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Sapphire HD 3850 PCI-E

899 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  dai
Well thats a relief. I thought it was just me!

I bought this for my 6 year old Dell Dimension, when I bought an HP wide flat screen last December.
Right from the word go, this was troublesome to install as it required certain windows updates but eventually, it was up and running. I was
disappointed with the process - I am an IT Systems engineer and I have a lot of experience with installing hardware and designing software.
Immediately after the installation of the drivers, we had a series of "blue screens of death" with system dumps created by Windows XP. Eventually overcame this by forcing some Windows updates, after researching the web for faults with the drivers. All the same, not very satisfactory. This is something we used to experience in the old NT4 days - you don't expect it with a £100+ video card and XP SP3.

The unit has a busy variable fan which winds up and down depending on the graphics demand, and it certainly handles both still and moving images very well indeed. Also, the control panel that comes with the drivers is excellent and full-functioned.

Periodically, and usually (but not exclusively) when photos are being displayed (Picasa 3 and others), the screen would go black and various attempts became obvious that the card was trying to repair or reset itself. Sometimes this would happen when only the desktop background was displayed. Often, the ATI mesage would appear saying an error has been logged and inviting us to send the log message to ATI. This never works, the email address always fails.
Often, during these events, the card would stop sending any signal out to the monitor, which would then "go to sleep". A reboot would be needed and we would be OK for a while. This has been happening with increasing frequency, maybe once or twice a week.
Yesterday, the card failed completely after one of these events and would not go past the basic "Loading Windows" screen, which appeared with strange colours as soon as Windows started to load.

I have spent a lot of time making sure there were no driver conflicts, interrupt problems, or memory leaks etc. I have updated the driver, always kept Windows updates current and ensured the Pc is in good condition. I am convinced that this is either a poor product and driver or simply a rogue unit. Dell are sending me a replacement. However, I have now bought an NVIDIA card and I shall sell the boxed replacement ATI unit when it arrives.

I now believe there is a more fundemental problem with this card and its drivers.
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what are you running
video card
power supply

check the listings in the bios for voltages and temperatures and post them
Thanks for replying, Dai, I could go into all the ins and outs but, in the end, it was expedient just to get a new NVIDIA card from the local computer shop so that I can use the computer again. When the replacement Sapphire card comes in from DELL, I'll put it on Ebay to try and recoup my losses.

I notice you mention the PSU and I've seen other postings out there which mention the same thing. My Pc has a 230w PSU, it's a large DELL Dimension tower with 2GB of RAM and a standard DELL Dimension motherboard (Pentium 4) - it's six years old.
I noticed last night, after I put the NVIDIA card in, that the Pc is a lot quieter now, and I think the suspect card must have been running it's fan a lot. I wonder if it was overheating. I certainly have a completely stable Pc now.

Kind regards
A 230W PSU, particularly a 3 yr. old OEM, is certainly not satisfactory for running a PCI-E GPU.
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