Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hardware woes...

You guys won't believe this. I've been having to do less work on my main workstation for the last couple of weeks. I had odd heat and hardware issues which caused locks and freezes. This didn't help get much work on this project done in my spare time. Admittedly, I haven't been able to sit down in front of it much during that period either due to jobs. Today I had the chance to break down the system and pull all the boards, heatpipes, and various other parts not soldered into the motherboard. The problems?

Problem one: I found a spot on one board where dust was wrapped around a jumper pretty tight, which may have lead to it's 'acting flaky' during boot. If anyone reading this can find a study on the conductivity of dust I'd enjoy seeing it. I'm almost certain this is why that card was randomly failing to init at boot time, since it no longer exhibits that behavior so far. It was seated well, etc when I pulled it.

Problem two: the GPU had a tiny, tiny dust bunny in the inner heat sink -- under the pretty logo shield and cover. This tiny bunny was causing a 25C-30C rise recorded at the core -- aka Massive Damage. I'm betting the localized heat was much higher. Given the same temperatures in the room for today and yesterday the core readings are 25C cooler by the time the UI loads, and 30C cooler at idle some time after that.

Back to the localized heating on the GPU. The localized heating was likely much higher than the core reading, and it was affecting a small area of the GPU. This must have caused the errors when doing 'heavy' rendering. In turn leading to freezes and lock ups. Also my ambient case temps are down somewhat as well. The moral of this story is that when you clean out your PC -- you need to break it down and clean it out really well. Take off the shields, tunnels over the heat pipes, etc and remove that dust. At least I didn't see any 'whiskers' anywhere -- unless that dust on the jumper was over one. ^^

Hopefully, now that is done I can work on the game engine and freyja for most of the holiday weekend. I'll also bake some pizzas on the stone, and work on the new bokken I'm making. I'm mostly going to focus on finishing up the new plugin systems in freyja, and working on the Lua side of the game engine. The new walkmesh, texture splat, and geomipmapping are getting some love too.

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