Running into major problems on my first attempt at SLI

Discussion in 'NVIDIA Graphics Cards' started by kelston, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. kelston

    kelston Active Member

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    So I built a new computer finally and decided i'd finally jump on SLI and with my luck apparently crashed head first into a brick wall.

    I narrowed it down to SLI being the problem, however, I don't know how to further narrow it down to determine if it is motherboard, SLI bridge, or something else.

    Symptoms:

    When I first built the system, got all the drivers up and had everything installed. It seemed just fine. Installed a game (World of Warcraft, go ahead and laugh), played for about 2 hours without a single problem. Performance was wonderful (but then again it's WoW). No hitches. I go to bed, and that's when the problems started. Next day, I turn on the computer, try to log into Windows, doesn't work, get the dreaded nvlddmkm BSOD. Reboot into safemode, uninstall drivers, figure since i'm on the new beta 270s i'd go back to the most recent 266 WHQLs. I try to install them, computer says no and BSOD me midway through the driver install (0000003b system service exception on the ntoskernel).

    I rage. And then I panic. And then I settle down, go through standard diagnostics. Figure maybe bad ram. Run 2 hours of passes of memtest. No problems. Run Western Digital's HD diags, no problems. Ran sfc /scannow, no problems.

    So I go back in, successfully install the 266 drivers still uncertain as to why that 0000003b happened (though most google results come up as generally driver problems so I figure hey, video card drivers are bad so i'm tryin to fix it right here).

    266 drivers are installed. Everything seems okay. Get Dragon Age 2 installed play that for a few hours, no problems. Play WoW again (I raid, sue me). No problems. Shut down my computer to get some food. Turn it back on a couple hours later. PROBLEMS, DEAR GOD WHY.

    My mouse becomes unresponsive. Attempts to move it are completely laggy and jerky, it's basically unusable. So I shut down again. Figure since major issues are stemming from video cards, I take out the second one. Boot up, viola. System starts up without issue, no mouse problems. Everything seems perfect.

    Do some googling. Some suggestion say maybe i'm an idiot and put the SLI bridge the wrong way (though most people seem to suggest it doesn't matter which way and there doesn't seem to be any indication in the manual that there's directionality) so on two separate boot ups I try the SLI bridge both ways. Same issue, my mouse is unusable. So more searching says that I could try running SLI without the SLI bridge.

    Apparently not, trying to SLI without the bridge results in my system starting up in basic VGA mode with Windows telling me that there was a problem with both video cards so it disabled them both.

    Individually, I can verify that both cards are functional. I don't know if it matters, but I popped in a PCI-X sound card into the PCI-X slot the 2nd video card occupied for the time being. Figured it would at least do some very minor testing (?) maybe. The sound card seems to be functioning.

    What can I do to further determine exactly the root of the problem? Is it a bad SLI bridge? Is it a bad mobo? Is it something else?

    System specs:

    i5-2500k
    Asus P8P67 WS Revolution
    8GB DDR3-1600 ram
    2x 64GB SSDs (1 boot, 1 apps)
    1x 1TB HDD
    Theoretically 2x GTX 460 1GB (currently on 1)
    X-Fi Titanium HD (occupying the slot)
    Windows 7 Pro 64 (non SP1 since tech sites are recommending not installing)
    Corsair TX 750W PSU
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  2. Takaharu

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

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    Few questions...

    Are there any related errors in your Event Viewer?
    Are you using one or two SLI bridges?
    Have you tried using both graphics cards without SLI? Dedicate one to PhysX and see if the problem still occurs.
    Did you perform a clean install (there is a checkbox for this) with the latest non-beta drivers?
    Have you tried the SLI over two different sets of PCI-E slots?
    Are both graphics cards identical? Not necessarily problematic though if one is overclocked it may well cause a problem.

    Also, may I ask what sort of reasons you were given for not installing SP1? This is not related to the issue at hand.
     
  3. kelston

    kelston Active Member

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    Event Viewer -> The only events of note are the ones mentioned. The nvlddmkm BSODs and the BSOD related to driver issue (0000003B service error).

