ATI HD4870 & HD4850 Crossfire Performance Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     August 7, 2008

Troubleshooting the Issues

Now that we have seen some of the potential problems you may have, here are some of the options you may want to try in order to alleviate your Crossfire woes.

Itís All about Windows

Before we go too far into troubleshooting, there is a one-stop-shop solution for fixing almost any display driver issue on the face of this planet but it is the one solution almost everyone cringes at hearing: reinstalling Windows. Letís face it, no matter how good your driver cleaning program is, there is always the chance that some last vestiges of a previous driver will come back to haunt you. To us, installing one driver over another is like trying to paint a masterpiece over a paint by numbers done by a three-year-old; we just donít do it. I am sure there are plenty of you rolling your eyes at the ceiling right now at the thought of reinstalling Windows and loosing all those carefully downloaded cracks for your favourite programs but it is without a doubt the best way to solve problems with both Nvidia and ATI drivers.

Properly Uninstalling Past Drivers

Many problems with graphics cards are caused by improperly uninstalled drivers. To us, it doesnít matter if you are going from ATI to ATI, Nvidia to ATI or from ATI to Nvidia since one thing stays constant: you must ALWAYS uninstall your presently-installed driver. While we already discussed how to properly uninstall an Nvidia drivers (use the Control Panel, go into Device Manager, right click on the Nvidia card, uninstall and use Driver Cleaner in Safe Mode) up to the point of having to reboot, the real bag oí tricks are needed when uninstalling the ATI drivers.

While you could go through the same process of going into the Device Manager, we have found this could cause problems down the road even after using a driver cleaning program. Rather, go about the process of INSTALLING the old ATI drivers and instead of hitting Install, click on Uninstall. Like so:

Click to enlarge

Then you can click on Express Uninstall and go through the process of uninstalling the ATI drivers through the Catalyst Install manager.

After this it is time to reboot into Safe Mode and use a driver cleaning program to get rid of every last little bit of the drivers.

The Right Way to Install Drivers

Now that we have seen how to properly uninstall the old drivers, letís go through the process from start to finish for installing Crossfireíd ATI card. Here we go:

Uninstall Drivers through either Device Manager (Nvidia) or Catalyst Install Manager (ATI)
Reboot to Safe Mode
Completely clean system (Driver Cleaner Pro recommended)
Shut Down
Install both cards (with Crossfire bridges)
Start Up
Install drivers
Start Windows
Reboot again
Ensure CF is enabled via a pop-up or through the CCC

This should properly install the drivers for both cards and while we understand that some of you will already have a single card installed while hoping to just add another one, we recommend going through this process anyways. It is possible to have one card installed and then install another but if you donít completely reinstall the drivers we have found it leads to more issues than we would like.

If after this whole process of installing your cards results in the problems mentioned earlier in this section, donít fear since there is still some hope for you.

Delete those Hangers-On

I want to make sure that you understand that we are now getting into things you should only try if you went through all of the other steps mentioned above and are still getting error messages.

Like a bad rash, there are parts of the ATI install package that stick around no matter what program you use to uninstall and clean the old drivers with. These include the ATI Technologies folder in your main drive directory as well as running programs (like MOM.exe) which for some reason like popping up at the most inopportune moments. While it isnít recommended, if you are on your last shred of sanity you can go ahead and delete these during the uninstall process.

Click to enlarge

In the above picture you can see that we are in the Programs and Features window in Vista which can also be accessed through the Add / Remove Programs window in XP. You can go here to uninstall any last parts of the ATI installers or programs which piggyback on the ATI drivers and CCC.

Click to enlarge

Here we see that there is an additional ATI Technologies folder in our main drive directory (C: in this case) which is left untouched even after cleaning with Driver Cleaner and Driver Sweeper. If you are having issues installing the ATI drivers and enabling Crossfire or if you have some driver error messages regarding the .exe files contained herein, you can delete this folder but PLEASE use this as a last resort.

The Band-Aid Solution

Click to enlarge

Many of you remember that within the ATI Catalyst Control Center there is a section called Catalyst AI. If after going through all of the suggestions above there are still issues with one game in particular, you can try disabling Catalyst AI. Just remember that this in effect turns off Crossfire which results in lower performance as well so it should only be used as a last resort. All you have to do is click on the ďDisable Catalyst AIĒ, click Apply and exit the CCC.

Just remember that even after all of these suggestions there may still be problems here and when all else failsÖ..reinstall Windows.

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