Problem installing a Radeon 9800... Please help!

By Samantha C. ยท 25 replies
Jan 6, 2007
  1. Hi folks,
    I recently bought a computer from tigerdirect. It was a rather affordable Systemax computer:

    Biostar VIA P4M800 Pro
    2.80 gigahertz Intel Pentium D
    1GB of ram
    250watt PS
    cd rom
    80gb HD

    Windows XP came installed on it and all works wonderfully. I just received a Radeon 9800 AGP card. There were no settings in BIOS to disable onboard video and it's set to AGP rather than PCI.

    I put it in, plugged in the required 4 pin power, and powered up the system. It loads into Windows fine. The Radeon 9800 & Radeon 9800 (Secondary) shows up in my device manager. There is no longer reference to my VIA onboard video in there.

    I have .NET framework installed and Windows is completely updated. I installed the drivers off Radeon disk and it seems to complete fine. It then requires a restart but then hangs up when booting back into windows.

    Each time I try to boot into windows it gets to the user login screen. I select my user profile, enter my pass, hit log in - and then it locks ups.

    I booted into safe mode and uninstalled the ATI drivers. Then I tried installing the drivers off the ATI site but am getting the same result.

    I'm feeling a bit hopeless and wish I could get this to work. :( Any insight from you gurus would be so much appreciated!

  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,185   +469

    It might be your power supply. ATI recommends a 300W power supply for that card and yours is only a 250W.
  3. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    Hi & Welcome to Techspot! :)

    Do you have the latest VIA chipset drivers? Also, the latest .NET framework, Direct X 9.0 C?

    Also, you could try ATI Omega drivers. They often work better than Catalysts.

    Regards :wave:
  4. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the replies. :)

    I was incorrect, the PS is 350w. I do have the latest chipset drivers, the latest .NET framework and Direct X 9.0c. I've tried the Omega drivers as well (and did remove the ATI drivers before installing the Omega ones).

    Any other suggestions? :)
  5. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm so frustrated with this... I'm thinking I might just send this card back and try something else.

    Could someone be so kind as to recommend me a card that would be suitable for some gaming (nothing too serious), that's AGP with 128mb of ram, and is $100 or less? :)

    Thank you!
  6. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Hi Samantha,
    Do you have Service Pack 2 installed? You can check this by Right-Clicking on My Computer, then selecting "Properties".. on the General Tab near the top should display your operating system service pack level. You should get Service Pack 2 installed before going much further.

    Now here's the steps I'd recommend:

    Step 1:
    Prepare and Download needed components:
    Get Driver Cleaner Pro (free edition) 1.5 at:
    Install but DO NOT RUN.. we'll run it later.

    2) Now, are you familiar with your BIOS? I'm going to ask you to go into your BIOS and see if you can disable Fast Writes as well as set AGP down to 4x. This is a VIA chipset so you should start with both of these options as VIA AGP chipsets have all sorts of timing issues with higher-end 3d cards.

    3) You need to actually look in the case and inspect cards/slots. The Biostar motherboards usually use "shared resource" PCI slots. If you look in the case, you should see your 9800 card in the AGP slot, then there should be an open/free PCI slot (blue) right next to it. If there is a card in the first PCI slot, it needs to be moved to another open slot as this will share resources with the AGP slot and cause problems. Obviously, any card shuffling will need to be done with the PC powered off, unplugged and given time to discharge (I usually hit the power switch on/off with it unplugged to discharge any circuits).

    4) Get the latest Hyperion drivers from VIA arena? You can get these from this link here:
    Keep these handy and DO NOT INSTALL YET. Just unzip and have handy.

