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M17x-R4 Black screen crashes ATI 7970m

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by alenghil, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. alenghil

    alenghil Notebook Enthusiast

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    While it happened only with Diablo 3 I am experiencing more and more black screen crashes while playing games.

    With skyrim it is usually before 10 minutes, with DOTA 2 sometimes I can play a game others time it crashes at 30 min or so. The same with BF3.

    I am starting to think this is a hardware issue but the strange thing is that I have been running Unigine heaven for 2 hours and it hasn't crashed so I don't know what to think.

    Should I call the technical service and ask for another card or should I just wait for an official driver? I am using the ones that dell provides on his website.
     
  2. Alienware-Frank_L

    Alienware-Frank_L Company Representative

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    Hello Alenghil, you could send an email to: AWSocialMedia@dell.com
    Add your contact information and service tag so we can ask the guys from Gaming Support.
    Also you could try to install the driver from AMD website, for that make sure you fully uninstall the previous driver; then, after the restart, install the new one.
     
  3. Mike1345

    Mike1345 Newbie

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    I have the exact same issue with the AMD card. When playing games it crashes to a black screen, sometimes there's a buzzing noise, and I'm forced to shutdown holding the power button down.

    I've ran 3dmark and it scores well. I ran Furmark and the gpu never got above 76 degrees. I ran Dell's diagnostics and it didn't find any issues. I've done a fresh install of the OS, grabbing the newest drivers available on Dell's site. I've tried the 7900 Mod driver.

    I'm out of ideas and am thinking of sending it back to Dell.
     
  4. SentReglay

    SentReglay Notebook Enthusiast

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    Having the exact same problems here. Underclocked the cpu by one multiplier and it at least reduced the frequency. Would like to see a fix for this
     
  5. anexor

    anexor Newbie

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    I pretty much have the same problem.
    So far im getting Black screen lockups in diablo 3 (e.g. belial last phase after ground AE) and guildwars 2 beta.
    I've tried dell-drivers and a few modded ones from benchmark3d.com. memtest ran the whole night with no errors. I disabled turbo mode on CPU just for testing. - no change.
    The only way i could fix the crashes, was switching to integrated graphics. The 7970m is definitely the cause of the problem.
     
  6. alenghil

    alenghil Notebook Enthusiast

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    It seems that if I downclock the card core to 800 mhz I don't crash anymore so it seems that I have a defective card.
     
  7. SlickDude80

    SlickDude80 Notebook Prophet

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    alenghil, what are the temps of your card underload?
     
  8. anthony212

    anthony212 Notebook Geek

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    Is this running on the 7970 directly (Fn+F7)? Or using the switchable graphics?

    If you are not running fully on the dedicated graphics, give it a try. The switching is not flawless yet.
     
  9. alenghil

    alenghil Notebook Enthusiast

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    The max temp I have seen is 77º with fumark or OCCT. It is normally at or below 70º while gaming.

    I have been using the 7970 alone, I desactivated the HD4000 to test if it worked better.

    PS: With the HD4000 I don't have any crash on any game.
     
  10. GTRagnarok

    GTRagnarok Notebook Evangelist

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    I also crash a lot when overclocking on some games. It's usually certain sections that causes it. At stock, it's usually stable but I also had to downclock below the stock once or twice. It's like certain spikes are too much for the GPU to handle. I hope a driver update can fix this in the future.
     
  11. Elkay

    Elkay Notebook Deity

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    Ditto to *all* of above. I've even ran the card on Furmark for 15 minutes straight at 975/1475 with *no* problems. 3DMark 11 runs flawlessly with 6750ish scores. At least once an hour on *stock* clocks it crashes in Diablo 3 in the same manner, though. Black screen, audio stuck buzzing. The only other game I've played so far is World of Warcraft, and extensively. No crashes at all. The frequency that it occurs doesn't increase as I increase the clocks, even at the 975/1475. I've noticed it happens most frequently when the elite skeletons that have fire trails on the ground appear.

    I've also tried my own hybrid installation of the 12.4 drivers to no avail. Everything else still works great, in fact the clocks not staying at 2D clocks with screen-off power saving is gone. Have we considered that perhaps we're chasing the wrong thing, and maybe it's actually an audio problem? That would make more sense, seeing as the problem doesn't happen more frequently for me on overclocked settings.

