17 Replies Latest reply on Jun 29, 2010 8:40 AM by Colin Brougham

    Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups

    Colin Brougham Level 6

      The new build has been running reasonably well, and I've done no major optimizing so far, and no overclocking (yet). However, I've been having infrequent and seemingly random system lock-ups that would appear to be hardware related.

       

      Last night was about the fourth or fifth of these. I had been working on and off throughout the day on a 4-camera multicamera project, and having no issues at all. This was a TOTALLY different multicam experience than I've had with CS4, where MC was hardly usable. Anyway, I was going to make my last few edits of the night when the system locked up--I had just started playing back a sequence when it happened. No hard drive activity, no keyboard/mouse interaction, no bluescreen--the audio that had started playback, however, got caught in a short loop and made an annoying racket. The only way to return to normal was to hard reboot with the power button depressed. No error or fault is logged in the Windows event logs, beyond the reboot which is recorded as something like, "Your system restarted, probably due to you turning it off... don't do that." The actually fault that perpetuates such a drastic action is not recorded. My initial thoughts were that the RAM has a bad chip somewhere, so I've run a memory test for over 8 hours now, and had 0 errors reported. There were no lock-ups, either--the system has been just humming along that whole time. This obviously does not rule out the RAM, but doesn't make it easy to say it's the problem, either. The only "tweak" I've made to the system is the RAM, and that's by setting the DRAM frequency to 1600MHz; nothing else has been altered in the BIOS.

       

      The last two lock-ups occured in one day, when I was attempting to export to an H.264 file, through the AME queue, with hardware MPE enabled. At different points in the export, the system locked, with similar results as above. After the second lock-up, I disabled GPU acceleration in PPro, and the export completed just fine. Interesting, I thought. However, I'd done other hardware MPE-assisted exports earlier that day and in previous days, with no lock-ups.

       

      As mentioned, I'd encountered at least one other hard freeze, and if I remember correctly, I was in Premiere but not doing anything. I'd walked away from the system for a little while, came back, and it was Living Dead on my return. I hadn't been rendering, importing, playing back, or anything else.

       

      I've been checking my temps with HWmonitor, and there isn't anything out of the ordinary as far as I'm aware. I'm really not stressing the system much, pretty basic and rudimentary edits. The memory test has now done about 600% coverage, and no errors. The bizarre coincidence is that these lock-ups occur when I'm in one of the Adobe programs--but I've never seen software cause a lock-up such as this before.

       

      So... where do I go from here? The lock-ups seem to completely happen at random, with no particular instigation. Is there some sort of other monitor software I can run in the background that might indicate hardware failures that Windows is not able to catch?

       

      I'm hoping you hardware gurus can shed some light on this bizarre predicament... thanks in advance for your insight.

       

      ADDENDUM:

       

      It would seem to make sense to post my hardware... duh:

       

      • ASUS P6X58D
      • i7-930
      • OCZ  Gold 12GB (6 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
      • GIGABYTE GeForce GTX  480
      • COOLER MASTER HAF 932
      • COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 1000W
      • Western  Digital VelociRaptor 150GB (system drive)
      • HITACHI 500GB 7200  RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
      • 4x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB  7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s (running RAID 5 with onboard controller)
      • Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler
        • 1. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Colin,

           

          This is a rather difficult situation to analyse, maybe start here: The Case of the Unexplained

          • 2. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
            Jeff Bellune Level 5

            Do you still have the Matrox Codecs installed?  If so, uninstall them.  The only 2 system crashes I've had in almost 3 years of Vista 64 and now Win 7 64 came while those were installed.  No crashes since I uninstalled them.

             

            -Jeff

            • 3. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
              Colin Brougham Level 6

              Actually, I do--thanks for reminding me. I've been meaning to convert the few Matrox AVIs I have so that I can eliminate those codecs. I'll do that later today, and then torture test the system. I really hope you're right--I've just never seen total system halts like this that have been the cause of software. If you are, I owe you a big, tall, frosty cerveza of your choice--I don't hang out too much in the Lounge, so let me know your preference

               

              Thanks

              • 4. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                Baz R Level 3

                colin,

                 

                if the issue does not resolve try putting the memory back to standard speed.

                 

                Baz

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                  Colin Brougham Level 6

                  Baz,

                   

                  Thanks, I will probably do that to rule everything out. However, the first lock-up I recall happened before I changed the RAM speed, so I think there may be something else amiss here. It certainly makes sense to make things "normal" before doing any kind of diagnostic however.

                   

                  I'm going to take a crack at what Jeff said, and go from there. Thanks for your input!

