 HDD's,1 CD-RW an 1 DVD-RW . And now that card. Could a lack of power be causeing this problem??
  2. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    If it si a good quality PSU then 400 watt should be fine. if it is a cheapo generic model or even worse one that came with the case then it could be a PSU problem. it could also be a defective card.
  3. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    it is a cheapo one i think lol but i got a case along with this card, witha new PSU so ill try that

    It is also messing up alot of the grafix as well , as i have notcied when windows was booting :confused: sume of the text had white lines going from it
  4. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Hi james,

    Are you running the x64 version of Windows XP? And do you know what version of the Catalyst drivers you attempting this with?

    SMARTGART can commonly cause the flicker and changes you describe at boot up. I wouldn't worry about these unless your monitor emits a squeel or strange noise during these blanking intervals. SMARTGART and CCC will re-init the card sometimes twice when windows initializes so what you are experiencing there is part of the normal system boot-up. Again, it's only a problem if the blank interval period is out of range for your monitor which is a rare problem for older, non-multisync monitors.

    The DVI-VGA adapter isn't a problem as you've guessed... and unrelated to what you are experiencing.

    If you have any third party tools from your x800, you need to uninstall them. This includes ATI Tray Tools, ATI Tray, Rage3d Tweak, etc.etc. The only tool I'd recommend usage with is ATI Tray Tools LATEST version (as only the latest version works seamlessly with the new X1xxx series). It's preferrable to remove ALL tools for testing period for isolation though.

    Lastly, ensure you're using the V5.13 Catalyst drivers WITH .NET 1.1 + 1.1 Hotfix (you can run 2.0 Framework as well, but you need 1.1 + .NET hotfixes and service packs as well) and the Catalyst Control Center for full feature support. Eventually once the board is more stable and has better support, the Control panel + ATI Tray Tools will be a more encompassing option- but for now, I'd recommend 5.13 + CCC.

    Try this out and see if you get any performance improvements. It would also be good if you can give some precise game examples- such as what games are not performing up to snuff. There are specific game issues as well, such as FEAR requiring an executable rename (the DEMO version of FEAR runs well, but full retail should be renamed to FEARD.EXE to kick out DEMO optimizations on the X1xxx series, etc.etc.).
  5. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    well i wasnt sure if it was something in windows ( as you mentioned getting framework, but im doing that just now anyway) because of the fact that the mobo's logo on start up is messed up. And the fact it was Flickering was getting me worried, its as if someone was messing with teh cable or something lol. Or as someone said, a dodgey card :( (which i doubt) But i changed the port its in an still giveing me grief

    Now you mentioned that on boot , that problem with the monitor going out of range. The monitor did used to say (disconnected) for that black screen interval. But i updated drivers and it seems to have stopped that

    The main things that got me going is the card fan. Its ment to be noisy, which is fine, but its only noisy for 3 seconds. And never does it again so im thinking its not going at "full pelt"

    I am updateing framework, have uninstalled all the other ati stuff i had. And im going to put my spare hdd in, and try the card on that, with fresh drivers. See how it goes then although i dont think itll help as this problems is occuring before windows even boots (with the bios screen, ill try and get a pic of that for you)

    ill keep you posted

    p.s. Cant believe i forgot 2 mention this. Its stopping my Keyboard going! i have a USB G15 Gameing keyboard (one with the screen) but now when the com is booting, when windows starts the keyboard doesnt kick in. Until i unplug it, and put it back in

    *EDIT* I have uploaded pictures to let you see how messed the bios pic at the start is like. It has never looked as badly as that before. But i did try an pull all the other devices out and no improvement. But now i updated net1.1 and its running worse! This is really starting to get to me :(

    I hope to god there is a update out there thatll fix this lol

    Attached Files:

  6. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Hello again, James:
    The BIOS logo being corrupted is something I've experienced with the ATI Xpress chipset mainboards with older bios's and certain memories. I've never considered it symptomatic of a problem though as I've seen it to be a kink with this chipset and certain memories.. It only seems to adversely effect the boot-up logo as it's adjusting memory timings (corrupt = logo, after init=everything okay). So my simple solution has always been to:
    1) Run memtest86 from a floppy to inspect for memory errors.
    2) Run Prime95 torture tests to ensure Windows memory accuracy.
    3) Finally set Full-Screen Boot Logo to OFF (LOL).

