Sapphire Radeon 9550 - Driving me insane with System Hangs

By Wallace ยท 36 replies
Nov 10, 2005
  1. I recently purchased a Radeon 9550 256MB, I had been persevering with poor graphics in games using my old NIDVA GeForce, so being my Birthday I thought I would treat myself with some of my Birthday cash. This is rapidly becoming the worst decision I have made this year. :mad:

    Everything runs fine under windows, however as soon as I start playing any game the computer crash's after a random period of time. It could be after 30 seconds, it could be after 1 hour. VPU Recovery has recovered about 3 time out of a possible 50. The PC doesn't blue screen it black screens. The in-game audio also loops. The only way to reset it is to power it off and on.

    I currently have the card running ar AGP 4x, if I run it at 8x even Windoze crash's.

    Here is a spec of my system, no lauging.....

    Gigabyte 7VM400M-RZ Motherboard (AGP 8x)
    AMD Athlon XP 2500
    512MB Memory 333MHz
    Sapphire Radeon 9550 256MB
    Compaq S710 Monitor that I have 'borrowed' from work.

    I downloaded SpeedFan it shows the following..........

    Vcore1: 1.63V
    Vcore2: 2.50V
    +3.3V: 3.30V
    +5V: 5.13V
    +12V@ 12.16V

    System Temp 34C
    Case Temp 31C
    CPU 51C
    HD0 38C
    HD1 43C

    I have updated to the latest VIA 4 in 1 drivers

    I have tried the following Catalyst drivers:


    Any help would be more than greatfully appreciated.....
  2. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    51C on the CPU is that at idle? This is high for idle, good if this is under load.
    Remove the side of your case and put a table fan on the thing and see if this helps. Disable FAST Writes in your BIOS and set it to AGPX8 again.
  3. Wallace

    Wallace TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thats 51C whilst surfing the internet and other Windows based activities. Im not sure what it runs at whilst playing a game.

    I have disabled Fast Write's, AGP 8x runs better now and seems stable in windows but still crash's whilst playing games.

    I shall see if I can find a fan a try your suggestion. Many thanks
  4. Wallace

    Wallace TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I took the sides of my box a put a fan on it. I used SpeedFan to graph the temp of the CPU and System Fan.

    After an hour of gameplay the pc crashed but VPU recovered, SpeedFan reported that the CPU ran no hotter than 53C.........
  5. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Hi Wallace,
    Your mainboard has a VIA KM400 chipset, which can be problematic to get AGP cards stable.

    What you should try is updated the Hyperion 4-in-1 drivers at the following link:

    The direct link to the latest 4-in-1's is:

    You may need to specify "Turbo" mode for the AGP drivers if you wish to try AGP 8x. If not, you can re-install in Normal mode and setback to 4x.

    Fastwrites should indeed be disabled. Don't worry though as it offers really no measurable impact to performance.
  6. Wallace

    Wallace TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I followed the link and downloaded the VIA drivers, I extracted and ran the setup program which only gave me the option of installing:

    VIA Machine INF 2.50A
    VIA IDE Driver 1.20D

    So I installed these and rebooted. When I looked in Device Manager I noticed that My VIA CPU to AGP driver was a Microsoft Driver dated 2001. So I updated the driver with the one that was extracted from the VIA 4in 1 install. (C:\hyperion4in1\VIA_HyperionPro_V504A\viaagp\DRIVER\WinXP).

    Device Manager now shows:
    VIA CPU to AGP as
    VIA CPU to AGP2.0/AGP3.0

    The driver version is now the following:
    Driver Provider: VIA Tech
    Driver Date: 7/2/2003
    Driver Version

    The graphics in the game now look smoother, and were great, but infortunatly after about 1 and half hours my computer hung.

    The card is running at:
    AGP 4x
    FastWrites Disabled
    AGP Read Enabled
    AGP Write Enabled
    PCI Read Disabled
    PCI Write Disabled

    Is there any way I can verify that the 4 in 1 drivers loaded properly?

