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PostPosted: 03 Jul 2012, 02:45 
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I like to think I'm pretty knowledgeable when it comes to troubleshooting anything PC-related. I'm sure many, if not most, WSGF members feel the same way. We're PC enthusiasts, after all.

Well, I just wanted to publicly admit that I'm an idiot. For about 2 months I've been struggling with a BSoD error related to atikmpag.sys on my Windows 7, core i7, 2x 5870 Crossfire system. It's been up and running pretty much perfectly for a couple of years. Sure, I've run in to software issues, driver problems, overheating, Eyefinity compatibility, etc. But, that's all been easily resolved once identified. This particular issue was insidious, however. I tried everything!

First, I assumed it was a driver issue. At the time I think the 12.1 Catalyst drivers had just been released. So, I rolled back to 11.10 or so. After a day or two, I had another blue screen. At this point, I'm thinking I've got a heat-related issue, since the problem is intermittent. I keep a pretty clean system, but I removed the CPU fan and graphics cards and cleaned the fans thoroughly. Then, I start to monitor temps and don't notice anything above normal; BSoDs continue anywhere from every couple of days to as often as every couple hours. I tried a different Crossfire bridge without any luck. I figure I've got bad card. So, I pull one of the cards from my system but still keep crashing with a bluescreen related to atikmpag.sys. I tried swapping the cards out. I tried each card in different PCI-E slots alone and together. Finally, I threw in the towel. I'm not savvy enough to attach a debugger to the AMD drivers to figure out exactly what's erroring out so for the first time in over 10 years, I formatted my system partition and reinstalled Windows to try to fix an issue. I'm not proud of resorting to it, as it's pretty much admitting defeat, but I was desperate.

Guess what? BSoDs continue!

Finally, after all of this, I decide on replacing the DisplayPort cable as the last possible point of failure. I should have mentioned that I'm running 1 native DisplayPort and 2 DVI ports. I replaced it with one from Accell off Newegg and it's been over a month without any further BSoDs. I've heard of plenty of issues out there with DisplayPort adapters, but never thought I'd have an issue with a straight DisplayPort cable distributed with a Dell monitor. Back in the BNC and D-sub 15 days, the worst thing a display cable would do is take your monitor outside its recommended specs and cause no signal or a distorted signal. Having a Windows BSoD from a bad display cable was definitely an eye-opener for me.

Expect the unexpected!

*Edit: I'm not running 1 native DisplayPort and 2 HDMI ports. I'm running 1 native DisplayPort and 2 DVI ports. Duh!


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 Post subject: Wtf! Some1 with tecnical
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2012, 06:37 
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Wtf! Some1 with tecnical background can explain that?

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PostPosted: 03 Jul 2012, 15:42 
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I think DP is classed more or less as a hot-plug device, similar to USB.

I guess that when you have your 3 screens, the DP must be a proper connection all the time, and then the signal to the 2 DVI screens just gets sent. So I guess that if the signal got lost (or whatever) on its way to the screen, or on its way back, that it could of caused the card to effectivly think the screen was gone, thus breaking the eyefinity group.

Why it wouldn't just jump back to 1 screen and complain about a DP error, I don't know.

I think the secret lies in the fact that you NEED a DP connection on a 5870 to get eyefinity to work, and therefore a break in the chain somewhere caused it to crap out.

Glad you got it fixed though!

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PostPosted: 03 Jul 2012, 20:43 
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Thanks! It's been quite a relief having a stable system back! Oddly enough, this problem occurred when running in both Eyefinity and extended-desktop modes in both 2D and 3D applications. Prior to the bluescreens, I did have occasional problems with the DisplayPort monitor blacking out and coming back up with a Windows dialog saying that the Display Adapter had stopped responding. But, it was never very common and I didn't think much of it at the time. Now, I definitely think I'd gotten a shoddy cable from the start and it just took a couple years to catastrophically fail.

My best guess is that the DisplayPort specifications haven't been very well enforced and manufacturers are making cards/cables/drivers that can't properly handle unexpected failures. That's one reason I went with the Accell cable as a replacement. They've been on the DisplayPort bandwagon for a while and I felt more comfortable ordering from them than a manufacturer without any ties to the DisplayPort spec. So far, it's proven to be a good move. But, who knows? I really just wanted to get my experience out there in case anyone else runs in to the same thing. I certainly didn't find any similar cases while I was struggling with it.


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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2012, 02:35 
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Oh my God. I"ve been having this same exact issue and I just narrowed it down to the Displayport cable as well. Already sent in another order of 3 just in time for my 5x1P setup. Glad to see you've figured it out! Was Hell for me, too. I couldn't upgrade past 12.2 and it BSoDed my system so hard that it wouldn't even boot into safe mode with the latest 12.6 drivers. Ugh, piece of crap cables.

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 Post subject: Hmm, intredasting ....I
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2012, 22:22 
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Hmm, intredasting ....

I debug silicon that implements the DP spec for a living. I'm curious what could be happening here. The only cable problems we've seen at work were some monoprice ones when DP 1.1 first came out. They were wiring the power lines straight through to the monitor which shouldn't be. Those power wires are only for powering an adapter.

In this case, I'm guessing the ATI driver is crapping out when something goes wrong on the Aux pair or that the hot-plug detect wire is faulty.


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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2012, 23:23 
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so sending you that defective cable might help ? Maybe we can convince Zencyde or Bifurk do to that for future references...

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012, 16:47 
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Hi rdqulus,

I don't have any need for my original displayport cable that seemed to be the cause of my issues. Of course, I'm betting that you're right about the cable itself not being the only culprit. I'd say it's likely a combination of something out of spec with the cable, the graphics card design, drivers, and/or monitor. But, if you'd like to fiddle with the cable and live in the US, I'd be happy to get it to you. PM me if you're interested in checking it out.


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PostPosted: 13 Aug 2012, 22:09 
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Ah, late here. But I'll also ship of my cable if you'd like. No use for it now.

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 Post subject: I'm with rdq on there, I
PostPosted: 16 Aug 2012, 05:33 
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I'm with rdqlus on there, I haven't done DP but I have done drivers for other differential buses on embedded systems... the BSODs were caused by buggy drivers that don't handle faulty physical connections. To be fair though this is the first time I can think of that I've heard of cables on a desktop PC causing BSODs. Usually stuff just silently fails.


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