GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

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GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

Postby MBit » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:23 pm

I'm having trouble of convincing myself to continue folding on my 9800GT.
I think the developers already know of these problems, but for those who never folded on such a card, here are the details:

First of all, this card is one of those which doesn't work with the viewer. Opening the viewer instantly gives me a BSOD.
I don't think the viewer should still be included in the installer package if it is known to crash computers.
I'm running Xp 32bit and my card is controlled by Forceware 258.96. This is not a dedicated folding machine, I'm working/playing/watching TV on this computer and as such I want folding (SMP and GPU) to run in the background as silently as possible.
So I can't use the viewer, but strangely other programs also happened to crash the computer reliably. Some games ran flawlessly, other BSOD'd. VLC media player BSOD'd. Suddenly I realized that

Every OPENGL application crashes the GPU2 client on a 9800GT.

D3D games / D3D video surfaces / other D3D render surfaces work without any problems. VLC now works after switching to D3D renderer.
I am really tired of experiencing a BSOD whenever I'm not careful enough to close the client before starting an OGL application.
I can't reliably use this folding machine the way I'm used to and have encountered several data losses due to this buggy client.
I know these cards are old and it's not as profitable to fix these bugs than invest coding time in new clients and pushing new chips to the limit, but lots of people still have these cards, everyone knows how popular 9800GTs once were, so please have a look at these OpenGL compatibility issues. Thank you.
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Re: GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

Postby HendricksSA » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:19 pm

MBit, welcome to the Fold. Sorry to hear you are having problems folding. I'm running 5 9800GTs right now. I lose on average about 1 work unit for every 250 processed. Your situation is certainly not the norm. The folding viewer has a long and well documented history of being buggy and more importantly, a resource hog. Yes, it probably should have been removed from the client but the science is given priority to the cosmetics. So it is still present but our recommendation is to not use the viewer.

We value your contribution to the science and hope you will continue to provide support. Due to technical reasons, it is not possible to throttle back the GPU client the same way the CPU/SMP client backs out of the way. The most reliable way to avoid the problems you are encountering is to simply stop the client when you are doing GPU intensive tasks. Then restart it when the computer has free time. If you can provide more specifics about your client version and OS, we will be better able to provide tips for optimizing your setup. It sounds like your client runs fine when not competing for resources. Is this the case? Looking forward to your reply.
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Re: GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

Postby 7im » Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:11 pm

Hello MBit, welcome to the forum.

With the V7 client rumored to be released for beta testing in the next month for so, I very much doubt they will spend any more resources trying to fix the v6 client.

Please try the new client when it becomes available, and let us know how it works for you.
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Re: GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

Postby toTOW » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:13 pm

Aren't 258.96 drivers known to cause issues ?

Anyway, it wouldn't hurt to update them (current version is 266.58).
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Re: GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

Postby MBit » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Thanks for your replies so far. I'm also looking forward to the v7 client.

A little more system spec detail:
-Win Xp 32bit SP3 (survived 3 different mainboards and lives since Dec 2008)
-Amd Athlon64 X2 6000+ (AM2 socket) <--- no OC, folds SMP flawlessly
-Gigabyte GA-MA770-UD3 Mainboard rev 2.0
-4GB of DDR2-800 Ram in dualchannel mode (OCZ / Corsair) <-- no OC, memtest86 stable
-XFX GeForce 9800 GT Green edition <--- OC to non-Green clocks, stable / bug persists on default clocks

I'm currently using the v6 GPU2 tray client, installing the GPU3 client makes no difference. I'm only getting core 11 WU's due to the card's age.
There is no excessive amount of EUEs.

I have tried several Forceware versions so far, however I don't remember which ones. The problem was the same for all drivers, so I settled on 258.96.
I will try updating to the latest drivers, if you can recommend those for XP32bit and 9800GT.
If nothing helps I will do a clean XP install on a new partition and see if the bug persists.
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Re: GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

Postby HendricksSA » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:17 pm

Personally, I would absolutely go with a new XP install since this one has persisted through several motherboards. HOWEVER, we now have driver cleaners available. You might want to collect all your drivers (updated) and then run a cleaner according to instructions. Reinstall all new drivers and then I would reinstall your problematic programs such as VLC. This could very well solve your BSOD problems. Let us know how it goes.

This is one of the free driver sweepers you could consider: http://www.phyxion.net/
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Re: GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

Postby MBit » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:09 pm

OK, I installed the new V7 client on a new XP with the latest nVidia 270.61 drivers.

This did not resolve the problem, OpenGL applications still lock up the computer for a few seconds when the render window is initialized, then they either work normally or cause a BSOD.
Could this have something to do with kernel timeouts in the NV driver? Like, when the GPU gets locked up for, say, 10 seconds, the drivers decide to BSOD?
I was able to start an old OGL game in 640x480, but when i switched to 1280x1024, the lockup didn't resolve and I got a BSOD.
The viewer locked up for a few seconds too, and then worked. Short lockup on closing the viewer.

Conclusions:
1) The v7 client didn't change anything on the core side, it's just a new facade.
2) My old win XP install is healthy like on it's first day ;-)
3) Something must be messed up on the hardware side, as a lot of 9800GT users do not seem to have this problem.

Any ideas?
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Re: GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

Postby Amaruk » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:08 pm

MBit wrote:3) Something must be messed up on the hardware side, as a lot of 9800GT users do not seem to have this problem.

Any ideas?

My 9800GT cards have the 6-pin power connector - I would guess most of the others do as well.

Doesn't the Green edition get all of it's power from the slot? (ie no 6pin)
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Re: GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

Postby MBit » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:22 pm

Yep. My 9800GT only uses the 75W from the PCIE bus, however it most likely draws a little more in overclocked mode ;-)
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Re: GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

Postby Amaruk » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:32 pm

MBit wrote:Yep. My 9800GT only uses the 75W from the PCIE bus, however it most likely draws a little more in overclocked mode ;-)

That's what I was thinking, that power draw might be the cause.

Another possibility could be the MB not supplying the full 75W of power to the card, but I don't know how you could test that other than switching it out.

Don't suppose you happen to have board number four laying around somewhere by chance? :lol:
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Re: GPU2's bugs with old NV cards

Postby MBit » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:24 pm

I temporarily underclocked my card to about 300/750/450 clocks and the problem is still the same, so it cant be a power issue. On these clocks, the card barely heats up, which is a reliable indicator for very low power consumption.
Furthermore, the GPU folds stable for days (maximum uptime so far: 20 days) with 600/1500/900 clocks, why should some OpenGL application suddenly increase the power consumption even more?

Then I adjusted the CPU usage percentage parameter in the GPU client to about 50% and the problem was gone ;-)
Of course, folding slows down when lowering this setting, so i gradually increased it again and found 90% to be a fair tradeoff.
Starting at 85%, there comes a short lockup ( < 1 sec ) when starting and stopping OpenGL applications, from 95% on, I get minutes-long lockups again and eventually a BSOD.
When I compared TPF for 100% and 90% CPU settings, I was happily surprised the increase in TPF for 90% setting only ranged from 1% to 4% (different WUs) as opposed to the expected 10%.
So I guess i have to live with this workaround ...
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