Ok so last blog post I talked about how exited I was to finally being able to get my crossfire setup going on my system. I was so intensely filled with joy to think of when the UPS lady (yes i get a lady) would come to drop off the package and I would tear it open and there would lay in the box the kay to ultimately shatering my 3Dmark score.
Yes, that was then. it is actually quite funny how one's felling can change in afew mintutes...
So I opened the box and there was the Powercolor 4850 box with the awesome looking dude (or gal, i cant tell) with the terrific looking blade. right below that was the ZALMAN VF1000 cooler that i was going to install on the ASUS 4850 I already had to lower some of those outrageous temperatures. So I went to my desk and cleared everything out from it so I would have a clean working area. I put both boxes on top of the table just to admire them for a second, i did. and then I sat down and took of the Powercolor 4850 box and put it on the floor. I carefully took out the ZALMAN VF1000 cooler out of its box and layed out all the parts out on the table. Then I shut off my computer to take out the ASUS 4850, took it our and put it on the table.
After I took out the card and layed it on the table I started to perform the cardfull operation of disasembeling it by removing the stock ATi cooler, and if any of you have read my Forum post you know how much I "love" this cooler. so I took it off and layed it on the side, then I got the little blue heatsinks of the VF1000 that are suppose to be layed on top of the GDDDR3 modules. took out the portectr of the adhesive side and layed all 8 of them around the precious R770 chip. after that I asembled the actual heasink and got it ready for installation. The mergin of the two parts was precioous as the graceful copper heatsink stood atop the ASUS 4850. Though the ASUS card gained afew grams i know she would benefit from being at 60 degrees celcious when running my game rather than almost being at 85 degrees.
I put the newly reborn ASUS card aside next to its old cooler and I picked up from the floor the life-breather of my machine, the Powercolor 4850 card. I opened the box, but being too anxious I didn't even realize I was opening it from the bottom but no big deal. I took out the smaller box inside and opened it. I will say this box didnt come with as much flash as the ASUS card but then again it didn't need it, all they need to do is put the 4 digit number on the from and everyone will know, its a 4850. Anywho, I opened the box and the first thing there was the card wrapped up in ints anti-static bag. I took it out and layed it on my table to be admired, i admired it and then moved on to the rest of the box, nothing really, just a driver CD and some instructions on how to handle the card and install it, just layed those back in the box and put the box apart.
Nex came th part I had been waiting for, I reached up into the lost confines of my desk to reach for something I had stored for some time now and I knew I was going to use it sometime, and now was that time, I pulled out the precious ATi Crossfire bridge, I even still had it in its little plastic protector. I took it out of the protector and put it on the table. So now I looked at my open case with no graphics cards in it, so I took the ASUS card and put it in the top PCIe 2.0 slot, conneted the 6-pin and then took the second card and put it in the bottome PCIe 2.0 Slot, onnected the 6-pin power and was good to go. I hooked up the VF1000 fan and then for the momment of truth, will it boot? pressed the poser button and out of nowhere the light show that is my rig spprung to life as all of my LED fans came up, the Hard drive spun up and both my 4850's spooled up. Visual on the screen, "I'm almost there" I though, so I do the ususal waiting for Windows to come up and it finaly does, Vista detects and installs my second 4850, Vista requested a reboot so I do. Now is where I am shot down from cloud 9...
As I boot into Vista again, everything is normal, Vista loads up. All is fine and all and When ATi Catalyst comes up and I go to it and I double click it, imagining in my head that right below the "overdrive" option at the very bottom of the other options on the left hand colum of the application. However, when the app loads up, my mouse goes down automaticaly to look for the "CrossfireX" option to come to click on nothing but white space. The CrossfireX option was not there. I was kind of shocked, I look down to my rig to make sure I am not missing or overlooking anything, power cnnectors are on the cards, I have enough power, I have th Crossfire bridge on both cards, Device Manage sees both card running perfectly, what could be wrong? A closer look at ATi Catalyst would reveal that The app was only seeing one card on the drop down manu, the "hardware" option under "information" revealed the one card was the "primary adapter" while the second card was the "disabled adapter" however there is no way of enableing it.
After this mishap I do what I always do, I hoped on my GiantBomb, Gamespot, Tom's Hardware and AMD Game! PC forums. Posted my problems on there and I also called my PC LAN-ing family. The most help I got was from the AMD Game! forums in the CrossfireX section. It seems that this problem is not new, people have been having it for some time now (early November) with the 8.12 drivers. With that I did everything that anyone tried and claimed it worked for them, I reverted back to so many drivers it was now even funny and I got nothing. I thought this was a Vista 64-bit issue but i couldn't since there were others with the OS running Crossfire.
I did however run into a post that said somethin about the BIOS of the graphics cards. I looked into it more and they posted again that ASUS had released a BIOS update for their card, and people are reporting that this fixes the problem. So I rush to the ASUS website and enter my info for the my card and in not time there it was. "BIOS update for 4850: Fixes the no crossfire option on catalyst" I don't think I could of pressed the download button fast enough. when it was done I started the Flashing app. It claimed it was flashign the BIOS, however after an hour I was skeptical, I shut down that app and went back to some forums, peopl also claimed it could of been a bad BIOS chip. All-in-all I decided to RMA my card back to ASUS. I concluded that the problem was that there was something in the BIOS of ASUS cards that were made back in july 2008 that made it not play well with CrossfireX. So I figure, If I can ship this back to ASUS and they can send me one of the new card, I should be Ok, and I think its fair because granted to my conclusion, they don't even sell my type of card with the stock ATi cooler anymore, if its on Newegg, its open box. Even, in their RMA form they ask for one to include a brief description of the problem, I wrote them a paper about the problem (well not as extensive as this but you know) and at the end I asked them if they could send me one of the newer model cards with the new cooled and the new BIOS chip.
I sent my card yesterday through UPS, I'm broke since I spent all of my money on the Powercolor card and on the VF1000 cooler, thankfully my dad was cool enough to get me the 2nd day shipping, so they should get it tuesday. I dont know why ASUS has to take so long, like they're just exchanging my card right? and on their paper they say its going to be about 10 business days and to exclude weekends and holdidays. All-in-all it should be here around the end of this month or very early next month. Sucks because I will not have my new card in time for the LAN parties I got to at the end of the month but oh well, there is always next month.
I will post another Blog when I get my new card and report if it fixed my problem.