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  #1  
Old 10-25-2010, 10:05 AM
ricksummon ricksummon is offline
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How can I stop Windows 7 TDR errors?

I have an ASUS computer with an Intel quad-core Q8200 processor, 6 GB of RAM, an nVidia GTX 285 video card, a 650W power supply, and Windows 7 64-bit. Many games that I try can barely run at all before the screen blanks out for a second, then comes back for a second, then blanks out once or twice more before the game crashes. It then has a yellow triangle icon in the corner with an exclamation point that says "Nvidia display driver has stopped responding and has successfully recovered."

This kind of error is called a TDR error, and it seems that literally no one knows how to correct them or even how to tell what component in the system is responsible for them. Most tech support people for game companies have never even heard the term. Nvidia acknowledges the problem, but basically says it can be caused by almost anything and no one knows why.

The thing is, it doesn't happen on all games. Civilization V can run for hours without a single TDR. Grand Theft Auto IV can do the same except for very specific missions. If I play the mission in Ballad of Gay Tony where you have to recover the stolen diamonds from the biker gang, the game will always crash the instant you start shooting and not a moment before, and only on that one mission. However, games like Bioshock 2 and Batman: Arkham Asylum crash on TDR errors within 2 seconds of starting gameplay (that is, after the cut scenes are done.)

I'm not really asking how to solve these TDR errors. What I really need to know is who I can even ask in the first place. It seems like literally no one alive knows how to even diagnose the cause of these errors, much less correct them. Where can I even start?
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  #2  
Old 10-25-2010, 04:46 PM
BigT BigT is online now
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I really see no reason that the specific type of error is important. The problem is obviously something with the graphics. Software wise, you could try changing your graphics driver--either get a newer one, or roll back to an older one.

The next thing I'd try is removing the graphics card, making sure all connections are perfectly clean, and reseating it--even trying a different slot if there is one. After that, I'd go with something on the card itself being bad, and would assume it needs to be replaced. Hoipefully, it's still under warranty.

After that, there's really only one possibility left--the motherboard itself. The connection could be messed up, or it could be something more serious.
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  #3  
Old 10-25-2010, 05:25 PM
Cerowyn Cerowyn is offline
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I used to have this problem frequently with my Windows 7 laptop, which has dual NVIDIA and Intel graphics chipsets. My less-that-desirable solution has been to force it to use the less powerful integrated Intel graphics, which has eliminated the problem entirely. My Windows 7 home PC, which is a desktop with an ATI HD5770 card, doesn't have that problem at all, so I strongly suspect the NVIDIA driver on my laptop (but obviously, that's not conclusive, since the two machines have lots of other differences as well).
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  #4  
Old 10-25-2010, 06:47 PM
Caught@Work Caught@Work is offline
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I had a very similar (if not identical) problem on a Win7 laptop.
Turning off Aero stopped the problem occurring.
It seemed to me that overheating caused the issue, but I'm not 100% convinced of the cause, but the resolution has worked so far.
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  #5  
Old 10-25-2010, 07:25 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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nvidia used to have the better reputation for driver quality compared to ATi, but ever since WDDM came in they've been shit. you might see if updating the graphics driver (or just trying a different version) might help.

also, what brand power supply do you have, and how much did it cost? Just because the label says "650 watts" doesn't mean it can actually supply that.
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  #6  
Old 10-25-2010, 09:57 PM
astro astro is online now
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Do you have the supplementary power connectors hooked to the video card?

If your MB has onboard video have you defeated it in the BIOS setup?

Last edited by astro; 10-25-2010 at 09:58 PM..
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  #7  
Old 10-25-2010, 11:05 PM
ricksummon ricksummon is offline
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The power supply is a Corsair, and the amps and motherboard voltages have been confirmed as adequate by the card manufacturer itself. It can output 52A on the 12V rail.

These errors cannot be simply a hardware error or overheating, because even if I leave the computer on all night running 100% CPU and GPU CUDA calculations with SETI@Home and Folding@Home, it never crashes or even gets a computational error. Overheating is random; these errors are perfectly repeatable and predictable, down to the exact instant I press the fire button in one specific mission in Grand Theft Auto IV.

The motherboard does not have onboard video; it came with an older video card that I replaced. If the supplementary power cables were not hooked up, it could not run at all, much less at 100% GPU utilization for 12 hours straight. I know, because I personally connected them. Again, if the problem is the hardware, why does any game work?

I have the latest driver from Nvidia and have been downloading the latest drivers ever since Windows 7 was released. The best I have been able to get is that the TDR errors on some games will actually recover rather than causing a full crash.

From what I'm seeing, though, these errors are unsolvable. People on the Nvidia forums are speculating that PC gaming itself will die because of them. Most likely, since the TDR function only exists on Windows Vista and Windows 7 to begin with, Microsoft has simply designed the video system in these OSs incorrectly and customers will have to either go back to XP or wait until an entirely new OS is released. I can't really go back to XP, though, because it doesn't support DirectX 10, which newer games require.

