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Old 02-02-09, 01:24 AM   #1
xorbe
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Default downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

Finally figured out that Far Cry 2 would stop crashing if I lowered the stock shader clock on my card. Lowering the core clock also removed occasional visual glitches. Memory clock seemed fine as I could inch it up without crashes (with lowered core/shader), but I lowered it also for good measure. I thought to exchange for a "regular" card, but this is supposed to be a cream of the crop chip (despite EVGAs failed qualification attempts), so I wanted to keep it and downclock it myself. Shipping isn't free anyways for exchanges. Yeah, you could do it manually with EVGA Precision or have RivaTuner change it on each boot, but that's cheesy, and I need this to work in Linux too. Here is the straight dope on getting this done.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Burn this bootable Win98 iso to a CD.

http://www.onecomputerguy.com/software/win_boot.iso

Make a FAT partition on your HDD (may be painful to do, but if you have no floppy drive and your USB isn't working properly like mine after booting the CD...) Or, put the files on a USB stick, and check if C:/D: shows your USB stick after booting the CD. Mine showed up as C:, but running "nvflash --list" just hung no output. If you have a floppy drive, format a boot disk, and you have the easy way.

Download nvflash 5.72 and drop onto your FAT drive/floppy/USB stick.

reboot with CD.

C: (if using harddrive or USB)
nvflash --list
nvflash --save stock.rom
copy stock.rom modified.rom
dir

Remove CD and press ctrl-alt-del

Download NiBiTor v4.8 and open modified.rom file.

Change 675/1453/1151 to 626/1352/1080 (this basically cuts the "stock overclock" in half).

Save the ROM file.
Close NiBiTor, run again, load modified.rom and verify your handiwork.
Reboot and boot with CD.

C: (if using harddrive or USB)
nvflash --check
nvflash --protectoff
nvflash modified.rom
nvflash --protecton
dir

Your card may emit a beep with protectoff, the flash, and protecton (mine did).

Remove CD and press ctrl-alt-del, and pray that it worked like it did for me!


Keep a copy of your stock and modified ROMs, nvflash, and NiBiTor.

-----------------------------------------------------------

I also note that the "3D extra" (ie, 675/1453/1151) voltage is set to 1.18v by default on this card. (EVGA 896-P3-1258-AR)
Stock clocks are 576/1242/999 for reference. I think stock voltage is 1.06v looking at another generic BIOS. There is also 1.12v available.

(676/576) * (1.18/1.06)^2 = 45.4% more power, no wonder it's hot...
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Old 02-02-09, 09:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

xorbe are you experiencing this issue only in Far Cry 2 and what are your temps at full load and idle?
I currently have GTX 260 55nm card and also experience crashing in almost all games I play (Crysis & World in Conflict) but I have it overclocked to 700/1400/1200 also tryed clocking it down to 560/1200/100 but still getting BSODs. While benchmarking in 3DMark06 and 3DMark Vantage I have no issues or glitches what gives. I still hope this is a driver issue.
Cheers!
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Old 02-02-09, 11:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

First I want to comment, your BSODs probably means the computer is getting hosed by RAM or CPU clocks/voltage. I never got BSOD from the video card problem, only freezes (and the music/sound effects kept going) or CTD (crash to desktop) and massive artifacts. Generally I could recover with ctrl-alt-del and kill the game. Are you overclocking the CPU or RAM? If you've downclocked the card that far, it's probably not the video card. Straighten out your CPU/RAM overclock Prime95 64-bit torture + IntelBurnTest at the same time, or try stock CPU/RAM speeds with slight over-voltage to isolate any video card issues.

I've only really played TF2, FC2 and a couple lesser games. FC2 seems very good at triggering this problem (5-15 minutes). TF2 no problems ever. The idle temp is 45-55c depending on whether the card clocks down or is stuck at 3D game speeds at the desktop. Under gaming load, it runs 68-78c or so. Under Furmark/OCCT3.0, it'll max out the fan at 85-86c. Benchmarks and stress tests run fine here too. The card wasn't too hot, it just couldn't go that fast.

Here was my clue -- adding just a few MHz to shader clock provided near instant freezes. Adding just a few MHz to core clock gave more artifacts. Adding a few MHz to memory didn't seem to do anything bad. So, core/shader were too high from the factory, especially shader.

I see your PSU is 550W. When I used the OCCT 3.0 PSU test, I measured 565W from the wall... (about 470W inside the computer). Hopefully your PSU is a good 550W one.
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Old 02-02-09, 12:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

Once I get home I will try to turn off all the OCing and run some games lets see if that helps.
I previously had a GTX 260 192 clocked at 700/1400/1200 never had any issues with the games I listed.
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Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME
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Old 02-02-09, 06:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

Drivers? Have you tried any others? I'm using 178.24 whql and they seem ok mostly.
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Old 02-03-09, 04:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

I did try the SSC stock 675/1458/1151 at the lower 1.12v, but it still freezes.

However, 720/1440/1161 seems to work great at 1.12v! Shader just won't do 1458 it seems. Seems like core clock was not a problem after all.

I want to try default 1.06v at 576/1254/999 next, and see what clocks that stock voltage level reaches.
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Old 02-03-09, 11:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

I find it a bit funny that it is FC2 that gives problems to you. Out of all my games I've tested, FC2 is the only one that actually doesn't make my card increase fan speed because the temps are ~70C even with 1920 1200 ultra 8xAA.

