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Old 11-27-2012, 06:30 PM   #1
nipplepie
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Join Date: Nov 2012
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Default 7970M 120Hz Issue - Replace GPU

Hello I have sent the following email to PCSpecilist.com regarding my Vortex 3 I purchased a few months back.


Quote:
Hello

I have being having issues with the 7970M. It has great performance but it has being so much trouble to get... to even find out what the official drivers are. I have a ASUS VG236 3D Monitor, capable of 120Hz. The monitor is Nvidia 3D Vision Ready. But should be able to run at 120Hz with any card that is capable of 120Hz (right?). I want to play games at 120Hz refresh rate. I do not care about the 3D gaming.

I tried to get help in the following topics below. PLEASE do read up on them.

https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/forum...-7970m-drivers

http://forums.amd.com/game/messagevi...&enterthread=y

From the topic bellow I saw:

"It is a paradox because the AMD card must to fed through the Intel HD Graphics regardless of whether it is on or not. The way it is wired, it goes to the LVDS port only. The 120Hz screen uses the eDP port which from the way that the mobo is wired, can only be driven by an nvidia card as when it is configured. The reason is that the Intel Integrated Graphics cannot push signal through a eDP port and the AMD card cannot be utilised without the Intel GPU an therefore is limited to 60Hz."

http://forum.notebookreview.com/alie...70m-120hz.html

So does that mean if I want to play games at 120Hz I need an Nvidia graphics card? Even thought I have the newest AMD card out... If so would I be able to get PCSpecilists to upgrade the card for me and how much would it cost and how would it work? I only want to upgrade to Nvidia if it will defiantly make me able to game at 120Hz on my external monitor.

Kind Regards,
Nikolay Zhelev
All they replied was that the 7970M wasn't compatable with 3D Vision, only Nvidia cards are. Duh. That wasn't my question. I want to know weather the card is capable of running games at 120Hz. Will a future driver enable that? They also said that they do not have any spare Nvidia cards.

My questions are:
Is it true that the 7970M can not run at 120Hz at all? Or do I need a Monitor that is meant for AMD Radeon cards, instead of Nvidia?

If I really need a Nvidia card to make this happen. Can PCS really not get it replaced if I pay them? If not, where can I go to get it replaced? I thought the 7970M was soldered on, so how will that work?

Further with this driver I have installed at the moment from the thread in my Quote, I get like ingame skipping. Like it doesn't fps drop, but it skips a few frams sometimes, feeling really choppy. I play CS:GO competitively, so I just can not have that!

I would appreciate support, help from anyone else that knows what they are talking about

EDIT: I also get small but annoying screen tearing with every game I play (usually at the bottom of my screen), and when I restart my laptop I get a Blue Screen of Death, then I shut off, and boot and seems to work.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:51 AM   #2
Talaii
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The problem is probably the way you are connecting the monitor. Single-link DVI (which is what the laptop has) only supports 1920x1200 (or 1920x1080) at 60Hz, it doesn't have enough bandwidth to do more than that. To run it at 120Hz you need to use either Dual-link DVI or Displayport. Unfortunately, the laptop doesn't have Dual-link DVI, only Displayport; and the monitor doesn't have Displayport, only Dual-Link DVI. This means you'll need an annoyingly expensive adapter (this is a good example) to convert from displayport (on the laptop) to DVI (for the monitor). That'll let you get 120Hz.

This is a limitation of the laptop in general - on ALL P170EM (the Vortex 3 is a renamed P170EM), regardless of what type of video card is in it, the video outputs are wired to the integrated graphics (this allows the computer to switch off the dedicated GPU when on battery, so you get more than an hour or so of battery life. High-end GPUs use a LOT of power).



Tl;dr: A simple adapter (although relatively expensive) should let you run the monitor at 120Hz. Alternatively, a newer monitor (with displayport) should run at 120Hz by just using a displayport cable (I have the 15" version of that laptop, with a 7970M, and I've run my Samsung S23A950D at 120Hz off it before).