    Mny thanks in advance......
  7. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    HI Wallace,
    I'm puzzled why the Hyperion install is skipping the AGP drivers. There may be something in the BIOS set strange. Your manual install was a good thing but I'm unsure why the 4-in-1 is skipping this and might be indicative of a problem.

    I'd also say you should try spending some time in the memory timings section of the BIOS. Try reducing interleave if you can find such an option... try 2-way or disabled as a test. While a VIA without interleave runs dog-slow, if this restores stability- we know we have an issue with memory; be it flakey power fluctuations, bad voltage regulator or memory timings too aggressive.
  8. gary_hendricks

    gary_hendricks TS Rookie Posts: 107

    I suspect a Direct X problem. Check that and see if it works.
  9. Wallace

    Wallace TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Sharkfood and Gary,

    Thanks very much for taking the time to help me, I am slowly turning suicidal. :evil:

    Sharkfood: I have had a look at my BIOS settings, I dont have many things that I can change, I couldn't find anywhere that mentioned Interleave, I am going to download the manual and see what I can find, I shall keep you posted. I did find a bit where you can configure the AGP voltage. The options are:

    + 0.1V
    + 0.2V
    + 0.3V

    It's currently set to auto, shall I try the other settings? I thought I would ask first as Im a bit scared! :D

    Gary: Whats the best way to check DirectX? I ran dxdiag it showed the following:

    Driect X Version: 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
    Direct X Files: No problem Found
    Display: Tested DirectDraw and Direct3D, all tests were successful. (There's an option for AGP Texture Acceleration: Enabled, shall I try disabling this?)
    All other Tabs: No problem found.

    Once again, many thanks.
  10. Wallace

    Wallace TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Right. I took my computer to piece's yesterday and discovered that my PSU manual was lieing to me. It's not a 250W PSU, it's a 180W PSU.

    BINGO :D (This must surely be the cause of my problem)

    So, I bought a brand new, 350W PSU. I succesfully installed it, no problems. I then sat back with a mug of tea and started to enjoy my uninturpted by costant crashes computer.

    I had stupiudly lulled myself into a false sense of security, after one hour of playing C&C Zero Hour, it happened. The ****ing thing hung again. :evil:


    I have now come to the conclusion that the Graphics card is cursed, and needs to be burnt.

    So my question is this:

    Does anyone know of a graphics card that WONT crash my system. If so please let me know so I can buy one.

    Many thanks in advance............
  11. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Well we're back to where I left off, CPU overheating. Did you ever get this issue addressed? 53 underload is not bad, but I don't believe it!!! If you were running 51 at idle, no way it's 2C above that under gaming load. Also 350W PSU is still marginable, depends on the quality. One other thing you could try is raise your Vcore voltage by 0.05V. In BIOS settings.

    See playing for an hour then hanging is not drivers! It's CPU heat, PSU heat, RAM heat, video card heat, one or all or combination. For example if the PSU is barely keeping up (i.e. cheap unit), just add some heat and bingo, crashing computer.

    Good luck.

    EDit: PS BTW, all the mobo driver update and video card driver updates are manditory anyway and you were well advised by the other members.
  12. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    HI Wallace,
    While by no means would I interfere with the decision to upgrade a 9550, I wouldn't go into that as the guaranteed fix for your problem. If it indeed fixes it, great- but I would also be prepared to possibly have the same problem after upgrade.

    That being said, a 6600GT is a great buy for a great card.. and a sizeable upgrade to a 9550. X800GTO's are also good value + performance.

    In all reality, a 9550 is already quite a low performer by today's standards, so replacing this card is absolutely not a bad thing overall. I'm only hoping it is the source of your problem- but as I've had alot of experience dealing with VIA chispet instabilities; it is only a 50/50 chance in my mind as these kinds of issues can also be chipset, memory or timing/config related as well.
  13. Wallace

    Wallace TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Guys,

    Kirock. I am now, as a temporary measure, running with the side of my case off to help cooling. At idle the CPU is: 46C. Whats the best way to ensure that things run cool? Get a new case with lots of in built cooling? Also, is there any way I can test my new PSU? It's made by a company called Jeantech, it's all they had in the shop...... Im not sure how good quality it is.

