Hi there. I'd keep the intro and cut to the point.
Built 2008 fall:
LC Power Metatron ARKANGEL LC8850 V2.2 (850W)
ASUS P5E64-WS EVO (Intel X48 Chipset)
Latest BIOS version 0802 (2009/JAN/04)
Intel Core2 Quad Q9550 (2.83GHz)
2x 2GB Kingmax DDR3 SDRAM 1333 MHz
ATI 4870 X2
Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro (left from a previous system)
Compaq 21" Trinitron CRT
Seagate Barracuda 500GB
Samsung Spinpoint 640GB
Vista Ultimate SP1 x64 / XP Pro SP3
Mainly used for gaming. Basicly ever since purchase there has been problems with it. Significantly less frequently in the begining, with time it became worse. CTDs, BSODs, artifacting, random reboots, ingame freezes, black flickering screen, see the pics and taken videos below. Main suspect was the VGA, and in the end since it was unable to pass its own test in CCC, the retailer its been purchased at replaced it for a 5970 (with add money). This took place 2010 fall. It hasnt been in the box for long and it crashed as if it was still the 4870. This 5970 passes the CCC test (yet). The box behaved basicly the same from this point on. See pics and vids for similarities / differences.
(Audigy 2 was replaced by a SB X-Fi Titanium card 2009 december (due to being outdated, not because any specific problems with it))
System #2 (current one)
2010 december, new system is built around the 5970
The PSU is the the same item as above
ASUS P6X58D-E (Intel X58 Chipset)
Latest BIOS version 0405 (2010/OCT/04)
Intel i7 930 (2.80GHz) + Scythe Mugen 2
3x 2GB Corsair DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
SB X-Fi Titanium (from Sys #1)
WD Caviar Black 500GB
WD Caviar Black 1000GB
IBM 21" Trinitron CRT
Win7 Ultimate x64 / XP Pro SP3
...And the problem presists. Again, pics and vids below for comparison between the systems.
There were no overclockings on this cpu/ram yet. The VGA have been underclocked once for a brief period of time to see if games react to this change as part of troubleshooting. They do react (see 'resolution change' issue below).
The PSU been tested with a multimeter in this current setup and showed supprisingly good readings. All 24 cabels of the ATX mobo / 8pin mobo connector, and PCI-E connectors were tested (even the molexes) and it showed no defects, it gave 12 / 5 / 3 volts everywhere correctly. About 5 tenths more or less.
Tools that were used for troubleshooting:
Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool
Video Card Stability Test
WD HDD Diagnostics
Ran overnight or more like over day and night, no flaws...
Some temperatures while browsing net and running winamp (in celsius degrees):
CPU: 36 (fan at ~700rpm (60%))
GPU: 53 (fan at 1300rpm (30%))
Games that ran (and were failing) on either this or the previous sys include but are not limited to titles like:
Alien vs Predator (2010)
Far Cry 2
Unreal Tournament 3
STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl
NFS Pro Street
Half Life 2
GTA San Andreas
Return To Castle Wolfenstein
Different engines, different DX versions, and games as old as 10 years.
There currently is a phenomena present where games "dont react" to resolution change. As in frame rate is lets say 30-40 in said game in a certain area at 1920x1440 and if its changed to 640x480, FPS stays in that margin. Also if the camera is pointed on a particular static surface of a game (a wall or the ground) and is not moved, the FPS is constantly - say - 80 at 1920x1440 reso, change it to 640x480 and its exactly 80 regardless. Using different third party FPS measuring tools or the built in measuring of a game, its the same theres no misstaking.
Games do react to changes in graphics quality (to some extent) like setting textures or shadows high/low quality.
Also games tend to run at laughable frame rates. SplinterCell Conviction wont go above ~40FPS in most areas (and remember it wont increase even if played at 640x480). Where that ~40FPS is more like ~30 in Borderlands around the DLC4 areas of the game (quite sad).
Talk about Borderlands. In that game (so far) while playing at 30FPS, there is quite noticable tearing as well. Which occurs when the game is runing at much higher FPS than the refresh rate of the display if im correct, and should be resolved by turning on VSync. It is not in this case.
Another issue is that in some games the refresh rate of the display changes to 60Hz from the normal 85Hz at 1600x1200 resolution which is used in both windows and all games (1920x1440 was used only for testing as that is the highest possible). It is noticable because 1: the screen is flickering / 'vibrating' in a way that is quite unmisstakablely exclusive to running a CRT monitor at low refresh rate (in lack of lingual knowledge to describe more precisely) 2: if VSync is turned on, FPS tops at exactly 60. Also this was the case with 2 other monitors (both CRT (no test was undertaken with LCD display so far)). CCC refresh rate override wont do squat either. This issue is appearently not present in games where there is an option to set the refresh rate manualy (so far).
And then one more thing related. Here is another system:
Enermax EG465P-VE (460 Watt)
Gigabyte GA-8I955X Pro (Intel i955x Chipset)
Latest BIOS version F4 (2005/APR/28)
Intel P4 551 (Prescott (3400MHz))
2x 1GB Corsair DDR2 SDRAM
Either display from the 2 above
Samsung Spinpoint 160GB
XP Pro SP3
No extensive testing were going on on this one, but listen to this one aspect. Fresh XP install on it, latest drivers and DX. Doom 3 ran on it and exhibited both the 'resolution change' and 'refresh rate' issues mentioned above. Two Worlds ran on it, that one "only" showed lack of reaction to reso change. True enough this ATI 3870 was quite sick in the past too. Showed massive artifacting. In game the image was 'fallin apart' so to speak. Plus the bios of the mobo is appearently not flashable to a new version... I cant provide anything else on this box. Thats about confessions but still, this is a mystery (and misery) that 3 different systems are spitting fundamentally the same crap in people's faces.
Some thoughts about System #2. Needless to say OSes have been reinstalled several times, no changes failing-wise. Most always the latest drivers are used on the box. However its all the same with drivers from the CDs/DVDs coming with the hardware component boundles.
The HDDs are flawless according to WD Diagnostics, nevertheless the system disk has been zeroed out once and a fresh Win7 install were issued onto it (the other disk been removed beforehand). With literaly only the latest mobo / VGA drivers on it (put from a dvd). No win updates were done. The box wasnt connected to the internet while undertaking this scenario. The sound card was removed from the PCI-E slot durring this. Also changed the peripherials to simple corded USB mouse and keyboard (hell..). No other devices were connected to the box durring this. Devil May Cry 4 was used to test if the problem presisted. It didnt react to resolution change (the refresh rate issue is not present in this game anyway) and even produced a black flickering screen after a while.
VPU recover / "Ati driver stoped and recovered" occured durring watching a film in windows and editing videos in Sony Vegas. Its not regular.
So here are the pics and vids of certain occurances (how can I have the vids not embedded?).
Vid taken durring Far Cry 2.
A part of the same vid played in BS Player from windows.
The infamous Flickering Black Screen
NFSS / GTA4 / AssaCreed
This one shows the CCC test (in a new way..).
System #1 with 5970 in it instead of 4870 x2
No comment on these, let them speak.
Wish I could provide more info on this shyt...
Its almost certain that not all relevant things have been dissected here. Point out any short-comings at any area, do ask questions, and tell your opinion (let alone any ideas regarding a potential resolution). I may post an edit if i gather a couple of thoughts that come about my mind worth discussing.
Also, please tell where else would it be a good move to post this if you have any site in mind.
Better luck with your systems