Advice Needed

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FF-Hobbes
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Advice Needed

Post by FF-Hobbes » Sat Aug 31, 2013 19:53

Alright, for the last 9 days or so I've been doing software side troubleshooting on my comp. It started with DoW 2-Retribution, but the system started crashing requiring hard reboots. This got progressively worse (ie, less and less time in game before crashing). It spread to War Thunder and MWO as well. I then started geting BSOD with 116 error codes. I did two windows re installations, the 2nd being completely clean with a reformat, etc. I'm still getting the error code.

This leaves me in a spot. My hunch says it's a video card hardware issue, but since I'm running a laptop now, I'm not sure replacing it myself is the best idea. Has anyone else replaced or upgraded video cards on laptops before? Or know something about these symptoms? I got to make a decision quick so I can take a working laptop with me on a two month trip.

Specs: Alienware M17x R4
Intel iQ7 3610 2.3gHz
12G ram
Nvidia Geforce GTX 675M

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by ZeusCommander » Sat Aug 31, 2013 20:25

You cant actually replace them on many laptops. How does the laptop feel when it dies? Is it hot? Another thing to try is upgrading/downgrading/reinstalling your ghx card drivers themselves. The hardware may be fine, but the driver may just be corrupted. Did you use the same driver file after both the re-installations?
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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Hobbes » Sat Aug 31, 2013 20:41

This is upgradeable/replaceable. drivers were troubleshot.

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Darkhalf » Sat Aug 31, 2013 21:10

Pretty clueless on laptops here :( I got one I could play on and now it wont let me run EVE anymore on it, dunno why but back to you!

Since you did complete new installs it sounds like a hardware issue :S

Have you had any drivers update before those problems occured? Your driver troubleshooting included trying out older driver versions ? :S

have you run some memory tests ?

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FUBAR4U2 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 22:59

"These bunch of jug heads are acting like a bunch rectal apertures"

~Coach Hines~

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Raven » Sat Aug 31, 2013 23:52

Do the mem test Dark mentioned for sure.

I've had one of my sticks of memory go bad on me, and it gave me cause to do hard reboots. The mem test was sufficient to show something was up. However, an issue with my memory was the last thing I thought about, and went through every other possibility before getting to the memtest.

The other thing I had happen was the fan on my GPU die. There are programs that you can get to monitor the temperature of the cpu and GPU, right up to the point where you need to reboot. The report will give you all the stats of what was hot and where up to the point of reboot. This helped to reveal a very, very hot GPU, and one fan out of two being broken.

Both of the above caused very strange symptoms for me that weren't easy to diagnosis (they would be now). Both required a different hardware solution/replacement :-/
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Re: Advice Needed

Post by Sir Fett » Sun Sep 01, 2013 20:01

start by posting a copy of the kernel log for the bsod
Start -> search -> eventvwr
Windows-Logs (translating by the steat of my pants here) -> System
you can sort by critical right after the bsod
look for kernel-power
you can reference the bugcheck code with the list over at microsofts
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library ... 85%29.aspx

that should give you a first hint at where to start

any other logs marked as warning or critical may give additional clues

p.s. if it is realy a STOP: 0x00000116 type of thing
video hardware halt detected requesting the driver and hardware to re-initialize and something timed out there
on a clean install you can basicaly install again, but using slightly oder drivers, see if that makes a difference
if not your graphics card is either being toasted (i.e. overheating like crazy) or unfortunately IS Toast....

good luck in any case
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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Hobbes » Sun Sep 01, 2013 21:17

Fingers crossed but I think a reinstallation of the chipset drivers after that windows reinstall may have fixed the issue. I've managed some solid gaming without bsod issues at least. But the alienware youtube page has a great video on how easy it is to upgrade the video card in these things. I'm pretty happy about that.

Thanks to all your help guys.

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Hobbes » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:35

issues came back. I seem to be able to get about 1 game of war thunder in between crashes, but not always. Ordered a new video card, should be here any day now.

