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Signal loss issues with old AMD 7970 graphics cards.

(English is not my native language, apologies in advance)

I've been experiencing issues with my graphics cards for quite a while now, I own two HD 7970's that I used to run in crossfire, but I've been having issues with both lately.
The first issue is that I used to get pretty frequent messages that the AMD driver or software encountered an issue and recovered itself, after which I had to reboot the game I was playing. I stopped getting these notifications a few weeks ago and figured all was well, but what happens now is that both my monitors lose signal at some random point and won't recover. The rest of the PC stays functioning (sound stays clean, voice chat stays activated, etc). The problem doesn't replicate when I use the onboard graphics chip.

 

I know, both these cards are 10 years old and it might be time to find a replacement, but in this current economy/shortage that's going to take a while for me because I simply can't get my hands on one and I refuse to pay scalper prices. 
So I'd preferably try to fix this issue, if possible. (Or wait until my 'local' retailers finally get one in stock.)

 

Both cards have experienced artifacts a couple of times, but I was able to 'fix' that on several occasions by baking the cards at 200C for 10 minutes and stink up my whole kitchen. I understood from the get-go that doing this means you're running on borrowed time, and I've been running on borrowed time with these cards for about 6 or 7 years.

What I find strange though is that both cards have been having this issue at the same time, so it might be something driver related? I tried removing and reinstalling the drivers, but that didn't work for me, but I might have done it wrong.

Is there anything else I might be able to do? Or maybe I have missed a problem or solution? Pointers are very much appreciated.

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Sounds like your VRAMs are overheating. Baking a card is almost NEVER the solution. Plus baking at 200C is not going to help with anything. I highly suggest you to find a way to cool down your VRAMs. Using both cards seems pointless for gaming nowadays.

mY sYsTeM iS Not pErfoRmInG aS gOOd As I sAW oN yOuTuBe. WhAt IS a GoOd FaN CuRVe??!!?

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18 minutes ago, Levent said:

Sounds like your VRAMs are overheating. Baking a card is almost NEVER the solution. Plus baking at 200C is not going to help with anything. I highly suggest you to find a way to cool down your VRAMs. Using both cards seems pointless for gaming nowadays.

Alright, I'll try and see if it's the VRAM that's running to hot, I didn't think to check that. Right now there are quite thick thermal pads on them from the factory (which are also 10 years old) that might be better if I replace them. Any recomendations on how I should go about this? I don't think just removing the pads and then only sticking thermal paste on there is going to do anything, right?
If it's the VRAM, you think something like this would work?

Thanks for the reply.

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Just now, Cerezoss said:

Alright, I'll try and see if it's the VRAM that's running to hot, I didn't think to check that. Right now there are quite thick thermal pads on them from the factory (which are also 10 years old) that might be better if I replace them. Any recomendations on how I should go about this? I don't think just removing the pads and then only sticking thermal paste on there is going to do anything, right?
If it's the VRAM, you think something like this would work?

You cannot replace thermal PADS with thermal PASTE. You need to check the dimensions of the pad and get a appropriate size (for example, if you measured the pad thickness at 1.33mm, you need 1.5mm, if you calculated 2.1mm, you need 2.5mm. Just never get smaller than what you measured or too thick ones).

mY sYsTeM iS Not pErfoRmInG aS gOOd As I sAW oN yOuTuBe. WhAt IS a GoOd FaN CuRVe??!!?

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1 minute ago, Levent said:

You cannot replace thermal PADS with thermal PASTE. You need to check the dimensions of the pad and get a appropriate size (for example, if you measured the pad thickness at 1.33mm, you need 1.5mm, if you calculated 2.1mm, you need 2.5mm. Just never get smaller than what you measured or too thick ones).

Great, thank you very much, I'm going to measure them and order me some new pads to see if that works! Much appreciated!

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40 minutes ago, Levent said:

Sounds like your VRAMs are overheating. Baking a card is almost NEVER the solution. Plus baking at 200C is not going to help with anything. I highly suggest you to find a way to cool down your VRAMs. Using both cards seems pointless for gaming nowadays.

It could also be a driver issue,these exact same problems were caused by AMD drivers in the past.

Here are some examples: 

2016: https://www.pcinvasion.com/r9-380-black-screen-issues-amds-persistent-unsolved-bug/

2020: https://hothardware.com/news/amd-radeon-driver-issues-navi-users-black-screen-frustration

A PC Enthusiast since 2011
AMD Ryzen 5 2600@3.9GHz | GIGABYTE GTX 1660 GAMING OC @ Core 2085MHz Memory 5000MHz
Cinebench R15: 1382cb | Unigine Superposition 1080p Extreme: 3439
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Just now, Vishera said:

It could also be a driver issue,these exact same problems were caused by AMD drivers in the past.