    SLI Bridge -> I am only using one, I had a spare one that I tried to see if the bridge was the problem

    Without SLI -> I tried dedicating one to PhysX just now when I read your post without success (took me like 20 minutes to move my mouse with that awful stuttering issue)

    Clean Install -> Did it every time I installed and reinstalled the drivers, also had used driversweeper

    Different PCI-E Slots -> I tried slots 2+4 and 2+3, I am unable to use slot 1 because my heatsink prevents utilizing that slot. I have a sneaking suspicion that I am required to use slot 1 for the first card but I am unsure if this matters since this is my first run with SLI.

    Both cards are identical, they are both EVGA 460s stock, neither are factory overclocked.

    I didn't install SP1 since a few searches indicated that it was better to wait and that none of the things it implemented were meaningful. Regardless, I installed SP1 anyway and it didn't help.
     
  4. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    Did you happen to buy a boxed Intel CPU with its own cooler included? Might be worth taking off the Noctua so you can try slot 1 if you did.
     
  5. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    As always, be sure to have the latest bios too.

    BTW, seems this isn't just an isolated issue with this board. Checking Asus' forums, and other forums, I'm finding a lot of posts by users having the same problem, along with various "possible" fixes. Those being trying the SLI bridge turned the other way around, installing drivers with just one card installed, then install the second card, install the cards using the ones supplied by the CD then install the updated drivers on top, but the biggest one was based on the fact that they give you an extra long SLI bridge.

    From what I read the extra long SLI bridge adapter is specifically mentioned as being for "2way SLI" (Asus' word), plus it's been noted that both blue slots run at 16x while in 2way SLI (thanks to that board including an integrated NF200 chip) suggesting that for 2way SLI they want you to use the 2 blue slots. The catch (as far as I can tell): you cannot use the black 16x slots.
     
  6. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    So to simplify..

    In SLI... crashes...

    Remove the one card and it's fine..

    Have removed the known working card and installed the other in it's place and ran it through it's paces?

    (sorry if you repeating yourself again, but i've tried to read through a few times and getting interupted at work)

    Because the symptoms and exact senario played out with the one 4870x2 i received that was faulty..... it "worked" but didn't....

    Also wondering about the Power supply and the load balancing on the pci-ex plugs your using.
     
  7. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    Judas, you should also take note of the other thread of Kelstons as it explains his setup.
     
  8. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    yeah i'm seeing that...

    it still looks like the first slot is useable....
     
  9. kelston

    kelston Active Member

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    Apologies for the delay in getting back, had some non-tech related real life stuff to attend to! Appreciate the responses so providing a minor update since I haven't had a chance to try anything yet.

    @Judas - The first slot in it's current state isn't usable. I'll pop in the stock cooler when I get a chance to try the slot theory. The reason it's not usable is because the way the WS Revolution is designed, the first PCI-E slot is a lot closer to the cpu socket than most boards. This is a case of "I wish I had a camera". If you're familiar with the Noctua NH-C14, the way I have it currently situated with the heatpipes over the ram sockets, if you took a bird's eye view above the first PCI-E slot, the fan clip actually is so far south (top of mobo being north) that it covers about 65% of the slot.

    The system is currently running with the 2nd video card. I removed the known working card and it is seemingly working fine. I played through StarCraft 2 and ran 3dmark a few times on it apparently without much issue.

    I figured since I would be unable to do much for a bit, I would take an all of the above approach and bumped up the power supply and picked up an 850W PSU (is this even enough to rule out a power issue)? I don't even know which PSU calculator is the most reliable. If I went by Newegg's barebones one, it doesn't give me all the options I need and the best I could go with recommended 734W. If I went with eXtreme's, it put it at 492W.

    But overall, given my look through ASUS's boards and Tipstaff's, i'm hoping it's just an issue with having to use the blue sockets and not something more since that seems simple enough to rectify once I get some time.

    Edit: I did find someone else having built using my board to give people an idea of how tight a fit it is with giant heatsinks. I think it was Tipstaff(?) that recommended I just sell my C14 and pick up the Noctua D-14 so I can use the first slot. The guy that took the picture uses a D-14. With the D-14 you basically have maybe a few millimeters (!!) of space between the heatsink and the video card, with the C14, it's just too big.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011
  10. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    well the thing is.. that i've personally never ran into any issues using abnormal slot configurations...

    it shouldn't matter..

