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What is the current state of AMD cards and drivers? - from a stability perspective

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hello!

I currently have a GTX 960 from nVidia and am seriously considering jumping over to AMD products over 'political' (nVidia marketing schemings, the 3.5GB controversy of GTX 970, crippling of their own older products etc., async compute not as good as for AMD controversy) reasons, apart from performance related ones.

I was eyeing the R9 380/390 for some time, and began documenting myself a lot, reading reviews, articles, forums, reddit, to enquire about users experiences with AMD cards.

This documenting process has bought only worries and paranoia to myself, as I see a lot of complaints on different categories for the cards. It has led me to wait a bit more, not do anything for the moment, to better observe the situation over the other side of the market - with AMD cards. The problem is that I don't get a much better view there, when I read about users experiences, and not only performance benchmarks.

I was looking at some of the R9 390 models around the market, and in the process, tried to make an overview of the observed issues and problems.
Some of them may be untrue, biased, but this is the point of starting this thread - in order to ask from your help to confirm/infirm these claims, and if possible, to get a better overview on the whole situation.

So, the overview for R9 390 models:

MSI, Sapphire and ASUS R9 390 models - seem to be better rated by user reviews, but still:
  • Freezes in games, flickers, unable to play some games - is this entirely related to the drivers? See 1) of General observations.
  • Multi-monitor setup problems: when using more than one monitor, idle temperatures are high, from 40* to 60*. - Not of great concern as I don't have multi-monitor setup.

Gigabyte R9 390 - considering to not buy from them because of the most numerous complaints seen:
  • users complain over loudness of fans - I think every card is loud at 100%, but due to more heat/inneficient cooling for AMD cards, fans get to higher RPM than with nVidia cards.
  • flickering, BSODS, black screen, freezes in games; - they don't specify which driver they use
  • fan problems, temperature problems - think those are found on other manufacturers as well - not so worrying (see 2) from General observations)
  • computer sleep problem - not working - only shutdown works - may be only limited to Windows 10, not sure.

General observations:
  1. General perception that Crimson drivers bring a lot of problems and frustration to users, as oposed to CCC 15.1.1 beta drivers, which from my readings seem to be the most stable ones.
    Q: Is this a general accepted situation - that CCC 15.11.1 beta is the way to go for the time being, until Crimson gets more stable?
  2. Users mention the need of having custom fan profiles set up, as the default ones tend to let the card overheat. Also, Crimson drivers have the "fan stuck at 20%" bug on several R9 3xx models, as reported by various users.
  3. Users recommend the older, pre-Crimson drivers as a safe harbor for now. Is this true - efficient -will it work with every game/application?
  4. Users mention that at release time R9 300 were sort-of unusable - again - poor performance in games, random crashes - then the CCC drivers got updated - after some months, and they were good enough - then the Crimson drivers were launched - and the problems and frustration returned. Is this the way things progressed?
  5. Some users even mention crashes and freezes when using hardware accelerated desktop applications such as browser. Is this still a driver related problem or present all around, or at random?

If you could contribute to this 'investigation' I'm undertaking, I would greatly like if you could answer as much of the points possible, and tell me which of them are too weak to be generalized, which of them are well known problems, and your experience with AMD, if any.
I'm greatly thinking this over, and it seems like a hard decision whether to go from nVidia to AMD, as both sides have a lot of down-sides - a sad state of the market! Although for now I cannot complain too much over my ASUS GTX 960, which is stable and performs quite nice.
I, as a user, would sacrifice small one figure performance advantages in order to have stability and a better overall experience with using the graphics card.

I would greatly like to make myself a clear picture over the whole situation, and have a centralized picture of the current state of things. I hope that this can help others as well.
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post #2 of 36
If you are an overclocker, or trying to get a bit more performance from your card, you are in for a ride (to hell aka crimson).

Simply put, everytime you reboot (or when your pc crashes) while the card was overclocked, those clocks will be applied WITHOUT voltage on the next startup. Depending on how much overclock you use, you will either get instant lock up or severe image corruption (and then a lock up).

Quick solution? boot to safe mode uninstall the drivers.



Its makes the experience of finding your max overclock wonderful. Just wonderful.
Edited by spyshagg - 2/3/16 at 8:18am
post #3 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeeplus View Post

Hello!

I currently have a GTX 960 from nVidia and am seriously considering jumping over to AMD products over 'political' (nVidia marketing schemings, the 3.5GB controversy of GTX 970, crippling of their own older products etc., async compute not as good as for AMD controversy) reasons, apart from performance related ones.