    5) Download but DO NOT INSTALL the Catalyst 6.11 drivers (yes, these aren't the most current but I recommend these over the 6.12's for the 9800 R300-series chips):
    (AMD/ATI no longer has the full Catalyst suite for download for the 6.11s)

    Step 2:
    Performing a "clean" uninstall
    1) Hit the control panel, Add or Remove Programs. Uninstall IN THIS ORDER, skipping over any you do not have and do NOT reboot when prompted each time (just hit no/cancel and keep on truckin' down the list):
    Ray Adams ATI Tray Tools
    ATI Remote Wonder Software
    ATI Multimedia Center
    ATI Parental Control & Encoder
    ATI Decoder
    ATI Control Panel
    ATI Catalyst Control Center
    ATI Display Drivers
    ATI Software Uninstall Utility

    You may finally manually reboot if you've gone down that list performing uninstalls.

    2) When you restart, be ready on the F8 key after the memory tests and smack that sucker like mad. We want to boot in Safe Mode. Go in as Administrator. Add New Hardware wizard may pop- this is a good sign. Click CANCEL twice (or more.. usually only get two to cancel).

    3) You'll need to browse My Computer, C: Drive, Program Files, Driver Cleaner Pro as Administrator wont have a shortcut to this. Run the DCPro executable manually by double clicking on it.

    4) Select "Multiple Cleaning Filters" and Add all the ATI entries.. Every single one of them. Some don't apply but it's better to have more than not enough. Then start the cleaning and let it finish. Then go ahead and restart.

    5) Let it boot-up in Normal mode.. again, cancel the Add New Hardware wizards that may pop-up. You should get at least two of these if everything has gone through correctly.

    6) Now hit the Hyperion drivers you unzipped/downloaded prior and run this install. Take all the defaults and reboot when it's completed.

    7) On reboot, again- cancel on any add new hardware wizards and install the ATI Catalyst 6.11 drivers. Take the Express / Typical and let it do it's thing. Reboot when asked.

    8) On reboot, BE PATIENT. Yes, you may see a black screen for a long time.. Yes you may see display corruption.. Yes... well, you get the picture. Go take a walk, pet the cats, eat a sandwich. Give it time.

    9) After a very long time, you should hopefully be at the desktop with the ATI icon in the systray. GREAT.. DONT DO ANYTHING. Do a Restart one final time.

    10) This reboot should be much faster.. no long pause and after a few moments, you should see the ATI icon in the systray.

    You can now delete all the zips/downloads from prior steps. I'd also recommend firing off a defrag on drive C: as all this stuff does fragment your drive making it boot slow/run slow.

    Good luck!
  7. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    Try to take out your video card and turn on the computer and see if that works and/or clear the CMOS (remove the lithium battery on the motherboard and put it back in).
  8. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks so much for the replies! :)

    I tried doing exactly the steps Sharkfood listed, but it still locks up when booting into Windows as soon as I've installed the drivers. After it appears to freeze up and gives me a black screen, I just let it sit overnight... so I definitely gave it enough time to sit (as sharkfood recommended).

    I've reinstalled to a fresh copy of windows and went through the steps again. But still it locks up once the drivers have been installed.

    The system works great without the card and I have cleared the CMOS as cfitzarl suggested.

    Any other ideas?

    I've got about 15 hours in this problem and I'm definitely thinking I should try another card. Anyone know newegg's return policy for video cards off hand?
    And if I was to return this card, could someone be so kind as to recommend me a card that would be suitable for some gaming (nothing too serious), that's AGP with 128mb of ram, and is $100 or less?
  9. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

  10. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Hmmm.. I would be leaning towards a bad card and/or your Power Supply is causing the issue. It may simply not have enough amps on the 12v rail for the beefier card to draw in accelerated mode.

    The 6800XT linked is about on-par with the 9800 Pro performance-wise, but also adds a few new features (such as HDR lighting mode in a select few games and shader model 3.0, which means slightly better looking water in Age of Empire 3 hehe). It's an 8-pipe/128-bit versus 9800 Pro at 8-pipe/256-bit, but the 6800XT is clocked higher to make up for it's lower memory bus/bandwidth. This puts it's performance up to the 9800 Pro's in most games.

