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Thread: Serious Hardware Issue

  1. #1
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    Default Serious Hardware Issue

    Two evenings in a row I have attempted to run Open Rails and on both occasions after about 15 minutes of driving my PC has made a forced shut-down and booted back into the ASUS motherboard setup menu with warning about a power spike. Using latest version, 1.1.1.3487.

    This does not appear to be an actual hardware or power fault as previously I was running other far more graphically and processor dependent programs run without causing this to happen.

    The particular route I was using is MLT Sandpatch, but a different activity on each occasion.

    I'm loath to try OR with any other route as I don't wish to damage my hardware, so quite a serious issue if it is related to the software.

    At this stage the only thing I can think of is that the FPS was running at >500 FPS which may have caused the GPU (Nvidia GTX950 to trip). I've found the option to limit FPS, but not sure if I should try it again.

    Thoughts/advice, please?
    Last edited by NorthernWarrior; 09-03-2016 at 05:22 PM.
    Vern.

  2. #2

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    Hi Vern !

    What make PC is this and which version of Windows has it got. How much RAM is installed ?

    Limiting these unusual high FPS ORTS is running should not damage your hardware, using less power and creating less heat.

    B.t.w., what W is your PC's PSU rated at ?

  3. #3
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    Vern: Otto has a good point. OR can serve up outrageous FPS numbers if you don't place some limits, assuming good graphics hardware and suitable drivers. But that can also produce huge temperature spikes in the GPU and CPU that eventually overheat the system and shut it down. That can look like a power spike, and it might actually be one if you have a marginal power supply - the p/s could overheat and malfunction. Do you just restart and everything's then fine? Can you go into the BIOS setup and look at temperatures and voltages when restarting? Is your cooling fan (very) active just before the power "spike?"

    Do you have software like Speedfan (Google it) that allows you to see fan speeds, internal voltages, and various system temperatures in real time? That might give you a clue about whether it's really temp or something else. Speedfan has a useful chart function - start it up, then start OR and run for 10 minutes or so. Shut down OR and look at the chart. Are temps and voltages normal?

    It might, of course, be a real power spike. Anything odd going on in your area? Construction, cars hitting power poles, etc.? Does your utility have a web site where outages are mapped? In my case, the UPS for my desktop computer cycles on very briefly at odd times during midday; lights don't blink or flicker, but they're mostly flourescents & LEDs so voltage within a reasonable range doesn't affect them anyway. UPS software reports a brief power outage, but I think it's more likely a very brief (only a few seconds) spike or switching transient in the utility given how much solar power floods the system during the day (California...). If it goes outside what the UPS accepts as a normal voltage range, it drops to battery briefly until things are normal again. That shouldn't be as much of a problem with laptops, though, because most just use the power adapter to keep the battery charged when you're plugged in, running or not, but you could have a sensitive one.
    Last edited by mikeebb; 09-03-2016 at 08:09 PM.

  4. #4

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    Yes, Mike has mentioned most of what could cause power spikes in your electricity supply, my UK NPower supplier and the odd lightning strikes close by also having caused them.

    I have all my computer equipment plugged into multi-socket plugs extensions from the mains, which are protected by Power Surge Protectors !

    I am now going to have a large Cognac before going to bed to celebrate my 40000th post, Cheers all !


    P.S.: Seem to remember that PSUs also had some overload protection but can not see one now on my computers !
    Last edited by OTTODAD; 09-03-2016 at 09:27 PM.

  5. #5
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    I run one of the latest Asus motherboards these days. There should be a setting in the BIOS for "Anti-Surge Protection." Try turning it off, and then try running Open Rails again.

    The built-in anti-surge monitor has a reputation for being hypersensitive, especially when the graphics card starts pulling more power, or when the CPU is overclocked and working hard. It may read "normal" power fluctuations as potential surge conditions. (Sudden CPU load changes and graphics card load changes will cause the power supply output to vary slightly. This is what can trigger the anti-surge monitor as a false positive.) I've left the setting off on my system -- it's plugged into a high-quality surge protector anyway. It did trigger once or twice while I was dialing in my setup; with it off, I haven't had any crashes or odd problems.

    Turning on VSync will lock Open Rails to your monitor's refresh rate -- and keep the GPU within a sane frame rate, which will leave some "headroom" for scenery-heavy areas.
    Last edited by EricF; 09-04-2016 at 12:07 AM.


    MSTS-Roundhouse

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  6. #6
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    I'm fairly certain my PSU is rated at 450w and a hardware power consumption form on line came back at ~320w. So plenty of reserve in hand. I've been playing graphics intensive mainstream games on this PC such as the Mass Effect series, GTA IV, Fallout 4 and the latest Doom (until I rage quit due to constantly dying) without it blinking an eyelid.

    I'm 99.9% certain this wasn't a mains power spike, too much of a coincidence to happen at the same interval running the same software. The PC is plugged into a surge protector anyway.

    I have now set the FPS to 60 and enabled v-sync so will give that a try later on. However worth those coding ORTS to ponder, given this a release version of the software should this not be enabled by default - with a pop up message to anyone who turns off v-sync or the limiter that it may produce unpredictable results or cause hardware issues? Perhaps this could be fed back to the devs at Elvas Tower.

    I won't be able to try the new settings until later on but will give it a go and report back.
    Last edited by NorthernWarrior; 09-04-2016 at 03:11 AM.
    Vern.

  7. #7
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    Update - switching on V-Sync and ticking the target FPS at 60 seems to have fixed it. Started the same scenario as last night and driving for over 30 minutes with no issues.

    However I do respectfully repeat my suggestion above that these settings should be on by default, to prevent potentially nuking the unwary user's hardware.
    Vern.

  8. #8
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    You probably don't need to set the target framerate at 60 -- OR might dial back other settings in heavy scenery areas if for any reason your GPU has trouble keeping up. I run my OR with just VSync on, and the frame rate holds at my 60Hz monitor refresh rate anyway. I leave the target framerate box un-checked.


    MSTS-Roundhouse

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernWarrior View Post
    However I do respectfully repeat my suggestion above that these settings should be on by default, to prevent potentially nuking the unwary user's hardware.
    There is no point to strangle a CPU / GPU with frame rates higher than a human eye can see a difference with lower ones !

    Commercial HD TV uses 30 and anything higher requires graphics cards which can handle them, costing more money and that is what it is all about, making more money
    !

  10. #10
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    Let's just hope someone from the ORTS star chamber () picks up on this. A responsible developer will take heed of feedback regarding how their program interfaces with hardware, particularly where less computer savvy users may be using the software. I regard myself as reasonably computer literate having in the past put together two self built systems, but in this case even I was just a mouse click away from ordering a new PSU.
    Vern.

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