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3D apps crash, caused by Diamond Monster MX300!

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Anonymous
March 26, 2001 3:53:15 AM

Hello, all. This is my first post to this forum. I posted this in two other Tom's Hardware boards because it relates to them also; I hope nobody minds. I have been working on this problem for literally weeks (even staying up all night and morning working on it for several hours straight). I've finally got to the point where I will actually admit that I cannot fix it myself and I need some help. ;) 

All of my 3D accelerated games crash! _Every_ time. Within a few seconds of play, it hard crashes, and I have to physically reset the machine. Just FYI, I'm using Unreal as my testing program. The only thing that remedies the problem is removing the sound card. It runs fine after that (er..other than the fact that there's no sound ;)  ).

Here are my detailed current specs:
AMD Athlon CPU, 600MHz (Not overclocked)
ASUS K7M motherboard
256MB PC-133 RAM
Diamond Viper v770 video card, 32MB
Diamond Monster Sound MX300 Sound Card
Windows Millenium (ME)

Here is what I have tried so far (that I could remember; I have been working for weeks on it...):

Swapping video card (no luck, so obviously not hardware failure on the video card's part)

Using 1 of the 128MB DIMMs and then switching it (eliminating memory failure)

Removing the sound card (which, as I mentioned before, stopped the crashes)

Disabling all extra parts of the sound card in the System/Devices tab (such as the Gameport, midi, etc.), with only the "PCI audio driver on, still crashed

Defragging

Reinstalling Windows ME

Formatting the hard drive, installed Win98 this time, no luck, reinstalled ME, no luck)

Removing all extra hardware (modem, NIC)

Tried using DirectX 5, 7, 8

Tried latest video reference drivers (Detonator), latest drivers from Diamond, drivers that the card shipped with

Tried latest sound card drivers from Diamond

Moved sound card into a different slot

Changed sound card's IRQ

Reduced AGP aperature from 64MB to 32MB and then back

Getting latest patch for test subject (Unreal)

Removed both sides of the case and placed a (perfect sized) fan on the left, which served as a very good cooling device that I shall remember if I ever consider overclocking, but still didn't solve the problem

Checked to make sure the video card was using AGP 2x, as 4x is not supported on my board

OpenGL rendering as opposed to Direct3D

I think that about does it. I have tried _EVERYTHING_ that I can think of, and I am so completely stumped. I'm a serious gamer and it is driving me crazy. Oddly enough, Unreal Tournament (which a large part based on Unreal's engine) does not crash, but every other 3D accelerated application does that I've tried so far (Unreal, Quake III, Half Life...) I'm lost! It works in software rendering mode just fine, and works with the sound card disabled or removed just fine. I'm going to try enabling the "memory hole" in the BIOS, and that's the only thing left that I can think of. PLEASE SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!!!!!!

-InsanePyroTeknix
David Michael
Anonymous
March 26, 2001 1:47:01 PM

Your sound card is based on the Aureal Vortex2 SQ2500 chipset, which IMHO is one of the best sound cards ever made as far as audio quality and performance. Unfortunately, Creative Lab$ $ound Bla$ter filed a lawsuit against poor little Aureal Semiconductor, Inc. a while back, for copyright infringements, and Aureal really got their clocks cleaned out. After filing a chapter eleven? bankruptcy, Aureal was bought out by $ound Bla$ter, who basically stole the A3D/Vortex technology and of course all rights to the drivers from them. The latter part is what's giving you hell. Your KT133-based AMD motherboard was not made with the Aureal card in mind. The problem is that the card tries to send a command through the south bridge (I think south, that controls PCI?--bah, not pertainent:p ) which asks for a response too quickly for what the motherboard chipset wants to give--so it doesn't--and this causes the card to go into an eternal 'wait' mode, which also causes the rest of your system to 'wait', which is what is locking up your games! MP3 and normal desktop usage seem to be stable, however. Unfortunately $ound Bla$ter owns all rights to the drivers now, so don't ever plan on seeing full Aureal functionality on your motherboard. The only solution to this problem is to buy a new sound card, and I must recommend to you the <b>Philips Acoustic/Seismic Edge</b> cards (Acoustic=6 speakers, Seismic=4 speakers). They're really great, you can't go wrong with them. Check pricewatch.com! I used to have the same problem as you, with that Vortex2 SQ2500 sound chipset. As soon as I plugged in the Philips card and pulled out the Aureal, my system became ROCK stable (it's been running for 3 days straight running sporadic bouts of counterstrike and q3a! Even with my cheapass RAM!). It's just too bad, cause Aureal would have certainly updated their drivers to work with the KT133 chipest had creative not gotten so greedy. Note that some people (well as far as I know just that "<b>blah</b>" guy) have gotten their Aureal-based cards to work with the KT133. I have no clue how, because I tried everything myself to no avail. Oh well, I only paid 30 bucks for the Aureal card, but it's still sad to see a good sound card company go.

Oh, one thing you <b>can</b> do until you get a new card is set your sound acceleration (in the ctrl panel-->multimedia-->one of those tabs and set the hardware acceleration to the lowest setting. This is crappy, but it kind of works. It'll hold you off until you get a new card at least. Also, don't enable A3D or high quality sounds in your games. Good luck, go for the Philips! (Or get a different motherboard chipset?)

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Anonymous
March 26, 2001 3:06:38 PM

Yes, I agree with the great quality of the sound card. I would _really_ hate to give it up. It works great, is well built, and lots of features. But the thing is, it used to work! It used to work fine, but now it doesn't, and I don't know what has changed that is causing this... doh!

I'd like to try every last tweak before I actually get rid of the card. Thanks for the info though, very informative; please let me know if you have any other suggestions.
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Anonymous
March 27, 2001 1:42:02 AM

Nevermind, Aureal's reference drivers _FINALLY_ fixed this problem!
March 27, 2001 2:33:58 AM

Glad you got it working now, cos I had K7M and Athlon 600 for more than a year and it worked fine with MX300 up to the point I sold the system (kept the sound card though, heh) and it was working with every windows out there even with the original drivers... hehe

Post, we'll do the "search"... :wink:
Anonymous
April 1, 2001 1:36:40 PM

I tried to plug in my sq2500 yesterday, 2048 drivers and all, cut out the sb pro emulator, and my system still wouldn't take it. Oh well.:p 

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