Here are some examples: 

2016: https://www.pcinvasion.com/r9-380-black-screen-issues-amds-persistent-unsolved-bug/

2020:  https://hothardware.com/news/amd-radeon-driver-issues-navi-users-black-screen-frustration

AMD drivers are the worst, they will crash left and right but my main point behind that post was artifacts OP was talking about.

mY sYsTeM iS Not pErfoRmInG aS gOOd As I sAW oN yOuTuBe. WhAt IS a GoOd FaN CuRVe??!!?

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58 minutes ago, Levent said:

AMD drivers are the worst, they will crash left and right but my main point behind that post was artifacts OP was talking about.

Well, I ordered the thermal pads, I need 1mm and 3mm apparently. Even if this doesn't work it's far cheaper to try new thermal pads than it is to buy a new GPU. They'll arrive tomorrow, so I can keep you posted if it worked or not. 🙂

 

59 minutes ago, Vishera said:

It could also be a driver issue,these exact same problems were caused by AMD drivers in the past.

Here are some examples: 

2016: https://www.pcinvasion.com/r9-380-black-screen-issues-amds-persistent-unsolved-bug/

2020: https://hothardware.com/news/amd-radeon-driver-issues-navi-users-black-screen-frustration

I'll take a second good look at the drivers. I tried finding the modern equivalent of the ATIman Uninstaller, but I couldn't find it so soon. You think uninstalling through the control panel will be enough and just installing an older version of the drivers?

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4 minutes ago, Cerezoss said:

Well, I ordered the thermal pads, I need 1mm and 3mm apparently. Even if this doesn't work it's far cheaper to try new thermal pads than it is to buy a new GPU. They'll arrive tomorrow, so I can keep you posted if it worked or not. 🙂

 

I'll take a second good look at the drivers. I tried finding the modern equivalent of the ATIman Uninstaller, but I couldn't find it so soon. You think uninstalling through the control panel will be enough and just installing an older version of the drivers?

ATIman Uninstaller was replaced with Display Driver Uninstaller: https://www.guru3d.com/files-details/display-driver-uninstaller-download.html

A PC Enthusiast since 2011
AMD Ryzen 5 2600@3.9GHz | GIGABYTE GTX 1660 GAMING OC @ Core 2085MHz Memory 5000MHz
Cinebench R15: 1382cb | Unigine Superposition 1080p Extreme: 3439
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I would try reinstalling drivers, if that does not work then I would try new thermal pads on the VRAM. Also, have you tried repasting the die on the cards? Guessing it's not a PSU issue, but what wattage is your PSU.

Is it plugged in? Is it turned on? Are you sure?

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1 hour ago, wat3rmelon_man2 said:

I would try reinstalling drivers, if that does not work then I would try new thermal pads on the VRAM. Also, have you tried repasting the die on the cards? Guessing it's not a PSU issue, but what wattage is your PSU.

I apply new paste and run maintenance on the fans and cooling ribs about every year. The last time was about 4 months ago and the paste is still... pasty(?). Anyhow, it hasn't hardened. As for my PSU, I have a 1000 watt corsair PSU that I've had for about 4 years.

I already ordered the thermal pads, so after I apply those tomorrow I'll run the DDU that was linked by another user and install an older version of the drivers to see if that helps. 🙂

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13 minutes ago, Cerezoss said:

I apply new paste and run maintenance on the fans and cooling ribs about every year. The last time was about 4 months ago and the paste is still... pasty(?). Anyhow, it hasn't hardened. As for my PSU, I have a 1000 watt corsair PSU that I've had for about 4 years.

I already ordered the thermal pads, so after I apply those tomorrow I'll run the DDU that was linked by another user and install an older version of the drivers to see if that helps. 🙂

OK, sounds good. Good to know that you're keeping these old cards alive! I still have a HD 4870 x2 in an old rig and give it pretty much the same treatment, cleaning it/repasting yearly.

Is it plugged in? Is it turned on? Are you sure?

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So my thermal pads got in the mail pretty late, and a friend of mine surprised me by gifting me an old PC for free. So I have lugged around a big tower for about a mile today and my arms are like noodles, so I don't dare work on the cards right now. The card that came with the tower is an R9 290, which is a straight upgrade from what I had, but regardless I will still replace the thermal pads and try to get at least one card working again. Between my old junk and my friend's old junk I'll hopefully be able to put together somewhat of a gaming rig for my little brother and sister.

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Alright, last update on the matter:
I replaced the thermal pads on one card, and I haven't had any issues even after running a few bulky games and running furmark for a few moments. Normally, the PC would already have failed me, but everything seems to be in working order again. Can't thank you guys enough!

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