    EDIT:

    I'm also running dedicated only. Integrated is completely disabled.
     
  12. Altair4

    Altair4 Notebook Consultant

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    I've not had this issue on my M17x yet but I did have it on my old laptop (Gateway P7811FX). During games it would suddenly black screen with the audio looping and the only way to fix it was to hard restart. It would decrease in frequency when I underclocked the 9800m GTS. After a lot of research it turns out to be a dying graphics card... That's not to say all instances of this happening means a dying GPU, but I just wanted to share my experience.
     
  13. neophyte2008

    neophyte2008 Notebook Guru

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    Is this happening to every m17x or only some? :(
     
  14. Elkay

    Elkay Notebook Deity

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    I recall that, too, and it was the same with the 8800GT because the 9 series were just rebranded. This seems to be more widespread and right out of the gates, so I'm hoping it's not a design flaw or whole batch of bad cards.

    Testing a theory. I've noticed that this R4 is much more quiet than previous gens, i.e. the R4 waits until the last possible moment to ramp up the fans. I noticed this during benchmarking in 3DMark 11, where the fans wouldn't kick on full until close to the end of each test. I'm thinking that at certain points in some games like Diablo 3, there is a sudden burst of GPU usage in certain spots (like my freezing point right when elites with fire trails first come on the screen). Using HWiNFO64, I've set the fans to run at full speed 7K RPM at all times, and I'm going to see if the problem still happens. So far it hasn't, even with said elites coming out and even with the 975/1475 overclock (trying to force it to happen).

    Will report back after testing through tomorrow or if it happens again and I try it with default clocks and it still does it.
     
  15. anexor

    anexor Newbie

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    Bumping up the fan speeds didn't fix it for me. I've already tried that a few days ago.
    GPU temp is around 66°C in diablo (with auto fan control). So at least the core isnt overheating. With maxed fans it doesnt even get into 60s range.
    Did anyone already repaste the GPU and checked if all thermal pads are in place?

    The weird thing is that the card doesn't even run at full load when it crashes. D3 with vsync enabled requires about 60-70% as shown in msi afterburner.

    Did someone try a modded vbios with at little bit more core voltage?
    Black screens almost always happen if something is overheating or the card doesnt get enough power.
     
  16. MrValle

    MrValle Notebook Consultant

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    Yeah i now had this problem myself with 7970m. I found out that its overheating causing this. The GPU fan isnt active at all.

    Im sure of this because i set the fans on HWiNFO and all blackscreen crashes are gone. Downside is that CPU fan runs at same speed as GPU = Unnecessary fast, which causes computer to make double the noise.

    Any ideas guys?

    EDIT: I am running 8,98 - 120604a drivers, and on my M18x
     
  17. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Overclocked | Overvolted Moderator

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    Same thing happens with M18x R1 with 7970M CrossFire. I'm inclined to think it is bad drivers. I uninstalled IDT audio and running native Windows 7 audio drivers the last 2 days. So far the buzzing and hard freeze has not resurfaced.

    I have experienced the same thing with 6990M CrossFire and 580M SLI, although very infrequently with the latter, so I am looking elsewhere at the moment.
     
  18. Elkay

    Elkay Notebook Deity

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    Whyyyy does this sound so familiar? I had an R1 and an R2 and so remember something like this happening before. I'll have to go digging through all my old posts.

    I did post earlier in this thread that I thought it could be audio, though. :)

    EDIT:

    Driver problem was my other thought, too. That would suck because that will take time for AMD to push a fix out since even the current betas crash.
     
  19. SlickDude80

    SlickDude80 Notebook Prophet

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    hmmmm, i don't have any of these issues with my R3. My 7970m has proven to be very stable (knock on wood). I'm running the modded 12.5 beta. I don't know if you guys can successfully install this one on the R4...it should install though if you're running dedicated. I can play D3 for hours without issues. It is usually a battlenet server crash that gives me problems
     
  20. Elkay

    Elkay Notebook Deity

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    12.5s are "the only" non-Dell drivers that people can use. I've force-crammed 12.4s in because they ran so well with D3 on my Macbook Pro, but the same thing happens. Might try forcing the 12.6s next, but I don't think that's going to accomplish anything. I'm also considering the fact that it may be a voltage issue and might try 1.075mV overvolt.
     
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