TechSpot

PC Freezes & Sound Loops

By davuswho
Aug 25, 2005
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  1. Dell Dimension 8300
    P4 3.0GHz CPU
    2GB RAM
    ATI 9800xt 256mb
    SB Audigy 2 Plat ZS
    DVD+/-RW (pioneer DL replaced the factory one from dell)
    DVD-ROM
    250gb SATA HDD
    300gb IDE HDD (not dell installed)
    Wireless Optical mouse using a usb connection to the PC
    SB 6.1 Sourround Sound speakers (with a usb volume control)
    USB Keyboard
    WinXP Home
    Dell Media Experience

    Ok.. PLEASE HELP.. I've listed my system above

    My computer randomly freezes and if any sound is playing.. the sound loops.
    This problem started around July 1st. I play EverQuest2,
    and the game would completey freeze for about 30seconds..the sound would loops..
    and I would get a VPU Error. Then the game would continue as normal.

    Then the game freezing and I had to power off the system.
    The system is still under warranty.. they have replaced everything but the
    ugly plastic CASE and the little sound connecter and usb/headphone connecters
    that are fixed to the power button on the front of the case.

    I have formatted the hard drive.. both the old one.. and the one they replaced.\
    I tried using just the dell default drivers, and the problem still exists.
    I tried dell defaults. + windows updates.. same problems
    Tried.. windows updates.. dell sound.. and ati video drivers
    tried windows updates.. dell video.. and sound blaster sound drivers
    tried windows updates.. ati drivers and sb drivers..

    All of these still give me the same errors.

    About one in 15 crashes.. I get random STOP ERRORS.
    IRQ IS NOT LESS OR EQUAL
    BAD PAGE FAULT IN NON PAGED AREA

    I've tried disabling the swapfile on both drives.
    Disabling AGP Fast write on the card
    Disabling my Serial and parallel ports that I'm not using.
    Changed AGP Aperature to 128 instead of 256
    Tried turning off Hyper Threading.

    I'm at a total loss here.. I do notice I get the lockups more frequently
    when playing a DVD or DVD Virtual Image and playing media files.

    The only IRQ's being are shared are either with my USB & Sound .. OR my USB & Video.. it just depends on which PCI Slot my sound card is in.
    No IRQs are "Conflicting" but i think it is either 16 or 18 that is shared

    Please Assist if you can

    Signed,
    Desperate Dave
     
  2. Blakhart

    Blakhart TS Rookie Posts: 510

    Can you place the sound card into another slot?
    Have you tried any other drivers for the audigy?
    That being an oem box, when you reinstall the os, use a standard xp disk if you can, that way you get around all the crap the oems want you to have.
    I have a very similar system to yours and never see this problem. Your system will be more than enough to run most any game well at a reasonable resolution.
     
  3. davuswho

    davuswho TS Rookie Topic Starter

    tried it

    Well.. I have 3 available PCI slot ...

    ---- AGP
    ---- PCI (1)
    ---- PCI (2)
    ---- PCI (3)

    The system came with the sound card installed in PCI Slot 1..
    when it is there.. my Sound Card and USB ports share IRQ 16.

    I've not tried PCI slot 2.

    PCI slot 3.. when I put my sound in there... my Video Card and USB Ports share IRQ 16...


    As far as the OS .. I used the Dell XP CD.. I chose to delete all partition (including the dell driver/oem/diagnosis partition) I chose to create one partition (C:) using NTFS.. I've done both quick format.. and regular format.

    I use to be able to PLay EverQuest2 at 1600x1200 with MAX GRAPHICS.. ie.. everything slid to the right for the in-game options.. and in the ATI control panel. In fact.. I could do the same thing for Battlefield2. Then the performance started dropping.. then the freezing.. etc..etc..

    I'm wondering if it is a HEAT problem...
    OR
    A problem with the built in components in the front of the case.. where the Power button is... there is a little card there.. that has a cable coming from it.. to my sound card. (of course I know the cable is just too use headphones.. but I don't know what else it could be)
     
  4. Blakhart

    Blakhart TS Rookie Posts: 510

    Hi
    I would use the second pci slot as the first and last slots typicaly share the same "irq" as the video card. There's no real sharing going on anyway, no matter what windows tells you; the way apic works is all irqs are held in a pool, and the apic controller lets a device use one when it has one available. This is dependant on the device's priority and what the apic controller is doing at the moment.
    As you might guess, this can lead to a thing called device contention, where devices are competing for attention from the apic. The apic may get a call from a low pri device when there's been a call from a higher pri device waiting in queue for a while, so the apic gives the irq to the hi pri device. Then another hi pri device asks for an interrupt, and gets it over the lower pri device still in queue. This introduces latency in a system, and in games (typicaly games are the only way one would notice this effect) it can be a factor in winning or losing. Typicaly only games involving flight and/or requiring absolute minimum response times are affected. Most systems are fast enough now that this isn't a prob, but some gamers can still notice the latency diffs between a sys running apic and a sys with pic. Pic means the apic is locked out, the devices are hard coded to their irq. In theory, running pic reduces latency to a minimum, but your benches will drop, and if you have many pci cards or peripherls connected, you might have actual irq sharing probs.

    Now that I have spewed forth some diatribe, I suspect that the irq not less or equal may be a software prob, if all the hardware checks out. Something to do with an update to the os, or a driver being the source. I haven't seen the not less prob since I stopped running an amd/nforce system, and then it was just a driver change to fix it..
    Did you change anything just prior to the first occurance of the prob?
     
  5. davuswho

    davuswho TS Rookie Topic Starter

    well.. dell finally agreed to a system exchange... cept they giving me a base 8400 series.. with a 128mn x300se video.. instead of the 8300 series with the 9800xt.. hopefully things will work next week
     
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