Tearing is a result of the frames not being synced to the monitor. It'll probably get better just by jumping up to 120Hz; otherwise you can turn Vsync on (which will cost a few frames per second, but eliminate tearing completely).

Not so sure about the stuttering or the blue screens. It could be a bunch of things - temperatures getting too high (the laptop is sitting on a flat, rigid surface, right? It has vents on the bottom; if you block them it'll overheat) Possible driver issues (update to the latest beta drivers; they give quite nice performance improvements to the 7970M + enduro laptops). Or you could just have a dodgy card - if it's blue-screening, you might want to check what error code you are getting - it could mean your SSD or memory is having problems, it could mean some random file in windows is partially corrupt, or it could be a more serious hardware fault. If it's happening on bootup it's probably one of the first two, but it wouldn't hurt to go through event log and checking the error code, then googling it to see what's causing the problem.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:33 PM   #3
nipplepie
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Thanks for helping me man. If I buy a HDMI 1.4 calbe will that work with the Vortex 3's HDMI port (or does it need to have a HDMI 1.4 Port on the laptop as well?) and the ASUS VG236 HDMI port?

Is this what I need ? http://www.ebuyer.com/281988-startec...l-link-dp2dvis

Also, yes the laptop is on my table. I take good care of it, sometimes when gaming I even put it on it's side so it gets more air.

I usually get a blue screen when restarting, not when booting up. Tbh I always put my laptop to sleep when I don't use it or go to bed. Will restart now and see what the code is.

Last edited by nipplepie; 11-28-2012 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:51 PM   #4
nipplepie
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When I restart:
Reboots, Windows Loads but can't use mouse or keyboard, few seconds later black screen and nothing happens.

So I shut off by the power button and start again. Then Windows Loads, cant use mouse of keyboard, Blue Screen http://i680.photobucket.com/albums/v...e/IMAG0284.jpg

3rd time I got a Black Screen again.

4th time back to normal, and usually now I just Sleep the laptop instead.

Guess it's a bad driver? What driver are you using with your 7970M?
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:24 AM   #5
Talaii
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I haven't had time to game in a month or two, so I am still using the driver that shipped with the laptop. A v1.4 HDMI cable might let you do 3d, but it won't do 120Hz - the port is functionally identical to the single-link DVI port from that perspective. You're going to need either an active display port to dual-link dvi adapter, or a monitor with displayport.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:53 AM   #6
nipplepie
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PCS have agreed to send me one of these adapters.

Also, I've tried finding some adapters on the internet myself, and some seem quite expensive and some suspiciously cheap. Would a adapter with a DP + USB (for power) to dual-link DVI be better. From what I understand that is an 'active' device as it requires power via USB. Why is that? How is that different from the cheaper adapters that come without the USB cable?
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:19 AM   #7
Talaii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nipplepie View Post
PCS have agreed to send me one of these adapters.

Also, I've tried finding some adapters on the internet myself, and some seem quite expensive and some suspiciously cheap. Would a adapter with a DP + USB (for power) to dual-link DVI be better. From what I understand that is an 'active' device as it requires power via USB. Why is that? How is that different from the cheaper adapters that come without the USB cable?
Displayport and DVI are completely different ways of sending data. HDMI is the same as single-link DVI (but with a different shaped connector, and some extra pins for audio and the like). Some computers have special displayport connectors that have the pins for HDMI and the pins for Displayport wired to them, with a simple hardware switch based on whether every pin is connected. With these connectors, you can connect a simple passive adapter that simply connects the HDMI pins on the port to the HDMI/DVI pins on the other end of the adapter, and everything will work. This is generally labelled Displayport ++ (D with two little plus signs next to it). Basically: The port can either "speak" HDMI _or_ displayport, and chooses which to use based on which cable is connected; so all you need is a slightly different cable.

On the other hand, if you want to convert the displayport signal into something else (in this case, DVI), you need something to process the signal and re-output it. This takes more processing power, so for higher-bandwidth signals, it generally needs an external power source, usually in the form of a USB plug. These are called "Active" displayport adapters, and are much more expensive ($50+, usually; though single-link DVI/HDMI/VGA ones are getting cheaper, the dual-link ones are still fairly pricy).

