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Chuck_B

So, Why AM I Having Trouble Now With ATI and Clouds?

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I've been using an ATI 1950x in a Dell Dimension e520 (6520? dual core) for the past year and have never had a problem with cloud rendering. I'm running FS2004 - NOT FSX. But now I have a new build and it seems ATI just isn't cutting the mustard any more. Has ATI done something to their drivers lately? Is my new E8500 processor just pushing too much info to the video card now and because I had a lesser system in the past it never mattered? Or am I just overestimating ATIs capabilities now?I put in a brand new Visiontek HD3870X2 OC Edition in my new build last night (specs below) and as soon as Active Sky loaded up the mostly cloudy conditions at KBOS (using low res, DXT3 clouds from Flight Environment Pro) BAM! Flashing, colorful lines all across my screen again. Didn't happen until AS/FE clouds loaded up. No crossfire -- I had to disable it in order to run all 3 monitors, and tried running the card both with all 3 mons plugged directly into the heads on the card without the Matrox Dual Head to Go, and then using only 2 heads and the 2HTG - all monitors are VGA for now.I'm back to the nVidia 8800 GTX, and it's running really well but I'm still not convinced nVidia/nHancer handles AA as well as ATI has for me in the past, even with all the new nHancer tweaks and gyrations. Before I return the 3870x2 for a full refund I would like to make sure I've given it a fair chance -- it is an awesome card. I've read most of the other threads here regarding this, mainly Ray Proudfoot's posts here and in the Active Sky forum, but they seem to be mostly about FSX.Thank you, folks. Just wondering if someone has any thoughts before I call UPS.

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I've seen other reports about ATI's HD3870 cards having performance issues with clouds, so I'm not surprised. My last ATI card(s) were X1950XTX Xfires in my previous system. They worked very well in FSX. My system now came with a 8800GT, which also performed well, and I just upgraded to a 9800GTX which is even better!!Edit: Just a thought, when I had issues with my X1950XTX's it usually turned out to be the Catalyst AI setting. Try reducing or turning off this option!!

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I have this Visiontek HD3870X2 OC Edition card and it runs just as good as my BFG 9800 GTX OCXE. They both handle clouds the same as far as I can tell. The ATI card seems to have slightly better graphics quality. Could the problem have something to do with AS? The ATI driver releases 8.3 and 8.4 work ok with my ATI card. AND the ATI drivers don't hang the fsx menu item selections.I would try different drivers and then if necessary remove AS and see how the card acts. Also when changing video cards or driver releases I delete the fsx.cfg file and let it get re-created.Oh, I am using FSX SP2 on Windows XP.

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Thanks for your suggestions -- I actually have Active Sky running on a client machine so all it's doing is loading weather and clouds. I'd really rather not get rid of ActiveSky.The card works fine if I use a preset weather scenario, but the nVidia 8800 GTX has no problems whatsoever with Active Sky.

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Chuck,It makes no difference if your weather is being injected by an outside program or FSX or you are using a predefined weather scenario. The 3870X2 cannot handle clouds and ATI has no answers. I too bought one of these cards to replace an 8800GTX and have returned to the 8800GTX (as have many others). Try to fly in any heavy cloud environment with the 3870X2 and you are going to experience a massive loss in FPS. Another reason I also decided to give up on the 3870X2 is that it has a very hard time maintaining a locked framerate and FPS is constantly bouncing around. Where as the 8800GTX has no problems remaining locked at 24 or 30 FPS.Have a read through this thread:http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho..._id=39036&page=We have also had many other discussions in various threads regarding the 3870X2's inability to handle clouds and the fact that it quite simple cannot even begin to compare performance wise to an 8800GTX when used in FSX.

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My problem isn't a simple FPS performance issue. The card flashes colorful lines on and off intermittently -- I thought it was an autogen corruption at first, or maybe a power issue.

