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Old 07-20-06, 10:34 PM   #1
cs-cam
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Default 7900GT poor performance

I upgraded to an Albatron 7900GT a while ago and at first everything was fine, glxgears ran at around 16000fps, games ran great everything was sweet. Then one day I noticed Nexuiz was running really slow, like 15fps kind of slow. Checked with glxgears and now it's doing like 4100fps...

I'm not sure what triggered the performance drop, it was around the time of the 2.6.17 kernel release but at the same time I removed 2 case fans which caused the CPU and motherboard temps to rise around 10-15C (still not running too hot though) and added a couple of hard drives. I figured the problem could have been the power supply, with the vid card, 7 hard drives and a dual-core CPU I figured it was a fair idea so I upgraded to a Antec Neo 550W but same problem. I've ordered a Zalman VGA cooler that should be arriving any day now to eliminate temperature as the problem but it's not here so I can't rule that out yet.

With some playing around I've established that if I turn my comp off for a while and turn it on it works for a little bit. nvclock (CVS code - some 7900 support) reports the card temp at around 55-60C and it'll run at full performance but after a short while it drops back to running like crap and nvclock reports the temp as -81C :/ Some other info, nvidia-settings reports the core temperature of the card as 291C, obviously that is wrong. With my old 6600GT there was 2D mode and 3D mode and to me this looks like it's crapping out shortly after switching to the 3D clock speeds but I think I read somewhere that the 7900 series didn't switch like that, runs at one speed all the time but I'm not sure about that.

Anyone have any ideas what could be causing this? The card ran fine for a few weeks so I don't think I could take it back as DOA because it wasn't. I have a pretty big case and don't think I would have bumped it at all when I was adding hard drives or removing any fans but I've checked that it's seated in the PCIe slot correctly and even moved it to the other slot (SLI mobo) but same deal. I'll find out if it's cooling either tomorrow or if the fan isn't delivered today next week but if anyone has any other suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Thanks
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Old 07-20-06, 11:28 PM   #2
AaronP
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Default Re: 7900GT poor performance

Do you get any "Xid" messages in your kernel log? I'm pretty sure the driver will spit out an Xid when it lowers the clocks due to the chip overheating.

Other users have been reporting increased CPU usage with the 2.6.17 kernel. Could you be running into that problem?
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Old 07-21-06, 12:02 AM   #3
cs-cam
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Default Re: 7900GT poor performance

CPU usage isn't too high, I've got some interesting log output but.
Code:
[ sylvester :: everything ]-> grep Xid *
log-2006-07-21-15:27:45:Jul 21 01:40:52 [kernel] NVRM: Xid (0005:00): 31, temp 62C
log-2006-07-21-15:27:45:Jul 21 01:57:42 [kernel] NVRM: Xid (0005:00): 31, temp 296C
Sorry it's not much but I reinstalled yesterday because of a completely unreleated problem and /var/log wasn't something I backed up. Seems the driver or the card is reporting the wrong temp and maybe the GPU is throttling itself accordingly?

EDIT: Okay, more logs from a backup a little while ago:
Code:
syslog:Jun 20 19:45:15 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 65C
syslog:Jun 22 16:32:10 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 301C
syslog:Jun 22 16:53:58 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 303C
syslog:Jun 22 17:00:38 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 303C
syslog:Jun 22 19:28:37 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 57C
syslog:Jun 30 11:20:53 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 57C
syslog:Jul  2 13:53:09 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 301C
syslog:Jul  2 14:18:51 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 302C
syslog:Jul  2 14:20:39 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 302C
syslog:Jul  2 14:21:16 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 301C
syslog:Jul  4 16:37:59 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 62C
syslog:Jul  5 19:13:52 sylvester kernel: NVRM: Xid (0002:00): 31, temp 56C
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Old 07-21-06, 09:56 AM   #4
netllama
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Default Re: 7900GT poor performance

Potentially more likely is that the GPU is reporting the wrong temperature to the driver, and the driver is throttling the GPU.
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Old 07-21-06, 06:27 PM   #5
cs-cam
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Default Re: 7900GT poor performance

Any ideas what I can do from here? The Zalman fan arrived today but I'm hesitant to install it if I'm going to need to take the card back or something.

Thanks for the help so far
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Old 07-21-06, 06:29 PM   #6
netllama
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Default Re: 7900GT poor performance

I can't see how the fan is going to change the fact that the driver is being told the temperature is over 200C. Obviously, the card would have flames shooting out of it, if it was truly that hot. If the card is under warranty, I'd recommend getting it replaced.

