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SLI problems?

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Last response: in Graphics Cards
October 14, 2008 1:15:01 AM

Hello, I am building a PC with a 680i LT and 2 8800 GTS 512s in SLI. I am testing it with some old 2x1Gb kit of Mushkin RAM. I replaced some old 7600 GT drivers with the new 8800 GTS 512 drivers and was very careful to remove EVERYTHING. In games with the cards in SLI games freeze and forces me to shut down my computer via the switch. With only 1 card enabled the games seem to run fine. The odd thing is that when I run 3dmark06 for 40 minutes in a loop it runs fine in SLI, and there is a difference in performance between single and SLI. I am thinking either drivers, possibly memory, or my second GPU is dead. What do you think? I will run memtest tomorrow as I am out of time today. Thank you.

More about : sli problems

a b U Graphics card
October 14, 2008 1:28:53 AM

possible a power issue. what psu do you have?
October 14, 2008 1:41:33 AM

PC Power and Cooling 750w, just switched out with my system. Sadly the RAM is incompatible with this board for some reason...

Edit: I hate nVidia sometimes...
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October 14, 2008 1:42:59 AM

have you got the latest bios for ur motherboard, and i dont think its ur PSU if it runs 3dmark in a loop and it is using the second card
October 14, 2008 1:46:32 AM

If you give us your computer specs we might be able to help out a bit more. But in meantime you can individually check out system by running each Graphic card by itself to see if you have a bad one and same goes for ram..
October 14, 2008 1:59:32 AM

I am a little hesitant about upgrading the bios, since a problem might occur so I would like to save that as a last resort. Ym system specs:

Antec 900
XFX 680i LT
2x1GB Mushkin 800 mhz (used for testing but wont be used in the final system)
PC Power and Cooling 750w
200 GB Seagate IDE HDD (also wont be used in final system)
E6750 (will be used, and I just ripped it out of my system for this one)

I have yet to see the GPUs go over 70c, and they tend to idle at 42c. I have the fan speed set to 70% were they are barely audible and yet cool quite well. I will be running 3dmark06 at more demanding levels and running memtest tomorrow, but I do not have the time today to put it back together. Thank you.

Edit: Running 3dmark06 again tonight.
October 14, 2008 2:44:58 AM

Alright I ran 3dmark06 again at 1920x1200 resolution with x8 samples of anti aliasing. That setup broke the 30 FPS barrier a lot with my setup and went as low as 2 FPS for one test, but did not lock up my computer like games do. As a matter of fact the benchmark ran great, it is almost as if there isn't a problem. Sadly there still is, I also tested the system on a brief walk through ES4: Oblivion and The Witcher, both almost ended in disaster. (I stopped right before I knew the system was going to lock up and there was a long 30sec-1min pause in the game for no apparent reason)

Could it be memory, this kit is rather busted? I don't know why that would only effect SLI but not the single card. Also, I don't think my second GPU is dead or dying since it runs 3dmark06 without a single problem. This leaves driver issues as the most likely problem that I can think of. Also maybe the NB is overheating since SLI puts more stress on the NB than a single card would and 3dmark06 stresses mainly the GPU/s or the CPU, but not so much both at the same time. What do you guys think? I am not sure about any of those options... why do I always end up with the problems I do not know how to fix?!

Edit: Thank you for all the quick replies and help, that's why I love Tom's.
a c 92 U Graphics card
October 14, 2008 3:08:33 AM

Have you overclocked it? If the ram isnt compatible with the board then this will cause you problems. Contact XFX live support they are very helpful, but I agree that the bios may need to be updated as it can fix compatibility issues with some brands of ram.
Ask XFX first and see what they say.
October 14, 2008 3:14:19 AM

I would like to add that I have never seen any artifacts or any type of screen anomalys with this system. The only problem I get is that the game starts to lag as if it was loading something and gets progressively worse until the entire system locks up despite a constant 50-60 FPS. It sounds very much like it is the RAM, and yet I have no idea what would suddenly cause the RAM to die now after working perfectly well for months, nor do I understand why it only seems to effect SLI. Also when I first installed the 8800 GTS 512s I was downloading various software, surfing the web, and installing a large game and the system locked up then too. The only reason that could even be half GPU related was because I had dreamscene running as my desktop. I just do not know. Even if this memory turns up tons of errors under memtest which I'm pretty sure it will since it is not Prime95 stable, it still does not explain why SLI is not working or why it only suddenly started when I installed the new GPUs. I am at a loss for once...
a c 92 U Graphics card
October 14, 2008 3:19:59 AM

