ATI Radeon 9600XT 256MB / Doom 3 Graphics breaking up inconsistently - Please Help!

I am having problems with Doom 3. Graphics break up sometimes pixelate (colours) sometimes black triangles.  The game will run as long as 20 minutes and sometimes as little as 1 minute. Have tried everyhing I can think of  to resolve the problem but I am unable to access any AGP settings in the BIOS of my Sony Vaio PCVRS 520 desktop.

OS is Windows XP Home, all critical updates are installed. Intel Pentium 4 processor, 3 MHZ, 1.5 GB DDR SDRAM.

- updated Intel AGP Chipset
- downloaded and installed ATI Doom driver (v. 4.9)
- disabled "Fast Write" on SmartGart tab
- disabled "Enable Write Combining" on Troubleshoot tab
- changed Doom 3 settings to enable Vertical Sync
- changed Doom quality settings from High (automatic detect setting) to medium

The only thing I haven't done is talk to ATI to see if I need to uninstal the previous graphics driver which is for a Radeon 9200 in case there is some conflict. Sony Tech Support suggested this as a possibility and ATI support is not available on the weekend.

There is no BIOS update available from Sony. ATI did send me a list of recommended BIOS settings for this card but I can't access any of them.

The other thing I noticed is that the Radeon card shares IRQ16 with 2 USB universal host controllers.  I don't know if this makes any difference.

Would greatly appreciate any help.  I'm completely stuck.
yic01Asked:
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ihriveraConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Just a thought...ATI released Catalyst 4.9 beta drivers with a hotfix that addresses problems with Doom 3.  It fixed my problem when I updated.

Just remember to uninstall the previous driver first before installing the new one...

Link... http://www.ati.com/support/infobase/4547.html
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pulupulCommented:
What is the temperature of the CPU?, and of the graphics card? is it burning hot (touch it), do the fans rotate?
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Dynamic1Commented:
Vic you need to uninstall all ATI drivers from add remove programs. Then reboot after reboot Disable Antivirus and install new CAT Drivers  Here http://www.ati.com/support/drivers/winxp/radeonwdm-xp.html?type=xp&prodType=graphic&prod=productsXPdriver&submit.x=13&submit.y=1
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Dynamic1Commented:
Also downdoad DX 9C the new version and install it. If all this does not help let me know.
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yic01Author Commented:
Uninstalled all ATI files using ATI Uninstall utility. Disabled Antivirus and reinstalled Catalyst 4.9 driver (Doom hotfix). Downloaded and installed DX 9C.

Ran Doom3. Result: Graphics broke up almost immediately.

Modified default card settings by disabling "Fast Write" and "Enable Write Combining" and ran Doom3.

Result: Doom 3 started OK and ran for about 2 minutes and then the graphics broke up again as previously described.

I don't think it's an overheating problem and am thinking more and more that it's AGP BIOS settings.  Any other suggestions or ideas would be appreciated.
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joey_the_assCommented:
Does this happen in any other games or just Doom 3?
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yic01Author Commented:
Just Doom 3.
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Dynamic1Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Yic I do know that ID software if working on a code fix for your card. You may have to wait. I run a 9800 XT and it is fine now but I had to edit the game files.
Here is a link that may help you. http://www.beyond3d.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1114
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AuriclusCommented:
Hello Yic,

Try this utility.
http://downloads.guru3d.com/download.php?det=745

First, remove the ATI drivers using the Add/Remove programs, then run this utility and then reboot.

Once rebooted, reinstall the most recent drivers.  If the most recent drivers still don't work, try going back a version or two and see if the older versions work better.

Good luck,

Auriclus
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Dynamic1Commented:
Vic BTW I run the 4.7 cats no hotfix and it is fine.  Reason I edited game files was I run 1600 by 1200 with all on High it gave about 5 FPS more.
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Dynamic1Commented:
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blacksteelCommented:
I'm not sure this would work for you, but I have an ATI card. I haven't used the 4.9 drivers because they are still beta. The 4.9's only increased FPS by 8 more frames compared to stable 4.7 drivers. I use CAT 4.7's which I found stable and could run Doom3 without any trouble.  Well I don't have the 9200, just the 9800Pro. You might want to consider later to upgrade your video card, I think that this would solve your problem, but also get you prepared for other games in the future. The 9200 is a good video card to use, but it's lacking some on power to run pc games. I'm not forcing you to buy into a new video card. The advise I've heard and noticed is to always match up the price or performance of PC with a good video card to get the best gaming experience. I don't know if your really prepared to put down any money yet for a new video card, but just telling you my advise.  

 My advise is probably correct since after reading your specs of pc, the only bottleneck of your pc for gaming is the video card. My recommendations for video cards are ATI 9600XT and the 9800Pro. I think you can find them both for under $200 online. The solution is not what you would like to hear, but it's the truth. You can try all the drivers, but I think it's really going to come down to a different video card for Doom 3.