-Lonni
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Old 07-21-06, 06:36 PM   #7
_john_i_
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Default Re: 7900GT poor performance

If it's not under warranty you might be able to build a custom bios with nibitor with the temperature monitor disabled. You won't get temp readings anymore, but it won't be reporting temperatures to the driver anymore either.
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Old 07-22-06, 04:58 AM   #8
cs-cam
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Default Re: 7900GT poor performance

Quote:
I can't see how the fan is going to change the fact that the driver is being told the temperature is over 200C.
I wasn't suggesting a new fan would fix it, I was simply commenting that I didn't want to install the fan unless the original problem was something I could fix because modifying the card would probably void any warrenty or at least make it harder for me to return it.
Quote:
If the card is under warranty, I'd recommend getting it replaced.
Thanks, I emailed them today but it's a Saturday so if I don't hear back by Monday afternoon I'll give them a call and find out the details.
Quote:
If it's not under warranty you might be able to build a custom bios with nibitor with the temperature monitor disabled. You won't get temp readings anymore, but it won't be reporting temperatures to the driver anymore either.
Thanks for the suggestion, definitely sounds like a last resort but if I can't return the card it might be my best shot. I'll look into it

Last edited by cs-cam; 07-22-06 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 08-01-06, 01:08 AM   #9
cs-cam
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Default Re: 7900GT poor performance

Okay update.

I took the card back and they didn't find anything wrong with it. Feeling a tad suspect, I brought it home along with a new HD so I could install Windows on a spare machine which I then tested the card in. On Windows using 91.28 I played Quake 4 for about half an hour and the GPU temp didn't go above 77C, no glitches no bugs everything was great. Put it back in the linux machine and 10 seconds of glxgears was all it took to break using 87.62 drivers.

I used a Geforce 6200 in the linux machine for a while without any dramas so I'm not thinking that the motherboard is at fault here. Anyone like to chime in with something else I could try? Will Nibitor do anything for me as it seems that maybe it's a kooky bug in the drivers or something?

Any help at all would be appreciated

EDIT: I tried Nibitor just to have a look and the options I was going for aren't available
pic

Last edited by cs-cam; 08-01-06 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 08-01-06, 03:43 AM   #10
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Default Re: 7900GT poor performance

You could also try to read the temperature out using NVClock (0.8 beta2) it does it in a different way than nvidia-settings and might show the correct temperatures. I wouldn't patch the bios.
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Old 08-03-06, 03:12 AM   #11
cs-cam
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Default Re: 7900GT poor performance

I've got a CVS build of nvclock as of 31/7/06. nvidia-settings shows 290+C and nvclock currently shows this:
Code:
[ sylvester :: cam ]-> nvclock -i
-- General info --
Card: 		nVidia Geforce 7900GT
Architecture: 	NV49 A2
PCI id: 	0x291
GPU clock: 	468.000 MHz
Bustype: 	PCI-Express

-- Pipeline info --
Pixel units: 6x4 (111111b)
Vertex units: 8x1 (11111111b)
HW masked units: None
SW masked units: None

-- Memory info --
Amount: 	256 MB
Type: 		256 bit DDR
Clock: 		-2147483.750 MHz

-- PCI-Express info --
Current Rate: 	16X
Maximum rate: 	16X

-- Sensor info --
Sensor: GPU Internal Sensor
GPU temperature: -95C

-- VideoBios information --
Version: 05.71.22.12.02
Signon message: GeForce 7900 GT VGA BIOS
Performance level 0: gpu 450(+20)MHz/memory 1320MHz/1.20V/20%
Performance level 1: gpu 450(+20)MHz/memory 1320MHz/1.20V/50%
VID mask: 1
Voltage level 0: 1.20V, VID: 1
The current clock speed doesn't match either of the performance levels, memory clock is just stupid as is the GPU temp. When I reboot and the card is fine temporarily nvclock reports the same temps as nvidia-settings, around 40C.

I swap a drive for a blank and install WinXP on this machine and see if it's something with the mobo. Don't know how it would be though but I can't think of anything else..
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Old 08-05-06, 12:55 PM   #12
cs-cam
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Default Re: 7900GT poor performance

Well I think I figured out the problem. I had a PCI WinTV PVR-500 in this machine which didn't work with linux (IRQ problem, playing with pci/acpi options didn't help) so I just ignored it. Took it out the other day and the video card is working great.

Wtf?
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