certain games crash to desktop -sometimes BSOD

Hey EE, OK Just built a pc with these specs. Asus AV8 Deluxe, AMD 64 3400+, 1 gig Corsair VR, 500 watt Ultra PS, MSI GeForce 6800 GT, SB Audugy 2 zs,  
2 x 200 Maxtor HD, Sony DVD DL DRU-710a. The pc was working great with all my apps, Word, Powerpoint, PSP, Winamp, & games, HL2, Doom3, Painkiller,Unreal 2,
NFS Underground, Vampire Bloodlines etc. I have the latest video and sound drivers, plus SP2 for XP .  The last coulple of days only when playing certain games
Painkiller, Unreal 2, I crash to the desktop, 8 out of 10 times. The other 2 times I get the bsod, with the error, "irql_not_less_or_equal 0x0000000a (0x9D886240, 0x00000002, 0x00000000, 0x8050DF62)".  NFSU ,Vampire bloodlines, Doom3 , don't crash. I tried reinstalling the games but it didn't help. What is going on here?
 If you need anymore info just ask.                                  Thanx for your time  Ed
EtrixAsked:
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davebytesCommented:
That's generally a video-driver crash.  You might actually want to try back-stepping the drivers for the GF6800 one version at a time, until you find a stable one.

It COULD also be caused by BIOS settings that are too aggressive on the video card.  Like ATI cards used to have problems with AGP fast writes.

And obviously, it could be other drivers.  I never rule out Creative or NV drivers when it comes to BSOD and CTD.  It's usually one of them. ;)
-d
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sciwriterCommented:
Nope -- bet you dollars to donuts it is the -- SB Audugy 2 zs

The GeoForce cards are MAINSTREAM gaming cards, I just don't see that as the issue, unless these are older games -- of course, I have been known to be wrong on rare occasions ( :o)

So remove the SB card and put in some dumb old "pedestrian" sound card, gosh, even a Yamaha!?!>?!?

Hey, it's only a test -- then run it and see what happens.  If right, start making some donuts.....
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TronstekCommented:
Asus board?  First thing to do is upgrade to the most recent motherboard bios.  Asus makes great boards, they just can't seem to get a bios right the first time.  Looks like the most recent version is A8V1009 found here: http://usa.asus.com/support/download/item.aspx?ModelName=A8V%20Deluxe

As dave has already pointed out Creative and NV drivers are known for their umm hic-ups, but check your bios first.

Good luck
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mysticaldanCommented:
Well working one day and problems the next isnt normal. Installed any new apps or games after which the problems started cropping up? Uninstall if any no matter how insignificant. How abt restoring back to a week or 2 back and see if things become better? Could be a broken driver in which case get Driver Cleaner : http://www.drivercleaner.net/ and purge ur system of the drivers and then reload em again. Additionally this cud be a PnP problem also in which case u might wanna go to the BIOS and disable peripherals that u no longer require like COM ports or LPT ports. If this still doesnt work then try and disable ACPI from the BIOS. WinXP and 2k are both finicky over ACPi and i have seeen that disabling it cures quite a bit of problems so give it a shot.

At best these solutions might solve this problem for you and at worst you might have to reinstall windows again since the Creative and NVidia both really embed themselves into the system and cleaning them away 100% is sometimes not possible.

Additionally did u install any codecs or video viewing programs recently? If u did uninstall them and check.

Dan
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davebytesCommented:
sciwriter -- just giving my experience from a few years of developing 3D games. ;)  Usually when I saw a "irql_not_less_or_equal" error, it was something with the 3D driver in particular.  That's just from my knowledge-base... ;)  But as I mentioned, I also thought it could just as easily be the audio drivers, as SB drivers are also notorious crashers -- though I didn't usually see less_or_equals because of SBs.  And the A2 (versus the A1, or Live) has usually been pretty stable for me.

