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manyregrets
Adept II
Adept II

GPU usage spike to 100% then black screen... at idle

  • Issue Description: Intermittent black screens that crash games. Radeon Settings window blurry bug that requires restarting the program.

I have been having this issue for several months now, I am not sure exactly when or how it started. Screen will freeze for a second or two, then the signal is lost for a very short time (1-2 seconds usually), followed by the screen returning to normal. It will also crash any game currently running, or, the game will continue running but will no longer display and cannot be brought to the front as it is no longer displaying at all (GPU usage at idle with game permanently not displaying).  The Radeon Settings window will almost always be blurred when I attempt to open it, and will also become blurred and transparent again after this screen issue presents. This can happen twice in 10 seconds or every few minutes. 

This issue happens usually within the first hour (or during the first hour) that the computer is running. Temps are normal and voltage isn't elevated that I can tell. There has been no hardware changes for well over a year and I generally only update Windows and graphics drivers, I try not to touch anything else. Not overclocking an play a variety of games, which any will trigger this event. 

Another strange thing is that this screen black issue will plague me for some time (up to an hour but usually around 20-30 mins) and then will stop. I can put my PC through the ringer and play intensive games after it stops and I will have no issues. But it will return once reboot or turn on my PC. So far there have been several posts on various forums I have found with similar (or perhaps the same) issue but many of them don't have solutions found or suggested. I have tried updating and also clean installing drivers, rolling back and then getting the latest. Since I started rolling back and trying newer drivers the issue is more prevalent and now happens when browsing the web using chrome (simple webpages with images, such as arts and crafts pages).

Windows taskmanager will report that when these freezes and black screens happen, GPU usage spikes to 100% for that second, then back to normal. The process using 100% wil be the game, or Radeon settings, or even nothing at all. I have seen usage at 100% and the only program using it at 1.8%. Further into taskmanager it seems the 3D graph shows the usage at 100%. Process Explorer shows something similar. BTW I'm not using FreeSync. 

When it crashes games, the error codes usually point to one of the following things:

- Vulkan is missing/corrupted or something related to that. (X4: Foundations) 

- D3D something or other has failed/missing (can't recall what it was exactly but that was Unreal Engine 4)

- OpenGL stuff has soiled the bedsheets (Radeon Settings window having a tantrum, snip attached with blurry transparent screen behind it)

  • Hardware: Alienware X51 R2, RX480 GPU (blower), increased PS, SSD.

  • Software: Windows 10 64-bit, Radeon Software 19.9.3 (have also tried 19.8.2; 19.5.2; 19.7.1; 17.10.2; and 17.7.2)

I am recently started using Process Explorer and Afterburner but nothing seems to have changed. Also trying Wattman but so far nothing.

Sorry for the wall of text but this issue is wasting much of my free time and causing much grief and distress. Thank you.

Update: When BSOD occurs, i get the Video_tdr_failure (atikmpag.sys) error screen. (Hope that helps)

47 Replies
mstfbsrn980
Grandmaster
Grandmaster

Re: GPU usage spike to 100% then black screen... at idle

Download DDU and remove old display drivers in safe mode.
https://www.amd.com/en/support/graphics/radeon-400-series/radeon-rx-400-series/radeon-rx-480 
Download and install the latest driver using this link.
Download OverdriveNTool software and apply following standard values for RX 480 after resetting the settings.
Annotation 2019-10-10 111231.png

manyregrets
Adept II
Adept II

Re: GPU usage spike to 100% then black screen... at idle

Thanks, I have tried this just now.

Unfortunately, I launched a game shortly after and i got the same issue again after several minutes.

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mstfbsrn980
Grandmaster
Grandmaster

Re: GPU usage spike to 100% then black screen... at idle

Reset the settings with WattMan. Then set the power to -30%. This will put less strain on your PSU.

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manyregrets
Adept II
Adept II

Re: GPU usage spike to 100% then black screen... at idle

Thanks, I have tried this yesterday but first thing today my PC has the same issue still. I am mostly concerned about what is causing the GPU/3D device to be spiking to 100% usage. What could cause something like that?

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mstfbsrn980
Grandmaster
Grandmaster

Re: GPU usage spike to 100% then black screen... at idle

You may experience a similar problem if the PSU fails or when the motherboard PCI port is faulty. What is your motherboard and PSU? Have you tried the GPU on a different system? If you haven't, try it if possible.

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manyregrets
Adept II
Adept II

Re: GPU usage spike to 100% then black screen... at idle

Unable to try in a different PC atm as I am working overseas. I have an Alienware X51 R2, which is the only detail it gives me in system information under system model. I think it is an Alienware only chipset. The PSU is also an Alienware unit which is for this model, but the 330W variant. I've had no power issues with this card for the 2 years or so I've had it installed. This card was recommended by others with the same PSU with no issues.

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mstfbsrn980
Grandmaster
Grandmaster

Re: GPU usage spike to 100% then black screen... at idle

I tried to look in detail, but I waited for you to write for your system properties. The PSU is probably not enough. If the GPU was broken, you would have different complaints. 
https://www.amd.com/en/products/graphics/radeon-rx-480 
500W is the minimum requirement for all RX 480 system. 

manyregrets
Adept II
Adept II

Re: GPU usage spike to 100% then black screen... at idle

Thanks. I did look into this when I was planning my PSU upgrade, and even though the recommended power is 500W, the TBP for the card is only 150W and the rest of the X51 system is a small for factor/low power system which is why the 220W and 330W PSU's were the only available ones (external PSU brick). As I've said, this GPu has been pushed hard in this system before without issues at all. And the issues I am getting are at idle and low usage, which is so strange as once the issue goes away after 30-60mins, I can push it hard without issues as well.

It's only for that window of time up to an hour after starting the PC that's having problems, and only started in the last few months and I've really only had windows and radeon updates for most of this time. I can't seem to get my head around the issue.

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mstfbsrn980
Grandmaster
Grandmaster

Re: GPU usage spike to 100% then black screen... at idle

https://www.amd.com/en/support/kb/release-notes/rn-rad-win-18-3-4 

Then, try an old driver. Maybe it will work. However, you must firstly remove the old drivers with DDU in Windows Safe Mode. DDU is important.
Reduce GPU core power to avoid overloading the PSU with WattMan. For example: Set -30%. It will run smoothly, if the situation is as you wrote. 

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