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>My problem isn't a simple FPS performance issue. The card>flashes colorful lines on and off intermittently -- I thought>it was an autogen corruption at first, or maybe a power issue.> Are you sure its not artifacting caused by a faulty card or heat? I use ASX, ASG, with FEX and never experienced what you are describing with the 3870X2. Poor FSX performance most definitely but never graphics corruption what so ever.It's very possible that your factory overclocked card may not be able to handle the factory overclock coupled with FSX.

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THAT'S my problem . . . I have NO idea what the problem is. It's not a faulty card (I've had 3- yes three! --in there), I'm pretty sure it's not heat because it's fine until the AS clouds come in and I do that at start up.It's almost like there's too much to render -- but I can't fathom that that's true because 1) look at my specs, and 2) I've never seen this behavior before from an ATI card, and 3) the GeGorce card has no problems whatsoever. I'm thinking about another fresh install today, then I'm going to look at some case coolers and maybe a super 1000W+ power supply, but I'm at my wits end here. ATI handles AA so much better than nVidia, but I can't have this technicolor light show going off on take off and landing.Could my motherboard need tweaking?? Kind of out of my league on that one. This is all so weird. This is where it all started -- right after I found someone who actually had an e8500 in stock. Me and my bright ideas.<< http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho..._id=38853&page= >>

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Hi Chuck,I'm sorry to hear of your 3870X2 problems. I never encountered any issues at all with clouds (or anything else) in FS9 with that card. Frame rates were 50+ even with heavy cloud using AS6 cloud textures - much easier on performance.Firstly, what drivers are you using and what AA and AF settings do you have? Whilst not the best vehicle to adjust settings CCC will do until you have sorted the mess.When I get problems like this I always revert to default settings as much as possible. If you can easily switch back to default clouds then do so. Also, don't overclock anything including the card. Disable TripleHead software. Just run with a single display for now.Dowmload the 8.4 drivers and run with those. If you haven't done this previously you should wipe all references to nVidia and ATI with Driver Cleaner pro and then reboot to the XP driver. Then install the 8.4 drivers and set AA to 4X and AF to 16X.You can't disable CrossFire - it's built-in to the 3870X2. Come back when you have tried the above.BTW, I spent 3 hours this morning sorting out a AA problem with the 8800GTX so don't think nVidia is the answer to everything. From what I've read it may perform better in clouds but driver issues are horrendous. Something I never had with ATI.Good luck!

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Thanks for coming in on this, Ray. I've been watching your threads about this card both here and in the ActiveSky forums -- they've been extremely informative.>> so don't think nVidia is the answer to everything. OMG, no -- I left nVidia early last year. When it comes to multi-mon, ATI is the way to go. That's why I'm so frustrated -- there's no place to go now.I will do everything you suggest and report back -- except give up the multi mons -- I just can't bring myself do that. (Forgive me, I am old and weak.) With the 3870x2, I don't need the 2HTG so that will be off, and I just can't believe that this rig can't handle 3 monitors when my old 1950x Pro or even the 1350 could. Don't you agree? The flashing only happens on one monitor at a time never spanning monitors, and I've never seen anything like it -- not on my e6520 (?) or even my old Celeron, but I just got a quick flash of the problem running the nVidia card! So it's back to stripped down scenery and reinstall one at a time for today.I'm not sure if you guys saw in my original post but I'm only running FS9 -- not FSX -- albeit a really loaded FS9, so the FSX issues are also eliminated.I built this box myself and there's not a lot of fluff on it as far as hardware, so there was really no place for me to screw up.

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Hi Chuck,<>It's been a while since I had MM with FS. I use networked computers one of which uses MM but my FS PC is a single 24" display so I've no experience of MM with current cards.<>I was only suggesting you disable them temporarily until the problem was solved but if you're sure it has no bearing on it then fine.<>Yes, it's more than capable. Actually from your description I;m prety certain it's just the AA/AF and other settings that are causing the problem. I had some weird FS screens this morning and it was purely down to those settings.I saw your original post but didn't read it all. Incorrect AA/AF etc. settings will cause problems with either version.I'm sure your hardware is fine. I also built my system and any problems have been software related - not hardware, apart from the poor cloud performance in FSX with the 3870X2 but that's not relevant here.Your system should run anything you can throw at it as far as FS9 is concerned.

