New tech is not always great. I had no problems with my other ATI card but this one has been very tricky. The community has coined a new term: GSOD (gray screen of death) where the 5xxx series cards will suddenly freeze and turn the screen a random color of gray (sometimes ranging from white to black). Little color blocks sometimes appear before this. Mouse freezes, caps lock frozen. Very bad. Win7 sometimes will spit out “a driver has stopped working, windows has recovered” or something like that. Sometimes Win7 can’t recover and it’s cold reboot time.
For some, this happens in 3d. For me, it was happening in 2d. I was going to RMA my card but so many people were having the problem, it can’t be hardware. I eventually found (hopefully) a workaround according to ATI forums and HardOCP forums. You overclock the idle clocks by editing an XML file. Apparently it idles so low in 2D that it breaks spec? Breaks I dunno. ATI hasn’t goddamn said anything so the community has come up with workarounds.
Nvidia’s card is bad this round, ATI’s is better but this crap is annoying. Maybe they’ll have a driver fix but I was following posts as old as Nov 2009. So I don’t see a fix for a long time.
The card is fast but it wasn’t as dramatic as when I bought my last ATI card. I don’t know if the economy determines what leaps video cards make. Maybe TSMC sucks at 40nm.
Update: I screwed around with the clocks some more and looked up the cold bug. I’m running the new 10.4 drivers which really didn’t help with stability but I’ve managed to make it playable most of the time. When it starts up or resumes, it’s buggy. Argh.
I had an RMA on it but I’ve cancelled it since I got it working. Double argh.