Doom3:
  I bought the game, looks nice, good eye candy, but nothing really much there. I shoot zombies, bang!, ohh a monster, Bang Bang! Ohh! nooo! the boss, (get rocket launcher out, Boom boom!) and then done with the game. The story of the game is like someone telling it really badly like, "There I was minding my own business, you know, just doing my normal routine when all of a sudden, Hell broke lose!" LOL! yeah it's basically the whole story, then you just go about shooting stuff.  I'm hoping someone will make a mod out of this game so I can feel better about spending $40+ on it. I've read numerous reviews of people loving and hating Doom3. It's a good game, but I don't think it was worth the $50+ dollars for 20+hours of gameplay. Anyway, sorry to go off the subject a little, but some people might understand the way I feel. Later!

Black
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blacksteelConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Opps!! my mistake, I thought you had an ATI 9200. You have a 9600XT which shouldn't give you this trouble. The reviews I've heard from other Doom3 players that had a similar experience as yours is that their video card was overclocked and they had to turn the clock speed down to play Doom3 correctly. You might not have your video card overclocked, but I know this video does have the option for Overdrive that increases the clock speed. If you can someway turn Overdrive off, then you might notice in improvement. Let me know if it works out, thanks!

Black
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DoTheDEW335Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Do you have AntiAliasing on in the game? Also this might sound silly but have you tried changing your desktop res before loading the game?
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yic01Author Commented:
Thanks very much to everyone who is providing advice.  

To ihrivera: I do have Catalyst 4.9 installed.

To DoTheDEW335:  I do have Antialiasing on in the game.  Do you suggest turning it off? I actually did try changing the desktop res yesterday and it made no difference.

To blacksteel: I couldn't find any way to turn overdrive off.

I have contacted the card vendor and I am going to try replacing it.
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awkwardCommented:
a customer of mine has been told to buy a radeon 9800se to help stabalise doom, it is coming this week + will be installed on Thursday. Will let u know if that helps!. Good Luck,
Awk.
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blacksteelConnect With a Mentor Commented:
yeah I would replace it with the 9800Pro or SE version since I haven't seen any trouble with it. The latest ATI 4.8 drivers are out and it supposely would increase Doom3 performance considerably. I personally wouldn't use the 4.9's since they are still in beta. The 9600XT should work pretty well with the Doom3 game. I think part of this is how Sony VIAO's bios is setup. The most common ways to get into Sony BIOS is F2, F3 and maybe F10. It's normally DEL key, but I guess you've already tried that. If the three I listed to get into BIOS doesn't work then try CTRL+ALT+ESC, CTRL+ALT+S, and CTRL+ALT+INS. It's usually F2 and F3 for Sony's, so it should work. It might be that some settings in BIOS are giving you this problem, but I would of changed the video card out anyways. The Doom3 does stress the video card considerably including the whole system. I was thinking that it could be the power supply not providing enough power to the video card. I know the 9600XT does not have the molex connector, but it does draw considerably amount of power. It does, however on some 9600XT's have a slot for floppy power connection. The Sapphire 9600XT's for example have the floppy power connection located on the end of the card. I'm not sure if your 9600XT has that connection, but I would look for it. Well I'll hear back from you later, good luck!

Black
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cyrnelCommented:
I'm late to the thread but as a datapoint, my old 9600SE works fine with Doom 3. I expected it to be terrible but with the graphics set to one notch above minimum it worked fine and I finished the game in 3 or 4 evenings. Have you tried neutering the settings to the absolute minimum? Not permanently, just as a test?

My 9800 pro died almost immediately before Doom arrived so I can't compare. Now it bails to windows explorer if I try to do anything more graphically intense than solitaire. Multiple drivers, two different systems. Not overclocked, and not 2weeks out of warranty. Grrrr.

Dave
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yic01Author Commented:
Thanks Dave - reduced the level to Medium and stil had the problem but haven't brought all settings to minimum. Did the benchmarking test and scored pretty low for FPS and overall although all demo games played OK. I contacted the card vendor who have said they will replace with another 9600XT.  Possibly a hardware problem?

I can't get to the BIOS on the VAIO so this is my last attempt before buying a different card.

Thanks to all!!  Even though nothing worked I am going to split the points in appreciation.
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Dynamic1Commented:
yic isint the bois on the viao something like f2 or f8.
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yic01Author Commented:
Yes - it's F2 - but there is almost nothing in it!  It's all hidden.  Sorry I should have been clearer .. it's just frustrating.  I'm used to Dells where you can access everything.
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markoidCommented:
I take it you have applied the latest pach for doom3 ?
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yic01Author Commented:
Yes ... also replaced the video card with a new (identical) card in case there was something physically wrong with the first one.  Nothing helped. Same problems.
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