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Master » Sun Sep 15, 2013 16:16

Another possibility is the power supply. If the voltage is dropping too low on the 5V or 12V rails then this can cause a reboot. This will happen especially under high load when the CPU and/or GPU are drawing more current.

You can probably check the voltages through the BIOS or install a utility that checks the output. If the 5 V rail is running close to 4.7-4.6 V (if it drops below 4.5 V than the system will likely reboot) and 11.6-11.5 V for the 12 V rail. The motherboard sensors aren't very accurate thou, so if this might be the problem it is best to check it with the multimeter.

I had this happen on an embedded PC in the robot I built for my PhD. Took the longest time to figure out, I also started out thinking it was ram/hard drive/gpu.

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Darkhalf » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:05

have you received your New Card yet, any Progress? :?

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Hobbes » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:50

So here's where I stand- I'm on my way to a 2 month training program. I brought my laptop, but the video card was delivered to the wrong address on thursday.

I took the extra time waiting for it to do some more research on nvidia, dell, and alienware sites. The bsod from nvkflt.sys, x116 seems to be not uncommon on the nvidia cards in alienware laptops- invariably the only fix that worked was a replacement card. So I'm at about 95% that it is the card, and it's a stupid simple replacement on the alienware platform. I swear, fifteen minutes if I take my time and don't drop any screws.

So now I'm pretty sure what I need to do to fix the problem. I just have to drive more than an hour out of my way to my old house in FL to pick up the package, then drive to work, check in, get settled, get ready for training, and fix the laptop.

Fingers crossed, I'll get all this done tomorrow and it works. If it doesn't, you will all hear a scream of anguish, centered around Mobile, AL. This has been so damn frustrating- some days I can fly two or three straight matches in WT, others, I can't even load a game without it crashing.

I'll let y'all know how it goes.

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Darkhalf » Sun Sep 22, 2013 13:41

Fingers crossed mate!!

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Hobbes » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:05

Initial results are promising!

With this kind of intermittent problem, I wont have any real confidence for a week or so, but at least I didn't fuck up the reinstall.

Well, I did, but it seems to be ok. The new video card came in just fine, but the heat sink I had to reuse. I actually bent a bracket removing it off the old card. Fortunately, all it was there for was to keep the thermal material tight against memory and GPU chips, so bending it back seems to have been fine.

I'll admit, it took a little longer than 15 minutes- but that was because of the heat sink. For future reference, replacing the heat sink was probably the prudent thing to do with this fix. Live and learn.

I tested it on War Thunder last night- loaded up and rendered just fine. Problem is that I have to study, so haven't had much free time.

I ran a Dawn of War mission (where I first noticed this problem)- no issues whatsoever.

The problem is that I'm not sure the internet here will support online games. I'll give it a few more goes, but the war thunder experience was terrible.

If that's the case, it may be a long two months. I'll keep you updated.

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by ZeusCommander » Tue Sep 24, 2013 13:08

If you noticed it on DoW initially, could you leave it running one evening to see if anything happens? Perhaps when eating dinner or something. Dont need to play it or anything, just let it run.
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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Hobbes » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:39

Yeah, I might be able to do that sometime. That's good thinking.

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Hobbes » Sun Oct 06, 2013 15:23

We will call it a success by now! Now all I have to do is finish this training and I'll be back in action this November.

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Re: Advice Needed

Post by ZeusCommander » Mon Oct 07, 2013 0:25

All working?
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Re: Advice Needed

Post by FF-Hobbes » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:14

yeah, like a champ. I wasn't sure the heatsink would hold up after the damage I inflicted to it removing from the old video card, esp the thermal pads. But I had plenty of thermal paste to help out with it. The other thing I noticed is that one of the smaller memory chips on the old card was not covered by the heat sink, so I made an effort to make sure the new one was completely covered. Of course, I didn't take any measurements what so ever on before and after temps to compare with, but the card runs Dawn of War 2 relentlessly.

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