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

paul simpson paul at realisestudio.com
Thu Jan 12 19:42:05 EST 2006


Opps - I spoke too soon.  Thanks Mark, this looks like a great place  
to start.  I'll be try this on my Athlons and Opterons and will  
report in...

On 12 Jan 2006, at 18:05, 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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