New Matrox Card Causes System To Go Insane.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Vince Maskeeper, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Okay, I'm pretty computer literate, so most times I post problems here on the forum, they're way out in left field and all the normal solutions have failed to work. With that in mind, I figure it's unlikely anyone will have any ideas on what to try here, but figured I'd throw it out and see what happens.
    I got a Matrox G450 dual head AGP video card from Newegg. My system is currently based around a Epox EP-8KHA+ with 768 megs of ram and a Athlon XP1600 processor. The system has only 2 PCI cards, a Linksys NIC and the Echo Audio Gina 24 studio audio card. Previously it was perfectly stable running an ancient Hercules AGP card, and before that this basic mobo config (with different PCI cards) ran the PC in my Home Theater with a Radeon 7500LE, and also worked just fine.
    I installed the card, and immediately noticed system instability. The system was running on an install of Win98 that was reasonably new, so the system would previously boot very quickly. With the G450 installed, the system would hang on hourglass as soon as I logged into Windows. Eventually, tagging Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up a task list showed "MSGSRV32" as not responding and killing it would free the system up.
    However- trying to launch any application would yield the "There is not enough free memory to execute this, quit programs" message (which nothing was running and the system has nearly a gig of ram). Even right clicking on the desktop and picking PROPERTIES yielded an error "The program this link refers to is not longer valid".
    Something was obviously in bad shape. My first thought was removing the [email protected] client, which I set to screen saver only- but it was software recently installed and something which I didn't completely trust. So I removed, and restarted. No luck- same problems with slow restarts, hangs, MSGSRV32 errors, etc.
    Since I have had my Echo Audio card be fickle in the past, that was my next thought. Although doubtful, since it loads a mixer application at startup (which was also giving insane error messages I had never seen, including telling me it couldn't find certain paths on F:, which is a CD drive it should never be accessing)-- I thought I should get the most recent driver for this hardware, just to be sure.
    I went to the Echo website for the driver- and POP, the computer restarted. No errors, no messages, just a instant restart!
    After the system restarted, a few more attempts resulted in the same thing. After a little bit of experimentation, I discovered (get this)--
    Any time I visit a website which features Macromedia Flash content, my computer will hard restart or go into a "standby" mode where all the physical hardware is still getting power, but it is no longer posting video!
    The menus on the echo site are flash based (http://www.echoaudio.com/menuframe.htm), and if I went to the flash into on the Home Theater Forum- it would also result in a hard restart or this "no video" standby. Basically- the card seemed to go nuts. I have the most recent version of IE, and the most recent flash plug in (I thought about trying to double check about the flash plug in, but the Flash website has flash content which will restart the computer!!)
    All the while, the system stability issues were still horrible-- with MSGSRV32 not responding, and applications claiming they didn't have enough mem to run (only to work a few seconds later).
    So, I went through the usual suspects:
    - I got the Echoaudio drivers for the Gina24 using another PC on my network, and installed the most recent driver for the audio card, no change.
    - I tried disabling all the possible features of the Matrox card- disabling the taskbar icon and the other non-necessary features (I had never yet enabled dual head at all!)- no change.
    - I tried getting latest drivers from matrox. Removed the original stuff using their uninstaller, and reinstalled the matrox drivers- although the system stability wasn't as bad (I wasn't getting as many system hangs on startup)- but the Flash restart problem continued-- and I started getting a new weird issue where the screen goes back and says "A windows protection fault has occurred, you will need to restart your computer." Overall, no real improvement.
    - I remembered reading about a problem with the early EPOX 8KHA+ boards: some would go into a mode where they would fail to POST, and would supply no video. (Here's a note on this: http://www.overclockers.com/tips710). Although I had never had this problem (and it seemed to be something which would happen on startup), I went ahead and got the newest version of Bios and flashed the system. This provided no improvement in the matrox stability issue.
    - I figured, although I removed the Hercules drivers, I might still have issues with pieces remaining in the system somewhere. So I bit the bullet, formatted the drive, and reinstalled win98SE fresh. I installed only the Epox VIA drivers, followed by the Matrox Drivers (most recent from the website), followed by the NIC. With no other software, no Echo Drivers, bare minimum system with OS-- and the system stability is still bad, and the system STILL reboots or goes into a no video standby any time I access a site containing Flash content!
    - As a last result, I tried pulling and re-seating the Matrox card-- but the performance seems identical.
    I'm about to reinstall the old Hecules card, and I'm pretty sure I'll find that the system stability is back to fine. I'm wondering if this is likely a bad G450 card so that replacing it with another will fix it, or if is simply a case of the pieces of hardware in my system simply don't like the Matrox card- so none of them will ever work.
    Any thoughts?
    -Vince
     