Last edited by ricksummon; 10-25-2010 at 11:09 PM.. Reason: Added comment.
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  #8  
Old 10-26-2010, 09:56 AM
control-z control-z is online now
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I hate to say it, but the easiest option might be to replace the video card, and you might want to go ATI just to change things as much as possible.
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  #9  
Old 10-26-2010, 10:59 AM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Have you run Memtest86+? Given that the crashes occur predictably at a particular point in the games, I'm wondering if you might not have a defective DIMM. If the game (or graphics driver) is always loading in the same region of physical memory (long shot, since software only sees virtual addresses) then a bad memory chip might be faulting on the same physical location every time. Run Memtest86+ overnight, or even better for 24 hours. Any errors at all means you have bad hardware.

Quote:
Most likely, since the TDR function only exists on Windows Vista and Windows 7 to begin with, Microsoft has simply designed the video system in these OSs incorrectly
I have no idea what would lead you to that conclusion.
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  #10  
Old 10-26-2010, 10:54 PM
ricksummon ricksummon is offline
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Memtest shows no errors. Plus, ATI cards have this same problem for many users. Replacing the video card might work, or it might do nothing. The fact is, no one knows, and as far as I know, no one in Microsoft, Nvidia, or anywhere else even knows how to determine this.

Last edited by ricksummon; 10-26-2010 at 10:56 PM.. Reason: Added comment.
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  #11  
Old 10-27-2010, 03:56 PM
dzero dzero is offline
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I don't really do games, but have you played with each games settings for resolution, anti-aliasing, etc?

The gtx285 has pretty decent specs but if the problem really does have something to do with the stream processors being overloaded temporarily, reducing the resolution or other settings that require more computations by the video card and/or the cpu should ameliorate if not eliminate the problem.

From what I've heard, some games preferentially utilize the GPU processors and memory, while other rely more heavily on the CPU and system memory. So you can get seemingly contradictory results from one game to another.
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  #12  
Old 10-27-2010, 10:40 PM
ricksummon ricksummon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzero View Post
The gtx285 has pretty decent specs but if the problem really does have something to do with the stream processors being overloaded temporarily, reducing the resolution or other settings that require more computations by the video card and/or the cpu should ameliorate if not eliminate the problem.
It's possible, but even games that date back to the 1990s like Max Payne cause TDR errors. There's no way that game could even come close to taxing the card.
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  #13  
Old 10-27-2010, 10:48 PM
flano1 flano1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by control-z View Post
I hate to say it, but the easiest option might be to replace the video card, and you might want to go ATI just to change things as much as possible.
Had exactly the same problem.

After extensive hassles with computer shop personnel finally RMA'd.

Nobody wanted to admit that a brand new video card was faulty.

*sigh*
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  #14  
Old 10-11-2011, 01:02 AM
Alaxo06 Alaxo06 is offline
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hey rick,

i have the same exact problem that you have, have you been able to fix it?

please let me know.

thank you
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  #15  
Old 10-11-2011, 01:08 AM
Alaxo06 Alaxo06 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaxo06 View Post
hey rick,

i have the same exact problem that you have, have you been able to fix it?

please let me know.

thank you

i have spent countless dead hours reading threads and forums looking for a way to fix this prob getting to the same conclusion that its not the hardware or temp or drive etc etc, its just something in the windows.
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  #16  
Old 10-11-2011, 04:51 AM
Khendrask Khendrask is offline
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It's the video card. The 285's have an issue where they burn themselves up, but still function mostly until they are called for heavy usage, then they fault.

I've had 5 285's that did exactly that. I switched to the 'Green' cards in some boxes, and the 500 series in some others, the problems went away. For the record, I love the 580's, but a less pricey card that works well is the 560.
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  #17  
Old 12-29-2011, 04:35 PM
Bear7 Bear7 is offline
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I have had this problem for some time with my 6950 card running Vista occuring in games only, like Skyrim. I strongly suspect it's a software thingie. Some thing makes the graphic driver reach the two second threshold and shit happens. Maybe it's situation where the CPU is loaded with calculations, making the graphic driver to wait.

Anyway, I have a bit of an unbalanced system with a two weak CPU, so I'm considering upgrading CPU and go for windows 7. Also hoping that the new Catalyst packages will improve in this area, and yes I feel the 12.1 preview release is making my system behave a tiny bit better...
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  #18  
Old 12-29-2011, 04:42 PM
UFC Is Sux UFC Is Sux is offline
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Windows 7 has some little weirdnesses for sure. My current one is the "Your USB port could run faster - upgrade it to a 3.0" or words to that effect that I see every time I plug in my Internet dongle to my laptop's USB port. It eventually connects to the Internet anyway, but it takes a few seconds longer if I see this message. It is kinda like having a small paint scratch on a new car - it is annoying but not so annoying that I would have the entire car repainted.
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  #19  
Old 12-29-2011, 08:49 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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I've been having issues with my GeForce 470 GTX card. Especially with BF3. I switched between an older driver, the current driver and the Beta driver. I kept having problems and I think it is the card in my case, but I am going to try a few things before I replace the video card.
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