    I've ran crossfire using a 4x pci-ex slot even..... just sevearly impacted by the lack of bandwidth...

    It's just that the symptoms mentioned sound very familare with a bad video card .... reason i suggested to yank out the first one... and throw in the 2nd one instead just to see..

    Now if both cards are working.. i'd bet that the motherboard is likely the problem.... i can't see the power supply being problematic.... but either way.. there is utterly no reason for the pci-ex being all mixed up... as being a problem... it just shouldn't... unless it's a quirk of the board design.. which case that would be annoying as hell.

    Either way.... good luck.... kinda can't recommend anything else at this point in time.
     
  11. kelston

    kelston Active Member

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    I finally got a day of peace and quiet to put all of your combined suggestions into action and I feel I should provide an update!

    So some preliminary testing with the stock cooling had good results with two cards in the blue PCI-E slots so I went ahead and picked up a heatsink that from some anecdotal reports other people had no problems with on the WS Revo board (Zalman's CNPS 9900 MAX).

    As of right now, I have both my cards running in SLI sitting in blue sockets and actually with a soundcard in place (leet!) with at least one successful shut down and restart without any of the previous problems that had plagued the system when I had tried that originally.

    So here's knocking on wood and crossing fingers and thanks to all of you for your help!
     
  12. kelston

    kelston Active Member

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    It appears i've spoken too soon.

    Ran fine for last few days. Played through Portal 2 like the rest of the gaming world just fine. Had my settings all up and I was happy!

    So I was sitting here in my browser about 30 minutes ago watching Team Liquid's Star League 3 stream (TSL3, a Starcraft 2 tournament for those not into that sort of thing) and talking to a friend about it on AIM and suddenly I lose my display. It pretty much looks and sounds like what would happen if your system goes into hibernate mode except... I was using my system at the time. So I press the power button and it shuts down instead of doing the come out of hibernate mode so it couldn't have been some wonky accidental hibernate Windows 7 problem. Uh oh #1.

    So I turn it back on. Let's just try starting Windows normally, maybe it was just a power spike or some such. Windows log in screen seems fine, didn't get that mouse unresponsive problem, so far so good. Log in, monitor kicks off into standby. Ah crap.

    Boot into safe mode. Uninstall video drivers. Boot back into Windows. I have display again. So video related. At least it wasn't something else. Install drivers again. Reboot. I still have video. Good.

    Go into nVidia control panel. No SLI option. Pop up eVGA Precision. Click on GPU 2. No information for the 2nd GPU. Load up CPU-Z. No core/shader/memory speed information for the 2nd GPU.

    Device manager shows 2 GTX460s. I have my SLI bridge installed. And only for a brief moment did I get that popup in the system tray to say I could activate SLI but then when I clicked it I didn't get to the window to activate SLI.

    So i'm not sure where to go from here. Opening the side panel, the 2nd card powers up. The fan is spinning. I reseated it. There appeared to be no visible anomalies on the back of it so I have no idea if anything is wrong with it.
     
  13. kelston

    kelston Active Member

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    What a silly thing to say on my part. I have 2 of the same card. Duh. Took out both to test individually. Since we could determine at least the first card was working. Put the 2nd card in there.

    Couldn't get past the Windows log in screen. It garbled the Windows log on sound. Any ideas? Is the card busted? I assume it's just a crapped out card but the whole video card screwing up the sound as well is strange to me. As well, wouldn't a dead card also not display video at all and not just after logging into Windows?
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  14. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    i'd suggest the next time you lose your display like that.... start windows in standard 640x480 low resolution mode.... which resets the current display settings while maintain the other driver settings...

    This has occured a few times to me where the display while doing something managed to get stuck in standby of somesort..... everything else in windows remained working...

    reboot... F8.... low resolution mode... and then go into windows and setup my resolutions again ....


    As for your recent 2nd card resulting in garbled windows and sound and stuff... i'd say that your problem...
     

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