[Sidefx-houdini-list] houdini crashes...

Peter Bowmar pbowmar at gmail.com
Thu Jan 12 13:25:24 EST 2006


Hi Mark,
	Thanks for taking the time to do this. You're right, I have not had the 
same lockups on non Athlon systems (though the Athlon is my main system 
at home so I use it most often). This might just motivate me to upgrade 
to a dual Opteron system like I've always wanted to :)

Cheers,

Peter B

Mark Alexander wrote:
> 
> After collecting system specs from a number of users that are 
> experiencing lockups, it appears that the common theme is an older AMD 
> motherboard chipset with AGP interfaces. I have a system based on the 
> AMD 760MP chipset (approximately 2-3 years old) which exhibits the 
> problem. Another developer here has a newer dual Opteron system which 
> does not.
> 
> I've installed the 8178 drivers, and so far have yet to see a crash 
> (however, I may not have tested long enough). I would do this as a first 
> step - I have seen no problems with it so far (as long as you are on 
> Linux -- 8178 has big CPU usage problems on Windows).
> 
> I also found some interesting notes in the Nvidia linux driver readme 
> (that you can download in full from 
> http://download.nvidia.com/XFree86_40/1.0-2880/README.txt).
> 
> This readme contains notes on solving stability problems. I have listed 
> in order of easy to drastic changes (from that readme). I would 
> recommend first installing the 8178 drivers, and then doing these fixes 
> one by one until the problem stops (testing after each):
> 
> --------------
> 
> AGP Fast Writes
> 
>     This AGP feature may cause severe stability problems. It can be
>     en/disabled in many system BIOSes.  If your BIOS does not offer
>     this option, you can force support for AGP Fast Writes off with the
>     NVreg_EnableAGPFW NVdriver module parameter.
> 
>     If you are inserting the module manually:
> 
>       insmod NVdriver NVreg_EnableAGPFW=0
> 
>     If you are using modprobe (/etc/modules.conf):
> 
>       alias char-major-195 NVdriver
>       options NVdriver NVreg_EnableAGPFW=0
> 
> [MA: This only affects performance; you can't hose your system by 
> changing this]
> 
> -------------
> 
>  AGP Rate
> 
>     You may want to decrease the AGP rate setting if you are seeing
>     lockups with the value you are currently using. You can do so
>     with the NVreg_ReqAGPRate NVdriver module parameter.
> 
>     If you are inserting the module manually:
> 
>       insmod NVdriver NVreg_ReqAGPRate=2   # force AGP Rate to 2x
>       insmod NVdriver NVreg_ReqAGPRate=1   # force AGP Rate to 1x
> 
>     If you are using modprobe (/etc/modules.conf):
> 
>       alias char-major-195 NVdriver
>       options NVdriver NVreg_ReqAGPRate=2  # force AGP Rate to 2x
>       options NVdriver NVreg_ReqAGPRate=1  # force AGP Rate to 1x
> 
>       On Athlon motherboards with the VIA KX133 or 694X chip set, such 
> as the ASUS K7V motherboard, NVIDIA drivers default to AGP 2x mode to 
> work around insufficient drive strength on one of the signals.  You can 
> force AGP 4x by setting NVreg_EnableVia4x to 1.  Note that this may 
> cause the system to become unstable.
> 
>       On ALi1541 and ALi1647 chipsets, NVIDIA drivers disable AGP to 
> work around timing issues and signal integrity issues. You can force AGP 
> to be enabled on these chipsets by setting NVreg_EnableALiAGP to 1. Note 
> that this may cause the system to become unstable.
> 
> [MA: This only affects performance; you can't make your system more 
> unstable by changing this unless you increase the rate]
> 
> -----------
> 
> o AGP drive strength BIOS setting (Via based mainboards)
> 
>     Many Via based mainboards allow adjusting the AGP drive strength in
>     the system BIOS. The setting of this option largely affects system
>     stability, the range between 0xEA and 0xEE seems to work best for
>     NVIDIA hardware. Setting either nibble to 0xF generally results in
>     severe stability problems.
> 
>     If you decide to experiment with this, you need to be aware of
>     the fact that you are doing so at your own risk and that you may
>     render your system unbootable with improper settings until you
>     reset the setting to a working value (w/ a PCI graphics card or
>     by resetting the BIOS to its default values).
> 
> [MA: Try 0xEA, 0xEB, 0xEC, 0xED, or 0xEE. I have no idea what they mean, 
> other than 0xEA is likely the weakest drive strength of the bunch, so 
> you might want to start there]
> 
> -----------
> 
>  o System BIOS version
> 
>     Make sure to have the latest system BIOS provided by the board
>     manufacturer.
> 
> [MA: This involves flashing the bios ROM on the motherboard. Do NOT do 
> this unless you know what you're doing - you can render your motherboard 
> completely inoperative]
> 
> -----------
> 
> o Support for the processor's Page Size Extension on Athlon Processors
> 
>     Similar to systems using Windows 2000 based operating systems, your
>     Linux system may stop responding if you use applications that stress
>     AGP (such as ViewPerf). This can often be solved by passing the
>     "mem=nopentium" option to the Linux kernel, which disables support
>     for the processor's Page Size Extension.  This may impact
>     performance with some applications.  For further details, see
>     Microsoft Knowledge Base Article Q270715.
> 
> [MA: MPlay can definitely stress AGP during playback, and so it sounds 
> like a plausible cause. Unfortunately, this is a VERY drastic measure, 
> as I suspect mantra and Houdini would happen to fit in the category of 
> "some applications". The article is geared at MS Windows 2000 and 
> doesn't really apply here, but if you're interested: 
> http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q270715/ ]
> 
> ----------
> 
> 
> Hopefully this can solve the MPlay X-crashes people have been seeing. 
> I'm sorry it's not a simple MPlay patch, but I will continue to keep an 
> eye out for MPlay problems. Thanks for your patience, and good luck...
> 
> M.
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