                  • 6. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                    Colin Brougham Level 6

                    Well, I really wanted Jeff's suggestion to be the solution, but alas, troubles remain. And it would appear that something far more sinister is happening than flaky codecs or software.

                     

                    The good news is that I can now reliably repeat the lock-up, each and every time. The bad news is that the lock-up occurs whenever I attempt an export. I'm trying to get a 75-minute multicamera edit onto a DVD, and the moment the actual encode begins, the system goes into a hard hang. I have a number of audio clips that are being used, and I see "Adobe Premiere Pro is preparing audio for export" or something like that, and then once the video processing begins, it's curtains.

                     

                    At first, I thought it was something with the hardware MPE--I'm using a GTX 480 with the hack. Editing works well--remarkably well. Encoding is a different issue, altogether, and it doesnt' matter whether I start the export with the Queue button or the Export button. I tried disabling GPU acceleration, and at first, I thought I had solved the mystery--the encode actually began and progressed for about 30 seconds. However, inevitably it would seem, I got the same hard hang.

                     

                    The first couple "hangs" were actually system restarts; the Windows desktop would disappear, and moments later, I was back at POST. I then disabled the "Automatically restart" option in Windows, and after doing that, I simply ended up with a frozen system and desktop. I'm not sure those are coincidental, actually; I'm going to test that again this morning to see if I get the restart or the hang.

                     

                    I've been checking out my temperatures with HWMonitor, and as far as I can tell, I'm not going off the charts with temperatures. Temperatures do climb (I have HWMonitor as I start the encode) for both the CPU cores and GPU, but nothing drastic, and there is no way that it's getting too hot in the 5 seconds that the encode is running before the hang. What about the power supply? I can see wattages for the CPU fluctuating drastically as the encode tries to begin, which I would gather is SOP for the operation of a computer, but is it possible that I am getting too much/too little juice? I've got a 1000W Cooler Master PSU, the components you see listed above, and 6 hard drives--this would seem to be more than sufficient to me (for my current use), but undoubtedly, the system is pulling more watts as it starts to work harder. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can really disconnect to test this theory, since I need all of the components and hard drives connected to do anything.

                     

                    I'm at a total loss, guys, and I'm more than a little frustrated because I've got a pretty expensive paperweight sitting in my office. Unfortunately, I live in a pretty rural area, so finding a trustworthy computer tech locally is a challenge, so I'm hoping that you tech-savvy folks can through out some places to look.

                     

                    Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi... you're my only hope...

                     

                    Thanks, all...

                    • 7. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                      Colin Brougham Level 6

                      OK, so I realized that I had spaced on changing the RAM clock back from 1600MHz to 1066MHz (using the "Auto" setting). I'm currently doing a software MPE encode on the same project that was hanging immediately, and things are humming along OK at the present time. The CPU cores are hovering around 50C, and the GPU core is <70C, and I'm getting 100% CPU utilization according to Windows Task Manager; I'm guessing those are OK temps, but please comment if you feel otherwise (I can't seem to find definitive information on this--thanks Google).

                       

                      Right now, Baz has got the salve to soothe my troubled mind--thank you, kind sir. Of course, I'm a little miffed that the RAM I paid for that supposedly runs at 1600MHz is not doing so. I had noticed the other day that ASUS had a beta BIOS that (according to their description) "Improve memory compatibility." I was a little trepidatious about installing a beta BIOS on a production machine, but a check just a few moments ago revealed a recently-posted "final" version. I think I'm going to upgrade once my encode is done, and see if that improves the stability of the system with the RAM at 1600MHz. It's interesting to see how I ran memory tests for 8+ hours and nothing crashed, but AME would bring the system to a screeching halt in no time.

                       

                      If I can't get this RAM to run at 1600MHz, as it is billed, do I have a legit claim for an RMA?

                      • 8. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                        Baz R Level 3

                        Colin

                         

                        did you just change the speed of the memory in the bios, as there are other things you need to change to make the memory run at optimum speed.

                         

                        baz

                        • 9. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                          Colin Brougham Level 6

                          did you just change the speed of the memory in the bios, as there are other things you need to change to make the memory run at optimum speed.

                          Yep, just changed the speed, nothing else. It's funny that you posted this, because I was just over at the OCZ forums and I realized that there are some other tweaks I'm supposed to be making! I'm assuming that's what you're alluding to (timings, etc.). My first clue was that these are supposedly supposed to run at 8-8-8-24, but in the BIOS, it said something like 9-9-9-24. You'll have to forgive my n00bishness; I'm really not much of a l337 haXX0r.

                           

                          I'm trying right now to find the proper settings for this RAM (OCZ Gold 12GB OCZ3G1600LV12GS) and for my mobo (ASUS P6X58D); unfortunately, most of its Greek to me. I'll keep looking, but if you know a good resource, please let me know.