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Ray (and others here): This is highly preliminary, but I the patient seems to be breathing on it's own. Preliminary diagnosis? I suspect a corrupted install of Ultimate Terrain.After spending most of Sunday tweaking ATI's CCC, AA, AI, etc. with little or no positive results, I decided I had to once again start from scratch. I made an image of my C: drive as back-up, and then uninstalled all my addons and then FS9 itself, deleting any remaining and possibly offending folders. I've just completed a step by step reinstall, adding only my "minimally" required addons (the ones I WON'T fly without) and I have a heartbeat. I was still rather aggressive, and ended up copying my FSUIPC.ini file, Aircraft, Gauges, Sound, and Effects folders from my old (damaged?) image copy, and simply pasted them into the new FS9 folder instead of actually reinstalling them all, and it seems to have worked out ok for now. I also passed on an airline by airline re-install and just "restored" all my World of AI from a backup file I had made on Saturday.So, on the main box I'm currently now running: FS9, FSPassengers, FSNavigator, FSUIPC 3.81 (Registered Version), AutoSave, and I just reinstalled Ultimate Terrain USA. On my WideClient box I'm running ActiveSky 6.5 and Radar Contact v4. Assuming my full 1 hour flight tonight from (George Grimshaw's) KBOS to (the default) KPHL goes ok and I see no colorful flashing distortions, I'll install QLRP4UT tomorrow and my other FlyTampa Airports and then probably stop until the weekend and let every thing get nice and 'seated'. If I can keep everything stable, I'll then be able go back to evaluating the merits of the ATI card vs the 8800 GTS. (Being the pessimist I am, though, I suspect this is not finished.)But I will say this: Man it's gorgeous up here! :-jumpy

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After all this, I really don't think any of this has been hardware related. Modern hardware (ATI or Nvidia) will work just fine if given a sentient software environment in which to do that work. There's a guy that specializes in stabilizing just these kinds of uber-loaded FS setups. A thread is going next door in the FSX forum. Might pay to check it out. Could be the best hour of O/T you ever spent.

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>I have this Visiontek HD3870X2 OC Edition card and it runs>just as good as my BFG 9800 GTX OCXE. They both handle clouds>the same as far as I can tell. The ATI card seems to have>slightly better graphics quality. Could the problem have>something to do with AS? The ATI driver releases 8.3 and 8.4>work ok with my ATI card. AND the ATI drivers don't hang the>fsx menu item selections.>>I would try different drivers and then if necessary remove AS>and see how the card acts. Also when changing video cards or>driver releases I delete the fsx.cfg file and let it get>re-created.>>Oh, I am using FSX SP2 on Windows XP.Woops, it's not the X2.

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>>After all this, I really don't think any of this has been hardware related. Me too, but like I said, I'm not convinced yet. 2 one hour flights does not a solution make and this has been a major pain in the arse.The ferocity and sporadic nature of these distortions on a system with my specs make it unclear whether this is truly a software issue or a hardware one. That's part of the problem with these new "hardware forum" rules where these type of issues are so quickly moved from the main FS9 forum to the H/W forum so quickly by the moderators.Considering the "upgrade" I've made in all hardware compnents, as well as the downgrade in installed add-on software from my piddly old Dell Dimenson which never had these problems, it's still unclear yet whether UT is the ultimate culprit. Addon softwarewise, this new machine is a LOT cleaner than my old one, and it doesn't make sense that it can't handle what was on the old one -- and more.>>Could be the best hour of O/T you ever spent.I've already thought about that and been in touch with him -- his initial correspondence said 4 to 5 hours, and that's a healthy chunk of time to block out, but I may still go for it, for sure.Thanks for everyone's help! As I said, I don't think this is over yet, and I'll keep this thread updated if need be. I won't bother anyone unless things get bad again.Thanks again.

