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Knows the Song of Time
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I would do a quick writeup with an explanation of those of you who are receiving gray "error" screens, or grey screens with vertical green lines. I'll answer questions as best as I can. This is information was obtained through various forms of customer support and other forums.

The Gray Screen
The ATi 5xxx series of cards contains new RAM modules. This newly revised GDDR5 memory is known to have issues. Whether it be heat or faulty chips, when the RAM on your card has an issue, you're likely to see your system lock up with the newly termed, GSOD, or Gray Screen of Death. Almost all owners of the 5xxx series have seen this screen once or twice, however in most cases it does not mean your card needs to be sent out for RMA.

Image borrowed from user "greatone" on the AMD Forums


When the Gray Screen is Bad
A few weeks ago I had an unfortunate run-in with a faulty XFX 5870 card. The card, upon startup, would get the GSOD usually within a few minutes. Thinking it was a driver issue, I reinstalled the drivers and attempted to run the Windows Performance index measurement. It didn't last the DirectX testing. This was a faulty card. Some of the RAM chips that were placed on some of the reference cards are faulty. This is a known issue. RMA your card if you are getting the GSOD doing simple tasks such as:
- Web Browsing
- Videos (YouTube)
- Starting Up
- Activating Screensaver
- Playing Non-Demanding Video Games
Once again, RMA your card if you are getting this error frequently.

When the Gray Screen is NOT Bad
Look, whenever we see any error in our systems other than a BSOD, we all freak out. Some jump to the forums with hectic posts, others disassemble their systems and reformat their drives. This is not needed per say with the GSOD. With some 5xxx series cards, the GSOD is the new BSOD. No, I'm not joking. Instead of your system getting a BSOD when it is supposed to, you will receive the GSOD instead. This is not a bad thing. All that is happening is your RAM is, well, freaking out during the BSOD and giving you a GSOD. There is probably some long-winded technical explanation as to why this actually happens, but know it's not an issue. If you get a GSOD, your system is simply unstable. For example, my system does this. If I have a bad overclock, GSOD. Memory timings off on my RAM? GSOD. You get the point. Here is the good news about this. This is a driver issue. It was not corrected in the 9.12 update, but that's not saying that it won't be fixed in the next. What is happening is the driver is not processing the BSOD correctly and locking up with the GSOD. That's all there is to it. No need to RMA. To prove this, go into your Windows error reporting log. You will see that you did, in fact, BSOD, and you can check the stop error to continue to correct your overclock. The GSOD is a video card version of an IRQL_NOT_EQUAL error.

Look, this guide is not a panacea to fixing anything. It's just explaining what is wrong. You will need to contact the manufacturer if you feel as though your issues are bad enough to warrant an RMA.

The purpose of this post is for informative purposes only. Do not reply to this thread with the sole purpose of stating that this has not happened to you.

I hope this helps put your mind at ease.
- skitzogreg

1/21
EDIT: Update! Possible Solution Found!
I know this thread has been battling back and forth with various solutions, but I seem to have found somewhat of a fix. Please try this and report back on whether or not it worked for you or not. Here's my explanation:

I have been running tests with another video card (4350) to replicate a BSOD where my 5870 was getting a GSOD. It appears as though the the BSOD Error number is BC: 101. When this error occurs, your system is freezing at about 40% of the memory dump during the BSOD. This explains why your computer does not automatically restart whenever you receive a GSOD. Essentially, this error has to do with CPU voltage. Regardless of whether or not your overclock is stable, add voltage to your CPU (VCore). There is obviously some sort of connection (other than the obvious NB/SB link) between your CPU's voltage and the 5xxx card. It might not be a driver issue after all. Please test this out on your card. Add voltage to your CPU until the GSOD goes away and report back. Obviously, don't put your CPU's voltage at an unsafe level. I will remove this excerpt if it does not work for the majority of people. Try it first, it has worked on all of the tests I've thrown at it.

*1/27 Catalyst 10.1 Update*
Note: The CCC 10.1 update lists the gray screen as a "known issue under all Windows Operationg Systems" on page 5-6 of the release notes.

Quote:
"Intermittent grey screen or vertical line corruption may randomly appear on the screen" (Catalyst Release Notes 10.1, ATi 2009)
*4/28 Catalyst 10.3 Update*
I haven't updated this thread in awhile, but I thought I would share that since 10.3, I'm happy to say that this is not happening anymore.
 

