AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

It seems that a lot of GPU problems revolve around specific versions of drivers. Though AMD has their own support structure, you can often learn from information reported by others who fold.

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AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby PantherX » Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:44 pm

AMD has just released Catalyst 14.4 WHQL Drivers (http://www.techpowerup.com/200230/amd-c ... eased.html) and was wondering if anyone tried it. I am curious to see if the F@H performance benefits in the 14.x Beta Drivers is present in the WHQL release or not.
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby FaaR » Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:14 am

Dunno if there are any benefits or not (I haven't checked), but these drivers clearly aren't stable for folding on my ASUS R9 290X DirectCU-II OC as I've gotten two bluescreens in just a few days even with core downclocked to 600MHz (to reduce heat now that weather is getting warmer and indoor temps start going up), whereas with the previous WHQL set from december last year I could run my computer for days straight at full clock (1050MHz on my particular card) with not a single glitch in sight.

Unfortunately, windows 8 is f***** terrible at troubleshooting itself, the event log reveals neither the issue at hand or which software component that caused it (one of the AMD driver files; same one both times I've seen this happen). All I can find in event log after the system restarts is a general kernel-power event (ID 41) being recorded; no mention of the specific bluescreen information which I was unable to write down or remember in the time before the computer restarted itself.

I've at least turned off automatic restarting now so when it happens again I will be able to record the full details without having to rely on my inaccurate memory. I also squirreled away the memory dump file, but I've no idea what to do with it, or if it's of any real usefulness. No tool delivered with the OS itself even wants to touch that file, and since it's undoubtedly binary in nature, I doubt loading it up in a text viewer would do me much good. :)

Also, the card crashes HARD fairly quickly (within minutes usually) if folding is running while running a 3D game. Or well, this is true for Diablo3 anyway. This is kinda irritating, as the game's performance is actually barely impacted at all by the folding process, it would have been neat if the two could have shared resources, but alas.

This has not happened on any of my previous 3D cards. Of course, the game has stuttered like crazy instead while folding was active, immediately alerting me to what was going on and forcing me to disable GPU folding.
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby folding_hoomer » Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:34 am

I´ve just installed the new 14.4 WHQL and am folding now the first WU.
Will post the results after finishing several WU´s.
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby road-runner » Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:25 am

Appears to be better than 13.4, I was getting 215,000 ppd with 2-7970 installed 14.4 getting 259,000 ppd
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby PantherX » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:34 am

FaaR wrote:...I've at least turned off automatic restarting now so when it happens again I will be able to record the full details without having to rely on my inaccurate memory. I also squirreled away the memory dump file, but I've no idea what to do with it, or if it's of any real usefulness. No tool delivered with the OS itself even wants to touch that file, and since it's undoubtedly binary in nature, I doubt loading it up in a text viewer would do me much good...

Try this utility or the related ones mentioned on top of the page (http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html).

FaaR wrote:...Also, the card crashes HARD fairly quickly (within minutes usually) if folding is running while running a 3D game. Or well, this is true for Diablo3 anyway. This is kinda irritating, as the game's performance is actually barely impacted at all by the folding process, it would have been neat if the two could have shared resources, but alas.

This has not happened on any of my previous 3D cards. Of course, the game has stuttered like crazy instead while folding was active, immediately alerting me to what was going on and forcing me to disable GPU folding.

I can understand if you want the GPU to be shared across programs without facing significant issues. However, this boils down to the lack of a schedule system like the CPU has. Currently, more and more applications are using the GPU for various processes so maybe in the future, the scheduler will be developed which would benefit a lot of users and can hopefully put an end to screen lag. That way, GPU folding can happen in the background just like CPU folding is.
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby folding_hoomer » Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:29 pm

First results:

System: Q9550@3570MHz, Gigabyte R9 290X WindForce 3X OC@1047MHz, Win7 Pro 64 Bit:
- no significant slow-down or acceleration compared to 14.2Beta (one finished 9406, folding 9408 ~63% ATM)
- folding without any stability-issues
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby FaaR » Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:08 pm

PantherX wrote:Try this utility or the related ones mentioned on top of the page (http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html).

Ah, great! Thank you so much. Yes, this utility does seem to do the trick.

SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED in ATIKMDAG.SYS was the error I encountered. ...Twice, in the span of a few days. Suddenly the computer just stops, bluescreen appears, and then that's all she wrote.

I can understand if you want the GPU to be shared across programs without facing significant issues. However, this boils down to the lack of a schedule system like the CPU has.

Well, yes, and no. CPUs don't have scheduling built into them, it's a software system running in the OS kernel. GPU scheduling is primitive compared to CPU scheduling, both for hardware reasons (GPUs are massively pipelined, and have traditionally not been used for more than one thing at a time). However with the desktop compositor running on the GPU in all windows versions since Vista and perhaps even earlier than that on Mac OSX, GPUs have already been called upon to do more than one thing at a time for years - perhaps many things at a time, with browsers also using GPU compositing, Adobe Flash using it, video playback, transcoding... An extending list of tasks, actually.

So while running folding and a game simultaneously might not be optimal for either task, it certainly should not make the computer bluescreen. Bluescreening means something is wildly out of whack.