                           

                          In the meantime, the encode has been plugging away for over an hour at the stock speed/timings--so far, so good. I'd sure love to squeeze some more juice out of these guys though

                          • 10. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                            Jeff Bellune Level 5

                            When I was shopping for my laptop, I was told by one vendor whom I trusted that another vendor sold high-speed memory that really wasn't.  He said that if you examined the RAM chips in the computer (something not many folks were likely to do) you'd see that they were stamped as lower-speed memory.

                             

                            Is it possible you paid for 1600 and really got 1066?

                             

                            -Jeff

                            • 11. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                              Colin Brougham Level 6

                              Jeff,

                               

                              Based on my inquiries here about this issue, the RAM *should* run at those speeds, but comes stock at the lower speed because it's guaranteed (well, you know...) to run in all/most systems at that speed. It'll run faster, but involves some intelligent user intervention (obviously, this is where I'm falling short) to get it to run properly at the faster speed. So far, all is well at the stock speed, but I want moremoremore. It just requires smarter folks than myself to make it happen

                               

                              By the way, the Matrox codecs bit me for the last time before uninstalling them. I had about a half-dozen or so files to convert, so I just dropped them in AME, and used the NTSC DV AVI preset. Wouldn't you know it? The aspect ratio came out all screwed up--even manually tweaking the encoding settings did nothing to correct it. I had to actually load the files into a PPro project and export from the Source Monitor to get them to come out correctly

                               

                              Matrox: never, never, never again.

                              • 12. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                                Jeff Bellune Level 5

                                this is where I'm falling short

                                Maybe not.  Didn't Scott mention that he wouldn't get anywhere near OCZ memory?  There's probably a reason for that.

                                 

                                -Jeff

                                • 13. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                                  Colin Brougham Level 6

                                  Maybe not.  Didn't Scott mention that he wouldn't get anywhere near OCZ memory?  There's probably a reason for that.

                                   

                                  -Jeff

                                  Yeah... I'm trying to overlook that. I read that after I'd already purchased and installed the RAM. However, the OCZ recommendation came from Baz and Harm... so, I'm hopeful that, as Harm would say, this issue is "simply OE."

                                  • 14. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                                    Colin Brougham Level 6

                                    OK, this is looking more and more like I simply screwed up--which I'm willing to accept. I'm a doctor, not a computer technician... well, no, I'm actually not that, either.

                                     

                                    My software MPE encode finished flawlessly (albeit a bit slowly). For giggles, I enabled GPU acceleration and started the export again. After the "audio processing" step, the encode begin and quickly proceeded past the point where it originally locked up. The encode was going to take about one-third of the time as the software-only encode--it was interesting to see CPU utilization and temperatures drop, and the GPU temperature climb. This is proof enough to me that hardware MPE--even of the hacked variety--is the real freakin' deal. It gives me great hope for some awesome things once the 480 is officially supported.

                                     

                                    In any event, at the slower RAM speeds, things are going OK for the moment. At least I have a repeatable test now that more or less immediately shows if things are set incorrectly as far as the RAM is concerned. I will play with the RAM settings in the BIOS later (and if anyone has suggestions, I'm all ears--er, eyes) to see if I can't get what I paid for. If not, the OCZ is going back and I'm shopping for something else.

                                     

                                    Thanks for your help so far, fellas...

                                    • 15. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                                      John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      Back when I was asking about parts and then actually building my CS5 computer (see http://www.pacifier.com/~jtsmith/ADOBE.HTM for notes) someone asked why I kept stating that I would NOT overclock anything

                                       

                                      Your results here are EXACTLY why I do not overclock CPU or memory

                                       

                                      I would much rather have a computer that simply WORKS as designed, than to try (and fail) to get an extra 10% (or whatever the number) bit of speed

                                       

                                      The only non-stock purchase I made was for a different CPU cooler, with push-pull fans... since even though I was not going to overclock the CPU, I wanted it to run as cool as possible

                                       

                                      If someone wants to overclock CPU or memory, that's fine for someone else... not at all for me

                                      • 16. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                                        Baz R Level 3

                                        Colin

                                         

                                        I had ocz 1866 12 gb Ram, and i was running it @ over max speed, i had no issues, but i was running a OC PC.

                                         

                                        the speed ratings on memory is the max speed they will goto aprox, but this is for OC use.

                                         

                                        send me a Pm, and i will help you set it up.

                                         

                                        Baz

                                        • 17. Re: Finding the cause of total hardware lock-ups
                                          Colin Brougham Level 6

                                          Thanks, Baz... will do. I appreciate the offer.