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5700XT high VRAM usage, stuttering and crashing

Question asked by enegra on Oct 27, 2019
Latest reply on Mar 10, 2020 by jsb

I have a reference 5700XT card, which has been giving me a rocky ride since August. Initially I was getting a lot of BSoDs through September, even with the "dangerous" settings off, like enhanced sync or hardware acceleration. Sometime in October the drivers seem to have been fixed and I haven't been getting that kind of crashes anymore.


When this card works, it works nicely. It seems to be mostly delivering performance and gets pretty average scores in benchmarks (something around 8900 in TimeSpy). It doesn't crash in benchmarks. But during longer sessions in more demanding games it does. Usually it starts with heavy stuttering, then there's a sudden black screen. Sometimes the image comes back after a dozen of seconds, but not for the active apps or desktop, so restart is needed anyway.


I tested it with my husband in another system with slightly higher end other components (newer) and the card has the same behaviour in there, in fact the crashes are more common in there. Since it is a reference design, initial thought was thermal throttling/crashes, but even with the fan curve cranked up all the way to 100% and/or undervolt it still does the same, despite the card not exceeding low 70s and low 80s on the hotspot and junction. It sure does sound like an angry hairdryer at 100% fan speed though!


What I noticed, is very high VRAM usage on the card, growing all the time while the game is running and the stuttering begins when the card is very close to exceeding its 8GB capacity and the crashes follow after that. But the games I've mainly played - heavily modded Skyrim and World of Warcraft have worked just fine with the same graphic settings on two different cards, of which neither had more memory - GTX 970 (3.5 GB) and GTX 1070 (8GB).


I have pretty much ruled out other issues with both setups and I haven't been able to find much about this particular issue - most of the people are just complaining about the heat, but if the card is allowed to get loud it doesn't actually get too hot. Is the card faulty or is it a driver issue?


The computers I tried the card with:

Setup 1: i7 7700K, 16GB 3000Mhz CL16 RAM, Z270 MSI Gaming M5, Seasonic Prime Ultra Gold 650W (Earlier was an old Corsair TX750 Bronze 750W, no change in behaviour), Evo 970 Plus 1TB + 2TB of spinning rust, 1080p 60Hz display.

Setup 2: Ryzen 7 3700X, 32GB 3600CL16 RAM, X470-i Asus ROG, Seasonic Prime Ultra Gold 650W, Evo 970 Plus 1TB + 1TB Evo 860, 1440p 144Hz display w/ Freesync.


What we tried:

  • Fresh Windows install
  • DDU in safe mode (multiple times)
  • Different driver releases
  • Agressive fan curve
  • Undervolting
  • Different settings - Enhanced Sync off, Freesync on/off, Hardware acceleration on/off, PCI-e 4.0 and 3.0.
  • Different PSU (all the time the card was connected by two separate cables)


So far no solution found for the crashes and we are really out of ideas what else we could try. Appreciate any tips.