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freezes in demo | TNT2 | Win2k


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I hope that the game I ordered doesn't lock up as frequently on my computer as the demo does.

My stats:

Celeron 400mHz on Asus P2B-F board

256mb SDRAM

Win2000

Creative TNT2 Ultra <- latest creative drivers

Aureal Vortex 2 sound card

- all latest bios and drivers

Problem: I can play 1-2 rounds and in the middle of ordering my men around the video will lockup (sound will keep on playing) and I will be forced to restart my computer.

This happens even when I lower the resolution from 32-bit to 16-bit and 1024x780 to 800x600

I am interested in helping solve this in the interest of being able to play the game I ordered and not using it as a coaster, since, I imagine, I won't be able to return it.

frown.gif

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I am Legend

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I have the exact same motherboard and video card and can report no problems with either the Gold Demo or the Full version.

Where my setup differs from you is I'm using Win98 2nd ed. and an SB Live (different CPU, memory and a couple of other additions, but nevertheless). This is probably where your problem lies (unless you are overclocking your CPU and/or video card). On my TNT2 I have the clocking set to 166Mhz Core and 190Mhz Memory. If I crank up my memory clock beyond that I will get freezes. Of course this will vary card to card, but you may want to check your clock settings, especially for the memory.

Some people have mentioned problems with the Aureal soundcards, but I don't know if it is something consistent with the drivers or not. As for Win2K... well... some people are having graphical problems with it. So there may be some sort of Win2K-video driver-CM issue going on here.

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It's good to know that it's not the motherboard / graphics card combination.

No I am not overclocking anything.

One possibility I've tried to track down is if there is a conflict between the TNT2 and the sound card. Can you tell me Schull* if your video and sound card's share IRQs? My TNT2 is AGP and the Aureal is PCI but they both share irq9.

Acc. to Windows docs, PCI should sort the IRQs out without a prob but I've read elsewhere that it doesn't do as good a job of the sharing as it should.

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My video card shares an IRQ with an as-yet unused 3Com NIC. My SB Live has its own IRQs that it isn't sharing.

With the amount of data that CM is generating I believe it would be bad for the video card and sound card to share the same IRQ. Windows does allow for IRQ sharing (if you look around the IRQ listing in Device Manager you'll see IRQ Holder for PCI Steering). Unfortunately some drivers may not cooperate very well with IRQ sharing. They may be able to handle small amounts of data, but with the almost constant sound generated by CM - that solution runs into problems.

If your sound card and video card are sharing the same IRQ, then I would guess that your sound card is in the first PCI slot next to the AGP slot. There is no other way around this than to physically move the sound card over to another PCI slot, preferably the next one down. This is something that you'll see in every motherboard. The AGP slot gets the same IRQ as the first PCI slot - it has been designed that way.

If you have to share an IRQ try to share it with a device that won't get a lot of concurrent use. If you can get a free IRQ check to see what IRQ is free in the Device Manager > Computer (highlighted) > Properties button (Oooppss... I forgot you're running Win2K - hopefully you can find the IRQ listing, I can't remember the exact location myself at this moment). This will list the IRQs used by the system. If you can find a free one in here (which won't be listed as free, just not present) then note that number down. When you boot go into the CMOS setup and then PNP/PCI (can't remember the exact name of the menu). In here you should be able to assign an IRQ to a specific PCI slot (you will need to know which slot number your sound card is in). This is one of those nice features that Asus usually implements in their BIOSs that few other m/b manufacturers do. Assign the free IRQ number to that PCI slot.

If you move your sound card you may have to reinstall the driver. Sometimes the drivers can "adjust" themselves to a new IRQ, but often this just may not work. The best solution may be to uninstall the drivers completely and then reinstall them and then the latest patches.

[This message has been edited by Schrullenhaft (edited 07-15-2000).]

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First, good news. Was able to play an entire game without crashing. I'll reply to the IRQ info first for the edification of others and then tell you how I solved it.

(BTW Your explanation on the IRQ is the first plain english description of the IRQ sound card / video card conflict that I've read. Thanks, it underlines other information that I've found.)

