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SoterioN
01-04-05, 11:50 PM
Howdy all,

You all have a really cool site that a buddy of mine from another forum pointed me toward. Here is a posting of the problems that I'm having. They seem similar to what I've been reading here in the various posts - to make a long story short, I have a new Area-51, and in ALL games, except Star Wars Battlefront, I get random video lock ups.

Here's the long story of the symptoms and what I've done:

Troubleshooting History


Symptoms: Since day 1 of receiving this computer on December 16, 2004:

Random lock ups occur in games only. They occur during normal play, but also during cut scenes. Time to failure is random – sometimes as soon as mission begins, others can take up to 1.5 hours.

Video screen freezes, sound continues for a few seconds, then loops for about 5 seconds. Sound then returns and proceeds normally, but video frame is frozen (looks like a screenshot). Computer must be manually restarted by pressing the power button, or it will eventually restart on its own.

Out of approximately 30-40 lock ups:

On three occasions, Windows XP error reported the problem was caused by an Nvidia corporation product and that no specific solution was known.

From the error log:

Sunday, January 02, 2005 nv The driver nv4_disp for the display device \Device\Video0 got stuck in an infinite loop. This usually indicates a problem with the device itself or with the device driver programming the hardware incorrectly. Please check with your hardware device vendor for any driver updates.


On two occasions, it locked up while playing Doom 3 and after 30 seconds, normal play resumed. Also went a 3 day period with no lock ups – with none experienced in Star Wars Battlefront. During day 3, lock ups returned while playing Call of Duty.

Lock ups have occurred in:

*Call of Duty
*Call of Duty United Offensive
Doom 3
*American MGee’s Alice
*MOHAA
*MOHAA Spearhead
MOHAA Breakthrough
*Star Wars Jedi Knight II

These games are all patched with the latest updates.
* indicates that I have played these games before on my older system and beaten them, with absolutely NO problems – the software is good.


Attempted Solutions based on Alienware’s advice:

Re-seated video card

Checked cooling fans – all working

Checked power cable to the video card – one cable, no split
Ordered a 650W power supply, but invoice listed 480W. Called Alienware on day I received computer – they stated that the listing another item on the invoice reflected the 650W upgrade, although to me it was rather convoluted.

Checked GPU temps while gaming – within normal limits

Uninstalled and reinstalled drivers:
Nvidia newest and older drivers, Alienware “approved” drivers, and Omega drivers – no change
Sound drivers – newest and original factory set drivers – no change
Chipset driver – re-installed Alienware “approved” – no change

Checked for latest BIOS – running latest version

Ran memtest86 – three times (twice before testing DIMMs individually, once after putting both DIMMs back) – NO errors

Ran 3dmark benchmark Graphics Test – three times – scores in 12,000 range, test completed full cycle each time.

Removed background programs from running – first all, then selective – no change

Removed and tested each DIMM in slots 1 and 3 – both DIMMs failed in slot 1, then both passed in slot 3, eventually failed in slot 3 as well.

Performed a “bare bones” install of Windows XP – installed only video drivers and sound drivers, then Call of Duty and Alice – both failed – random lock ups


:thumbdwn:

So, Thursday, Alienware tech support will be installing a new mobo, but I'm still not convinced that this is a motherboard issue.

I did read another post about d/l Nvtweak and setting the rendering to 0, which I did, but I still received a lock up.

Please help... :confused:

Although I've done a lot, don't be confused, I'm really an amateur with computers, and I'm so frustrated...

*EDIT - I did see the sticky thread regarding the 6800 ultra and random freezes, but I didn't really tease out whether there was a solution...

SoterioN
01-04-05, 11:58 PM
Almost forgot, here's my system to help diagnose:

Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional with Service Pack 2
Power Supply: 650 Watt Power Supply Upgrade
Processor: Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor w/ HT Technology Extreme Edition 3.46GHz 2MB Cache
Motherboard: Alienware® PCI Express Motherboard with Intel® 925XE Chipset
Memory: 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz - 2 x 1024MB
Graphics Processor: NVIDIA® GeForce™ 6800 Ultra PCI Express 256MB DDR3 w/Dual Digital and TV Out
Video Optimizer: AlienAdrenaline: Video Performance Optimizer
Video Cooling: AlienIce™ Video Cooling System - Astral Blue
System Drive: High Performance - Serial ATA - 160GB Seagate® Barracuda 7,200 RPM w/8MB Cache
Optical Drive One: Lite-On® 16x DVD-ROM Drive with Software DVD Decoder
Optical Drive Two: NEC® ND-3500 16x Dual Layer DVD±R/W Recorder
Floppy Drive: 3.5" 1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive - Black
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster® Audigy® 2 ZS High Definition 7.1 Surround Firewire (IEEE® 1394)

