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Old 05-06-10, 09:08 PM   #1
wsuetholz
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Default NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

Hello,
I recently purchased a NVidia ION based mini-computer manufactured by Foxconn. The NT330i device. It's BIOS doesn't give you an option to set the video memory, instead in their infinite wisdom... they have decided what the optimum setting is based on the amount of RAM you have installed... For 2Gig which is what I had available, it allocates 256MB for video memory, 4Gig would allocate 512MB for video memory. Despite what I've heard, memory is NOT cheap at this time.. It was last year, but memory that was $40 last year is now $100, a 4Gig stick runs around $150-$200 presently...

MythTV has been locking up. Actually, its a hard lockup, keyboard status lights don't work, SSH doesn't work, the only thing to do is hold down the power button until the machine powers off. Network is not working.. Pings don't get responded to even. If I had a current SSH session, then it freezes as well.

The folks at the mythtv-users irc channel have indicated that VDPAU does not play nice when it is running at less that 512MB of video memory.

In performing one of the tasks that Foxconn has asked of me, I noticed that the NV-Settings program is reporting 512MB of video memory, even though the BIOS only allocated 256MB. I was wondering if this could possibly be my problem? If so, how do I tell the nvidia driver that it only has 256MB of memory. Also, could this be the problem that the MythTV developers had seen when they were testing/developing the VDPAU integration? In other words, does the nvidia driver always grab at least 512MB of video memory?

Can somebody help me here?

Thank you,

Bill
Attached Files
File Type: gz nvidia-bug-report.log.gz (62.2 KB, 122 views)

Last edited by wsuetholz; 05-07-10 at 01:07 PM. Reason: Added required debug log file, modified to be clearer about hard lockup
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Old 05-07-10, 06:29 AM   #2
thefirstm
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Default Re: NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

As I see it, even if you don't have enough VRAM, VDPAU would not hardlock your system, it would just crash or otherwise fail to work correctly. By the way, I have never had any VDPAU-related problems on my 256MB card (8600m GT) even when playing high-bitrate 1080p videos.
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Old 05-07-10, 10:27 AM   #3
Stephen Warren
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Default Re: NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsuetholz View Post
The folks at the mythtv-users irc channel have indicated that VDPAU does not play nice when it is running at less that 512MB of video memory.
The only issue I'm aware of when using VDPAU with <512M of RAM is that there may not be enough RAM for VDPAU to operate. This should manifest itself as error returns from the VDPAU API; there should be no crashes,/hangs/..., and I am not aware of any.

For "integrated graphics" (such as First Generation ION), there is no dedicated video memory; as you're aware, a portion of the system memory (the "carve-out") is used as video memory. In earlier VDPAU drivers, the video memory was the only region that allocations could be satisfied from. Hence, an IGP system with 256M video memory would be limited to 256M RAM for VDPAU usage. More recent VDPAU drivers allow some surfaces to be allocated from system memory (on IGP only), and hence this RAM pressure is reduced. Hence, 256M video memory size should not be such a limitation for you any more. Note: This usage of system memory only applies to IGPs, since for IGPs, system and video memory are essentially the same thing (and should be the same performance). On discrete GPUs, system memory is much slower than dedicated video memory, hence VDPAU does not use it, because doing so would degrade performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsuetholz View Post
In performing one of the tasks that Foxconn has asked of me, I noticed that the NV-Settings program is reporting 512MB of video memory, even though the BIOS only allocated 256MB. I was wondering if this could possibly be my problem?
I don't believe this is your problem. nvidia-settings reports a marketing-defined memory size, which includes both the video memory size plus some percentage of system memory. This is because recent NVIDIA GPUs (i.e. everything VDPAU supports at least) can read and write to system memory as well as any dedicated video memory or carve-out (subject to differing memory speeds). Consequently, the addressable RAM size is larger than the video memory size. No NVIDIA tools that I'm aware of report the physical memory size.