    I used this website to calculate my power consumption:

    It came out at 275W for my system.

    Sharkfood. Many thanks for the advice, I shall take a look a those cards. I have a gut feeling that changing the card might not fix the fault, but I cant see what else I can change, unless I change my motherboard....... but it's all getting a bit extreme........

    Once again many thanks for everyones help
  14. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Ok, Jeantech is good quality, so it's not the 350W PSU. Your 46C on CPU at idle is your problem. Under load that thing will go 15-20C above that. Mine sits at 33C idle and under decent load goes to 48C. A CPU gets unstable after 60C, 65C and you're really getting close to killing it!

    To keep it cool? Do what you're doing, but better is get a good case with a couple of fans. In and out, for good flow. Also you might want to upgrade your CPU fan/heatsink. If you do make SURE you use thermal conductive paste, this is a must. Make sure the one you have now is clean of dust and the fan is spinning at a good speed (i.e. not labouring).

    Did you try raising your Vcore voltage in the BIOS? This is very common practice in overclocking a CPU/system, the OCing causes a little more heat in the CPU, to compensate we raise the Vcore voltage by a few %. In your BIOS menu you might find it in Cell menu. Raise it by the least amount it will let you. Then run PC. IF no good try 1 more incriment of Vcore, if no good still maybe just back it off to original value.

    That's all I got pal.

  15. Wallace

    Wallace TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Kirock

    I have had a good look through my bios settings, I cant find anywhere that I can change the Vcore voltage. The only place that's voltage related has the following options:

    Auto Detect PCI/DIMM Clk - Enable / Disable
    Spread Sprectrum - Enable / Disable
    CPU Host Clock Control - Enable / Disable
    If disabled I can chose from 166MHZ upwards
    DRAM Clock (MHZ) - Enable / Disable / BY SPD
    AGP OverVoltage Control - Disable / +0.1V / +0.2V / +0.3V
    DIMM OverVoltage Control - Disable / +0.1V / +0.2V / +0.3V

    Is it worth playing with any of these options?

    I shall buy a new case with lots of cooling in it as soon as I get apporval for funds from the wife. :approve:

    Many thanks
  16. Wallace

    Wallace TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Right, I got a new case with lots of fans. It has two at the front sucking in and two at the back blowing out.

    The CPU now runs at 44C when Idle and about 54C when playing a game. The computer ran well for about 2 hours, then I got a new error!

    This time it blue screened!

    It told me there was a problem with ati2dvag (It didn't specify .exe or .dll).

    It then said something about being stuck in an infinite loop...........
  17. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    As odd as it may seem, the infinite loop error is relieving as this is pretty much common place with VIA chipset mainboards.

    A recap list for you to double-check (I know a lot of these were posted earlier, but double check them all as installs/uninstalls can change them):
    * Make sure you have the latest Catalyst drivers and you properly uninstalled old drivers from control panel, as well as used Driver Cleaner Pro in Safe mode.

    * In the SMARTGART tab, ensure you have AGP 4x and FastWrites OFF

    * In the BIOS, try bumping the AGP voltage from 1.5 -> 1.6 (I hate this solution, but it's been necessary on SEVERAL VIA chipset mainboards I've worked with)

    * In the Device Manager, System Devices, find the "CPU to AGP Controller" and manually update it (Update Driver, Select from list, Don't Search- I will choose, etc.etc.) to "PCI standard PCI-to-PCI bridge"

    * Get an NForce mainboard and toss the VIA stuff.
  18. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Hi Wallace,

    Yes the BSOD is now most likely a driver conflict, it can happen even to the best computers. Try downloading GameXP, it's software to turn off various services in WinXP which aren't needed for playing games or even most home use PCs. This might help free up resources.

