Rift AMD/Ati graphic card issues, Radeon HD4850 solution.

At the end of last month I wrote a short review of the MMORPG Rift. In it I waxed lyrical about its many wonders. I also mentioned its fatal flaw, namely a semi-random incompatibility with AMD/ATI graphics cards. Since then I have stumbled across what seems to be at the very least a potential fix.

I currently run an ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb card. (And right now any of you non-techie folks reading this are scratching your heads.) It’s a little out of date to be sure, but still a nice piece of kit. However when I first installed Rift it would barely run the game at all. I had constant lock ups, character, and world freezes, even some blue screens of death. At that point I partially overcame these by overclocking the living snot out of my card, crossing my fingers, and praying to the digital gods for 20 minutes of uninterrupted play. Sometimes I got it, mostly I got 30 seconds of okay-ness before opening my inventory, or the map, or you know walking locked everything up, and I was back to square one.

Now normally I would prefer not to overclock my hardware. I am quite capable of doing it, but it has the potential to massively reduce the lifespan of your hardware. However with my HD4850 I felt okay doing this because quite simply my card was dying anyway. For the last two months it’s been giving me some slight problems, and had started to smell distressingly of extra crispy electronics. I knew that despite regular maintenance its time was running out, that soon the smoke would leak out, and to be honest I felt like giving it a hero’s end. All that said, it didn’t really work. By the time I wrote the review I had managed perhaps 3 hours of acceptable play, with a truly terrible graphic quality, and my heart permanently in my mouth, but not in a good way.

In the end knowing that my card was on its way out, and that I would need to replace it anyway I ordered an Nvidia card. Which led directly to my finding at the very least a somewhat reasonable fix for my HD4850. Here’s how.

1: I uninstalled my HD4850. By this I mean I used the Catalyst uninstallation software that came with its drivers.

2: Then I rebooted in safe mode, (usually to reach this you press F8 during boot up, and choose it from the boot options.) and ran my copy of Driver Cleaner Pro. This removes all the small traces of the ATI software that may have been missed by the uninstallation software.

3: This was followed by yet another reboot to safe mode. This time I ran a Registry cleaning software, followed by a full shutdown.

At this stage I tried to install my new card. Not that it worked though. As it turns out that my power supply unit was just a little bit too wimpy to run it. But since this led me to reinstalling my original card (until I can replace the PSU as well) it also led directly to my finding this fix.

4: Boot up again, and make a fresh install of the most up to date Catalyst drivers for the ATI card. Reboot.

Having done this on a whim I tried Rift again. I was pissed off, and just had this forlorn hope. As it turned out that hope was realised. I can now run Rift with 20-24 frames per second in a capital city, and 40-60 FPS everywhere else, at medium graphics settings. I haven’t had a single lock up, or character freeze. My card is also running cooler than it has in months, and the scorched electronics smell has reduced a lot. I still intend to replace it with my new card as soon as possible. But for now I have Rift running on a card which only a few days ago used to run to a corner, and then have a massive panic attack when I loaded up the log in screen.

And there you have it. This worked for me, and I hope that it may work for some other frustrated denizen of Telara. So see you at a death rift sometime soon, just make sure you bring that extra can of whup-ass you’ve been saving. You’re going to need it.

4 Comments to “Rift AMD/Ati graphic card issues, Radeon HD4850 solution.”

  1. Tag, you’re it! I’ve just nominated you for the “Versatile Blogger Award”–details at http://kanatyler.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/boxers-blugs/
    Thanks for the great reading! 🙂 Kana

  2. Those old registry entries can cause all sorts of problems.

    • Yes they truly can, even between driver updates for the exact same hardware. I often wonder why driver updates don’t include a little code which will clear all the registry info for the previous driver as it updates. But then that would make sense wouldn’t it?

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