    Seriously though, ATI Xpress chipsets have dodgey memory latency issues that are worked around during POST (usually post-logo on some BIOS's). You can either find magic memories without the issue, upgrade/hope for BIOS to kludge prior to logo, or just disable for most cases. I've had a number with this issue that was isolated just to the POST/screen logo.. and disabling. Also, there is a V3.8 BIOS available for your mainboard- you might try upgrading this (and should anyways) if you haven't already. May or may not fix the corrupt BIOS logo, but it's a good practice to keep the latest BIOS on these ATI Xpress Chipset mainboards.

    This is totally *normal*... the fan's throttle based on GPU temp. On init, they'll sometimes ramp up to 100%... but then restore to like 30-50% fan speed. They'll only throttle up (i.e. noisy) when the GPU temp hits higher ranges. You can also hardset this to ALWAYS 100% with things such as ATI Tray Tools if you wish- but it's usually not needed. If you want to test your GPU temps, I'd say pick up GLExcess, run it's full suite of tests at 1600x1200x32, 6xAA and I'm betting it'll throttle up to 100% around the point of the "City Lights" test. This is my own fan-speed tester for ATI cards LOL. Seems every card hits pretty high peak GPU temps on this suite for some reason.

    Sounds like a BIOS issue as well. Try setting PnP OS to "Yes" and see if any other hardware has issues this way. If not, try the opposite (PnP OS = No). It's simply an autoconfig I/O space issue between boot-up and Win XP... also a fairly "common" issue with these that can be tricky to isolate.
  7. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163


    right m8, cheers for the info

    Sorry for making this thread so long btw but i wanted to fill you right in as you really seem to know what youre talking about :)

    Dont get me wrong about the logo screen. the only reason im worried about it is that i NEVER had that problem until i put in that card, but i have turned it off anyways

    My BIOS is up to date and has been for some time. But i redone it there just to be safe, but still no change

    I installed that program you said and ran it. It wouldnt let me put the rez up that high so i ran it as high as it could go ( 1280x1024 32bit) but it ran quite well, fps stayed high, even in that city lights one, was at 900fps until eveything else came in, then went to around 500. The results are in a screenshot attached to this message. The fan didnt speed up at all though (that i could hear, and i cant find any temp progs that support my gcard). Its giveing me the impression its underclocked

    I'll play with that pnpOS thing for a bit to get that going as well. I restored defaults the first time the card started acting weird and it mustve messed that pnp up

    Now i told you the screen can go really funny, with teh flickering and the bios logo messed up. But i am now getting messed up screens within windows, check this out
    This is the first time its happened as bad as that. The only other time i remember something like that happening is when i was installing the ati drivers. it was installing a WDM somthing, regardless the background to the installer, at that point, has black lines going all over it. Liek a grid, and i dont remember the installer ever having that but i could be wrong

    And something else i noticed, dont know if its anything important though. In the display properties it says the max rez my screen can go is 1280x1024 for
    monitor number 1, which it must be plugged into obviously. But for 2 it can go waayyyy up to 2048x1536. It also says, next to the 2. (default monitor)

    But it isnt because when i alter the settings nothing happens. Mybye i have it in the wrong port? I dont think ive tried the other on boot but when i do it now i pull out the monitor and get a device disconnected sound (the one windows makes when you pull out a usb device) and the ohter port does nothing. And then i plug it back in and get a device inserted sound :)

    Never knew monitors were recognised as devices tbh lol. Anyways could this have anything to do with this?

    and if not i hope to god you have a idea what it could be :( Because its got me stumped and its really getting me down that its not going as it should.

    The strangest thing is that its avg fps in games, is more or less identical to my x800.For example:

    In my fav game Medal Of Honor SH i have this special place i go and look at a certain object, to check my fps, incase i have made any tweaks. It is the exact same as it was before, In World of Warcraft the avg fps is the same. I tried CSS but it seemed lower in that, but i havnt checked my fps in that for a while so i cant be sure

    Hope you can help :(

    cheers m8

    p.s. i also done a report on my card with a diagnostic program. Its attached to this message (.PDF). If you dont have acrobat tell me an ill put it up as a .txt or html. Just that the pdf looks easier to read :blush:

    Attached Files:

  8. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Hi again james,

    Good deal. Again, it's only with certain cards and certain memory configurations I've seen it. Most commonly ATI cards ironically lol. I have the same issue here with two other XPress mainboards, one with an X700 and another with an X1800XL.