The games I've played/checked temps with: (using max details including ingame AA/aniso and no framecap)

STALKER Clear sky: 82C
Armed Assault 1.14: 81C
TR Underworld: (81C, this one has graphical glitches, probably a driver issue with 1.1 patch)
TR anniversary and legend: ~75C
X-Blades: 81C
UT3 1.3: 79C
RTHDRIBL: 78C
Furmark: 85C (62% fan)

It's also sad that not everything is as it's supposed to be. For example those strange glitches in TRU while other games work fine (and they are MUCH more stressing ones too). I also got that nv4_disp error once when playing X-Blades (first 4h didn't do crap, however the next time I got that after 2h+ of playing) but it didn't really come as a surprise, as my earlier 8800GT gave that error 25% of the time I was playing Armed Assault (again, other games did NOT do this).

What bothers me is the quality control here, it's very possible that certain games make your hardware bug even if others work ok (especially with these factory oc'd cards). Also 18x.xx drivers have been horrible for me, so horrible that I didn't even try to use them when I got this EVGA SSC and instead I went for the 178.24 but perhaps these bug too unless it's the card itself making those few exceptions. Temps and noise... well.

In the end, what I'm trying to say that when I hade 7900gto, 7800gtx, 6800gt, and earlier NVIDIAs I didn't have too many problems. Only when I got GF8 series card (and later this gt200 which basically is the same tech) the problems occurred. If I was 10 years younger I could live with it and play around with drivers but these days, no way.

(now that was some offtopic rant )
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Old 02-03-09, 03:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renzo View Post
I find it a bit funny that it is FC2 that gives problems to you. Out of all my games I've tested, FC2 is the only one that actually doesn't make my card increase fan speed because the temps are ~70C even with 1920 1200 ultra 8xAA.
Yeah, heat doesn't seem to be the problem. The shader just can't physically reach 1458 despite any voltage level. FC2 must be tickling the particular limiting wire path. If I bump the shader up just 1 notch, it locks within seconds. Down one notch, and it appears to run forever. At 1458, anywhere from 2 minutes to an hour... very frustrating to isolate...

I'm using the Vista 64-bit 181.22 drivers.
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Old 02-04-09, 08:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

Ok, I'll rant some more now.

My EVGA GTX 260 SSC 55nm is defective.

When I launch Tomb Raider Underworld, it starts to show graphical glitches when the card's core temperature reaches 71C. The hotter the core gets the more it glitches.

1) I downclocked the card to 602/1298 (core/shader) and checked again. Temps were 74C and no graphical glitches were found after a while.

2) Back to stock clocks, but increased the fan speed to 62% which caused the core temp to remain 67C and below -> no glitches on screen.

3) On two games, STALKER Clear Sky and X-Blades I saw momentarily a graphic bug that looked like side five on a dice when the temps were around 80C.

The problem is that the "auto" function of the fan starts to increase the fan speed only after the core reaches 73C - 2C over the limit that already causes those glitches. It is NOT acceptable to be forced to use 3rd party software to tune the fanspeed to prevent those glitches. Also TRU is not the heaviest games so games like ArmA and Clear Sky and Crysis will always make the core go beyond that magical 71C temperature. My chassis is well-ventilated P182B so there is very little to do about it as the card will also hit those 80C temps using open air setup.
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Old 02-04-09, 09:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

Part of your problem is the SSC's voltage of 1.12 or 1.18 -- see my rant below. It's not the fan or cooling, these chips are being clocked too high, period.

Try "OCCT 3.0" GPU test with error check enabled. I'm still testing and will post results later, but it's not pretty. I could recommend sticking to stock 576/1242/999 for reliability until you test it with OCCT. I recommend an overnight 8 hour test, and at least one hour for minimal testing.

For instance, it shipped with the memory at 1152. It appears that the last error-free setting is 1080, and one NEVER should run right next to the failure point, which means this card should run at 1053 maximally for stability. That's a full 99 MHz too much as sold.

I'm not even going to RMA -- what's the point. Clearly these SSC cards aren't qualified properly. nVidia set the clocks the way they did for a reason. $20 wasted over the normal card, oh well.

I'll rant too, about the voltage. Mine came as 1.18v -- and the cooler can't really keep up with the heat. The difference between 1.06v and 1.18v is about 80 (!) additional watts (measured 95 watt increase at the wall). No wonder people are getting PSOD (pink/purple screen of death). The SSC chips are cooking themselves. On top of that, I found very little overclock difference between 1.06/1.12/1.18 volts. A notch or maybe two at best -- a complete waste for 80 watts and frying cards. I flashed mine back to 1.06v permanently.

update: 1.05v @ 675/1350/1044 for computing/rom defaults (step down from max settings). 684/1368/1053 for gaming (max settings no errors). Using OCCT gpu test, 576/1440/999 freezes, 576/1404/999 gets errors, and 576/1242/1080 gets errors. And they tried to shovel this as a 675/1458/1152 card.


Last edited by xorbe; 02-11-09 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 02-05-09, 11:36 AM   #11
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Default Re: downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

I RMA'd mine today, free of shipping costs (customer return is free) but it will take few days to get a new card... that is of course they actually find the error I described in the RMA report that I added to the package.
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Old 02-09-09, 09:16 AM   #12
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Default Re: downclocked ROM on EVGA GTX260 SSC 55nm (-1258-)

...but haha, it appears that "the product works perfectly". Yeah sure, but it isn't like I wasn't expecting this to happen. The store I bought my card is known to be problematic with warranty related stuff, so for them.

Time to consider other methods.
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