In order to address your problem, can you please create an nvidia-bug-report (see stickies). This might capture some details of your crash/hang. One question: When your system is crashed/hung, is network access (ping, ssh) still operational; is it just the GUI that is crashed/hung, or the whole machine?

If not, are you able to set up a serial console or "netconsole"?

Thanks.
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Old 05-07-10, 12:40 PM   #4
wsuetholz
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Default Re: NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Warren View Post
The only issue I'm aware of when using VDPAU with <512M of RAM is that there may not be enough RAM for VDPAU to operate. This should manifest itself as error returns from the VDPAU API; there should be no crashes,/hangs/..., and I am not aware of any.
Thank you for clarifying that. I'll I've been told (repeatedly) is that MythTV VDPAU does not play nice with video ram < 512M.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Warren View Post
In order to address your problem, can you please create an nvidia-bug-report (see stickies). This might capture some details of your crash/hang. One question: When your system is crashed/hung, is network access (ping, ssh) still operational; is it just the GUI that is crashed/hung, or the whole machine?
I guess I wasn't clear enough. Hard Lock includes any networking at all, even if I have an existing ssh connection, it will get stuck as well. Pings fail, the system is unresponsive. I did notice, one time when I left it sit for a while, the Fan revved up, which suggests that something was happening, maybe some really tight loop in the kernel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Warren View Post
If not, are you able to set up a serial console or "netconsole"?
The device does not have any serial ports.. I also do not have a usb-serial adapter. I can attempt to set up a "netconsole".

I have a few more days, before I have to decide if I'm keeping this device or not...
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Old 05-07-10, 01:08 PM   #5
wsuetholz
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Default Re: NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

I modified the first post to include the nvidia debug log file. This log file was taken before things were locked up, since I have no way of generating this log file after.
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Old 05-07-10, 11:25 PM   #6
primerib
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Default Re: NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

I also have experienced this on my Nvidia ION box. Never did get it figured out which is unfortunate as my ION just sits collecting dust. Can't really use it as an htpc as I originally planned because of this problem.
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Old 05-10-10, 10:11 AM   #7
Stephen Warren
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Default Re: NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

wsuetholz, Unfortunately, there's nothing in that bug report that gives a clue about the problem. Was that bug report created after the problem ever occurred (note: even with a reboot in between), or before the very first time?

Given the nature of this problem, it looks like we'll need to reproduce it in house to debug it (unless you can get netconsole working). Is there a specific clip or set of actions that consistently causes the problem, or is it random?
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Old 05-10-10, 11:25 AM   #8
wsuetholz
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Default Re: NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Warren View Post
wsuetholz, Unfortunately, there's nothing in that bug report that gives a clue about the problem. Was that bug report created after the problem ever occurred (note: even with a reboot in between), or before the very first time?
There had been a lockup, but I'm not sure if it was one or two boots before. Would it be helpful to generate that log right after I reboot from a lockup? Which OS would you prefer me to be using among the three I've been playing with? MythBuntu 9.10, MythBuntu 10.04, or LinHES 6.02.00? Easiest for me is the MythBuntu 9.10 Netboot, or the LinHES 6.02.00 SSD boot. I can also generate separate dumps for the two different lockups I'm seeing, if that would help.

The current log was generated on LinHES.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Warren View Post
Given the nature of this problem, it looks like we'll need to reproduce it in house to debug it (unless you can get netconsole working). Is there a specific clip or set of actions that consistently causes the problem, or is it random?
There are two actions which I've been seeing cause lockups.
1) Tuning to a LiveTV OTA station. It locks up faster if the station is HD, but will still lockup eventually with 480i content.

2) Watching a recorded program and skipping around in it. I believe that doing the same with a video locked up as well.

I have been able to have it lock up by doing #2 in MPlayer in VDPAU mode.

I have tried the various kernel boot settings mentioned in the Sticky topics. That seems to have made harder to cause the #2 type of lockups. LiveTV still locks up quickly.