You'll need an active converter for what you want to do. The P170EM doesn't have a dual-mode displayport, so it won't work with any sort of passive adapter. And the downside of the intel graphics chipset is that it doesn't do dual-link DVI natively - if you need a high-bandwidth monitor connection, you need to use displayport.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:46 PM   #8
nipplepie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talaii View Post
Displayport and DVI are completely different ways of sending data. HDMI is the same as single-link DVI (but with a different shaped connector, and some extra pins for audio and the like). Some computers have special displayport connectors that have the pins for HDMI and the pins for Displayport wired to them, with a simple hardware switch based on whether every pin is connected. With these connectors, you can connect a simple passive adapter that simply connects the HDMI pins on the port to the HDMI/DVI pins on the other end of the adapter, and everything will work. This is generally labelled Displayport ++ (D with two little plus signs next to it). Basically: The port can either "speak" HDMI _or_ displayport, and chooses which to use based on which cable is connected; so all you need is a slightly different cable.

On the other hand, if you want to convert the displayport signal into something else (in this case, DVI), you need something to process the signal and re-output it. This takes more processing power, so for higher-bandwidth signals, it generally needs an external power source, usually in the form of a USB plug. These are called "Active" displayport adapters, and are much more expensive ($50+, usually; though single-link DVI/HDMI/VGA ones are getting cheaper, the dual-link ones are still fairly pricy).

You'll need an active converter for what you want to do. The P170EM doesn't have a dual-mode displayport, so it won't work with any sort of passive adapter. And the downside of the intel graphics chipset is that it doesn't do dual-link DVI natively - if you need a high-bandwidth monitor connection, you need to use displayport.
Okay thanks, nearly bought the wrong one lol.

Also, the one you linked me in "this" is a DVI-D to Thunderbolt + USB? I have a firewire/IEEE port on my laptop, will that also work, instead of connecting it to my DisplayPort? I know that firewire has a lot more bandwidth than say USB and SATA right? So should work?

Last edited by nipplepie; 11-29-2012 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:25 AM   #9
Talaii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nipplepie View Post
Okay thanks, nearly bought the wrong one lol.

Also, the one you linked me in "this" is a DVI-D to Thunderbolt + USB? I have a firewire/IEEE port on my laptop, will that also work, instead of connecting it to my DisplayPort? I know that firewire has a lot more bandwidth than say USB and SATA right? So should work?
Thunderbolt is mini-displayport plus a bunch of extra stuff - you can connect a thunderbolt port to a displayport monitor and have it work. The adapter I linked is not quite right - it's mini-displayport, so you'd also need a displayport -> mini-displayport adapter, and all the ones I can find are the other way around (they let you plug a full-sized displayport cable to a mini-displayport port, you want the opposite). You can find similar things on Amazon/Newegg - they cost a little more, but avoid having to find the extra cable. See here.

Firewire is a completely different, much older, and much slower connector, and won't be suitable for connecting monitors at all. It's also much lower bandwidth than everything else - your screen needs around 6Gbit/second of bandwidth (slightly more, since the screen output formats have some overheads. SATA is 3Gbit/s or 6GBit/s, USB3 is 5GBit/s. USB2 is around 480MB/s, and firewire is only 400MBit/s (0.4GBit/s). It's nowhere NEAR fast enough.
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:59 AM   #10
nipplepie
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Okay thanks for explaining. I'm not sure what adapter PCSpecilist will send me, but if it's the wrong one, is this the one I need to buy?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dell-BizLink...4283885&sr=8-1
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:40 AM   #11
Talaii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nipplepie View Post
Okay thanks for explaining. I'm not sure what adapter PCSpecilist will send me, but if it's the wrong one, is this the one I need to buy?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dell-BizLink...4283885&sr=8-1
Yes. That's right.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:35 AM   #12
nipplepie
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Thanks man.
With the adaptor without the USB I can get 100Hz now. Using the addaptor with the USB power connector I can get the full 120Hz!!!
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