    Both great cards but I'd be suspect of your power supply. It could be a bad card also so a replacement may cure your blues entirely.
  11. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks again for the response. :)

    This is the latest... Since the PS came with the case and is really pretty crappy, I decided I would do a little test. I pulled the power from my DVD writer, my CD writer and my secondary 80GB HD. I only have one card, the Radeon in there. And am just running my main 80GB HD with the OS on it. My thought being that if the card is power starved, this might free up a bit?

    So I then booted back into Windows - and this time it didn't freeze up! It loaded into windows - first time ever. My ATI panel is there and all. I have to say that dragging windows around it seemed choppy and when I tried to open a game I got an error like "failed to initialize rendering" or something to that nature.

    But it works. So, how big of a power supply should I get? Any suggestions on one? I really only can afford to spend around $50-$60. Would that be enough money to get something decent enough to run that card and my other drives? I should mention that the motherboard is microATX but the case is just a medium tower.

    Here's the base system (I customized it to have 1gb of ram and a 3.2ghz Pentium):

    Here's the motherboard: Pro-M7#

    Thanks a million for all your advice. :)
  12. tweakboy

    tweakboy TS Guru Posts: 467

    Your PSU might be weak,
  13. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

  14. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    Excellent advice tweakboy :suspiciou......

    THIS would be a better PSU. FSP group makes cheap and very reliable PSU's.

    Regards :wave:
  15. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,185   +469

    FSP Group is indeed a good brand. However, as far as brands go Sparkle is good too.
  16. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Alrighty, I've received and installed the new power supply. Powered it up and strangely everything works fine but as I drag windows around it choppy. It obviously throws up an error when opening up a game. It would seem odd to me that the card would actually be bad because it is functioning, it's just slow.

    I'm so frustrated. Does anyone have any other ideas I could try?

    Thanks so much. :)
  17. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    The Sparkle is a superb power supply with very level output, and we have never had one fail. We also use the FSP in many machines. I would rate the Sparkle equal to the FSP in actual performance despite the wattage and price differences.
    As for choppy, and error: Please repeat the error next time you see it.
    Since this is your first one, maybe there needs to be some tweaking.
    But based upon your system, memory, cpu, and so on, I would still suspect the card... there are so many failures in video cards. We have never been fond of the ATI Radeon as some are "seconds" from their main production. Can you tell us the full model name of the card?
  18. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Sounds like you simply don't have acceleration enabled due to the windows performance and games failing to launch.

    We can identify this if you copy/paste some dxdiag information in a post:
    Start Menu -> run -> dxdiag
    Click the "Save All Information" button at the bottom, save to a file, and open it up in Notepad. We'll need all the information from the top all the way down to the Sound Devices section. All of it wouldn't hurt.
  19. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you kindly for the response! :)

    I'm not at home right now, but I did use drive cleaner once again in safe mode. Removed all the ATI drivers. Then I rebooted into Windows and did a fresh driver install using the Catalyst 6.11 drivers as Sharkfood kindly recommended.

    After completing the installation, I rebooted and it started into Windows. But this time, the resolution was set by default quite high. Also, and most importantly, it was super quick dragging windows around. Nothing choppy. I was about to give running a game a go just to test things out but I didn't get a chance. It froze and set for quite a while (15 minutes). I then restarted and didn't make it completely into Windows this time and was frozed at a black screen.

    I had to leave so it's still sitting there. When I get back, I'll be sure to provide the error it makes when I try to load a game (something to the effect of "failed to render... [bunch of numbers] "). Also I'll provide my options in BIOS.

    I'll give this one more go before I send this back. Anyone know neweggs return policy on video cards off the top of their head? :)

    Thanks a million. :)

    EDIT: We posted at the same time Sharkfood. :D Thanks for the tip... I'll check that as soon as I get home. :)
  20. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    FSP OEMs PSUs for Sparkle so aside from the sticker FSP and Sparkle are the same(asumeing you compare similar models which the two listed in this thread aren't).For FSP/Sparkle PSUs with identical rateings get which ever one has a lower price.
  21. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I tried the Catalyst drivers once again. It's no longer giving me choppy windows when dragging. That is great.