Def sounds like a ram issue , and the extra load SLI puts on the system would just make it worse. Can you get your hands on some ram from a friends system just to test it out? Would be worth the effort as it might confirm the problem.
October 14, 2008 3:20:17 AM

The RAM has been running on the XFX 680i LT for months. What I meant was that my system's RAM which is a 2x2GB kit of OCZ ReaperX 800mhz RAM wont play nice with this board. I tried 1 stick and I tried 2 sticks. I loosened the timings until they were 6-6-6-24 and still it would not get into windows without a BSOD. After a bit of research I learned that OCZ ReaperX doesn't play well with this board. I will be ordering a kit of G.skill PI Black from newegg for this system which shoulg run fine, but I will have to wait until then. XFX will say update BIOS, which I doubt will make much of a difference and I am hesitant to do with an unstable system, even through BIOS.
October 14, 2008 3:21:26 AM

Not sure if it affects the games you mention but I had to delete the saved games of HL2 (and Episode 1 & 2) after upgrading the video card I have.

Did have to re-install the games too. Something about the configuration detecting your hardware the first time you play and new hardware is different.

October 14, 2008 3:22:38 AM

Sadly, none of my friend are using DDR2 800 Mhz and this damn board wont except anything that is not 800 Mhz stock. Don't buy a 680i LT... Anyway I will run memtest tomorrow and get the final verdict. Then I'll mess with the timings until I can get it somewhat stable and see if that makes a difference. Thanks, any other suggestions would be very much appreciated as well.
a c 92 U Graphics card
October 14, 2008 3:25:32 AM

Yup I agree the OCZ ram has compatibility issues and doing a bios update when its unstable is abit risky, G-skill is a better choice for this board. Goodluck :) 
October 14, 2008 3:26:11 AM

Yes I deleted all saved games, good call r-sky many people end up having problems by trying to play old saved games after an upgrade. I did a fresh install of The Witcher on the system, but Oblivion was on already. I have noticed that with a single GPU enabled, Oblivion is fine, but The Witcher still locks up. It really looks like the RAM. I will be doing a fresh install of windows once all the parts arrive, that should help somewhat, but I doubt it would fix anything.
a c 92 U Graphics card
October 14, 2008 3:27:36 AM

Have you tried running the bios on default settings just to see if it has the same problems running stock?
October 14, 2008 3:28:23 AM

Funny thing is I prefer the G.skill PI Black with 4-4-4-12 timings @ v1.8, for DDR2 800mhz that is amazing. It is also extremely cheap. Once I get this system stable I'll try updating bios and if the ReaperX will work I might keep the G.skill for my system.
October 14, 2008 3:30:12 AM

The memory is totally stock. The only thing overclocked is the CPU @ 3.2 without a voltage change. I will try using all defaults tomorrow and seeing what happens, though I doubt it will make a difference. Thank you for all your help, it is much appreciate!
a c 92 U Graphics card
October 14, 2008 3:32:41 AM

G-Skill is the way to go for this board , I build a very similar system to yours not long ago with the G-Skill ram and had no issues whatsoever, for some reason OCZ ram has alot of compatibility issues with some boards, mine gave me abit of grief, had to get them replaced and it now it works great. :) 
a c 332 U Graphics card
a b \ Driver
October 14, 2008 3:53:09 PM

Have you tried upping the RAM voltage to about the 2.0v mark?
October 14, 2008 8:55:27 PM

Ok, so I ran memtest and this RAM had zero errors. I tried putting everything to default in BIOS and still it freezes up. What is next? I don't know...
October 14, 2008 10:58:57 PM

