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Most games crash within 5 minutes - Bioshock, Dead Space, Far Cry 2.

Last response: in Video Games
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November 15, 2008 11:55:38 AM

Hi there,

I am very close to throwing this expensive and pretty new PC out the window!

Here are my PC specs:
Win XP Pro 32 (I also have Vista 64 Ultimate on dual boot)
Intel E8400 @3.0Ghz
2x2GB OCZ P
2 x Sapphire 512MB Radeon 4870 in crossfire
2 x 500GB WD HDD in Raid 0
Creative X-Fi Extreme Music
Coolermaster Realpower 1000w PSU

It's driving me nuts. I cannot play any (new) game for more than 5 minutes. Bioshock crashes. Dead Space won't even get past the intro.
And neither will Far Cry 2.
Fallout 3 does not even load. COD 4 crashes as well.

All these games are bought copies. NOT fake.

I've tried many things but all I get is a LOCK up with a (mostly) a repeating sound loop. I can't shell back to Windows and the only thing I can do is reboot.

What I have tried:

1. Updating all my drivers (graphics / sound / M$)
2. Tried both OS's
3. Un-installed Sound card and played with no sound
4. Changed graphics cards to stock settings
5. NON crossfire.
6. Crossfire
7. Cards underclocked (both in crossfire and single GPU mode)
8. Change resolution from high to low and most in between
9. Taken off 5.1 EAX where possible
10. Increased my virtual mem to max (4096M) for both min and max
11. Tried catalyst drivers 8.8, 8.9, 8.10
12. Tried creative drivers 2.18.0004 and 2.15.0006
13. Tried my headphones instead
14. Tried Vsync on and off
15. Tried with and without anti-aliasing
16. Adjusted fan speed from 45% up to 100%. Nothing

The graphics cards run @ 50ºC constant. CPU at about the same. Ran memtest and Prime95 for 6 hours each and no issue.

At the moment I have more than £1000 worth of PC kit that I can't use and a bunch of games that are worthless!

At the moment the only games I can play are Medal of Honour: Airbourne assault, Tom Clancy's rainbow six and HL2.

Is it my ATI cards, my soundcard? I just don't know.

I'm tempted to go and buy 2x more HDD's and a Nvidia GTX280 and try again but I can't really afford it!

Does anybody have any idea? Please help me I'm so frustrated. I've played games for about 4 hours in total and spent about 15 hours troubleshooting...:-(


November 15, 2008 2:14:31 PM

Well i'd be saying there is nothing actualy physicaly wrong with your system since those three you mention work ok.
You seem to have tried everything except new clean install. Well that and one memory stick at a time. You can still have problems with certain sticks on certain boards with perfectly good ram sticks.
So i'd go try single sticks then clean install of a single OS on a non raided drive to rule out raid issues.
November 15, 2008 2:34:45 PM

Thanks for the reply.

I've been pondering that myself. I really don't feel like redoing my OS, it's only a couple of months old...but what I'll probably do is try a new raid setup and install the game and try and run it with only the graphics and sound drivers and then try one other item at a time.

Maybe it is raid related? Dunno.

The RAM is relatively easy to try so I'll give that a bash first.

I'll post back if I have any joy (or not).
Related resources
November 15, 2008 4:09:22 PM

RAID related is possible, but highly unlikely. Games load data from hdd into ram on load. It should have crashed on loading instead of in games.

It could be the psu becoming unstable and power fluctuates.

As a start, try to stress the cards. Stability mode, default resolution, no AA.
http://www.ozone3d.net/benchmarks/fur/

Also stress cpu, small fft.
http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=103

Or try both at the same time. Keep eye on temperature.

If either fails, it's probably not software error. If they both hold for a few hours, it's likely software error.
November 16, 2008 6:04:04 PM

dagger said:

It could be the psu becoming unstable and power fluctuates.

As a start, try to stress the cards. Stability mode, default resolution, no AA.
http://www.ozone3d.net/benchmarks/fur/

Also stress cpu, small fft.
http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=103

Or try both at the same time. Keep eye on temperature.

If either fails, it's probably not software error. If they both hold for a few hours, it's likely software error.


Thanks I tested for several hours with these (already had Prime95) and run fine. Thanks for the help.

Belinda said:
Well i'd be saying there is nothing actualy physicaly wrong with your system since those three you mention work ok.
You seem to have tried everything except new clean install. Well that and one memory stick at a time. You can still have problems with certain sticks on certain boards with perfectly good ram sticks.
So i'd go try single sticks then clean install of a single OS on a non raided drive to rule out raid issues.


I tried one stick at a time and tried getting through the far cry 2 intro without crashing. I had joy with some but not all combinations.
It seemed better with 2GB only but then the weirdest thing about this was I tried swapping stick 1 with stick 2 and...Hey Presto! :pt1cable: 

Suddenly everything seems to be working! I have no idea why swapping the sticks around makes any difference. This is definitely a 1st for me. Maybe it's coincidence and they were not seated correctly?

So far I've managed to play Bioshock for about 4 hours with no issue. What a kickass game. I messed about a bit with Dead Space and it *seems* ok.
Far Cry2 works but I'm getting this weird stuttering that others seem to be experiencing...

Anyway, thank you for your help! I'm so stoked right now!
You are a legend!
:D 


November 16, 2008 8:09:47 PM

Sometimes motherboards just don't work with a perfectly good RAM stick, it's just one of them things...I've had it before.
!