And to say that a 'mainstream' vidboard won't have driver crashes?  Sheesh.  I'd have been out of a job many years ago if boards and drivers actually became bulletproof.  NV drivers have historically fluctuated, especially whenever they make a new big jump in numbering.  I used to have to tell people to use a 6-12mo old driver in certain cases, certain machines/bios, certain vidcards.  (Not just NV, obviously -- 3D drivers are complex beasties, and all the manufacturers are contstantly working on both new features and old stability...)

Anyway, I'll be interested to see where this one leads... I love hardware compat/driver issues. :)

-d
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mysticaldanCommented:
I agree with you Dave. Howevere this is not a normal hardware/software compat issue. Windows disables certain features on a crash to protect against future problems. However with unstable drivers this is like a domino effect as the features are so tightly integrated that with even one of them disabled the whole chain fails. Sometimes a reinstall of windows is the only way to resolve this. So everything will work fine with the same version of drivers and games and hardware till the time it crashes again. It starts with more or less one crasha nd then after that its crashes all the way. At least thats what i have seen in my years of working with such hardware/software combinations.

Creative becuase of its proprietary things is again tightly integrated with the system but cause its not being used all the time like a graphics adapter it wont cause much problems unless its advanced features are used like in a game.

Dan
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davebytesCommented:
I've never known Windows to 'disable' anything after a crash.  What does it disable?  That'd make game programming nigh impossible, since I used to BSOD machines every hour or so when working with advanced features like Shaders, or pushing high volumes of vertex buffers and texture updates through the drivers, or using certain features on certain cards (the Ge4MX is an example card that had tons of problems, just based on the 3D state and not even advanced chipset features).  If you can point me to resources on this, I'm actually interested to know what XP does on a crash/reboot, aside from chkdsk.

Having run QA for a small game company, and been the coder-on-call on and off for QA for two teams for a large game company, I have some experience with this stuff -- and again, just IMHO, rolling back driver versions a step at a time on a vidcard driver sometimes proved out that particular 3D state and calls to a given driver with a particular card or chipset had probs in newer driver, no probs older driver.  It's wacky.  But I don't claim to know everything, or nearly as much as some of you guys that frequent here!  (and definitely not Callandor! :) )

Anyway, I'm not disagreeing on that it could be the audio card just as easily -- that's why I noted it initially.  I just wanted to give my strategy of attack when I see a less_or_equal BSOD during a 3D game, which is to start with the vidcard.  It in fact could be a whole range of things, but starting with BIOS updates, then video, then audio, is usually my typical approach.
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EtrixAuthor Commented:
OK EEr's just got home. 3:20pm EST. Thanx for all the replies. I'll get started now & get back to you soon.   Thanx ED
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Blue_RishiCommented:
Jep, could very well be a driver issue. However, since it's an asus board; try the latest bios like suggested by Tronstek, if you have recently upgraded to the latest bios try downgrading (it's an asus!). Try running memtest86 as well, as I've seen this type of crash not only because of driver bugs but also because of faulty memorycontrollers / RAM.

Good luck solving this one.

Blue Rishi

Btw, I've stopped buying asus a while ago because of memory/bios issues on al lot of different boards. Next time try Abit!
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EtrixAuthor Commented:
I tried the Asus onboard sound & an old SB Live. Both crashed. The game Unreal 2, & Painkiller, loads fine but will only let me start a new game & it plays for awhile. It will not let me start any saved games. Weird.  I'll try an older video driver now. BRB    Ed
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EtrixAuthor Commented:
Tried 2 earlier nvidia drivers same problem.  I'm going to try more now. Be Back soon.    Ed
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mingtzeCommented:
Run DXDIAG from the Start menu --> Run.

Find the video and sound acceleration and put em down 1 notch at a time until (if) the problem is resolved. - my assumption here is that both settings will be at full. If at any time the reduced settings prevent the game from actually loading at all then forget it and

This is *not* a solution. However I am trying to pinpoint the cause which is pretty vague at the moment if the games worked previously before - and half the games work now.