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I just tried a flight in FS9 w/ AS using the RAS Scout. I threw in a Visiontek 3870 OC for the test (sorry I don't have an X2 card here) using the Omega 3.8.442 (7.12) drivers configured with ATI Tray Tools. Here is the METAR for Half Moon Bay where I took off from: KSFO 201456Z 00000KT 10SM FEW009 SCT035 BKN150 13/11 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP149 T01280106 51007. I use AE 256bit DXT clouds. I headed north and flew around, under, and thru the clouds with nary a problem.I don't think this is entirely a VC issue. Perhaps a call to Michael Greenblatt is indeed in order here, Chuck. There's more to the problem than just hardware.Good luck,

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Thanks, Greg. Here's a quote from my 2nd or 3rd post here Sunday afternoon:<< THAT'S my problem . . . I have NO idea what the problem is. It's not a faulty card (I've had 3- yes three! --in there), I'm pretty sure it's not heat because it's fine until the AS clouds come in and I do that at start up. >>

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>I'm not sure if you guys saw in my original post but I'm only>running FS9 -- not FSX -- albeit a really loaded FS9, so the>FSX issues are also eliminated.>Just curious. Why are you not running FSX when you got such a powerful system?

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I just built the system and have as yet to get 'er settled down. I have both and I don't see any great advantage to going with FSX any way. I'm not putting it down at all mind you so lets not go there. It's just that I'm invested in FS9, and not in FSX.

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Thanks, Greg. Here's a quote from my 2nd or 3rd post here Sunday afternoon:<< THAT'S my problem . . . I have NO idea what the problem is. It's not a faulty card (I've had 3- yes three! --in there), I'm pretty sure it's not heat because it's fine until the AS clouds come in and I do that at start up. >>Sorry, I guess I should have been clearer (I still hadn't finished my first cup of coffee :-) ). Many folks believe the current crop of ATI cards can't do clouds in MSFS, and that's clearly wrong. Those folks would have everyone believe the 3800 cards are the cause (i.e. being unable to handle clouds), I believe the cards are instead the symptom.You seem to be having multiple problems, and clouds in FS would be my least concern until the flashing lines/screen corruption is resolved. You've probably tried this (you seem to have been rather thorough in preliminary diagnosis of the issue), but I would use Windows Add/Remove function to hose the Chipset drivers as well as the video drivers, followed by a reboot into Safe Mode to use DriverCleaner to clean the system of both the Chipset and video drivers. Then reboot into Windows to install the latest Chipset drivers for your MB, reboot to install the latest DirectX 9.0c, then reboot to install the video drivers.Attack the screen corruption and you might be surprised how the VC then handles MSFS clouds. Not saying that for sure, but the clear first priority is the screen corruption.Regards,

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Greg:I've done most of what you suggest, but I have not done anything to the chipset drivers. I feel like my MoBo IS choking somewhere and I just haven't had time to mess with it. The reason I say this is I tried some real quick, moderate O/Cing last night, mainly to the memory and the CPU -- real moderate increases, mind you, just to see what I could do. Even with the slightest increases in clocking I end up with a BSOD. I've never replaced chipset drivers, I usually just flash the BIOS with the latest versions from the manufactuer. This is my first ASUS board -- do I download the chipset drivers from Intel or Omega? Or ASUS?I won't be doing anything exotic now until after the long weekend, though. I'm looking forward getting this bear settled down and get some flying time in. :-)

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...do I download the chipset drivers from Intel or Omega? Or ASUS?From ASUS.Your system should slice thru FS9 with ease... if I was a betting man I'd put money on something choking the PCI bus (and that could be a resolution as simple as chipset drivers).Just curious... in an earlier post you mentioned doing a reformat and reinstall. Have you done so yet? Are you willing? If so, be sure to get the (latest) chipset drivers, DirectX9.0c, and video drivers ready to use (install) before you format the drive. In the past I burned all my drivers/DirectX to a CD, though nowadays a USB thumb drive is easier and quicker. I simply pop the drive in and start installing (starting with the chipset drivers, reboot, DirectX, reboot, video drivers, etc.).