    Although, it won't boot into a game. And inside the DirectX Diagnosis menu > display tab, whenever I test the DirectDraw and Direct 3D it locks up. They are all enabled. Otherwise, everything is snappy and not choppy.

    I hope someone can offer up any more advice?

  22. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Well, last thing I'd recommend would be to eliminate any VIA chipset concerns, so I'd fire up the ATI CCC (the red ATI icon in the systray) and proceed to it's "SmartGart" section.

    In SmartGart, try flipping AGP down to 4x, as well as ensure Fast Writes is DISABLED. It will want to reboot to test these settings, let it. Upon reboot, I'd inspect the CCC/SmartGart and ensure it's at 4x + fast writes disabled.

    If the PC *still* locks up in 3d/games, disable AGP Write/reboot/retest and verify. With AGP writes disabled, if you still get lock-ups, you're going to need a new card.

    I'm unsure if that 9800 Pro is actually bad/defective as I've had all sorts of issues with those VIA chipset motherboards. They can be really, really tough to make stable with a variety of graphics cards. Switching to a different make and/or model may be the reality.
  23. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hmm... well I'll give that a whirl. Perhaps should I also consider a BIOS update, or would that make no difference?

    It seems I might have to buy a motherboard? I haven't an idea of what I should be looking for - especially if I would have to be sure it worked with my existing processor and RAM.

    Would you be so kind as to recommend me something that I could just swap out my existing one for? My specs are up in the beginning of the thread. I could afford around $80 right now - would that be enough to get me something that would be stable?
  24. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Well, I wouldn't recommend a motherboard replacement as that can bring on a multitude of other side issues- namely XP activation woes and whatnot as your current XP is "activated" to that motherboard. You'd also prefer a complete format, re-install.. then have to call Microsoft to re-activate, which wont be 'legal' if it's an OEM version of XP (only Retail versions can be re-activated on different hardware, albeit you can always "lie" and say you replaced the motherboard due to failure, which IS covered by the EULA).

    Also, AGP based motherboards are obsolete. You'd be in for a FULL system overhaul as you are on Intel- namely, new CPU, new MEMORY and new videocard at this junction. It's tough to find any good AGP/Intel motherboards any more.. plus they all use ddr2/socket 775 now.

    Alternatively, if you can return/RMA the card and try a different brand/model would be the next best step. Unfortunately, the 9800 Pro is a very high performance card so finding an equal will be difficult and also likely cost more. It has 8-pipes and 256 bit memory interface, whereas most budget AGP cards have 4 to 12-pipes and only 128-bit memory interface.

    The 7600GT is a good all-around card, but is inferior in some things, superior in others (namely features). The 6800 series is also pretty good and a more direct replacement of the 9800 Pro + adds some new DX9.0 perks (FP16 blends for HDR and shader model 3.0). ATI, unfortunately, is slacking on the AGP/middle-to-low-end aside from the 9800/9700 series, so you'd be kinda torn between an X1600 Pro (which only has 4 pipelines/12 shaders though for new games, 128 bit memory interface) or the X800GTO which destroys the 9800 (12 pipes, 256 bit memory) but costs a bit more.

    I'd try the AGP 4x/fast writes off.. then finally disabling AGP writes to see if this works. If you've done all the prior steps on the first page (with the Hyperion drivers, driver cleaner pro, etc.etc.) then it's safe to assume the drivers and chipset are correct.. and if you have a new/solid power supply, we're in good shape on that end as well.
  25. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the response.

    I tried the SmartGart settings. Didn't make any difference. I'll send the card back tomorrow, pay the restocking fee and get a refund for the rest. Then I'll buy a 6800XT. *Hopefully* it will work. If not, well...

    What a bummer, a complete system overhaul... :( Well, maybe I should just look at buying a new computer as it seems I'm screwed here? It's rather discouraging that I worked so hard at trying to get this work and I don't get a happy ending.

    Well thanks so much for the help and insight. It is very much appreciated. :)
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