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Ati Radeon HD 3870 Crashes in the middle of the game

Posted on 2009-05-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-08

I've got a ATI Radeon HD 3870 VGA card and it started crashing randomly in games, latest crash happened in the game HAWX. I'm able to play the game sometimes for 10 mins, sometimes for 30... When it crashes the screen goes black, the sound freezes and the computer restarts by itself. I was using windows xp and then installed the beta version of the Windows 7. With it's default drivers I was able to start the game. It also crashed but didn't frose my computer. It just went black, stopped for couple of seconds and came back to the game and this repeated couple of times. In the event viewer I had a message that my VGA driver has crashed but has recovered... or something like that. After I've downloaded the test drivers from AMD site for Windows 7 the game started crashing again like before restarting the computer. It's interesting to see that it crashes in some games and in other not. If I start Half Life 2 it crashes immediately after loading the main game menu. If I play COD4 it doesn't crash nor in Settlers 2 10th Anniversary. So, what could be the problem? I'm guessing the VGA memory or something. I've tested the computers memory with a built in memory test in Windows 7 and it said it's ok. I still haven't tried that VGA on another computer.

Any ideas?

Thank you!
Question by:Marinxy
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 24302425
could be a heat problem. are the fans on the video card running?  good air flow in the case ?
monitor the temps with speedfan : http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php      

Author Comment

ID: 24302539
Well, I could do that but that still doesn't explain why it shuts down immediately when I try to run HL2. Even if the computer is turned on just this minute...
LVL 26

Expert Comment

ID: 24302824
"ATI Radeon HD 3870" only defines the video chip on the card.

Who is the actual manufacturer of the card?

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LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 24302895
>>  it shuts down immediately when I try to run HL2.   <<   then i would uninstall it completely first, and test without it.
then reinstall

Author Comment

ID: 24302906
The manufacturer is Gigabyte
LVL 26

Expert Comment

ID: 24302979
HL2 loads the card down heavy and like anything else when you load it heavy it's more likely to fail.
nobus's suggestion made complete sense.

There have been complaints of Gigabyte cards with Ati Radeon HD 3870 GPUs being shipped with no thermal paste between the GPU and heatsink.
Might wanna check that....
LVL 26

Expert Comment

ID: 24302992
Going by the heatsink style that's the exact one that shows up [sometimes] with no thermal paste.
The version with the plastic air shroud I'm not sure about.

Author Comment

ID: 24303117
Ok, I'll check it out and let you know...thank you so far!

Accepted Solution

Robert_IT earned 375 total points
ID: 24741665
Ok, lets go back to basics here:
I will assume you have the latest BIOS updates installed on your PC. As for the ATI firmware, I won't touch that topic because ATI, now AMD has been historically horrible for firmware updates on their video cards.

Recommend testing this from a clean base OS install, with current video drivers and all current Motherboard drivers from your manufacturer.

1. Update bios (reset to default values) and ensure card is properly seated by removing and reinserting.
2. Test card again
3. If the card has never worked correctly, recommend swapping with a KNOWN good video card to repeat tests mentioned with the games you discussed.
4. If that's not an option, suggest you RMA the card from whom you purchased it. You will easily waste a lot of time troubleshooting otherwise.

Memory tests usually don't test video card memory, they usually test the motherboards memory. The memory for these devices isn't shared in your specific instance.

Also recommend you avoid Windows 7 because it's a release candidate and not ideal for testing video. Go back to XP, Vista, or whatever other OS that you desire.

Author Comment

ID: 24742546
Well, It turns out that the memory on the cart got faulty and I replaced it with warranty.

Thank you all for trying to help!


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