Anyway - thanks a lot for your reply. Cheers! :)
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby P5-133XL » Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:34 pm

I agree, multiple simultaneous GPU tasks should not BSOD without something being wildly out of whack. That being said, I have had OS + Video driver installs that did behave poorly in that way and I've had installs that didn't. I've never been able to figure out the difference (On the same good HW) other than a brand new fresh install OS is more stable than a machine that has has the OS upgraded several times and the drivers replaced many times with lots of app installs and uninstalls. Windows just seems to degrade over time as it is changed.

I just recently had a machine that had been upgraded from XP->Vista->W7->W8 With lots of video card and driver changes along the way and for the life of me could not run a game and folding together. I had a drive fail that I replaced and installed W8 from scratch and no more problems other than lag for the game...
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby bruce » Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:12 pm

FaaR wrote:...GPU scheduling is primitive compared to CPU scheduling, both for hardware reasons (GPUs are massively pipelined, and have traditionally not been used for more than one thing at a time). However ...
That's very true.

OpenCL still has a long way to go before it has the capabilities of a true OS and if it doesn't play nice with non-OpenCL tasks.....oh well. Remember it is supposed to work with GPUs from any manufacturer, so it has access to less information about the underlying hardware than something designed specifically for your GPU.

For the most part, GPU the scheduling software doesn't really do any useful scheduling. As in the early days of DOS and Windows 3, "cooperative multiprocessing" meant that each task had to run out of work, or to willingly yield resources in case something else wanted to use them. There is no way to interrupt a run-away process except to reset the GPU and there isn't enough information to identify how long a process should be allowed to process before it is deemed run-away. Tasks don't have priorities so they run FIFO (i.e.- not scheduled).

Memory is allocated, but except for the upcoming generation of GPUs, there's no such thing as paged memory so if the total requested by all processes exceeds the actual VRAM size, some process is going to die.
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby DeeGee » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:57 am

I had bluescreens, crashes, gpu resets on my old Win7 installation when I tried to upgrade from 13.12 to 14.xx (beta, rc, whql) versions. I got annoyed enough to do a reinstall and decided to upgrade to Win8.1. 14.4 WHQL's seem to work fine now.

[edit] And not soon after saying that, I got a bluescreen while playing Flash video in Firefox... I guess I'll disable Flash hardware acceleration and see if that helps before downgrading to 13.12.
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby Dr.G » Fri May 02, 2014 9:15 pm

:D Good News: The new 14.4 AMD drivers (14-4-win7-win8-win8.1-64-dd-ccc-whql.exe) seem to have improved FaHcore17 PPD by about 15% when upgrading from 13.12 drivers on a stock HD 7970's (PPD 100 k to 120k on 9406 WU's)

FAHbench 1.2 results before and after update as follows:
Open CL, Double precision, using same PC with drivers simply upgraded without first uninstalling old drivers, on Windows 7 64bit OS. (I have also recently upgraded to the new Folding at Home client version 7.4.4 )

Double precision:
Before (= Catalyst 13.12): Explicit 9.62142 ns /day; Implicit 18.3549 ns /day
After (= Catalyst 14.4): Explicit 10.8846 ns /day; Implicit 25.2719 ns /day

Single precision:
After (= Catalyst 14.4): Explicit 34.9279 ns /day; Implicit 143.438 ns /day
(no 'before' unfortunately)

I've noticed no increase in GPU usage or change in temperature (95% usage, temps ~55-60 deg C).
I've had no crashes, no BSOD etc. All stable. Hooray!
:D
Last edited by Dr.G on Fri May 23, 2014 7:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby folding_hoomer » Sat May 03, 2014 2:43 am

Using Catalyst 14.4 WHQL since 5 days on R9 290X OC´d without any problems.
It runs stable and seems to be the best driver folding Core_17-GPU-WU´s ATM.

My tip if you got any issue:
First uninstall the older driver. See: http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-article ... ivers.aspx
After reboot install the new one.

If you have futher problems use the AMD Clean Uninstall Utility (Win7 and Win8/8.1) before installing the newer driver.
See: http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-article ... ility.aspx
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby foldy » Sat May 03, 2014 12:22 pm

Tested AMD 14.4 driver vs. 13.9 with FAHbench on my HD 7950 @ 950Mhz (similar to AMD R9 280)

13.9
Explicit 30.1
Implicit 104

14.4
Explicit 35
Implicit 122

So 14.4 amd driver has an improvement over 13.9 :)

This is also visible in my real Fahcore 17 unit 9408 where i had
10 min per 1% with 13.9 driver and now with the same unit
9 min per 1% with 14.4 driver :D
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Re: AMD 14.4 WHQL Drivers

Postby folding_hoomer » Sat May 03, 2014 2:10 pm

New version of Catalyst 14.4 WHQL

The first Version of Catalyst14.4 WHQL (281MB) includes an AHCI-driver for AMD-Chipsets which is causing some issue.
It has been removed.
"New" download for Win7/8/8.1 64Bit (only 256MB): http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/d ... 7%20-%2064
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