Update: I have just installed 2 8800 GTS 512s into a system with a 680i LT and I am getting problems. At first the computer froze when installing a game, downloading various files, and surfing the internet while a dream was playing as my desktop through dreamscene. I then had to manually restart the computer via the power switch and everything was ok until I tried playing a game, The Witcher. I assumed, at first, that the game was having problems being a somewhat buggy game. No matter what I did or what I tried I could not stop the periodic freezing which only got worse over time. I then ran ES4: Oblivion and had the same problem with the computer freezing. I then tried both games without the cards in SLI and was able to run Oblivion, but not The Witcher without freezing in a single card configuration. I then tested the video cards by purchasing 3dmark06 and doing a 30 minute stress test at 1920x1200 with x8 samples of AA, no freezing and there was about a 1.3-1.5 times performance difference with SLI enabled. At this point I assumed the memory was bad and ran memtest v2.01 and after 2 passes did not receive a single error. The BIOS is completely at default except that I disabled the floppy drive sensor. The cards are not overheating since the hottest I have yet to see them reach is 70c at 70% fan speed. They Idle between 32c-42c. I was careful with uninstalling my previous drivers for an old 7600 GT. I uninstalled the drivers, ran the PC through safe mode, uninstalled the temporary windows drivers, and then ran drive sweeper before installing the new drivers. The freezing is a complete system freeze with total unresponsiveness when the PC is running and the classic repeated sound coming through the speakers. I have no idea what the problem is, and I am not sure what to try next since I have exhausted all the easy solutions that I know of. If you have any ideas or comments please share them, I am about to put an axe through this damn computer and give my cousin money for his birthday instead!

System specs:
Intel E6750 with a Xigmatek HDT-s1283
XFX 680i LT
2 EVGA 8800 GTS 512s
2x1GB of Mushkin 800Mhz RAM
Antec 900
PC Power and Cooling 750w
old 200GB seagate IDE HDD

All on stock.
October 16, 2008 8:53:19 PM

Alright the system constantly locks up and freezes even when I am doing absolutely nothing. Are the video cards shot or is this a driver issue?
October 16, 2008 11:59:13 PM

whats your North Bridge temperature?

My system use to freeze because the Northbridge would sky rocket when I was in windows. It would freeze at random times too.

Make sure that @ idle your North bridge is around 50-62 degrees. (50 to play it safe)

I'm 90% sure its the North Bridge.

Even when my CPU was down clocked on my system would still freeze. My northbridge started reaching outrageous levels when I took out some fans after water cooling. OFC the Zalman I had in my system was wat was helping the NorthBridge cool as well.
October 17, 2008 12:08:11 AM

My NB does not have a temp sensor that I know of. It might be the system temp, but besides that I'm nto sure.
October 17, 2008 12:19:55 AM

K try this, put a fan as a temporary solution in front of the northbridge and make it blow air on the north bridge, make sure you get it as close as you can, and the air isn't obstructed from the outside.

Next run the computer see if it freezes anymore, then msg me or post in this forum.

I use a bracket fan with a 3000 rpm fan to hang it over my NB chip and cool it.

Or your next best options is if you can attach a cooler directly on the northbridge chip. This is harder because it needs to be on perfectly otherwise it doesn't do anything other than block even more air from reaching the chip

Here's an old pic of my system I think Aug or so

Please ignore the duct tape:p  it was a temporary solution until I found coms screws for the outrageously huge and thick 4000 rpm exhaust fan
October 17, 2008 12:22:54 AM

Could the NB be the AUX sensor or system sensor. My AUX sensor reads 31c and my system temp says -65c....
October 17, 2008 12:26:16 AM

use the bios sensor. It is very accurate compared to other solutions, don't use windows programs. I don't even trust me putting in a temp reading myself.

if its 65 @ idle, and its not cooled I'll gaurantee you it reaches 90 under even the slightest load.
October 17, 2008 12:31:22 AM

It is NEGATIVE 65c lol. I uninstalled a card and redid the drivers after about 10+ hours of deleting ANY nvidia related files on this damn thing, and so far so good. I am about to install the second and try again. If I start to have problems I will try the NB fix. I was starting to think NB as well, but it seems to be with or without SLI so I don't know.

Edit: I see you had 2 9800 GX2s, did you have fun with trying to make that setup stable?
October 17, 2008 12:40:28 AM

It wasn't really that hard, the GX2s were really effective, but the min frame rate especially in heavy shader games such as Crysis really bent them over.

But overall they got higher frames per sec than 2 280s GTXs (with out AA enabled in most of the time though, when AA was cranked the 280s pretty much decimated the low Vramed GX2).
October 17, 2008 1:06:25 AM

A friend of mine just SLI'd his 9800 GX2 which he bought when they first came out with one he bought recently for less than half the price. It took us forever to get them to work and it involved a reinstallation of windows and modding the BIOS of the cards... not fun.

Edit: back to the point, lol. I just installed the second 8800 GTS 512 and it seems to be ok for now.
October 17, 2008 11:30:40 PM

Problem officially resolved. There was some driver file that neither driver sweeper or driver cleaner pro could find that I had to delete manually. A major frustration, but I am happy it is working and I am sure my cousin will be happy with it too.