*unofficial* ATi Troubleshooting guide. _OK I think I may have found what’s wrong with Calvin’s machine. Sounds a lot like video drivers. Here’s a note from someone who is using the same Chaintech VNF3-250 and ATI Radeon 9700s so close to his 9800. I’ve had the system fail to boot because of the video driver. Worked semiwell with the 6/04 drivers, but the new 11/04 Catalyst 4.12 have been a disaster. Here’s another writers experience, it has to do with the nVidia AGP driver conflicting with the Catalyst drivers._
I would experience lock-ups, crashes and blank screens, usually needing a reboot. As I am sure you all have, I have tried every driver ever made by ATi. I have tweaked every BIOS setting (8x, 4X AGP, fast writes on, fast writes off, hypertransport 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, resetting frame buffer sizes in games, resetting video memory in the BIOS, etc.) Tweaking these settings and changing drivers have worked to varying degrees, but never truly solved the problem.
It is to use a combination of the 3.9 Catalyst driver (using Omegas based on the 3.9’s might even be better) and UNINSTALLING your AGP / GART driver from your system. My GART driver is an nVidia AGP driver.
Is it nVidia sabotage(?), I don’t know, but I read VIA Hyperion AGP drivers caused the same type of problems with ATI video cards. By right clicking on “My Computer”, going into the Device Manager and then System Devices, you will see ” nVidia nForce 3 250 AGP Host to PCI bridge ” Right click on that and uninstall. It will prompt you to reboot. Upon rebooting, if it redetects it and askes you to install it again, obviously don’t, but it shouldn’t ask you to install it again, anyway.
Your ATi video card drivers will not detect an AGP setting (either 4X or 8X)
nor will you be able to enable Fast Writes, as you now do not have an AGP driver installed to allow you to do this.
No matter, because AGP settings are a lot of “hooey” based on impractical theoretical bandwidths anyways (anyone notice a difference in PCI-e video card benchmarks compared with their AGP counterparts? I didnt think so…)
Now, the downside…If you run benchmarks like Aquamark 3, or 3DMark01 SE, 03, or 05, you will see a 50% performance drop.
BUT….the interesting thing, is that there is NO discernable performance hit in the actual games themselves. In other words, in UT 2004, Doom3 , Far Cry, Half-life 2 and CS: Source, I get the same framerates at the same detail settings without crashes, blank screens or VPU recovers (I have that turned off, anyway).
To clarify: If I install the AGP gart driver and install 4.12 Cat Betas, I get the same frame rates in games as I do if uninstall the AGP gart driver and use 3.9 Cats, except with the latter, I have no crashes or freezes.