My configuration is MythTV 0.22, sorry, not sure what fixes level, I'm not at home, and with the LinHES 6.02.00 install, I haven't gotten inbound SSH working on that machine. I was using MythBuntu before, both the 9.10 and the 10.04 versions. I also still have my Network boot install available. That would be MythBuntu 9.10, that's basically an image of the Zotac ION box that this one is supposed to be replacing.

The FoxConn folks have asked me to try their FoxOS, but that doesn't seem to utilize the VDPAU feature at all. I'm still in discussions with them about that. Looks to be a RedHat based package, Yum is available.

I'm still trying to get netconsole working.. Didn't have a lot of time last weekend to play. However, time is running out for this box. I have till end of this week to return it to Newegg. Maybe I'll try the Zotac ZBox instead. No DVD drive though, and it costs more.

I also purchased a 4Gig memory stick last week that will hopefully arrive quickly, just to see if it's a problem with the amount of video ram that BIOS has allocated. Stupid BIOS doesn't let me adjust it. It's purely based on total memory installed.
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Old 05-10-10, 11:45 AM   #9
primerib
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Default Re: NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

All I need to do to cause the crash is tune something on live tv and let it sit. It will eventually crash at which point the system is completely hardlocked. As the OP said, no ssh, no ftp, not even a keyboard plugged into console will respond.

For reference, I'm using a ZOTAC IONITX-C-U. It doesn't seem to matter which versions of xine-lib-1.2, nvidia drivers, etc. I use, the hardlock occurs in every setup I've tried. Also, the temperature (as it's a passive cooled mainboard) is fine. I originally thought that could be a problem so I set up a monitor which updated every second and logged the result. After the crash and a reboot, the log showed the temps had not risen at all up to the crash.

If you can look into this in-house that would be great since we're unable to generate any kind of report.
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Old 05-10-10, 12:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

Try to run MythTV/MPlayer on a sepearte screen without X11 composite extension or any desktop enviroment (with xinit)
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Old 05-10-10, 08:34 PM   #11
primerib
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Default Re: NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

I don't have a desktop/windows/etc on my ION box. The sole purpose is a dedicated htpc running VDR w/mplayer & mp3 plugins. No reason for a desktop and so on. I don't like Mythtv so I have no plan to bother with it. I also run an absolutely minimal Debian install.

Obviously though I have xorg installed.
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Old 05-11-10, 07:49 AM   #12
wsuetholz
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Default Re: NVidia ION lockups in MythTV

Hello, I just performed the following steps with the LinHES MythTV configuration..

1) Booted, ran the nvidia-crash-report.sh and saved that file as nvidia*.b4lock.gz
2) Ran mythfrontend -v most -l /var/log/mythtv/mythfrontend.log after clearing the old log
Proceeded to watch a HD recording, it locked almost immediately, I didn't even have to skip around in the recording this time.
3) Rebooted, ran the nvidia-crash-report.sh and saved that file as nvidia*.video.gz
4) Ran mythfrontend -v most -l /var/log/mythtv/mythfrontend.log after clearing the old log
Proceeded to watch LiveTV. It was an HD channel (Milwaukee channel 4-1) which was showing a SD commercial at the time. It ran a bit longer, but it didn't make it to the HD news program that is currently airing.
5) Rebooted ran the nvidia-crash-report.sh and saved that file as nvidia*.tv.gz

I also have the mythfrontend.log.video.gz and mythfrontend.log.tv.gz files as well.
Attached Files
File Type: gz nvidia-bug-report.log.b4lock.gz (67.4 KB, 117 views)
File Type: gz nvidia-bug-report.log.video.gz (64.8 KB, 111 views)
File Type: gz nvidia-bug-report.log.tv.gz (64.5 KB, 118 views)
File Type: gz mythfrontend.log.video.gz (87.2 KB, 119 views)
File Type: gz mythfrontend.log.tv.gz (40.1 KB, 120 views)
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