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Thanks Greg. I'll look into that immediately. I already deleted and reinstalled FS9, yesterday -- I was trying to avoid an XP reinstall, because of all the bloody updates. If SP3 is a rollup it might not be so bad -- I'll have to look into that, although there's questions about SP3. If I go as far as a complete reformat and XP reinstall, maybe I'll just go to SP2 and see how FS9 runs after that.One thing I have to keep reminding myself: I'm driving 3 monitors with 3 different views, too. I don't think 60 FPS is a reasonable expectation on my part, do you?

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Hi Chuck,You don't need to reinstall XP. On my previous PC I installed it once and it's still there 5 years later. I know some people like to wipe and reinstall but I've never understood why unless you have to because of a hd failure.But, for future reference you might be interested to know that if you did have to reinstall XP you can save downloading all the patches and Service Packs. You only need the latest SP anyway as they're cumulative.Have a look here. It's not something that's mentioned much here but it was easy to do and saved a load of hassle. http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/windo..._slipstream.aspBTW, with my 3870X2 I was hitting over 200fps in FS9. I've locked it at 50fps and it's wonderful flying around Aerosoft Manhattan with all the sliders on max and still getting 40+. One day FSX will do that but I might be 6ft under by then! :-lol Cheers,

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"I've never replaced chipset drivers, I usually just flash the BIOS with the latest versions from the manufactuer."Ahh, now we're getting somewhere. The chipset drivers and the bios updates are entirely different software elements. As you have been doing, the bios is updated with a piece of software, generally provided during boot via a floppy or other removable media. The chipset drivers are installed in Windows after the op system has been installed. Here's the computer build-up, software install sequence . . . straight from an Asus communication with me (I have P5K-e sound problems). "Start over. Make sure you have a FRESH install of your OS on THIS motherboard and that the drive was partitioned and formatted on this motherboard. Make sure that you install the most recent drivers in the following order:1) Chipset/Motherboard drivers (Example, Intel INF for Intel chipsets, Etc.) Do this BEFORE loading any other driver!2) Latest version of Direct X.3) Latest Video Card drivers.4) SCSI/ATA drivers5) Lan/NIC drivers6) Modem drivers, then any other drivers7) Finally, install sound card drivers LAST!Please call our phone support center at 812-282-ASUS if you need further troubleshooting assistance and our RMA Deparmtent if you need to send that motherboard in for repair at 510-739-3777 opt. 2Best Regards,Tim P.Asus Tech Support(812) 282-ASUS" I agree that you should get your chipset drivers from the Asus site. These are Intel drivers and they are available on Intel's site here: http://www.intel.com/support/chipsets/sb/CS-026488.htmHowever Intel's "X" series chips are not specified. For all practical Technical purposes, I believe the X38/48 chips are just later production, bin-sorted P35s that will run a little faster. Since (for all practical Technical purposes, I believe) the X38/48 and the P35s are identical chips, the P35 chipset driver from this page is the one to use. The Asus-page drivers tend to be a year old. However, if I was doing this, I would Verify this Theory first. Until then, use the Asus-page drivers.First, follow the Asus build-up sequence specifically and get the op system back. Download and install non-beta, non-Omega, Nvida/ATI WHQL drivers directly from the Nvidia/ATI site. No nHanser/Catalyst or beta f(ancy)Hanser anything.Then load FS9(X) as virgin install(s) and run some test flights. Don't load anything else. Now, how does it run? If it's OK here, it's Not a hardware issue. From what I understand, the addon's sequence-of-install is important too. After all this, an extra 5 hours sounds cheap to me.

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