Soft Lockups while Gaming

Pny Geforce gtx 285 video card
January 15, 2010 at 08:57:39
Specs: Windows 7 Ultimate x64 [OEM], C2Q Q9550 @ Stock, 4GB Mushkin [DDR2-1066]
Here's some more Detailed system specs
EVGA 780i SLi FTW (Latest BIOS)
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.83GHz (Stock)
4GB (2x2GB) Mushkin Accent DDR2-1066
4x160GB Wester Digital SATAII (RAID0 FakeRaid (onboard) Array)
PNY GeForce GTX 285 (all stock)
Corsair HX1000 PSU. Dual 12V rail, with 500W/40A on each rail.

When I start gaming, quite often I will find myself having, what I would call, "Soft Lockups".
The video will freeze, the audio will keep going, and I will be free to move my mouse, and type on the keyboard. The mouse will move on the screen, which makes me believe it's not a full video lockup, maybe some sort of drive issue.
Then only way I have found to resolve this issue, is to "Ctrl+Alt+Del" and select Cancel.

Then, I will return to the game, and the video will speed up, characters in games will move VERY fast until it's "Caught Up" to what's really going on.

I have noticed this on a variety of games, usualy more graphics intensive games.
I don't have many issues sometimes, and it doesn't do it for hours, and sometimes, it will be unplayable because it does it so often.

I called PNY to ask them if they know what the culprit might be to cause Soft Video Lockups. But they we're about as helpful as my mother in this situation.

I'm starting to wonder, I might possibly have, a DVD Drive, 4 160GB HDD's, 6 120x25mm fans, 2 120x36mm fans, a 200mm fan, and this graphics card, all on the same rail... could that cause a issue. I don't know how many amps a 120mm fan usually pulls, but I'm starting to wonder.

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January 15, 2010 at 09:48:23
I think the problem has nothing to do with psu (1000w dual +12v@40 each).Try to reinstall graphic card driver or install the lastest driver or reinstall games plus driver.

edit: why do u have 9fans?

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January 15, 2010 at 10:15:42
Why not?

I have an Antec 1200, 3 120mm fans in the front, one mid, one on the door, two on the back, and a 200mm fan up top :D
Keeps it hella cool :D

I will do a complete reinstall tonight, and see what happens. Do you think Windows 7 could have anything to do with the issues I'm having.

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January 15, 2010 at 10:37:58
Go into the mboard's bios Setup and make sure the setting for Intialize Video First or Primary Video or similar is set to PCI-E or similar. If that's set to PCI, your video still works in Windows but the advanced PCI-E features the specific drivers support for the card load can't work properly.

Your power supply has far more capacity than you need.
Hard drives don't draw much power.
Fans draw very little power.
You can often see that for yourself by reading the current or wattage rating on it's label, or by looking that up.

You probably have too many case fans running.
There is no point in having more case fans running than you need - the more you have running, the more mung (dust, lint. etc.) gets sucked into the case interior, which will accumulate on and fowl up your CPU fan and heatsink and your video card fan and heat sink faster, eventually causing the cpu and/or video chipset to overheat.
Open up the case and check the cpu fan / heatsink and your your video card fan /heatsink for whether they have accumlated too much mung (dust lint, etc.).
Also check for that on the case fans.

If it/they have too much mung on them, clean them off, but DO NOT use a vaccuum cleaner to do that (they produce a tremendous amount of static electricity when running, and anything connected to them can discharge that to your components) - use canned air, or an air nozzle if you have access to an air compressor, or an artist's brush that can be used in small spaces, etc. It may be difficult to clean the top of the heatsink under the cpu fan - the most likely place to have mung on it - and the bottom side of the cpu fan blades unless you remove the fan. Clean the case fans too if they have mung on them.

The rate of accumulation of mung can be very dependant on the location of the computer case and what's in the air the fans are sucking in. E.g. if it's on the floor or close to the floor in a room that has wall to wall carpet, the mung, much of it carpet lint, will accumulate a lot faster. It's best to locate it well above the floor in that situation.
If you have a mung accumlation problem, then also check the power supply - it probably has mung that should be blown out of it too.

If additional case fans running don't further reduce the temp inside the computer case, they aren't needed.
E.g. disconnect the power to all case fans, except for, say, two. Use the computer for a while, then note the temp inside the case reported in the mboard's bios. Connect one more case fan, repeat. When you reach a point where having more case fans running does not reduce the temp, those extra fans are not needed.

AMD proved in tests that the most effective place to install case fans is at the back of the case as high up as you can mount them, blowing the air OUT of the case. The side of the fan where you can see the entire fan blade, no support ribs in the way, is the IN side of the fan's air flow.

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January 15, 2010 at 12:53:34
Thank you Tubesandwires, a little basic, but thank you :D

The reason for these fans is to keep the air moving, reducing any places where air just sits. The design of the case is to pull air in through the front, and exits on the back (next to the I/O panel, and at the top rear of the case.

It does need a little cleaning, as dust does build up. But, it has not caused any temprature problems, I've monitored them when a lockup happened, and the worst thing was my MCP (Northbridge) rolling about 60C, which it takes almost 85C for that to lock up, and it locks up the ENTIRE computer, including my Mouse, and Audio.

I'm going to throughly clean all the fans, and heatsinks tonight and going to do a clean reinstall, and follow up on here after I have (throughly) tested it.

I really hope this is just Drivers, but I have this feeling in my gut that there's more going on than just that.

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January 15, 2010 at 13:13:56
One more thing.

I'm not sure if the fact that my HDD is split up into 4 seperate partitions might have anything to do with it. I heard a few things when I talked to my boss (I'm in the IT industry) that he said it might be the fact that the games (32-bit) aren't installed in the "Program Files (x86)" directory, but on a seperate parition.
Partition 1 : Windows 7
Partition 2 : All Applications
Partition 3 : All Games
Partition 4 : Documents

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January 15, 2010 at 13:37:00
I don't think that is the problem.

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January 15, 2010 at 14:10:06
" a little basic"

I can only go by the info you provided that was here before I started my reply. I assume the person who posted doesn't have a lot of knowledge otherwise.

"(I'm in the IT industry)"

That doesn't tell me much.

It shouldn't matter which partition the games are on, if the game programs are properly written (they DO tend to have more bugs in them that most programs - have you checked for updates or patches for them?). When you are allowed to install software on another partition, there is always info installed on the Windows partition that tells Windows where the program's files are. If the games work fine most of the time, then that wouldn't be the issue.
If it were drivers that were the problem, I would think you would have problems with the games consistantly when you do certain things, not sometimes.

You may have a hardware problem.

Have you checked the hard drives with Western Digital's diagnostics?

Have you run a long ram diagnostic test?
E.g. Microsoft's Windows Memory Diagnostic:
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.

Have you checked the +12v, +5v, and +3.3v current values in the bios to see whether they are within 10% of their nominal values? If any are not, the PS needs to be replaced.

Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)

The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.

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