I was eyeing the R9 380/390 for some time, and began documenting myself a lot, reading reviews, articles, forums, reddit, to enquire about users experiences with AMD cards.

This documenting process has bought only worries and paranoia to myself, as I see a lot of complaints on different categories for the cards. It has led me to wait a bit more, not do anything for the moment, to better observe the situation over the other side of the market - with AMD cards. The problem is that I don't get a much better view there, when I read about users experiences, and not only performance benchmarks.

I was looking at some of the R9 390 models around the market, and in the process, tried to make an overview of the observed issues and problems.
Some of them may be untrue, biased, but this is the point of starting this thread - in order to ask from your help to confirm/infirm these claims, and if possible, to get a better overview on the whole situation.

So, the overview for R9 390 models:

MSI, Sapphire and ASUS R9 390 models - seem to be better rated by user reviews, but still:
  • Freezes in games, flickers, unable to play some games - is this entirely related to the drivers? See 1) of General observations.
  • Multi-monitor setup problems: when using more than one monitor, idle temperatures are high, from 40* to 60*. - Not of great concern as I don't have multi-monitor setup.


ANSWER: I'm currently the owner of a Sapphire Nitro R390 and so far I have experienced no issues with the latest AMD drivers. I got a boost of an extra few fps in fact when I switched over to their Windows 10 drivers. I'm hitting GTX 980 performance with a simple Sapphire Nitro R390 card at a far lower price. Besides games, synthetic benchmarks run without a glitch after increasing power limit and a few mvolts with overclocking. So far stability is as solid as Nvidia's.



Gigabyte R9 390 - considering to not buy from them because of the most numerous complaints seen:
  • users complain over loudness of fans - I think every card is loud at 100%, but due to more heat/inneficient cooling for AMD cards, fans get to higher RPM than with nVidia cards.

    ANSWER: Then stay away from them. Sapphire is the quietest of them all. My fan barely hits 25-40% rpm with their massive cooling solution. Even at 50% its dam quiet. Its also a far cry from those old reference R290x whiners.
  • flickering, BSODS, black screen, freezes in games; - they don't specify which driver they use


    ANSWER: I do not experience these issues as a Saphire Nitro R390 owner. I do know Nvidia SLI is severly broken in Total War: Attila and plenty of GTX 980 owners are pissed off.

  • fan problems, temperature problems - think those are found on other manufacturers as well - not so worrying (see 2) from General observations)
  • computer sleep problem - not working - only shutdown works - may be only limited to Windows 10, not sure.

ANSWER: No such problem on my set up at all. I'm running an Intel I7-6700K, Asus Z170plus-M motherboard, 480GB Sandisk Extreme Pro and Kingston Hyper DDR4-2666 with a 1000 watt Cooler Master V power supply. Temperature is perfectly fine on the Sapphire Nitro R9. Around 30-40 degree Celsius when idle and 70+ degrees when overclocked.


General observations:
  1. General perception that Crimson drivers bring a lot of problems and frustration to users, as oposed to CCC 15.1.1 beta drivers, which from my readings seem to be the most stable ones.
    Q: Is this a general accepted situation - that CCC 15.11.1 beta is the way to go for the time being, until Crimson gets more stable?
  2. Users mention the need of having custom fan profiles set up, as the default ones tend to let the card overheat. Also, Crimson drivers have the "fan stuck at 20%" bug on several R9 3xx models, as reported by various users.
  3. Users recommend the older, pre-Crimson drivers as a safe harbor for now. Is this true - efficient -will it work with every game/application?
  4. Users mention that at release time R9 300 were sort-of unusable - again - poor performance in games, random crashes - then the CCC drivers got updated - after some months, and they were good enough - then the Crimson drivers were launched - and the problems and frustration returned. Is this the way things progressed?
  5. Some users even mention crashes and freezes when using hardware accelerated desktop applications such as browser. Is this still a driver related problem or present all around, or at random?


ANSWER: I play Shadow of Mordor and the AMD R390X owns the GTX 980 in that game. I've managed to overclocked my Sapphire Nitro R390 to become a MSI R390x performance equivalent. And the MSI R390x easily trades blows with the GTX 980. So I'm paying for GTX 980 levels of performance at a couple hundred of bucks cheaper. It's a good and reasonable deal.

I have RMAed my Palit GTX 970 Jetstream TWICE and still get coil whine, so I'm not going to risk it by trying for a third time, since they insist that all the Palit cards are the newest and best batches.

Any card with Coil Whine is totally unacceptable to me (that's me).

The GTX 970 (and GTX 980) series are plagued with coil whine. Its very thoroughly and well documented and acknowledged by Nvidia and their board partners. Nvidia should do a worldwide recall and give a full refund to all affected.