    Yes I would up both of these by 0.1V, really too bad you can't find Vcore.

    Also do what Sharky said in previous post about drivers.
    Nice choice with the case, your cooling problem is fixed.

  19. Wallace

    Wallace TS Rookie Topic Starter


    My graphics card problems are now fixed!!!!!

    I changed my CPU - AGP to PCI - PCI, now I no longer have any crash's. My games are a bit 'jerky' from time to time, but what the heck! It works!!!!!!!!!

    Many thanks to everyone who has helped me! :angel:
  20. kerdika

    kerdika TS Rookie


    hey thanks alot, i was having a very similar problem, except mine would crash when multitasking in windows, games played great though, i have an older board, athlon 1 gig wiht non oem att 9550 256mb agp, my board only supports agp 4x (in bad need of an upgrade), ne way at first the problem started out as the screen going black, then i installed the older "new" drivers for my via chipset and it alowed vpu recover to engage every so often, but the times it didnt it bulescreened with the same error about ati2... what ever, ne way i finally got fed up with at because they were closed for the holidays, pised me off.... ne way i went over your blog and i tried the manual install of the newist cpu to agp driver and have been stable for 3 hours now and i really put a load to it, ne way i got this blog acount to tell all of you thanks and to help others with these pos via chip sets. ne way thank you, i plan to oc the video card now with the 9600 drivers thanks again and good luck to any pore sole that needs this... :grinthumb
  21. ch4in

    ch4in TS Rookie

    i have the same graphics card, a Sapphire ATI Radeon 9550 256 MB Ram, and i have the same problem, that the PC crashes and the sound hungs. I tried everything, reinstalled windows and other things. Now i'm using my old GeForce 2 MX, but i want to use the Radeon.
    Now, wallace, you fixed the problem with a driver, but i don't know how?
    Can anyone help me to fix the problem?

  22. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Give us your system specs, CPU, mobo, RAM.
    To update video drivers, you can dwnload them from ATI website.
    Update your chipset drivers from the mobo manufactures's website.

    By having your spec we can help direct you to the correct driver file if run into probs.

  23. ch4in

    ch4in TS Rookie

    Ok my system secs.

    CPU: AMD Sempron 2800+ 2,0 Ghz
    Mainboard: ASRock K7 Upgrade Via KT600
    OS: Windows 2000 SP4
    RAM: Infineon 1024 MB

    All drivers are updated, and i tried everything they said in this thread, but it still doesn't work.

  24. Sapphire

    Sapphire TS Rookie

    Okay.. I've the EXACT same problem as everyone here.
    "I" bought the Radeon Sapphire 9550, 256mb.

    Every now and then (mostly in games), it just crashes, hangs, makes weird sounds come through the speakers, and restarts the copmuter.

    "I" went down to the store and exchanged the video card for the exact same one, but a brand new one. Same thing happens.

    I've gotten VERY VERY frustrated with that video card. On my other computer, I have an ATI Radeon 9550, 256mb, and it was PERFECTLY FINE.

    So for now, I removed the Sapphire 9550 and put in my old 128mb GeForce MX 5200.

    Here are my computer specs, I'd really love to know what to do because I don't think I can return this video card anymore. (If you're going to explain what to do please do so in ENGLISH.. I've no idea what PSU and all that stuff is.

    Motherboard: ASUS K8N
    Processor: AMD Sempron 3000+ , 1.8 GHZ. (Socket 754)
    Memory: Kingston PC320, 512 (x2) = 1024.
    OS: Windows XP Home Edition, SP2.


    Lastly, a screenshot of my AsusProbe. (A similar monitoring program to SpeedFan, but comes with the ASUS CD.
  25. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Well I get 191Watts for your power requirements. What wattage is your PSU? You can read this off the label. See the example in my sig line below.

    Have you set AGPX4 in Bios and turned off fast writes?
    Did you update your chipset drivers and try another video driver from ATI? Sometimes u have to use a slightly older driver. You can find these at ATI's website.
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