MUYA
01-05-05, 12:08 AM
Could be either the mobo or vid card. If Alienware are replaing the mobo wait to find out if that was indeed the problem.

tragic
01-05-05, 03:11 AM
I have a very similair Alienware Rig, albeit the mobo is different. You say this only occurs in games, and i had a very similar problem, but only with COD and Doom 3.

My solution, which i found here on NVnews, was related to the the Video card bios. I flashed the bios which resolved all my problems and have never had a lock up since. Basically the flash put both the 2D and 3D settings on par with each other and all is well.

There is a thread HERE (http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=32759) that may interest you.

Luck

Fatman
01-05-05, 09:57 AM
Another solution is to use RivaTuner to set the 2d/3d clocks at the same level. I used to have similar problems as you are describing and setting both to 425 solved it for me.

Mud
01-05-05, 01:51 PM
given that you spend about £500 on alienware support (at least you used to, not sure if thats changed) i'd just make it their problem!

Fatman
01-05-05, 03:21 PM
given that you spend about £500 on alienware support (at least you used to, not sure if thats changed) i'd just make it their problem!

If you don't have anything to say that is relevant to the topic, why post at all? Who cares about tech support, the man has a problem and asked for some help.

Salamandar
01-05-05, 03:23 PM
I still can't believe that people waste there money on brand names !

The last time I payed for a barnd name ( my father payed actually ) was in 1989 when he got me a 286 PC @ 12MHz CPU.

Fatman
01-05-05, 03:32 PM
I still can't believe that people waste there money on brand names !

The last time I payed for a barnd name ( my father payed actually ) was in 1989 when he got me a 286 PC @ 12MHz CPU.

Look at your sig, hypocrite.

SoterioN
01-05-05, 03:54 PM
Another solution is to use RivaTuner to set the 2d/3d clocks at the same level. I used to have similar problems as you are describing and setting both to 425 solved it for me.

So, it sounds like Fatman and Tragic are describing the same end goal, just through different strategies. Should I go for loading a new bios or just use the Rivatuner?

Thanks again for all of your help. Also, if I change the 2d/3d clocks through RivaTuner, can I set them back to before (not that I want to, just so that I can undo problems that I create?)

Thanks.

SoterioN
01-05-05, 04:09 PM
Another solution is to use RivaTuner to set the 2d/3d clocks at the same level. I used to have similar problems as you are describing and setting both to 425 solved it for me.

Can you tell me where in RivaTuner you make these changes? I'm assuming under "Power User", but I'm not sure where the values are to be added.

One thing I did notice is that Nvtweak offered frequency changes, so I just set 2d and 3d to 425, but I'm not sure if that will cover everything.

Fatman
01-05-05, 04:21 PM
Driver Settings on the main tab, Customize > Low-level settings. Set matching frequencies for all 3 modes, test, apply changes on boot-up. And if you ever update drivers, you'll have to do this tune-up again.

This has worked for me and numerous other people, especially early samples of cards from June- August period.

SoterioN
01-05-05, 04:36 PM
Driver Settings on the main tab, Customize > Low-level settings. Set matching frequencies for all 3 modes, test, apply changes on boot-up. And if you ever update drivers, you'll have to do this tune-up again.

This has worked for me and numerous other people, especially early samples of cards from June- August period.

Thanks a lot Fatman! Changes applied, can't wait to test this baby out - I sure hope this does the trick, I really don't want them to have to change the mobo out. They're coming tomorrow night at 630 - I'm off tomorrow and am going to stress this system - if it holds up, I think I'll wave them off from installing the new mobo - hell, this one's only 3 weeks old... :D

Fatman
01-05-05, 04:49 PM
To answer your earlier question, these changes via Riva Tuner can be easily restored to original settings. If this solution works, you can then make appropriate changes to cad BIOS and acheive the same result. I prefer RivaTuner way because I like to keep things as simple as possible, less stuff to worry about, less chances of breaking stuff, etc.

nvmystyle
01-05-05, 04:51 PM
hey sot, hope it works because i need more targets in COD.