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The way I'm reading this the GSOD is a replacement for a BSOD and not an error with the card. However, you're saying that the GSOD replaces the BSOD and a new driver will simply revert this. I really hope I'm mis-reading as it's impossible for so many people to be experiencing so many G(B)SOD's on multiple systems.

Please tell me I've read this wrong and the driver will simply remove the GSOD and NOT replace it with a BSOD, as there's no instability on my pc other than when the gfx card is in.
 

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this explanation makes sense, and i sure hope it's right rather than my video card being defective. I've had GSOD with unstable OCs too.
 

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Knows the Song of Time
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by fassasome View Post
The way I'm reading this the GSOD is a replacement for a BSOD and not an error with the card. However, you're saying that the GSOD replaces the BSOD and a new driver will simply revert this. I really hope I'm mis-reading as it's impossible for so many people to be experiencing so many G(B)SOD's on multiple systems.

Please tell me I've read this wrong and the driver will simply remove the GSOD and NOT replace it with a BSOD, as there's no instability on my pc other than when the gfx card is in.
If you're receiving the GSOD during regular computer use as stated above, it is not a BSOD replacement. It is faulty RAM modules on your card. If, however, you are attempting to overclock your system and you receive the GSOD during stress testing, check your Windows Error Reporting log to see if you have BSOD information. In that case, it is a BSOD replacement. The new drivers will fix the issue, and you will see instability BSOD's instead. The catch is this; if your card is flat out screwing up (as stated in the first part of my post), you will not have any information in the Windows log. Does this make more sense?

Quote:

Originally Posted by ez12a View Post
this explanation makes sense, and i sure hope it's right rather than my video card being defective. I've had GSOD with unstable OCs too.
You should be fine unless it does it during normal use.
 

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Overclocking
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I've seen it happen many times before. Actually what causes it the most is if I open Prime95 w/o Stress test than run Furmark I get that screen super fast.
 

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I was seeing a lot of people getting GSOD when they OCed their system, and yes it was from an unstable OC. I recommend anyone getting the GSOD to first run bios default settings and to set the card to stock. If the GSOD continues, I would start thinking about RMA. I know there were a lot of ATI 5000 series owners waiting on the 9.12s to see if the GSOD went away, and it did not. The issue was more then just drivers, and seems to be faulty hardware as explained in the OP's post.
 

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Any one getting a black screen it just started when i got the 5870 some times i just freeze on a black screen and the 5870 wont be overclocked.
 

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Knows the Song of Time
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bal3Wolf View Post
Any one getting a black screen it just started when i got the 5870 some times i just freeze on a black screen and the 5870 wont be overclocked.
I've never heard of that issue. If it does it again, RMA the card.
 

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it does it anytime i try to push my cpu over 3600mhz i done tested the cpu in 2 boards with differt ram and the error only started happening after i got the 5870 aslong as im under 3600mhz i dont have the problem at all its kinda wierd.
 

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Knows the Song of Time
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bal3Wolf View Post
it does it anytime i try to push my cpu over 3600mhz i done tested the cpu in 2 boards with differt ram and the error only started happening after i got the 5870 aslong as im under 3600mhz i dont have the problem at all its kinda wierd.
If this is happening when you OC the video card, drop the OC. See if that changes anything.
 

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I also get the black screen occasionally. I seem to get it more now than the GSOD, I also loose any audio that was playing through the speakers when it occurs.

I really don't understand error messages from the event logs, I can build pc's and maintain and oc etc... but this stuff is over my head maybe it is relevant.

I only have the following error messages for when I crash:

Unloading the performance counter strings for service WmiApRpl (WmiApRpl) failed. The first DWORD in the Data section contains the error code.

and

The performance strings in the Performance registry value is corrupted when process Performance extension counter provider. The BaseIndex value from the Performance registry is the first DWORD in the Data section, LastCounter value is the second DWORD in the Data section, and LastHelp value is the third DWORD in the Data section.

But only a few application errors...(not enough to tie them to the crashes)

Don't know what I should be looking for, but most of my errors come from running demanding games, though I have had a few errors from running simple applications like itunes causing a black screen. Thing is with the instability, I get errors at stock clocks and when OC'ed, I am now running with my gfx under-clocked and it has been a bit more stable though still throws up errors.

