I purchased an ATI 5770 graphics card early this year when I built my latest PC. Sporting a gigabyte of RAM, and supporting DirectX 10, it was a reasonable purchase for a mid-range video card. Unfortunately, I encountered an error with ATI’s Catalyst drivers for the card. When the system was running a heavy duty video game, or something else intensive on the graphics card, it ran flawlessly.
When it was seemingly doing nothing, I would occasionally get an error that the “display driver atikmdag stopped responding and has successfully recovered“. Thanks to Windows 7, other than a few seconds of a blank screen, there was no downtime. It became annoying to deal with on a weekly basis, so I looked into what was going on with the card.
The ATI Catalyst drivers configure one set clock speeds for your GPU(graphics processing unit) and card memory when it’s under a load like intensive games, and a separate set of clock speeds when it is performing simple chores, such as displaying windows moving around your desktop.
These settings are visible under the ATI Overdrive configuration in the Catalyst Control Panel, as shown in the first image below.
You’ll notice my “Current Values” are higher than the default 150-175mhz range(highlighted in red). You have to set this default value to ~250mhz to resolve the “display driver atikmdag stopped responding” error. Here’s why I think it’s happening. Every time I have encountered this error, it has been when my system has been sitting idle or had the monitor powered down, then tried to resume it.
Windows 7 can call on your graphics card to manipulate the Aero interface. For some reason, the drivers take too long to ramp up the “idle” clock on the card to meet Windows 7’s demand. Windows 7 recognizes this as a timeout and restarts the driver. By adjusting the value of the default speed, the card can keep up without Windows 7 thinking it has timed out. Now the next question, “how do I change the default speed?”
Follow the instructions below:
Set your overdrive settings something like I have them in the picture to the right, and check Enable ATI Overdrive
Create a Profile in the Catalyst Control Panel by clicking Options, Profiles, Profile Manager.
Type a name for the profile(remember this name), then check the box to tell the profile to include the ATI Overdrive settings, as this is all that is needed.
Save the Profile, but DON’T ACTIVATE it yet.
Close the Catalyst Control Panel and open your favorite text editor.
Navigate to your C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\ATI\ACE\Profiles folder and open the file with the name of the profile you created.
You’ll see it is a simple XML file and there are only a few lines you need to adjust
Under the CoreClockTarget_0 section, make your file match mine in the highlighted portion below. You’ll see we’re modifying the want values, as these are the values the card uses depending on how much power your system “wants”. (at least that’s my guess) The first line changes the at rest value and it should be enough to stop the driver stopped responding errors.
Save the file, go back to your Catalyst Control Panel and activate the Profile by clicking Options, Profiles, Activate Profile and choosing the profile you created.
Be sure your Enable ATI Overdrive box is checked and you’ll see your default clock value bump to 250mhz. Since I’ve enabled this, I haven’t encountered another graphics driver error in Windows 7.
Let me know how it works for you.