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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm completely stumped with this problem. I think it would be very helpful getting advice from a fresh perspective from another hardware/software expert given all the clues below. Maybe I've overlooked something?

Problem: PC locks up hard after almost 2 hours of 1080i video play (video filter with HWVA/EVR rendering). One time after it locked up during a video, after I rebooted the PC, it locked up again when logging into windows (it didnt lock up for hours after another reboot). In another occasion, it didnt lock up during video playback and machine working 24/7 for a couple of days, but the next morning as soon as I right clicked on the desktop, it locked up.


HTPC rock solid for over 2.5 years of dependable usage 24/7; only just recently. The weird thing is, it can still pass any hardware motherboard/CPU/memory stress test that I run for 20-30 minutes. However, I haven't tried a 3D video test yet.


In order to prevent the lockups, I have already replaced 3 different video cards, 2 different power supplies (more powerful, less powerful), and several different hard disks. Ambient temperature in my room is no more than 74F. However, I didnt replace the internal USB disk used for media; I dont see how this could cause it to lock up even if this disk somehow stopped responding to the system.


Pre-built HP m8010y Media Center PC with:


Stock: Intel Q6600 2.4 with Asus P5BW-LA Mobo (Intel chipset), 4GB RAM


Upgrades:

-PSU: Nexus Value 430 Watt (Eco)

-Video: Zotac 9800GT 1GB (Eco)

-Boot HDD: 256GB Corsair P256 SATA SSD (Eco)

-External
SATA RAID 0 Raptor disks (in powered enclosure)

-Several USB devices (mostly on powered USB hubs)

Thanks for any constuctive advice you can offer..
 

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You should try the CPU/Memory stress tests for much longer than 20-30 minutes since your error occurs at 2 hours (sometimes).


I would:

1) make sure you have ALL the updates for the PC (firmware, drivers, etc.)

2) run the stress tests for MUCH longer (like overnight)

3) change the playback off of the USB HDD temporarily since that could be a problem.


I think you might have failing Memory, CPU, or Motherboard. Only LONG stress tests will

reveal them. (You need them to heat up for failure). Since you replaced the Video Card, I don't suspect that is the problem.


It might just be dusty in the system after 2 years of hard use, and dust can increase the heat just enough to cause heat-related failure. I would also open it up and give it a good cleaning with the dust remover can if you haven't already.


Good Luck and make sure you post back with results.
 

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Look for memory leak.


Soon after playing starts, open the task manager and see how much free memory u got, let it run a few minutes, the free memory may decrease as the application may grap additional memory for buffering purposes, but it should stay stable soon. Monitor this every 30 minutes or so and the free memory should stay stable. If it keeps going down-and-down then u got a memory leak problem that needs addressing.
 

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Is the PC locking or is just the graphics card locking up due to overheating? You can tell if you try doing some keyboard operations that do not need to display anything on the screen such as a keyboard only restart.

The load on a graphics card is highest when being used for decoding and display of 1080i video content espedcially if it contains lots of motion or panning when in sporting events.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the good advice! Just a note, I pampered that machine by cleaning any visible/invisible dust/fluff out 4-5 times a year. Inside the case actually looks in mint condition; even in parts you cant see.


All firmware/drivers are completely up to date.


I will run a stress test overnight. That's a great idea. Can you (or someone) recommend a super easy, free diag software to use (bootable CD... ISO download). I have the latest Ultimate Boot CD.. maybe, there's something good on there?


If it's the motherboard that's the problem, maybe someone could help me choose the best motherboard, CPU+CPU fan, 4GB RAM for less than $1000 that fits size-wise perfectly where the current one does.


Thanks so much for the quick reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MD_HT1 /forum/post/16975822


You should try the CPU/Memory stress tests for much longer than 20-30 minutes since your error occurs at 2 hours (sometimes).


I would:

1) make sure you have ALL the updates for the PC (firmware, drivers, etc.)

2) run the stress tests for MUCH longer (like overnight)

3) change the playback off of the USB HDD temporarily since that could be a problem.