  2. Scott Falkler

    Scott Falkler Second Unit

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    Vince-
    You might try reseating the ram, or the Matrox might be incompatible with the Athlon or Epox.
     
  3. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    I would suggest trying to run the system for a while with no Matrox drivers at all. Run on Standard VGA and see how the stability is. You may need to try earlier versions of the drivers if the system is OK like this.

    Matrox drivers are usually very good, but the cards aren't always the most compatible. I had an old Tyan S7 mobo which just refused to cooperate with a G400MAX in any way shape or form.
     
  4. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    That's what I'm afraid of- I would hate to return the card for a new one, only to have to return it again because the Matrox stuff is simply completely incompatible. But, I think that the fact that this is a pretty popular mobo coupled with the fact that this is a reasonably popular card makes me pretty sure if this is a known conflict, it should be easy to diagnose. Heck, the fact that one of the Epox bios updates listed the G450 by name makes me pretty sure there are at least a few users of this combo out there...

    -V
     
  5. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Or it could be something as simple as a BIOS setting. Another old S7 system I had would freeze when using a G400MAX. After turning off a BIOS setting for pipe-burst (or something similar - can't remember), the damn thing was as stable as a rock.
     
  6. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Off to seek pipe bursting or some such thing in bios setting...

    Will post my findings.

    -V
     
  7. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    okay, I only found a couple settings related to video in bios. Specifically:

    AGP Aperture Size
    The AGP Speed setting (I don't recall the name but the settings are 1x, 2x, 4x)
    Allow Video Cache
    And some setting about video shadow to RAM.

    I did try changing the AGP Aperture size from 128 to 64, and the system is twenty times as stable. In fact, this time when I went to a flash site, I got a prompt to upgrade to a more recent version of flash (the version I had before win98 re install)- and now it will do flash without crashing.

    So what is the aperture setting, what does it do exactly, and where should it be set? The same question applies for the 1x,2x,4x setting.
     
  8. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    The AGP speed setting is just that. The speed of the agp slot. On my board I can't run at 4x. There is a problem with it and nvidia cards with my asus p3v4x. So I drop it down to 2x and all is fine. If you are running at 4x, try putting the aperture setting back and dropping the speed to 2x. You won't see any speed difference.
    Aperture size, just some things I found through a google search:
    http://www.intel.com/support/technol.../aperture2.htm
     
  9. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    Vince,
    Matrox also has diagnostic tools for their graphics cards that can run from a bootable floppy, as well as the usual stuff as BIOS flashers for the BIOS on the card etc.
    You might want to run those tests just to be sure.
    For the record, I love my G400 Marvel [​IMG].
    -Christian
     
  10. Mark Hsieh

    Mark Hsieh Agent

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    AGP aperature is just how much the bus will allow for textures and various whatnots to be stored in memory before shutting off access to the buffer. If it was set to 128, then it was too much for your card ;P
     
  11. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    When you flashed your BIOS, did you reset the BIOS settings to Default first? (Found in the BIOS menu screen) Also, I assume you checked for IRQ conflicts? The matrox should have a dedicated IRQ, of course!

    It is odd that changing aperture size would make the system more stable. Try to get a hold of the Matrox diagnostic software, ASAP. You want to rule out card defects!

    Also, trying swapping out your DIMMs. It could very well be bad system RAM! There are dozens of variables to look into...
     
  12. Mark Hsieh

    Mark Hsieh Agent

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