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View Full Version : VT4--hard locks and Hyperthreading



stevestrike
07-17-2005, 06:06 PM
We use our VT4 for a live 3 camera IMAG presentation in church, along with putting slides on screen during the music (PowerPoint from a 2nd PC). We had been getting frequent hard locks (freezes) of the system during the services. The problem was so regular, that during the 4 hours the system would be running on a Sunday morning, we were guaranteed a crash at least once, maybe twice. We couldn't use the VT4 in this capacity anymore.

After several phone calls to Newtek, which resulted in reformatting, re-service packing, re-drivering, re-slotting, and re-installing, the system was no better off.

We started using Photoshop CS on this computer (hey, it's not any good as a switcher!), and it runs like a champ. There's never been a crash or lockup while using this system outside of running the VT4 software. I was confident that there was a problem with our VT4 either in the hardware or software.

On a whim, (maybe something I heard) I decided to disable Hyper threading on our dual Xeon 3GHz CPU's. Since that time, about four weeks ago, we have not had the hard lock problem. We still experience the usual "potential driver lock" and CG related crashes regularly, but the problem where the whole system just freezes seems to be gone.

So, my question is why would turning off Hyper threading help? Or is this simply a coincidence? I'd like to understand why this worked, and why I was never told to do this during the troubleshooting steps I took with Newtek phone support.

Also, if you are experiencing hard locks with your VT4 Hyper threading system, you might try disabling it too.

stevestrike
07-19-2005, 08:34 AM
Anyone?
(10 character minimum)

mgrusin
07-19-2005, 09:18 AM
I don't have anything direct to offer, except that some software really beats on the machine and exposes subtle issues. I used to have an overclocked system that worked great for everything including VT3, but crashed reliably running Doom3 (which unlike most software continuously wrings every ounce out of the machine, and has no tolerance for any errors that crop up).

I'm not saying VT4 doesn't have bugs, but even though other software works fine, you may still be a subtle hardware problem; some component that has a slightly lower spec than it should, that faults only when the system is under full load. I'd try running Prime95 for a few hours to see if it crashes (Doom3 probably isn't suitable for a church environment ;) ) and/or slightly underclocking the system to see if the stability improves (you may find that VT4 still works great even running on a slightly cooler system).

Good luck! -MG.

Ivan
07-19-2005, 09:26 AM
I have HT turned on for all the machines I've worked on with no problems. A couple of things to check would be power supply and cooling. I'm not sure but I think HT would cause the chips to run a bit hotter and that could cause a hard lock. I doubt that Photoshop is able to stress the system for 3 or 4 hours straight the way VT can and thus the chips would have a chance to cool.

I haven't done 4 hours at a stretch but I have done more than 2 with lots of video overlays and CGs playing off the drives. On the other hand, if it works for you, go with it and if others are having problems it may be something to try.

Ivan

JFAns
07-19-2005, 10:42 AM
Hi stevestrike,

I had hard locks also but I resolved it by placing a fan directly to VT4 board.
Put your system on an hour or so and than open the case and feel if the board is hot.

Ivan as mention the power supply, and he is right, put a 500W or 600W on your system. I saw some systems having problems and when the power supply was change for a biger one everything back to normal.

I hope it helps

Josť Anselmo

Blaine Holm
07-19-2005, 12:52 PM
Hi stevestrike,

I had hard locks also but I resolved it by placing a fan directly to VT4 board.
Put your system on an hour or so and than open the case and feel if the board is hot.

Ivan as mention the power supply, and he is right, put a 500W or 600W on your system. I saw some systems having problems and when the power supply was change for a biger one everything back to normal.

I hope it helps

Josť Anselmo

What version of NVIDIA Driver are you using? The 71.82 will cause hard locks.

nelsonm
07-19-2005, 03:21 PM
Hi stevestrike,

Under the circumstance, I would recommend you take it to your local NewTek dealer for a looksee if possible. Church is not an invironment where problems should be allowed to persist.

ted
07-19-2005, 04:17 PM
Steve, nice find. Not saying it's a NewTek problem, but there have been people with the same problem you describe and "maybe" you have something in commen with them that this will help with.

Make sure you forward this directly to NewTek.

Tod Cole
07-19-2005, 04:23 PM
Its very hard to lock a system on VT4. ( not impossible) I recently switched from 3 to 4 and it is very stable. We rolled back video driver for our graphics card as well. If you are only using the system for imag its just not possible for software to crash so frequently and routinely. Who built the system? What are the specs? If you are having crashes 1 hour in, regularly, I would look at overheating and dirty power in the bld.

stevestrike
07-19-2005, 05:06 PM
Thanks for the input, guys.


What version of NVIDIA Driver are you using? The 71.82 will cause hard locks. I believe the system is running 71.82 currently, but was not initially.

What version of nVidia's video drivers are recommended right now?

Tonight, I will update the video drivers and turn back on hyperthreading. Then I'll put the computer in for a night of Prime95 torture test.

I've already got an Antec TruePower 550W PSU, so I doubt that's the issue. The machine has about 7 fans, so heat shouldn't be an issue, but I'll check on that anyway.

Tod Cole
07-19-2005, 06:37 PM
Jef at Pizzaz recomended 66.93... :rock:

Ivan
07-19-2005, 06:39 PM
I was just working with someone that had a 550w Entec PS and it was a problem. It's not the size of the power supply but what you are trying to make it run. He added 2 drives and a larger video card and that put it over the edge and it began to smoke about 6 months later. He now has a 700w PS in it and it works great.

Ivan

Rich Deustachio
07-19-2005, 06:40 PM
Latest version is 77.72

stevestrike
07-19-2005, 10:00 PM
The system must have been running 71.84 or .89, who knows. It is running 77.72 currently.

Now I am unsure if turning off Hyperthreading really was the cure for my lockups, but instead the new drivers were the fix all along.

I've turned Hyperthreading back on, and started a Prime95 torture test to run all night.