I think you might have failing Memory, CPU, or Motherboard. Only LONG stress tests will

reveal them. (You need them to heat up for failure). Since you replaced the Video Card, I don't suspect that is the problem.


It might just be dusty in the system after 2 years of hard use, and dust can increase the heat just enough to cause heat-related failure. I would also open it up and give it a good cleaning with the dust remover can if you haven't already.


Good Luck and make sure you post back with results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That was the first thing I checked.. memory or handle leaks. You might have missed that it also locked up while logging into windows immediately after I rebooted after a lockup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb /forum/post/16975857


Look for memory leak.


Soon after playing starts, open the task manager and see how much free memory u got, let it run a few minutes, the free memory may decrease as the application may grap additional memory for buffering purposes, but it should stay stable soon. Monitor this every 30 minutes or so and the free memory should stay stable. If it keeps going down-and-down then u got a memory leak problem that needs addressing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes. Same temperatures I've had since I first bought the PC; actually, its much lower now with the ECO components I have now.


However (I'm not sure about this) but maybe there's some kind of recent damage which makes the motherboard more sensitive to heat??

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwalte /forum/post/16976161


Have you monitored PC temps, as mentioned? Heat can cause the strangest things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
dead lock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by walford /forum/post/16975882


Is the PC locking or is just the graphics card locking up due to overheating? You can tell if you try doing some keyboard operations that do not need to display anything on the screen such as a keyboard only restart.

The load on a graphics card is highest when being used for decoding and display of 1080i video content espedcially if it contains lots of motion or panning when in sporting events.
 

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What do you mean by "dead lock"?

Strange that the CPU on your MOBO may be locking up due to high CPU load(and heat) and not just your graphics card locking up.

What is your CPU utilization when watching 1080i encoded video content?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Locks hard. CPU isn't that high, ~%7 - %15 in full screen EVR deinterlaced to 1080p. Maybe its the PCIe slot that's susceptible to heat from the display adapter? I had all Nvidia 3D options set to the max, I just put them to the defaults and will test again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by walford /forum/post/16976356


What do you mean by "dead lock"?

Strange that the CPU on your MOBO may be locking up due to high CPU load(and heat) and not just your graphics card locking up.

What is your CPU utilization when watching 1080i encoded video content?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKANET /forum/post/16976410


Locks hard. CPU isn't that high, ~%7 - %15 in full screen EVR deinterlaced to 1080p. Maybe its the PCIe slot that's susceptible to heat from the display adapter? I had all Nvidia 3D options set to the max, I just put them to the defaults and will test again.

If it were mine, I'd try it with a regular hard drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I already did. I just haven't tried disconnecting the USB drive used for other things that remains idle most of the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdunnill /forum/post/16977388


If it were mine, I'd try it with a regular hard drive.
 

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I'm with grittree. It sounds like a bad stick of memory. Had the same issue with my SD recording rig. MemTest was clean for a 1 hr test. It progressively got worse, turned out that one stick of RAM was bad. Discovered by running on 1 stick then the other. Later I tried memtest on the bad stick and had to run it over night before it could find a problem. Can you remove one stick and see how it goes?


BB


BB
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Can someone recommend a super easy, free diag software to use (bootable CD... ISO download)? I have the latest Ultimate Boot CD.. maybe, there's something good on there?
 

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every time I have had a pc lock up after a period of activity it has always been heat related. crashes have most always been bad memory.


have you tried removing the cpu heatsink and checking for and reapplying thermal paste?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah, it's probably heat related; I'm just not sure what part; maybe something on the motherboard sensitive to heat. Nothing has changed in the past 3 years under the heatsink.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek K. /forum/post/16980089


every time I have had a pc lock up after a period of activity it has always been heat related. crashes have most always been bad memory.


have you tried removing the cpu heatsink and checking for and reapplying thermal paste?
 

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Since the problem is 1080i related and you have low CPU utilization I suspect an overheating problem of the graphics chip on the PCI-E graphics card.

Is the slot next to the graphics card empty?

What kind of cooling does the graphics chip have?
 
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