Posts Tagged ‘ATI HD3870’
ATI 3870HD Crossfire, Take 3 – Unreal Tournament 3
OK… so the final test worked… It’s apparently an OC issue with UT3 that doesn’t appear in the other games, however it still was managing the 90FPS limit that is in the game but did drop in heavy fights but it may do that at 3.0GHz as well just never pay attention to that. So hopefully I’ll do some individual tweaking on the P5W DH Deluxe and it will OC well and solve those issues which I will assume is vcore. I have a 2GB of 1066 Crucial sitting in the wings as well that I may try if I continue to have issues on the Corsair XMS 800MHz.
I have also found how much fun UT still is as UT3 playing Warfare and TDM. It’s the fast action frag’em all thing that I still enjoy in addition to tactical/shooter stuff of the other games I still play. It’s nice playing long periods without lockups. UT is still the king of heavy shooters. Of course I am decent at the game even for being over the hill for fast action FPS gaming. 😛 I didn’t say great but here’s the stats.
ATI 3870HD Crossfire, Take 2
The flicker issue has been resolved and was due to my own negligence. ATI recommends both connectors but based on reading a lot of threads, fixing the flickering can also be achieved by only connecting a single CF connector. Unfortunately I had connected the one farthest from the external DVI connector which apparently also causes the flickering (didn’t read it but was fixed by moving it to the front). In haste of installation I didn’t go back over it. So that’s been corrected and it’s running great in all but UT3. UT3 is now running longer but eventually locks up. While I’d like to blame the driver/UT3 I think it’s something else like load on the PSU which should be able to handle the load. I only say this because when this is about to occur I hear, what I believe to be, my UPS beep several times and in a short time the game locks. What I find odd is that this occurs in no other game or at no other time. The system runs rock solid outside of UT3 and shows no issues before the beeps in it. I’ve not had any issues in Frontlines like this either and it is running on the Unreal engine. The only thing I can think of is that it’s the speed of UT3 as compared to other games I play(?). I’ve also not noticed it in Crysis but I’ve not gotten into any games that are nearly as heavy as TDM/Warfare on UT3. However, I’ve also ran 3DMark06 several times in a row without the issue.
The only other thing I’m going to take a look at this weekend is voltage and do some CPU stress tests. I am running the E6600 at 3GHz using one of the OC profiles so my first test will probably be tweaking the voltage and FSB on the P5W DH OC menus. I’ve been happy with the 2.4-3.0GHz boost on air so really not tried individual tweaks to push it to the 3.2-3.6GHz range that people have said is possible with good cooling like my Tuniq tower. I’ll probably do that tomorrow and bring it back down to 2.4GHz tonight and try UT3 since that’s the easiest starting point.
The other interesting thing I found was that the Catalyst drivers don’t include everything for the HD cards even though the download is specific to the 3870’s. I found this out by having my video not working on everything in Media Player. After checking codecs (which included standard WMV), I ended up (for the first time that I can recall) installing from the CD and then updating the card to Catalyst 8.3 which still makes me wonder if there are other updates I’m missing. I disable the audio since it kills the default audio.
So I’ve had some odd back and forth issues with the 3870’s so far. It looks like quite a few games require me to disable Catalyst A.I. which essentially disables Crossfire since it’s required to run. I did some confirmation of this point by using 3DMark. With A.I. enabled, I get around a score around 13,800 and without it it comes out to about 10,600 and for all purposes the same as running a single 3870 card.
As for the problem, it’s constant flickering (or scrolling bars like the old TVs and the microwave) in UT3, BF2142 and I believe Crysis. CoD4 and Valve games (HL2/TF2) seems to handle having A.I. enabled and CoD4 has a setting to enable multiple cards. This is with the current 8.2 Catalyst drivers. So I’m disappointed right now that I dropped the cash on 2 of these bastards if I can’t run the games I play the most with Crossfire enabled even with the most current drivers. I have looked around quite a bit at the gaming forums at AMD and found much of the same. At least I didn’t go with dual 3870×2’s I guess.