    Looking at your attached score, I wouldn't say underclocking is likely.. and the 1280x1024 resolution limit is due to your monitor. As the fan is still running at normal speeds it simply means your X1800 is running nice and cool and not needing to ramp up the RPM's due to heat. It's a thermatically controlled fan based on GPU temp. GlExcess is one of the tests I'll use as it usually will kick X1800's up (for some odd reason) in temp... but you're is running nice and cool.

    You're running a 17" monitor on that smokin' card? hehe. X1800's really shine at 1600x1200 resolution, but higher end 19" or larger monitors usually are needed to go that high.

    Looking at your image- does this only occur with Overlay video? Could be an overlay bug in the drivers. I'd see if you can reproduce it without a media or stream player (i.e. like with Notepad or Word if it happens).

    Also, ATI Tray Tools has added support for the X1800. You might want to Google/download this and try it as it has a section for monitoring the GPU/ENV temps and clock speeds.

    This is NORMAL as when you have a single display connected, the secondary is a default for possible TV-OUT usage. The secondary/TV-OUT really has no resolution limit as it's going to pan-and-scan around a virtual 800x600 or 640x400 real resolution. So, you could have a TV or composite monitor hooked up at 800x600, but slide the mouse to the edges to scroll around a 2048x1536 workspace.

    The only time which DVI-Port you run matter is when you DO want VGA + VGA + TV. ATI has PDF files that have little charts on supported DVI + VGA + TV-Out, where it'll be specific which of the two ports can use an adapter and which cannot. For your setup, it's unimportant.

    Actually, all of the above sounds about right. As you're capped to 1280x1024 and the games you've listed.. makes perfect sense.

    Games like MOH:SH are really CPU bound even on 8-pipeline cards at resolutions of 1280x1024 and below. Where the X1800 really shines is by ramping the resolution, AA and AF settings- which is where the old X800 would start to putz out.

    WOW is the same way- very, very CPU bound.. and CSS? Well, if you have Lost Coast and run with higher AA/AF you'll see a HUGE difference.. but CS:S is also very, very CPU bound with it's laggy network code.

    If you really want to see your card fly, try bumping up AA and AF at 1280x1024 resolution. If you're into Source engine games, the new Adaptive AA is also a huge, huge perk and the X1800 chews through this with ease where the X800/X850 series takes a big fall.. But for a lot of middle-aged games, you really wont see much of a difference at 1280x1024, 1024x768 with 4xAA or 4-8x AF.

    Another shining example is FEAR... which really chews X800 series cards to the ground with any amount of AA applied. An X1800 has substantially more horsepower to crank up AA without seeing a big drop in FPS. Notice- a big drop, but not really a big/measurable improvement with/without. The X1800 is basically extending the ceiling on many games where you can apply AA/AF without seeing the big nosedives the other cards encounter. Far Cry with the 1.33 patch is also another example of flexing the X1800's muscle.

    Overall, you can't expect MOH:AA or WOW to get a whole lot of improvement between an X800 and X1800 unless you crank resolution and AA/AF... then the X1800 leaves the older cards in the dust as they start to nosedive framerates. The X1800 will achieve steady/high FPS here. Adaptive AA is also a more viable option in more games with this card and it has HUGE improvements in many D3D games.

    Your report looks good also. I'd just keep my eyes open for more desktop artifacting- make sure it's related to Overlay video (Media players and such) and possibly install/monitor temps and clocks with ATI Tray Tools if there is no Overdrive showing up in the CCC from ATI Drivers. Either way, such artifacting shouldn't be occuring normally with normal 2d desktop apps or in games. If so, it could be a sign of bad memory on the card- but I seriously doubt it as the drivers are still a bit premature with accelerated video streams.. and have a few strange overlay bugs even in the 5.13's on occasion.

    Good luck and keep at it!
  9. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Actually, all of the above sounds about right. As you're capped to 1280x1024 and the games you've listed.. makes perfect sense.

    Games like MOH:SH are really CPU bound even on 8-pipeline cards at resolutions of 1280x1024 and below. Where the X1800 really shines is by ramping the resolution, AA and AF settings- which is where the old X800 would start to putz out.

    WOW is the same way- very, very CPU bound.. and CSS? Well, if you have Lost Coast and run with higher AA/AF you'll see a HUGE difference.. but CS:S is also very, very CPU bound with it's laggy network code.[/

    To be honest i wasnt really going for a high rez, iwas just wanting performance. And from what i read this card is ment 2 dominate FPS. But my fps on WOW still drops where it did before. Although i did try lost coast last night, and it did look really nice, Put everything up max an was impressed, although FPS wasnt as high as i wouldve liked it to be. Was still nice and smooth though.