The "proper" way to install any driver - video, sound, is to uninstall the old drivers fully. This usually is a bit tedious and from personal experience I've never actually ever needed to do it. However since the drivers worked file before a couple days ago.. as mentioned by another poster, did you change any software/hardware during the past few days?

Also another thing to try would be to remove the SB live altogether and disable the onboard sound as well. Let us know your status updates and we'll move on from there.

 
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davebytesCommented:
Did you check and try turning down BIOS AGP settings at all?  If it's related to fast writes or something, driver won't make a difference.

-d
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EtrixAuthor Commented:
ok  ran dxdiag and there was no slider for video just enable or disable. Sound I moved trhe slider one click at a time and I still couldn't get the games to work right. I have an Audigy 2 zs. the SB live and onboard sound were used for testing but it didn't help
I'm going to try turning down the bios agp now brb   Ed
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EtrixAuthor Commented:
OK lower agp to 64 and turned off  fast writes ,games won't load from saved games. I got this error just now and once before. Hope it helps.

General protection fault!

History: CheckTag <- ULinkerLoad::ULinkerLoad <-

UObject::StaticAllocateObject <- (Class

PointParticleTemplate) <- UObject::StaticConstructObject

<- ULinkerLoad::CreateExport <- (PointParticleTemplate

4850174) <- ULinkerLoad::CreateImport <- IndexToObject

<- ULinkerLoad::CreateExport <- (PointParticleTemplate0

2937) <- IndexToObject <- ULinkerLoad<<UObject <-

(LinkerLoad Transient.LinkerLoad167 2937)) <-

FPropertyTag::SerializeTaggedProperty <- LoadStream <-

(Count 0) <- UStruct::SerializeTaggedProperties <-

(ParticleTemplates[-1]) <- UObject::Serialize <-

(ParticleSalamander Sparks02.ParticleSalamander0) <-

AActor::Serialize <- LoadObject <- (ParticleSalamander

Sparks02.ParticleSalamander0 2937==2937/3733 2906 96) <-

ULinkerLoad::Preload <- PreLoadObjects <-

UObject::EndLoad <- UObject::StaticLoadObject <-

(ParticleSystems.ParticleSalamander

Sparks02.ParticleSalamander0 NULL) <-

UObject::execClassContext <- (ElectricGenerator

CS_Intro.ElectricGenerator0 @ Function

ParticleSystems.ElectricGenerator.SpawnSparks : 0032

line 530) <- UObject::ProcessEvent <- (ElectricGenerator

CS_Intro.ElectricGenerator0, Function

ParticleSystems.ElectricGenerator.Tick) <- AActor::Tick

<- (ElectricGenerator CS_Intro.ElectricGenerator0) <-

TickAllActors <- ULevel::Tick <- (NetMode=0) <-

TickLevel <- UGameEngine::Tick <- UpdateWorld <-

MainLoop

Build: Jan  7 2003 18:16:21                         Thanx  Ed
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davebytesCommented:
That's an actual code crash in what looks to be a dump from an Unreal Engine game.  That shouldn't have anything to do with the agp window or fast writes...  Not sure what else you've changed that might have caused it.  If you turned down DXG/D3D or disabled it, I'd expect a crash earlier than that.

Maybe there's something else wacky going on here... Bad memory (where's Callandor when you need him?), dunno.  Was this a singular occurrance, or happens all the time now with ANY savegame?  Did you try putting back DX settings?