I also take significant issue with Nvidia G-sync technology as their monitors are more expensive. I do not like to be locked onto proprietary formats as this hurts my own wallet in the end.

This is from an ex die hard Nvidia fanboy, btw.

I thoroughly enjoy my Sapphire Nitro R9 390 now. Overclocked to R390x (GTX 980) level. Runs quiet, cool and fine. Sucker looks fierce and is a beast at 1080p, rips apart almost all games, and still an awesome force to reckon with at 1440p.

Get the Sapphire Nitro R9 390. No regrets. If you find other brands of R390 acceptable, get it too.

I've had enough of the GTX 970 coil whine, 3.5+0.5gb (30+gb/s bandwidth) scam, proprietory **** etc.

- Ex Nvidia Super Fanboy




If you could contribute to this 'investigation' I'm undertaking, I would greatly like if you could answer as much of the points possible, and tell me which of them are too weak to be generalized, which of them are well known problems, and your experience with AMD, if any.
I'm greatly thinking this over, and it seems like a hard decision whether to go from nVidia to AMD, as both sides have a lot of down-sides - a sad state of the market! Although for now I cannot complain too much over my ASUS GTX 960, which is stable and performs quite nice.
I, as a user, would sacrifice small one figure performance advantages in order to have stability and a better overall experience with using the graphics card.

I would greatly like to make myself a clear picture over the whole situation, and have a centralized picture of the current state of things. I hope that this can help others as well.
post #4 of 36
Having owned 960's, 970's, 290's and 290x's, I will offer my two cents. I say stay where you are and then grab a cheap used 980 or 980ti once Pascal arrives and the early adopters try to recoup some of their investment.

The 290 cards are fine as long as everything is working from a driver and hardware standpoint. I've had half of my 290 series fail and two DOA. If you're on a 1080p screen a 960 should get you by as long as you're comfortable with adjusting some settings. But that's the case with any card on any game anyway to some degree.

I like AMD and the tech they bring. But their timing is awful, either way too soon or too late.

But, if you are the type who buys one GPU and expects it to last 5+ years, then the 390 might just be your cup of tea. But you are currently using a 960 so perhaps you upgrade more often...
post #5 of 36
I found this interesting. Might be worth to have a look whether it comes with 6+8 pin connectors, or 8+8 to check the VRM layout of these cards. The new version is the one receiving high praise for silent operation I believe.
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post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by spyshagg View Post

If you are an overclocker, or trying to get a bit more performance from your card, you are in for a ride (to hell aka crimson).

Simply put, everytime you reboot (or when your pc crashes) while the card was overclocked, those clocks will be applied WITHOUT voltage on the next startup. Depending on how much overclock you use, you will either get instant lock up or severe image corruption (and then a lock up).

Quick solution? boot to safe mode uninstall the drivers.



Its makes the experience of finding your max overclock wonderful. Just wonderful.


ANSWER: I overclocked my Sapphire Nitro R9 390 with the latest Windows 10 crimson drivers with no issues at all.

The applied overvolt, increase in power limit and overclocked GPU and memory clocks are always automatically applied whenever I start up my Windows 10.

I'm using MSI Afterburner with the STARTUP box circled in red.
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Intel CPU View Post

ANSWER: I overclocked my Sapphire Nitro R9 390 with the latest Windows 10 crimson drivers with no issues at all.

The applied overvolt, increase in power limit and overclocked GPU and memory clocks are always automatically applied whenever I start up my Windows 10.

I'm using MSI Afterburner with the STARTUP box circled in red.

Windows locks up before giving any programs a chance from applying voltage/clock.

Like i said, depends how much you overclock is. And the situation is terrible.
post #8 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by spyshagg View Post

Windows locks up before giving any programs a chance from applying voltage/clock.

Like i said, depends how much you overclock is. And the situation is terrible.
Save it as a profile and apply it yourself. You can just as easily turn off the option of automatic overclocking at every start-up.
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post #9 of 36
BTW, Is Nvidia SLI still totally broken in Attila? I don't think there will ever be a perma fix from Nvidia and Attila?

I've read Nvidia SLI owners getting zero increase when going SLI and in fact got worse framerates. So not sure what is going on with the green camp at this moment with regards to Attila.

Its fortunate that I use a single AMD GPU and did not go the path of SLI (or crossfire for that matter).

- Ex Nvidia Super Fanboy
"Screw you Nvidia, for the proprietory G-Sync and GTX 970 3.5GB scam"
post #10 of 36
You can safely tread the path of crossfire.
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