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Random hard locks.
August 7, 2006 9:08 PM   Subscribe

My Windows 2003 PC with a Matrox Parhelia randomly hard-locks when I'm running any 3D application. Does anyone know what might be the cause?

I've installed what I believe to be the latest, Win2k3-native, drivers. I used to think it was a problem with World of Warcraft, but Second Life displays exactly the same problem.

I'm running in Triplehead mode and can't take the 3D accelleration down even a single notch without things screwing up.

It might not be the graphics, I guess. The PC has an AMD CPU and one of the nForce family of motherboards. It uses on-board sound and both on-board NICs. I can't remember all its details, but if someone has a really good lead, I can pop it open and look.
posted by krisjohn to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
 
Perhaps the card is overheating?
posted by odinsdream at 9:14 PM on August 7, 2006


Overheating's possible I suppose. I've never had any graphical glitches like the ones I experienced with my previous overheating video card, though.

That said, I've just checked and the GPU's fan is spinning. I'll see about adding another fan to the case as soon as I can find a spare.
posted by krisjohn at 10:06 PM on August 7, 2006


what happens exactly? screen freeze showing the 3-D application?

something i like to use to check if it IS overheating is open up the case itself and put a big old normal fan right next to it on high. first it will blow all the dust out of your case and second of all there is no way a card is going to overheat under those conditions (i am not reccomending keeping it there Forever!).

i had a video card overheating on me a few months ago and it would usually result in graphical artifacts like weird distorted images, not hard lockups.

try running memtest, dxdiag, maybe this burn in test.
posted by sophist at 3:12 AM on August 8, 2006


It just instantaneously locks up with no warning and no artifacts.

I'll take some spare fans in tomorrow and fit them, then try my luck with some 3D stuff when I'm not busy.
posted by krisjohn at 3:23 AM on August 8, 2006


Wait, so if you turn the 3-D acceleration DOWN you experience more problems? i am beginning to doubt that it is your video card, because the more you turn down the acceleration the more strain you are putting on the system and the less on the card. Also, you meantioned Triplehead... have you tried pulling that apart and just running a single monitor?
posted by sophist at 3:47 AM on August 8, 2006


Unfortunately, the system is in heavy use. Losing triplehead, either by turning it off directly or by dialling down the acceleration such that it doesn't work properly, isn't an option. Because 3D stuff isn't essential to my work, and 2D works perfectly, I can't justify the decrease in productivity that would be caused by dropping to one monitor.

More background:

In the almost 3 years I've had the PC, it's only hard locked once when it hasn't been running a 3D application. Every weeknight it runs a massive compression job that consumes all available RAM and pegs the CPU to 100% for several hours. Every weekday 20-50 Gig of data is copied on or off it over the network.

If it's not something 3D, my next best guess would be something to do with DirectSound.

Really, I need to hear from any Win2k3 and/or Parhelia users that experience hard lockups while using 3D applications.
posted by krisjohn at 5:16 AM on August 8, 2006


My setup is totally different, but i hope it helps anyway. I was seeing had-lockups too (see my question here). I thought it could have been my card, or overheating, but I solved it recently by swapping back to an older CPU. It seems my CPU (and AMD also) was shoddily made and just liked to lock up a lot. Have you changed your CPU or anything related recently?

The other possible culprit could be RAM. I second memtest to check that.
posted by bkudria at 8:45 AM on August 8, 2006


You mentio that it could be direct sound....

What kind of sound does it have? If it has onboard sound, it 90% likely to be RealtekAC97 chipset based. If so, that could be your problem. AC97 is the perfect way to screw up an otherwise perfectly fine machine.
posted by jaded at 9:12 AM on August 8, 2006


I have nForce audio, for which I just upgraded the driver. Also, I installed an extra fan.

Locked up again this afternoon while in SL. :(
posted by krisjohn at 10:54 PM on August 9, 2006


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