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Video related BSOD/driver crashes

  1. Long story short.

    Built the system in January 2009. Ran like a dream. Around November/December 2009, started having issues with the video card (or what seemed to be the video card) crashing intermittently (freezing, kaleidoscope-like on the screen after a few seconds). It would happen seemingly at random (sometimes once a week, other times once every 10 minutes). It would happen with nearly every game possible.

    SO two years after building the system, I decide to finally replace the video card (assuming that was the issue as I know it's dying because it's fan grinds like mad now).

    Works like a charm.. until I try to play Starcraft II.

    Starcraft II begins to play fine (generally for about 5-30 minutes), then freezes for 20-30 seconds and crashes the drivers or just stays frozen altogether (both times requiring a hard reboot). If I try to play it in Windowed Mode, it'll do the same thing except instead of crashing the drivers, it pulls the kaleidoscope stunt that my old card did, but only for the actual game window (not my full monitor), freezing my screen completely. This isn't a once in awhile issue, it's a guaranteed 'if i try to play Starcraft II for any medium to extended period of time (even an hour) it will crash the drivers/card'

    The same issue has happened 3-4 times playing Heroes of Newerth (drivers crashing) and only one time while playing Black Ops (ever, and I can play it for 6-8 hours straight and not have issues)

    FULL RIG:
    PSU: RaidMax 630w modular
    CPU: Intel Core2 Duo 3.0ghz (Dual Core)
    RAM: 2x 1gb Dual Channel Corsair DDR2
    OS: Windows XP 32-bit (SP3), OEM install
    MOBO: MSI P7N Platinum SLI 750i motherboard
    GFX: MSI nVidia GTX 460 1GB (Old card: nVidia 9800 GT 512mb)

    PC is sufficiently cooled, as well as the graphics card. I use hardware monitors and fan monitors to watch the temperatures and the temperature is never above 60º Celsius when it crashes (and the card can safely break 80º-90º [getting too hot around here] as per the hardware specs given by MSI for safety).

    The graphics card also has two power connectors (instead of the usual one) also, but my PSU has a modular connector for a second rail connector for the card.

    From what I've conferred with colleagues, it's likely to be:

    Faulty RAM
    Faulty MOBO
    Faulty Card (very unlikely as it's the same issue that plagued my previous card)
    Faulty Drivers (tested over a dozen different drivers, using both the 'clean install' feature of the drivers as well as Driver Sweeper in between EVERY install to test)

    When I contacted the MSI tech department they told to me start swapping parts in and out (which I had tested with the previous card as well as new harddrive and windows install), and when I told them what I had previously tried he seemed to jump to the conclusion that it must magically be my OEM copy of Windows XP causing the problems and I should get a retail copy of Windows and install it..

    Their solution was to get me to buy a new, $80-100 retail copy of an operating system that I CANNOT RETURN to nearly ANY (if not ALL) software vendors to see if it fixes the issue.. giving me no alternative.

    Both minidumps that I have reference:
    "Probably caused by : nv4_mini.sys ( nv4_mini+1d410 )"
    Any event log cites the cause as ' nv ' or nVidia, it's description being:
    "Unknown error on CMDre 00000000 00000080 00000040 00000004 00000084"

    In the event viewer, most of the crashes are 2-5 logs long however there are a few crashes where the log posts the same event (date and timestamp are the exact same) 12, 14, and 15 times on three occassions, 64 times on one occassion, and 75 times (yes, 75 event logs of the same event all at once) on another occassion.


    If anyone has any insight, or needs any extra info that would be great.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,271

    This is a known problem called an infinite loop with the Nvidia driver. I'm just searching for a solution.

    Well, after a lot of searching I could write a book on the number of different solutions I came across. The only common denominator is the driver for the graphics card. These problems with the infinite loop go back at least 5 years. If you google for Nv4 infinite loop you will see what I mean.

    My only suggestion is to first follow this guide to delete any drivers that were installed and have not been deleted. This process allows you to delete drivers that you would otherwise not be able to see that could be causing conflicts. Follow this by downloading the latest driver from Nvidia and installing it. This works for XP as well as Vista and 7.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/remove-old-drivers-after-upgrading-to-new-hardware/

    I would also reinstall the motherboard chipset driver with the latest version and check that your bios is up to date.

    The latest driver from Nvidia is only about a month old so will hopefully be OK once any old drivers are cleaned out.

    Other than upgrading to XP 64 bit or taking the leap to windows 7 I found no other viable suggestions.
     
  3. lolrestoshaman

    lolrestoshaman TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Yeah, that's generally what I've tried before.

    Tried a complete reinstall of windows, tried driver sweeper as well as uninstalling it from my system and reinstalling the newest (as well as trying older) drivers.

    Upgrading to XP 64-bit or purchasing Windows 7 requires money, last I checked, that I don't have that will likely not even remedy the problem.

    I had the same issue with my graphics card before awhile back on my AGP slot in an old PC and it never went away after trying nearly everything.

    I've attempted the suggestion about viewing hidden devices and I see no other nvidia drivers/devices other than HD Audio (which is in use) as well as the current card.

    I've also attempted to update my MSI motherboard bios/drivers/firmware and when I tried it used their ActiveX utility and told me there were no updates at all (after two years of building my PC and never updating my board), and there's no other way I can do it with their website now.


    I have also ran MemTest86 for about 4-5 (about complete 15 passes, almost 16) hours this afternoon while I napped and it came back with no errors at all afterwards.
     
  4. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,271

    I wish you luck in finding a solution but I have hit a wall with this one. Maybe someone else will have some input.
     
  5. MRCS44

    MRCS44 TS Rookie

    Like you, one of the first things I noticed was that the posted solutions seemed to lack anything in common. For me it was a different problem with a driver update install.

    In that you've already reinstalled the drivers I doubt this will help you, tho it may be a starting place where you can look for the problem. I uninstalled the nVidia Driver Helper Service and started to get the Unknown error on CMDre in Event Viewer. I did not get the error when I just had the service disabled. Reinstalling the drivers took care of error event.
     


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