-d
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EtrixAuthor Commented:
I put back the dx setings. I only got the unreal engine crash code once. Ofter I put the setting back I didn't get it again. I played
6 different games, HL2, NFSU, Doom3, Vampire Bloodlines, Silent Hill 4, The Punisher. They all ran fine and would load from saved games. Only Unreal 2 & Painkiller are haveing the problem.Both are older games especially Unreal 2. I can just play them on my other pc, but I would like to try to fix this just to learn what happened. It looks like some kind of driver error. I am going to try my GeForce 4 4600 ti tomorrow and see what happens. All the games I mentioned work fine on the older pc. Figures right?It's a Soyo Dragon Ultra mobo, 1gig ram, AMD XP 2600. I will try some of the other suggestions when I get home from work tomorrow at 3pm EST. Need sleep for work, damn. Thanx davebytes and all you who tried helped.  Ed
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davebytesCommented:
Follow-up suggestions:

- grab something like MEMTEST (memtest86.com), and test out your RAM, just in case.
- double check that your RAM settings in bios, if configurable, are on default/safe settings.  Generally, 'SPD' should work.  I assume you don't have RAM that is under-rated for your motherboard/FSB or otherwise pushing/overclocking (like running PC2700 chips in PC3200 mode, or otherwise tweaking voltages, etc.).

-d
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mysticaldanCommented:
Ok now u have complicated matters a little more by loading on additional drivers of SB Live and the onboard sound card as well. Windows doesnt take too kindly to same kinds of hardware co-existing in the system. SO while one is tempted to think that the moment u take them out or disable them but in fact Windows only temporarily stops accessing those drivers. This means they sort of turn invisible but still are in the system and can cause trbl because of the files that they commonly use.

Similarily putting in different video cards can also cause the same problems. Other than a way to possibly GHOST the system and then restore the system back to the previous state I find that there is little confidence in using system restore which is fine for app related errors but not for system related driver errors which can be fixed to start working again by rolling back the system but not a 100%.

What Dave mentions abt just the driver rollback is still a better method of making sure that the newer and older versions of the drivers dont conflict but even that doesnt change if u were to add and remove addiitional hardware.

Dave I was on IRC for sometime and most experts and some were from MS said that in case of a system crash windows does drop a notch till the hardware functions fine before running it at max level. Sort of like the slider in Windows 98 abt Video accelaration but only more subtle and finer. I have no way of corroborating this. A similar example is whne a system crashes and u start the system in saafe mode windows will drop hardware detection and drivers into a Safe mode kinda state and when u restsrt the system that state is carried on till u reach the desktop. This is to ensure that the previous crash is not repeated again. If u again run the game ur already back in optimal mode cause as far as windows is concerned after the system booted up properly there is no instability hence the system runs fine. This also explains in part why after a crash the system starts up fine but again has a tendency to crash agin. I have seen this happen a number of times personally.

Etrix, my only suggestion wud be to do a reinstall of Windows but stick to the SB Live rather than the AUdigy. Yes i know that sucks but the AUdigy is a real system twister. In their zeal to provide advanced features Creative overlooked stability to performance. The graphics card you have is cool but stick to the last stable version of the drivers in the starting just in case. Dont change the BIOS settings yet. Keep them on Optimal and if you find the system unstable change them to Fail Safe. BIOS updates wud be good if any are available. Make sure the AGP aperture size is at least 2x more than the RAM on ur Graphics card.

Dan
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mingtzeCommented:
If you havent already, perhaps try uninstalling the 2 problematic games, make a backup of the save games if you want. Delete the folders as well if the uninstaller does not remove them. Reinstall the games and see if it works?