    I really dont like the fact that card flickers like it does when tis loading. And how sometimes when its refreshing , for a second the screen goes all messed up. Just messed up colored boxes all over the place (just a mess, cant make anything out). As if you rammed the card with something to make it conk out lol. But its not unbearable, because as i said i only want the games to run better. I am at college just now but i will try that ati toll when i get home and see whats happening. I am also going to get my backup drive tonight and wire it up (its more or less a fresh install of windows, with some of my crap kept on it lol) and see if it runs any better. So i can see if its a windows error as i spent a lot of time with some programs when i was flashing my X800, mibe its corrupting it? but ill find out. Thanx m8 ill update tonight :slurp:
  10. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Alrighty then,

    I havnt had a chance to try another HDD yet, ill do that asap. But i did get to try COD2 on full grafix and FEAR on very high grafix. Was very good.

    For COD2 it ran really good, i could feel the fps dropping sometimes but was nuthin major at all. Plus that is the grafix maxed out

    For fear (the demo) I set the grafix settings for the card to Extreme mode, but just kept the Computer settings to High. It also ran very well, the only thing that bothered me about that is (this is gonna be hard 2 describe) Say i turn a corner i aint went round yet. The game will freeze for a sec (i guess loading up whats round that corner) for a second or 2 but i suppose thats acceptable. Plus it would probably run better off the CD lol

    I even put AA and all the effects like that onto MOH an it looks really sexy now.

    But is there any tweaks to mybye put my framerate up a bit, as i feel i can get more from this card in that sense

    And my last question, I've always wanted to be able to record myself playing games (such as moh) withour having to get a tv card. Now i was told gcard with a "ATI Rage Theatre" Chip can record you, without killing your FPS. As i try to use FRAPS but my fps frops to 15,to hard to play. But someone in my clan can record himself no problem. And my pc spec is much higher, except from he has a AMD 4000+ where i have a 3200+. Any idea on that? or is there anotehr way to record because i know i have video capture on this card

  11. Cartz

    Cartz TS Rookie Posts: 82

    Uhhh, If you want big frames, get a big processor, your core is such a gigantic bottleneck to that system... I know, I speak from experience (see sig)

    You could overclock that X1800 until it melted, you wouldn't see much, if any improvement. Your processor is the bottleneck...

    Try upping your FSB a bit,i'm willing to bet if you can get 5% more out of your core, you're going to get 5% more out of your games. I noticed definate improvements in all my games when I oc'ed even up to 2.1Ghz, they were by no means mind blowing, but I definately got a few extra fps, especially in CS.
  12. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Very good advice from Cartz there. :)

    Seriously- try dabbling a bit in overclocking and I'm betting your MOH framerates will go up in proportion to the CPU power gained.

    The X1800 is indeed a smokin' fast videocard, but it can only deliver the framerate the CPU/system is capable of handing off to it. It's kinda like setting VSYNC @ 60hz and wondering why the framerate wont go above 60fps.. the videocard is twiddling it's thumbs waiting between frames. Of course, lumping on AA, AF and higher resolution gives it more to do without any real impact in these in this situation.

    MOH:AA/MOH:SH really barely taxes even a 9800 Pro. The only way you can beat up an 8-pipeline card in this game is to lop on super high-res, Antialiasing, Anisotropic filtering, etc.etc... and now you've got a 16-pipeline card which has even more ceiling. This means framerates will be about the same, but the newer videocard is even MORE idle between frames LOL. It's going to be tragically CPU bound as it just doesnt have enough graphics Ummph to keep modern 3d cards happy while it's processing/CPU loops are the main framerate factor.

    I'd also say you might want to try the 4.11 OGL file. I haven't tested this with an X1800 series, but it can beef up framerates for specifically older games. The nice thing about OpenGL is it's pretty much standalone, so you can manually "plunk" older OpenGL files in individual OGL game directories so only that game is effected. You should remember you've done this though in case that dll becomes incompatible in future driver revisions!

    The 4.11/4.12 OGL dll was only OpenGL 1.1/1.4.. so it's "lean and mean" and uses a TON less CPU cycles associated with rendering. In CPU bound OpenGL games that dont use the extra OGL 2.0 features (MOH and Quake2 are good examples), this can sometimes yield big improvements in framerates. Example: Quake2 with 5.13 OpenGL might spin at 217 fps.. plunk in the lean-n-mean 4.12 OGL file into the Quake2 folder- 472 fps. lol.

