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Graphics Cards

Adept I

Old School 7970 Graphic/Audio Stutter and Random BSOD with Latest Windows

Hi All,

I'm posting here in the hopes one of you seasoned guru's can see something i've missed, or could offer some insight into an issue I'm having with games and severe audio/visual stuttering, which when it starts, makes the games unplayable and I have to log out and back in to temporarily resolve. The issue can come and go at any time and is enitrely sporadic with no consistency. Also the system can sometimes hang when logging into windows, usually when loading system services, requiring a complete reboot and/or restore from system image.

Note: I had no issues when on Windows 10 x64 Pro v1903/2004 for over a year. This issue only began after performing a clean rebuild to v20H2. Also, I have no overlocks on any hardware. BIOS is set to optimised defaults and X.M.P

System Specs (old school but still usable):

Rampage IV Extreme Motherboard - Latest BIOS revision
Intel 3930k Sandybridge-E @ stock
32GB Gskill Ripjaws @ 2133mhz (4 sticks of 8GB)
2 x MSI 7970 Lightnings 3GB @ stock (second card disabled entirely - not seen in windows)
Sound Blaster Titanium HD (connected but not used - I use the onboard RealTek Audio)
Boot Drive: Samsung 840 Pro SSD 128GB - Latest firmware. Samsung Magician and CrystalDisk Info show the health status as "good" and 94%. No errors.
Games Drive: OCZ Vertex 3 128GB - Latest Firmware - 100% Health/No errors
Storage: 2 x 1TB Sata HDD - 7500k - 100% health/no errors
Corsair AX1200W Power Supply
Custom water cooling loop (cpu/gpu watercooled)
Corsair VOID Headset/Mechanical Keyboard/Mouse - All using latest Corsair iCUE Software and latest Firmware

CPU Temps under load for 4+ hours - according to RealTempGT/CPU-Z - 35-48 degrees
GPU Temp under 99% load for 4+ hours - according to GPU-Z for 4+ - Never goes over 54 degrees
SSD/HDD Temps according to management software - 25-30 degrees

Graphics Drivers are on Adrenaline 19.5.1 - because anything else will cause a BSOD boot loop, without the ability to use safe mode via any means (startup-options in windows repair or bcdedit command line don't work when this happens - as it messes with the boot order/partitions) - requiring a complete rebuild from scratch or restore from system image. Note: On first rebuild, windows always installs an AMD Driver of its own liking (even with the option to disable automatic driver installs in "System>Advanced>Hardware") so I use DDU in safe mode to remove>reboot>re-install AMD drivers manually (express mode).

Chipset/LAN/Audio drivers from ASUS installed and Windows is fully patched. Device Manager shows no issues and everything is accounted for.

What I have done to try and fix this myself:

- Rebuild machine many times from scratch using Secure Erase on primary boot SSD. All secondary drives completely disconnected for build so only boot drive is present.
- Fiddled with UEFI BIOS settings - changing USB initialisation options (partial>full/battery charge support etc), bluetooth options (enabled/disabled), Power States etc.
- Tried every version of AMD Drivers from 18>21 - with all iterations in between, with and without system tray software
- Changed graphics settings in AMD Suite/In-Game - Vsync/frame pacing/amd optimised/use application settings/different resolutions/low-med-high graphics presets/windowed/borderless window/fps limiting to 60 (my monitor refresh rate is 60hz) etc
- Disabled/uninstalled AMD Audio in Device Manager, Sound Blaster Card etc.
- Set Windows to High Performance mode, disabled USB active suspend/turn off HDD
- Excluded Games drive/AMD folders in Anti-Virus software (kaspersky) and set all processes as "trusted". Even completely disabled all AV.
- SFC /scannow finds no erorrs, DISM Healthchecks ok, but there are lots of ESENT catalogue warnings in the system event log. Note: Only had these with Windows 20H2, and never had them in previous versions, and these errors are visible IMMEDIETELY after a fresh Windows build, and there is no "windows.old" folder or any temporary clutter
- Disk Cleanup/Temp file decluttering
- Reinstalled iCUE Software/disabled from system tray
- Tried different headset/no headset
- Disabled PCI-E lanes containing second graphcs card and sound card on mobo
- Run game as Admin
- Copied game files to a second SSD and played off that
- Run MemTest on all RAM, Heaven Benchmark on GPU, Prime95 CPU loading for a good 3-4 hours - no crashes or issues

Never had any game issues on previous versions of Windows, however I have had BSOD's for years. Sometimes a Windows Update will cause it, making the system completely unsuable, requiring a system image restore, and sometimes the system will boot afterwards. Only consisency is BSOD's either from graphics drivers or Windows Updates.

Sorry for wall of text but the devil is in the detail.

Any help sincerely appreciated




4 Replies

Use old Windows, obviously. I mean, you're already scoring an outdated system, why would you needlessly force those updates onto it? For that hardware, it might even be best to install Windows 7 and make it kind of a not-yet-retro-but-close gaming machine. Else, Windows 10 LTSC. 


Thank you for your response.

The first 2004>20H2 update was automatic (auto-installed by itself after sitting dormant for about 3 months) and installed even though I set it not to in secpol and set a registry key to disable Windows Updates/disabled related service.

Can I get the LTSC ISO as a home user? Just Googled it and it prompts me to enter Enterprise details into a form.  Also will my existing licence key (OEM) work?

Many thanks




You know you CAN get it, I just won't be saying HOW, but you should have a guess. 



I see what you did there.......... but I won't get IRATE (silent "puh") about it