Mud
01-05-05, 05:40 PM
If you don't have anything to say that is relevant to the topic, why post at all? Who cares about tech support, the man has a problem and asked for some help.

:rolleyes:

if you can't see the relevancy then you're blind...why pay for premium tech support and then DIY, if you're the kind of person who knows his gubbins you generally build your own rather than pay over the odds for alienware.

SoterioN
01-05-05, 07:05 PM
hey sot, hope it works because i need more targets in COD.

I thought I felt an evil presence :o fret not, I'll be in line soon to dent somebody's stats, probably boost yours, but there's got to be some newb out there I can pwn :D

SoterioN
01-06-05, 12:00 AM
FYI, it seems changing the 2d clockspeed to match the 3d has done the trick. Will this cause any damage to the vid card in the long run?

MUYA
01-06-05, 12:10 AM
hmmm...my ultra's 3D and 2D speeds are always at 400MHz core and 1.1GHz memory

SoterioN
01-06-05, 01:00 AM
hmmm...my ultra's 3D and 2D speeds are always at 400MHz core and 1.1GHz memory

I'm running 425 and 1.1ghz mem, after several hours of CoD play, I've had absolutely NO lock ups. I'm just wondering if this is a solution that is needed because of the 6800's inherent flaws? or should I have Alienware replace the vid card?

tragic
01-06-05, 01:15 AM
I'm running 425 and 1.1ghz mem, after several hours of CoD play, I've had absolutely NO lock ups. I'm just wondering if this is a solution that is needed because of the 6800's inherent flaws? or should I have Alienware replace the vid card?

I have been running mine now at 425 since September without a hiccup. All games play flawlessy. I believe the stock settings are 400 but some guys are happily running this card at 450.

Fatman mentioned earlier that the problems were with the earlier versions of the card, the vid bios's were buggy. July August period, seems about right as that was when i purchased mine.

Anyways glad to hear the you can now own online :D

SoterioN
01-06-05, 01:22 AM
I have been running mine now at 425 since September without a hiccup. All games play flawlessy. I believe the stock settings are 400 but some guys are happily running this card at 450.

Fatman mentioned earlier that the problems were with the earlier versions of the card, the vid bios's were buggy. July August period, seems about right as that was when i purchased mine.

Anyways glad to hear the you can now own online :D

Yeah, it seems strange that I'd get that batch of cards, since I ordered this system in November, but I guess Alienware had them sitting on the pile.

As long as running at 425 doesn't cause any damage, I'm going to keep flying here. Thanks again Tragic and Fatman... :)

Fatman
01-06-05, 10:12 AM
AFAIK most cards ship clocked at 400 2d/425 3d by default. To my knowledge there is no long term damage associated with this "fix". A lot of folks here use this fix and if there was some damage, a pattern would have shown up by now.

BladeRunner
01-06-05, 01:09 PM
The 2d / 3d thing was really about heat & fan speed, at least that's what I took it to be. If it's running slower in 2d as there is no need for the high clock settings so the voltage could be reduced and then the fan speed can be reduced too.

If it bothers you can't you flash your card to a newer bios, with Alienware's permission if need be, or get them to do it? It could then run in lower clock speeds in 2D, using less power and creating less heat as was intended.

SoterioN
01-06-05, 03:28 PM
The 2d / 3d thing was really about heat & fan speed, at least that's what I took it to be. If it's running slower in 2d as there is no need for the high clock settings so the voltage could be reduced and then the fan speed can be reduced too.

If it bothers you can't you flash your card to a newer bios, with Alienware's permission if need be, or get them to do it? It could then run in lower clock speeds in 2D, using less power and creating less heat as was intended.


Nah, it doesn't bother me. It seems to do the trick, I just wanted to make sure that it doesn't cause any card damage. All I did was match the 2d to 3d, both now at 425. I didn't make any other changes. I do have tech support coming tonight to install a new mobo - which was what Alienware thought was the original problem, after 2 weeks of messing around on everything else. I'm just going to show them what I did based on the recommendations here and see what they want to do. In any case, it's a 3rd party contractor working for Alienware, and he's already stated that he didn't think it was the mobo either...

Thanks again everyone - gonna go test this some more, but after not sleeping last night to make up for 2 weeks of gaming, I'm pretty convinced that this solved the problem.