Fuck ATI: Do I Nuke the Site From Orbit?

Fuck ATI. I have had nothing but problems with this piece of shit video card since I got it a year ago. Not hardware problems, just every single stupid niggle you can think of problems. If game X had a strange display bug it inevitably happened to me and of course only affected ATI users.

And I’m fucking sick of it. My mouse cursor just now went corrupt for no reason, and after some research* this has been a known problem between Win7 and ATI anything for over a year. Fuck ATI.

So I want to reroll nVidia. Old (WinXP) wisdom was that if you were doing something as dramatic as ATI -> nVidia you needed a complete format. From orbit. Just to be sure.

Is this still the case?

*This is the thing that has brought me to the edge. The research. Why is The Witcher 2 covered in pea fog? Oh, you need to turn off something that’s enabled by default in CCC. Why did my mouse cursor just go corrupt in two thousand fucking eleven? Oh, that’s just an ATI/Win7 thing, turn on cursor trails, wiggle your mouse real fast at the edge of the screen, enable Magnifier, put your computer in Sleep mode really quick, or just restart. Not even fucking kidding, those are your choices when it comes to fixing it. It seems like I spend more and more time researching why my graphics are fucked up than I do actually playing anything. And this shit just plain doesn’t happen to nVidia users.

There are driver cleaners and other stuff available now that seems to work fine without requiring a full HDD format. I switched from Nvidia to ATI earlier this year and that was all I did and I’ve not seen any legacy issues.

Is it safe to ask what card you’re talking about? Just curious, you know.

HD5870. One of the “better” models too (Sapphire Vapor-X). No Crossfire or multiple displays or anything else guaranteed to have quirks, just a single card and a single monitor.

I switched from a 4870 to a 560 a couple of weeks ago, seemed to work OK after a roll through with driversweeper on win7-64 sp1.

Hate to tell you this but I never had any of those problems you mentioned on the 4870. I did however immediately run into a bug with Nvidia’s “just download these, stupid” drivers (285.62 or something) where Firefox would freeze for 30 seconds at a time, then require the display driver to be restarted - some problem with 2d clocks/power management apparently. The latest beta drivers (290.36) seem to fix it though.

NVidia cards have their own share of problems. When I switched to ATI just 2 years ago, it was because NVidia’s drivers were destroying cards. Most 8800GT’s destroyed themselves from heat problems related to drivers, mine included. I’ve had a 5850 since then and have been perfectly happy with it. I think I’ve had maybe one ATI driver specific problem.

The 8800GT driver problem was sort of a special case, and I’m not sure drivers were the only issue. I specifically set out to prevent that overheating issue by manually increasing my 9800GTX for over two years, and it still burnt out (recently replaced with GTX 460).

But yeah, when you see complaints about graphics or drivers problems in games, they are almost always related to ATI. Nvidia has really gotten its shit together, IMO, and I don’t think they’ll ever have driver problems again at the level of the 8800 or of ATI’s cards.

Man I must be lucky. I’ve been running a 4850 for a couple years with current drivers and haven’t had a problem.

The HD 5000s and 6000s are the ones most notorious for the cursor corruption, if that makes any difference to the 4000 users.

This is it exactly. When I got this card it was right during/before nVidia’s darkest hour with the burnouts and driver catastrophes. Understandably reactionary, my friends that keep up with hardware recommended an ATI card. I’d used a Radeon 9800 AGP back in the day, otherwise I ALWAYS avoided ATI due to their atrocious drivers… but damn, nVidia was really fucking up. When some little niggle appeared in my games, well, at least my card wasn’t on fire, right?

Three months later nVidia got its act together and ATI went back to being solidly second rate. Oops.

On a side note, does anyone else with an ATI card mentally tense up when you load a game with unskippable intro movies and one of those is the nVidia one? It always felt like I was trying to cross a border illegally or something.

Also, what’s the bestest nVidia card right now in the $300-400 range (or whatever is the best bang:buck ratio)? There’s still time to edit Christmas lists…

I used this hierarchy chart from TomsHardware:

And crossed that with this price/performance chart:

I decided on the GTX 460 which I got at $120 after rebate, but your budget is 3x mine. If you’re spending that much money then you may as well go for the 560 Ti or higher.