    You can try it here as I zipped it up on putfile for ATI users to try:

    Just unzip and manually copy into the MOH:SH folder. If it doesn't work, just delete the file. It'll override the system OGL just for that game.. or any other OGL games you place the file in the folder with. For older OpenGL games, it shaves a lot of CPU cycles off OGL calls.

    Good luck!
  13. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Cheers guys,

    The processor was the next upgrade i was gonna get but i was in no hurry for it, didnt think it would affect this as much tbh lol. Unfortinately i jsut spent over £300 on a certain grafix card :stickout: , so i cant afford a better processor just now. If you guys are sure itll make that much of a difference, im gonna go for the AMD Athlon 4000+ , ive heard good things about that one.

    As for overclocking i dont know if that would be a good idea for me as i have a heat issue with my CPU ( ) but i might attempt it to see how it goes.

    I tried that OGL file m8, i jsut keep getting a send error report message whn its loading. Probably conflicting with my drivers (as this message always comes on when wrong drivers are used, have got this message ALOT). I used to also have to do the same procedure with catalyst drivers 5.10 (i think, around that) as they werent compatible with older games like MOH. although I dont know if it was the same version of the file (atioglxx).

    Any thoughts on what i said about video capture? or is that linked to the CPU Holding the system back as well?

    Cheers guys :D
  14. Cartz

    Cartz TS Rookie Posts: 82

    Recording: Definately a CPU issue, I'm pretty sure FRAPS is CPU intensive...

    If i weer to upgrade my CPU at this point, I would most definately go dual core.. There is no point in upgrading to a single core chip anymore. I'm going dual core as soon as I get the $$$

    If it makes you feel better though man, I just finished an upgrade and am in the exact same boat as you with the limiting processor... I just didn't think it would be that big of a bottleneck...
  15. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    A right so its defintely a cpu i'm needin lol i'll get one as soon as i can

    To be honest m8 i read that the 4000+ is the best for gameing, even better than a dual-core :confused: thts why i was put off getting one, and was more for the 4000+. I was gonna get a fx-57 , then i realised i'm not rich lol

    But it is a comforting feeling that once i upgrade my CPU the Com will run much faster, thats all i need then i'll have a top gameing machine :slurp: (an mibe a new mobo)
  16. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Hey again James-
    It's wise to sit out for a bit if considering a new CPU/system as AMD has their m2 fabled to be released very soon. Once the m2 socket is released, this will be the next line of upgrades.. and I'm sure prices for the 939 will drop to push the new line.

    The errors you're getting with the other DLL are normal.. it just means the return string is too long so there's nothing wrong with your driver setup. I was crossing my fingers it would work for your X1800, but alas- it doesn't. :( It works with a number of brand/model ATI cards but it's a dice roll for the id string returned. :(

    Another thing you can do in the meantime is pick up SiSoft Sandra and run it's memory bandwidth tests and CPU tests. Often times, through BIOS adjustments and system tuning- you can yield better memory and CPU performance. Those two tests in Sandra are helpful for getting these up to par, which can have measurable impact on those things CPU Bound.
  17. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Wow never knew they were realeaseing a new socket :O but i doubt itll be THAT much better than the 939's (cept for the fact itll probably support DDR2). Might get me one of these in september when i (hopefully) get my big bursery in, depends though. Will probably just stick with the 939 an thatll do me

    yea its a shame the OGL files didnt work, was looking forward to seeing it in action. Awell, win some lose some :blackeye:

    I'll give that sandra a go but as i said i dont wanna oc 2 much cause mind ive got a heating problem. Might be time i went back to trying to fix that. I'll let ya know how that goes

    An thanx very very much guys for the help. I was sh*ting myself incase this card wasnt working right :hotbounce Now i know ill be able to unleash its power later on ;)
  18. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    quick question though,I donno if i should start another thread bout this but since its related to this, why not save techspot some space :p

    I am intending in buying a new processor at around april, and i was wondering on what to go for. I has my heart set on a AMD 4000+ as i hear its awsome for gameing. But would the dual core 3800 not be better? (same price). Considering this card.

    (still think im gonna go for a 4000 but would liek a second opinion :angel: )
  19. YellowC4S

    YellowC4S TS Rookie Posts: 107

    The trend will now be towards DC processors. Games are starting to be written/patched to include the benefits of DC processors. In fact, 3DMark06 takes full advantage of DC technology.
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