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Old 09-16-09, 04:19 PM   #1
Rambetter
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Default Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

I just bought a Hewlett Packard Z400 workstation, which I paid a pretty penny for. It's got a quad-core Xeon processor, 8 gigs of RAM, and an NVIDIA Quadro FX3800 PCIE graphics card (pretty high end and very recent).

I installed the amd64 variant of Debian Lenny 5.0.3 just a week ago. I then installed the latest official NVIDIA drivers (downloaded directly from the NVIDIA website). The driver version I installed is 185.18.36.

It seems that when I run 3D applications, things become unstable after a while. I know that this may be a common problem considering that NVIDIA drivers are closed-source and there can be no guarantee as to the stability of these drivers. However I need 3D acceleration for the kind of work that I am doing. I also need a 64 bit OS because some of the processes tha I launch need way more than 3 gigs of memory. All of the 3D applications that I am using, I compiled myself on this system.

Every few hours while I'm running some 3D applications, my desktop freezes up and becomes unresponsive, and the screen starts to flicker a little bit here and there. Sometimes I can regain control of the mouse an keyboard for a very short while, just long enough to save my work, but then things inevitably freeze up a short while after. I can log in through SSH from another computer, and I see that Xorg is using 100% CPU.

What would a general recommendation be to help resolve these issues? Wait for NVIDIA to release drivers that may have these problems fixed? Install the latest beta drivers? Downgrade the graphics card to something that has been around longer and for which there may be older drivers that are more stable? Or perhaps the problem is not necessarily the graphics drivers, it could be something else? Virtually all of my work consists of using 3D tools, so I have not really tested my computer extensively with just the "nv" driver (as opposed to "nvidia") nor have I tried to use my computer with the "nvidia" driver but without running 3D applications.

It's funny that my Z400 workstation came with the Linux Installation Kit which consists of 3 CDs of drivers for Red Hat systems, and instructions for installing Red Hat and using the drivers on those CDs. Perhaps HP has more extensively tested Red Hat on the Z400 and maybe if I follow their directions for installing Red Hat onto my workstation, things may be a little bit more stable? Although I really want to stick with using Debian.

Any general thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated. I'm not asking for a fix, because I think there is none.
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Old 09-16-09, 04:38 PM   #2
cehoyos
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Default Re: Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambetter View Post
What would a general recommendation be to help resolve these issues?
Writing a useful bug-report as explained in the sticky?

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Old 09-16-09, 05:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

Ahh, right-o.
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Old 09-16-09, 06:18 PM   #4
Rambetter
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Default Re: Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

I read the two stickes related to stability problems and reporting bugs.

It seems that, to file a bug report, (I first check all steps outlined and then) I create a new thread here with a very "good" subject, and attach files with information to that post. Is this correct? Do I post in this forum section or in another one?
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Old 09-16-09, 08:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

Just attach the nvidia-bugreport.log file here...
(it's not really a "bug report", merely a summary of information on your GPU, driver/kernel and config/log files).
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Old 09-16-09, 10:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

I have more and more issues with the NVidia drivers lately, but plain instability is not one of them.

Heat problems?

Did you monitor heat?
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Old 09-16-09, 11:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by uOpt View Post
I have more and more issues with the NVidia drivers lately, but plain instability is not one of them.

Heat problems?

Did you monitor heat?
Yes I've been monitoring heat a little bit. I even turned the system fans all the way up in BIOS. Heat is not high as reported by nvidia-settings. Although, the fan on the card does not seem to kick in to full blast, ever (I can't hear it kicking in), and it does not seem to be turning at an incredibly high rate (but it is indeed turning). Is there a way to turn up the graphics card fan speed (Quadro FX3800) ?

So, I'm trying to reproduce the problem now. I've been using my 3D apps for the past few hours, and I've started to write the bug report. However, since I started the X server with "startx" and debug logging (instead of starting gdm login manager) the problem has not yet happened. Still waiting for it to fail...

BTW instability is the problem for me. Other than that, the graphics card is working perfectly. No other apparent issues. If it were stable I'd be a really happy camper.
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Old 09-17-09, 02:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

OK I was able to reproduce the problem. I am attaching both:
1. The log generated by nvidia-bug-report.sh.
2. The NVIDIA installer log, even though I did not have any problems installing the driver.

Here are some facts:

- With this particular nvidia-bug-report.log.gz:
* Was running ioquake3, everything froze up (keyboard and mouse unresponsive), and audio started cycling.
* Xorg process consuming 100% CPU as reported by top.
* Unable to recover without rebooting computer.
* I logged in via SSH to generate bug report log and to clean things up afterwards.

- The 3D appliations that I'm using are GtkRadiant (http://www.qeradiant.com/cgi-bin/tra...ki/ZeroRadiant) and ioquake3 (http://ioquake3.org/). Both seem to be causing crashes, When I run only Radiant the desktop freezes every few hours. I compiled both of these softwares myself, for 64 bit, on this very same machine.

- For this attached log, I shut down /etc/init.d/gdm and then ran "startx -- -logverbose 6" from the terminal to generate the bug report.

- When grub first boots my kernel, I get a message like this one across my screen:
"[ 0.512146] PCI: Failed to allocate mem resource #6:80000@e0000000 for 0000:0f:00.0".
I don't know if this is related to the graphics card instability or not.

- All Debian Lenny updates have been applied.

- Using latest NVIDIA production release drivers, I have not tried anything older.

- Kernel is 2.6.26-2-amd64 (Debian Lenny, vanilla).

- My HP Z400 has an up-to-date BIOS (786G3 v01.14 rev.A).

- On the HP support website there were some BIOS downloads for some video cards, but not for my Quadro FX3800.

- I have NOT tried booting with "clocksource=hpet".
Attached Files
File Type: gz nvidia-bug-report.log.gz (43.4 KB, 105 views)
File Type: log nvidia-installer.log (30.3 KB, 86 views)
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Old 09-17-09, 08:10 AM   #9
romane
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Default Re: Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

When I installed 185.18.36 just after it was released, it actually fixed lockup problems I was having with the 180.drivers. Beastie was even hanging on shutdown !!

On an Intel Core2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40Ghz with 8Gb ram, GeForce 9600 GT, 64 bit Debian Lenny, all updates applied. Purpose-built to do graphics work on it.

Was that happy, installed 185.18.36 on one of my other babies, an AMD 64 with 2Gb ram, can't remember which nVidia card but the machine is only about a year old. Pre-built - bought it because it was a good price. Running Debian Squeeze 64 bit.

Both machines running dreamlike.

Wondering if yours may be a hardware thing?

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Old 09-17-09, 06:39 PM   #10
Rambetter
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Default Re: Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

Did I provide enough information for the bug report?

I was wondering if, after analyzing my log attachments, someone could tell me if there's a possiblility that my hardware is defective. Somehow I doubt that.
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Old 09-18-09, 02:16 AM   #11
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Default Re: Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

You kernel spits out some ACPI-related error messages, but I'm not expert enough to say whether they are a problem.

I'm wondering whether it's good that all interrupts from the GPU go to one core:
Code:
 24:          0          0      22054          0   IO-APIC-fasteoi   nvidia
You could try to put the GPU on MSI by adding this:
options nvidia NVreg_EnableMSI=1
to
/etc/modprobe.d/options(.conf).

If you haven't done so already, you could also try the 190.x driver. These weird, subtle things sometimes appear/disappear with a different version.
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Old 09-18-09, 01:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: Instability of NVIDIA drivers on Linux 64 bit - thoughts?

OK I will try these things you mentioned. Thanks for the help.
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