For those of you who use Win2k, you may encounter an IRQ problem that is unique to it. Win2K fully embraces APCI, which automatically configures each and every of your devices. While this is a nice improvement on previous Windows installations, it also has a consequence for IRQ. If you didn't install W2k *without* APCI support, W2k will always choose an IRQ for you *regardless of whether you set it in BIOS or physically move the PCI Sound card location*. In my case, W2K automatically chose to assign IRQ 9 to both my sound and video cards. The first thing I tried was to manually assign IRQs in the Asus BIOS. Ha no. Then I physically reseeded the Vortex2 in different slots. Again, W2K assigned the IRQs as previously. Needless to say, frustrating.

After much searching, I found a document in the Windows2000 pages at Microsoft telling me, yes, you will have to reinstall W2K without enabling once of its key features, APCI. Ha ha .. I refuse to go through the pain of reinstalling.

What did I do?

I did what someone else suggested and severely reduced by AGP aperature size to minumum (4). Well, right after that I played an entire game without freezing. You know what, I don't have a clue what AGP aperature size means. Maybe it's just voodoo (the magic, not the card).

Anyway, I will play a few more games and see if that really did solve it. Then I'll play some HL: Counterstrike (where I also freeze a lot - in OpenGL tho).

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The AGP aperture size is the memory range that is reserved for addressing the video card's memory by the CPU (or, uh... something like that). By reducing the size of the aperture you may be forcing the CPU to send data in smaller chunks to the video chip/video memory. This Intel article explains a little, but is a bit dated (Win2K = NT 5):

Intel AGP Aperture defaults:

http://support.intel.com/support/technologies/graphics/agp/aperture2.htm

Though I don't think you'd have to change the caching of the video from USWC to whatever the other option is (USW). Tinkering with the video caching may help, but I'm not sure. As the article indicates it is a function of the AGP aperture.

Another thing I forgot to mention. You may need to turn off "PNP OS" in the CMOS set of PNP. By turning this off you can keep the settings that the BIOS sets for PNP devices. With PNP OS On - the OS can reassigned the resources as it sees fit (which may often be what it was beforehand - and different from what you've set in the CMOS).

To my knowledge ACPI is a power-saving/configuration scheme (I'm not sure what its PNP configuration aspects are). Often it will take its own IRQ (can't recall if the P2B-F will allow you to turn off this IRQ grabbing). I believe Win2K has been programmed to support this standard as the preferred one.

[This message has been edited by Schrullenhaft (edited 07-16-2000).]

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Thanks for the education again!

I did previously turn off the PNP OS thinking it would do exactly as you said, however, ACPI will *still* reassign IRQs!

Anyway, I suspect I will have to figure out how to reassign the IRQs manually still, as it doesn't seem to help out my Half Life: Counterstrike problems. I played 20 minutes of CS just now and locked up. That's not so bad as I just switch to D3D anyway for CS.

I haven't yet had a chance to play the Combat Mission demo again to see if it was just a fluke that I made it through an entire mission without freezing.

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Oh I feel I have to mention: the Asus user forum boards are the slowest, most painful to navigate user forums I've encountered in quite some time . First, their english boards are still hosted in Taiwan. Secondly, they operate in tiny frames. Thirdly, they have the most curious, restrictive navigation scheme I've ever encountered in a user support forum. Never mind that there seems to be no actual responses from the manufacturers.

Ever feel the need to see what I'm talking about? Go here: http://www.asusnetq.com.tw/

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Disaster, I am hoping your posting will save my proverbial life. I have the full game, with frequent lock-ups. Schrullenhaft has done so much for me, but I still cannot play CM without a Lock-up about every three PBEMs' or worse. Let us see what Aperatures can do for *me*

Jonathan

P.S. If we both buy Schrullenhaft a beer, we might just be able to get him drunk!

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Srider:

Im Having the same problem. I would like to try reducing the AGp, But how do you do that.

pls help anyone.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

When you start up your computer go into BIOS. If you don't know how to do this, watch your screen for a text message that says "Press [some key] to enter setup." This is usually DELETE. Follow that instruction and you will end up in your computer's BIOS. Since the BIOS is specific to the type of motherboard you have in your computer I can't help you in finding where that is in yours. Likely it will be contained in one of the menus. Look through them all until you find an entry that says AGP aperature size. Adjust it down and test.

Hope that helps you.

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