For both those games I believe they will do an autodetect of your PC capabilities after reinstall and run at a certain video resolution and quality. Leave it on default while you are testing. Ditto for any sound settings, leave it on default dont select EAX or anything.
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cpc2004Commented:
When Windows crashes, it writes a minidump and it is the most useful debugging information for your problem. Attach 3 to 5 minidumps to any webspace or email the dumps. You can find my email at my proifile. I will process the dump to find out dump. You can fnd the minidumps at the folder of \windows\minidump
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TronstekCommented:
There's a world of difference between a 32 bit and a 64 bit processor.  Some programs just don't play nice with the 64 bit machines.  I know you said you have played these games on this machine before but I have seen many games that would work fine until a certain point in game where things would become unstable and crash.  I still suggest updating your motherboard bios.  Asus is know to have stability issues with AGP graphics cards.  If you check the patch notes you'll see almost every patch is to improve AGP stability.
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EtrixAuthor Commented:
Home from work & back to work on this prob. I'm going to start with a bios flash after I get the rsults of my minidumps, just in case that tells us something else. I am not overclocking & have not changed any memory settings or voltages. My memory was on the list for this mobo as tested & approved. Hey cpc2004 i'm sending you 5 minidumps in a few minutes. Thanx.  ED
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TronstekCommented:
Once you've flashed your bios I would suggest going to the Atari and Dreamcatcher web sites and pulling the most recent game patches.  
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cpc2004Commented:
The analayze result of the minidump shows that the crashes are caused memory corruption but I would not find which memory is corrupted.

BugCheck 1000000A, {9d886240, 2, 0, 8050df62}
Probably caused by : memory_corruption ( nt!MiDeleteValidAddress+130 )

But I find an error, you are using nVidia Display card  Install nVidia Display card 61.77 which is a stable version. If it still crashes, it must be hardware error due to memory corruption.


61.77 Release Date: July 27, 2004 http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp_2k_61.77.html
nv4_disp.dll Tue Jul 13 08:23:35 2004 (40F32B87) <-- 61.77

nVidia Display Card Driver
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21221550.html#12684667
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21258693.html
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21205016.html
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21230813.html
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mysticaldanCommented:
Cud be a linking file from windows as well.. hinting at some windows corruption?? Drivers are not the only thing between the graphics system and the game. Windows itself also interfaces with the drivers and any corruption there cud lead to problems. I wud again suggest that these very drivers on a newer installation shud not cause any problems. Try it after a BIOS update.

Dan
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davebytesCommented:
66.93 are the latest WHQL drivers up on NV's site -- but I assumed you started with the latest released drivers.  You COULD also try the BETA 71.84 drivers which are only a week old...

http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_downloads_rel70betadriver.html

-d
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Blue_RishiCommented:
I would suggest to try using the forceware drivers on http://downloads.guru3d.com/download.php?id=10 Also maybe updating your chipset (agp) driver. And as I said earlier:

> Try running memtest86 as well, as I've seen this type of crash not only because of driver bugs but also because of faulty memorycontrollers / RAM.

Good luck

BR
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davebytesCommented:
Just to again provide the details, http://www.memtest86.com/#download0 will get you to memtest86...

-d
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EtrixAuthor Commented:
Got it Tronstek thanx. Thanx also, to everyone who helped. Just about everyone had the right idea, video or sound drivers. But Tronstek nailed it. It turnout to be that both games needed updated drivers because of SP2. Again, I get hit by SP2. I had new game drivers but not the latest because the games ran fine. Both games run fine now. Funny it didn't happen to any other games. Maybe because they were newer.The weird part is that they ran for awhile after the SP2 update. Any ideas?  Again Thanx everyone.   Ed
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TronstekCommented:
Glad you got things up and running.

"The weird part is that they ran for awhile after the SP2 update. Any ideas?"
The way things are dependent on everything inside the machines these days it's hard to say.  Sort of like a house of cards, one little tremor and the whole stack comes down.
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mysticaldanCommented:
Seems like the new drivers either repaired whatever daamage occured to the windows sub-system and are working fine now. It happens. Usually in case of a game problem the first thing to do is look for a latest driver update and if that doesnt work u start looking for further solutions.

Dan
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davebytesCommented:
Just to be clear, that was 'patches' to game code, not 'drivers'.  BTW, many times, those 'patches' are to work around bugs/issues in the 'drivers'. ;)

-d
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EtrixAuthor Commented:
Thanx again EEr's.As always, this place rocks.  Ed
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