(I found a repair system performance index fix that I have just tried, so maybe they are irrelevant.)
 

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videocard is at stock even tried below stock and it would still do it its wierd aslong as im running 3600 or below it works perfect no crashes even with the card overclocked to 942/1227 with stock volts.
 

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Knows the Song of Time
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by fassasome View Post
I also get the black screen occasionally. I seem to get it more now than the GSOD, I also loose any audio that was playing through the speakers when it occurs.

I really don't understand error messages from the event logs, I can build pc's and maintain and oc etc... but this stuff is over my head maybe it is relevant.

I only have the following error messages for when I crash:

Unloading the performance counter strings for service WmiApRpl (WmiApRpl) failed. The first DWORD in the Data section contains the error code.

and

The performance strings in the Performance registry value is corrupted when process Performance extension counter provider. The BaseIndex value from the Performance registry is the first DWORD in the Data section, LastCounter value is the second DWORD in the Data section, and LastHelp value is the third DWORD in the Data section.

But only a few application errors...(not enough to tie them to the crashes)

Don't know what I should be looking for, but most of my errors come from running demanding games, though I have had a few errors from running simple applications like itunes causing a black screen. Thing is with the instability, I get errors at stock clocks and when OC'ed, I am now running with my gfx under-clocked and it has been a bit more stable though still throws up errors.

(I found a repair system performance index fix that I have just tried, so maybe they are irrelevant.)
Disable HDMI audio in the System Devices panel. See if that helps.
 

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I just tried that will see how it works out and im glad someone else is getting a black screen crash now i can say im not insane lol.
 

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Personally I've had the GSOD occur during light GPU use, such as Rocketdock's animations or iTunes' CoverFlow. What I tried was disabling my GPU-related startup applications one by one, until I found out what the culprit was. And well, turns out it was CCC (Cat 9.12 Hotfix).

Prior to this, I had hand-modified a CCC profile with higher 2D clocks and voltages, as I had been getting the GSOD randomly and heard about this being a fix. And for a while, it most certainly did work. That is of course, until I started getting the GSOD a few seconds after any measure of GPU usage.

Since disabling CCC from startup, I haven't seen the GSOD at all. Whether I'm doing some heavy gaming, or simply browsing through my CoverFlow playlist, it runs as it should. Though I do have a nagging hunch that disabling my CCC profile will cure this problem of mine.

In any case, I only stated this since in the OP's first post, he mentioned faulty RAM modules being a likely cause of GSOD occurrences during light GPU usage. Not saying that may not be the case, but my situation also presents another possibility that may not require an RMA after all.
 

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Data Recovery Engineer
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I have had the GSOD 2 times. Each time, I checked my memory on my card (before I put heat sinks on it) and they burnt my finger. Checked the memory on my V2 and things were at 100C!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Installed some ram sinks, fixed. My RAM now stays below 70C
 

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Knows the Song of Time
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by ArcticZero View Post
Personally I've had the GSOD occur during light GPU use, such as Rocketdock's animations or iTunes' CoverFlow. What I tried was disabling my GPU-related startup applications one by one, until I found out what the culprit was. And well, turns out it was CCC (Cat 9.12 Hotfix).

Prior to this, I had hand-modified a CCC profile with higher 2D clocks and voltages, as I had been getting the GSOD randomly and heard about this being a fix. And for a while, it most certainly did work. That is of course, until I started getting the GSOD a few seconds after any measure of GPU usage.

Since disabling CCC from startup, I haven't seen the GSOD at all. Whether I'm doing some heavy gaming, or simply browsing through my CoverFlow playlist, it runs as it should. Though I do have a nagging hunch that disabling my CCC profile will cure this problem of mine.

In any case, I only stated this since in the OP's first post, he mentioned faulty RAM modules being a likely cause of GSOD occurrences during light GPU usage. Not saying that may not be the case, but my situation also presents another possibility that may not require an RMA after all.

I'm testing your theory now. +rep
 

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My ccc is disabled for startup but i havet got the gray screen befor i get a black screen or green one with lines and sometimes trying to overclock the card more i get artifacts all over the screen in furmark and have to reboot for them to go away.
 
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