Monday, May 14, 2012

Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UDH3 built-in ATI HD4290 video vs Asus nVidia GTX 560 Ti

About a year ago, I acquired a Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H motherboard. It has a built-in video card with one DVI-D digital port, and one VGA analog port. I never used the video card and always had it disabled. I was using a separate discrete video card from nVidia, previously a 9800 GT, and now an nVidia GTX 60 Ti from Asus .

I am now running a triple-monitor setup, with a pair of HP LP3065 30" 2560x1600, and a Gateway FHD2401 24" 1920x1200, fitted with a custom mount to run in pivot (vertical) mode. Since the GTX 560 only has 2 DVI-D ports, I decided to enable the internal ATI motherboard video card to get a 3rd port. Unfortunately, I ran into several issues.

  1. I connected both the large HP LP3065 monitors to the much faster nVidia GTX 560 Ti video card. These monitors are setup horizontally on my left. I wanted the boot display to be the leftmost HP monitor. In the Gigabyte BIOS, under "Advanced BIOS features" / "Init display first", I selected "PEG" in order to select the nVidia card as my boot video card. It booted fine to the correct display, but unfortunately, when the OS loaded, it turned out that the internal ATI video card had been disabled !

    This happened despite the fact that I had "Advanced BIOS features"/ "IGX Configuration" / "Internal Graphics Mode" set to "UMA" . I tried the other values, "SidePort" and "UMA + SidePort". No go. The only way to have the internal video card enabled was to select that card as the boot display. This didn't sit well with me, since I had a pivot monitor attached to it, and thus all the BIOS bootup messages would appear vertically ! This is clearly a Gigabyte BIOS bug. The only way I was able to solve it was to physically switch the monitor connections between the two video cards. I connected the leftmost HP LP3065 to the internal ATI card on the motherboard, and then the second HP LP3065 and Gateway FHD2401 to the nVidia GTX 560 . Then I was able to have the boot display on the leftmost HP LP3065, and run all 3 monitors with both GPUs.
  2. After solving the first problem, when Windows 7 loaded, it recognized both GPUs and 3 monitors perfectly. But I started getting strange messages that "Windows has detected your computer's performance is slow". This was not actually the case. But the messages were incessant, every 30 seconds or so. Windows was inviting me to disable Aero and switch to Basic. Even when I switched the Windows setting to "optimize for quality", the messages continued. I did about an hour's worth of google searches, and nothing I found helped. I concluded that this was a software conflict between Windows 7 x64, the nVidia 296.10 drivers, and the ATI Catalyst 12.3 drivers.

    The only way I was able to solve this was to disable the motherboard's ATI GPU. I had an old 8600GT video card lying around, and put in the second PCI-E x16 slot . I used it only to drive the smaller Gateway FHD2401 display. Now that both video cards are nVidia, everything works fine, without any pesky bogus performance messages.

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