The 3870 on it’s own competes well with my old eVGA 8800GTS and does give a nice 25% boost in 3DMark with the dual cards but who cares if they can’t be enabled on EVERYTHING.
I’ll keep things updated as I find more information…
Windows Update & Lock-Ups
Today we look at an issue I had this past weekend. I fired up UT3 as I’ve done for a week on the dual 3870’s and after a bit of playing the game locked. I was able to ctrl-alt-del out of UT and end it. I fired it up again and total hell began. I locked up after a bit in an online game and this time it was a hard lock, no ctrl-alt-del would save it. I rebooted wondering WTF happened since the system has played flawlessly. Again, hard lock up and again on several occasions. I decided to fire up BF2142 thinking just maybe it was the browser or communications with the master server for UT3 and again lock up. I got pissed, it was late and I crashed.
Today with less brew, I thought to look at the log… The only thing I saw was a message about update.exe not responding in the system log file on several occasions. I did notice before kicking off any games that wuauclt.exe was taking up a rather large amount of RAM (around 50,000 K) but attributed it to the reboot and Windows update always kicking off the task on a reboot. What I think I found is an issue that it was attempting to check for updates and couldn’t communicate with Microsoft Update and locked the system while I was gaming. I’ve ran UT3 multiple times tonight with no issues and this is the only thing I can attribute it to. I found a few messages around the internet regarding update.exe and losing virtual memory and crashes.
This is the first time I’ve seen something like this in a long time in terms of issues with XP. I thought maybe it was system temperatures since I’ve had the house a bit warmer with the 5 degree temps but system temps were well within reason. I can only attribute it to Murphy’s Law and my adamant defense of XP’s stability recently on Digg. 😥
Next Upgrade… ? ? ?
It looks like my next upgrade will be going back to ATI/AMD after a short stay with nVidia. I am hoping that the 2950GT will also meet the size of the 8800GT (love the single slot design) so that I can move to a Crossfire configuration on my Asus P5W that supports Crossfire rather than running a damn nVidia card! No offense to the 8800GTS I have now, it’s a great card but I bought the mobo based on reviews and not SLI or Crossfire and the card because ATI/AMD was a bit behind but after reading recent reviews of the upcoming 2950GT as well as an admission that it does perform better than the 8800GT from nVidia it’s probably the best jump for me. I’m sure that nVidia is willing to say that because they have something incredible planed for the 9xxx series. I’m more interested in getting to a Crossfire/SLI platform without the cost of another $200-300 mobo. My only other thought is to move to a Quad-Core on the board when I do grab the two 2950’s.
It’s amazing what the 8800GT was showing in terms of results even against the 8800GTS/GTX for the $250 price range. So if they unleash the 2950 with the same results I’ll be back on the bandwagon and it fits well with my rig in Crossfire.
I have an Antec 900 case but when I was looking at a 1900xtx and 1950xtx together it was a tight fit, so the reason for the hopes of a smaller form factor for the 2950. I had looked around earlier for pic’s but didn’t see any. We’ll see… stay tuned ….
On a side note…
People, don’t believe everything you read from one source. I read tonight how Crysis didn’t run on an 8800GTS card as well as how sales were down with a comment about “Serves them right, I’m not upgrading to Vista for DirectX10″… The game runs fine on my 8800GTS @ 1920×1200 resolution. I had to drop it to medium but rather than thinking “wow this game is for the future to set it to high”, people would rather live in a delusion that “medium” means poor quality. The game looks fine in the medium setting, it was the same with F.E.A.R. and Doom 3. It also DOES NOT REQUIRE DirectX 10. It does require some higher end gear but it runs fine on an 8800GTS and probably on an 1900 series ATI card. Too many people like to over-sensationalize on the net and you need to learn to read past several comments and take it all in.