Other than the mentioned driver issue I am - touching all the wood you have - quite happy with the MSI Twin Frozr 560GTX Ti (thanks to whoever started the thread in here that mentioned this model). I figure I will just go for a 2500k/1155 SLI motherboard and buy another one when it’s time for the next upgrade.

The impression I’ve gotten for at least the last couple of years was that ATI lost some key people (I think it was literally their head of driver development/management?) to Nvidia and this was pretty much the exact point where things started to get shitty for ATI/AMD cards. There just doesn’t seem to be anyone at AMD who knows or can do anything for any developer who bothers them with an issue anymore, at least to the same extend there is at Nvidia.

I’ve been running dual 6970s plus three monitors on my desktop for months now, with only a few minor blips. But then, I’m not running factory overclocked cards.

One thing I’ve noticed in my years of reviewing is that AMD GPUs sometimes have less overclocking headroom than Nvidia. Or maybe AMD is just less conservative about how they spec the default clocks. I’ve often had problems when testing factory overclocked AMD based cards, while having fewer problems with factory overclocked cards based on Nvidia GPUs. (Note that I’m referring to the post DX11 generation cards here, not earlier products, like the 8800 GT.)

OTOH, AMD-based cards that tend to stay fairly close to the factory defaults are usually pretty stable. So my personal tendency has been to run AMD (because I want triple monitor support), but run at close to factory default clocks.

I’ve noticed this too. When I’ve updated AMD drivers while my card is overclocked I’ve had stability problems after the update. I don’t bother to overclock any more since the improvement was a only few fps in games anyway.

AMD cards tend to use less power and run cooler than NVidia cards for similar performance levels, also.

ATI hardware is great, but their drivers are complete shit. To this very day if you overclock a 5000-series card using the ATI overdrive with multimonitor enabled the secondary monitor will constantly flicker, because it sets the 2D memory clock too low. They had a bug for over six whole months where the GPU utilization would sit at 99%, causing resolution changes to take ~45 seconds. There was another bug where the monitor would never successfully powerdown, that one lasted almost a year. Then there are the cursor corruption and the “upper right corner” bugs, which I personally somehow managed to avoid. And of course lets not forget the recent Rage and Skyrim debacles. I just want a card that works, that I don’t have to fuck around with all the time. I’m done with ATI.

Skyrim debacle? I’ve had no problems… Or is it a card specific issue?

Edit: I know they’ve been lagging on crossfire support.

Windows will probably handle the drop in just fine. I mean I went from a intel + nvidia setup to an amd + ati setup and windows just had to reboot a few times to get the chipset drivers squared away and everything else on top of that.

Agree with everything Stusser said. Some great hardware engineering - lots of power, lower power utilization - but driver support is so slow and spotty - they’ve been really bad with recent games as well, lagging well behind Nvidia on games like Skyrim, Batman AC, Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Battlefield 3, Rage. The drivers always seem so damn fragile that every new version breaks something in one game or another, and they don’t seem to coordinate well with developers, at least compared to nvidia.

I’ve definitely done with ATI as soon as the next gen Nvidia cards come out, provided they are reasonably well received and not misfires like some of the FX cards.

Skyrim showed flashing textures and graphical artifacts for the first couple of ATI driver releases. Also yes, they didn’t support crossfire for one of the year’s top games for several weeks.

Yeah, my guess is that Nvidia just focuses on supporting developers more than ATI, including sponsoring games. You see that “Made for nVidia” logo flash before a bunch of games, and when you see it, the game runs well. I can’t remember the last game with an ATI/AMD logo.

But I mean seriously, not supporting Skyrim? It’s in the top 5 games of the year. Everybody’s playing it. How can you not support Skyrim on release? Such a huge misstep.

It’s not just crossfire, although that’s certainly been an issue. Even with the current drivers, there are still several flashing textures in some distant mountains (exiting whiterun and looking to the right, for instance) and there are more shadows issues like the crazy shadows you get in the whiterun residence, etc.

It’s absurd that ATI didn’t have drivers and crossfire profiles ready for several of the biggest games this year.

I still don’t understand why drivers need to be redone to accommodate new games. That seems to be against the whole point of DirectX.