Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Alternative Operating Systems > [solution] Crashes, blue screens, freezes, and GPU recover in games under Bootcamp

[solution] Crashes, blue screens, freezes, and GPU recover in games under Bootcamp
Thread Tools
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 8, 2006, 12:59 PM
 
Please note: I believe that using Mobility Modder to modify and install newer versions of the ATI Catalyst drivers is a better solution to the problems outlined in this thread. Please see [solution] Install/Update Windows ATI graphics drivers for Mobility Graphics Cards.

Many users have been noticing periodic instability in games installed on a Windows XP Bootcamp partition. With my Macbook Pro 17", for instance, I have noticed severe problems with Eve Online, World of Warcraft, and Star Wars: Empire at War.

The relevant symptoms and a solution is contained below. Please reply to this thread with any other problems that this solution fixes to aid others who find this thread through Google.

Relevant Symptoms:
  • Your screen goes black during game play and you are confronted with a dialog box warning of a VPU Recover, "Please tell ATI about this problem," or a "switched to software rendering" message.
  • Your screen goes blank during game play, stays that way, and audio begins to loop.
  • You receive a Windows stop error (blue screen of death) followed by an automatic reboot.

What doesn't work

As painfully illustrated in the post "So, you want to play Eve Online (or other directX games) on your Macbook Pro?", I have tried a myriad of things to solve this problem. Here's a list of the stuff that won't help you. (Please note that this is specific to the Macbook Pro; some users, such as iMac owners, may have some limited success with some of the drivers mentioned below.
  • Updated ATI Mobility Drivers. Although ATI offers drivers newer than Apple's 3/2006 version, these drivers are both difficult to install and not compatible. Some people have described a "specific ROM configuration unique to Apple" that necessitates special drivers.
  • Bootcamp beta 1.1 drivers. Although Apple offered a lot of changes in its Drivers CD recently, the version of the ATI graphics driver has never changed.
  • The "Omega" Drivers. While quite compatible with my Macbook pro, they didn't solve the problem for me.
  • Calling tech support. While a few tech support representatives are friendly and actually want to help, ATI tech support, at least, doesn't want anything to do with troubleshooting its products in a Mac running Windows. The same is true for software support teams. They'll support their software in Windows, on a Mac, but not on a Mac running Windows.
  • Adjusting the "compatibility mode" sliders and changing graphics modes. In the course of troubleshooting with an ATI tech support rep, I asked him if adjusting the compatibility sliders had ever solved a problem. He said no, and I believe him. These sliders turn off hardware acceleration bit by bit. Many games won't even start if these settings are too low. Similarly, reducing color depth and resolution in Windows and in individual games had no appreciable impact.

The solution

Reducing the core and memory clock speeds of your ATI graphics card will fix this problem. I was able to completely eliminate the problem by selecting speeds close to the rates chosen by Apple under Mac OS X: 310 MHz for Core and 278 MHz for memory. (So perhaps there is a reason other than heat and battery life that Apple has under-clocked this graphics card?)

To change the clock speed of your graphics card, you will need a program called ATITool by TechPowerUp. While this program is running, you can control various hardware aspects of your card. It can even be configured to detect games launching and then adjust clock speeds automatically.

Note: Do not install version ATITool 0.24. This is the latest stable release, but it is not compatible with the Macbook Pro 17. Furthermore, ATITool 0.25 Beta 15 (the latest beta release) is also not compatible -- it doesn't crash, but it doesn't change clock-speeds properly, either, and it can cause your backlight to turn off until reboot.

Download ATITool 0.25 Beta 13 and install. Set clock to 310, memory to 278, and click "set clock." Don't worry if the clock speeds get set to slightly different values (such as 310.10).

Once you click "Set clock," minimize ATITool (it will retreat to the system tray) and play your game.

Caveats

This solution will probably work under any configuration of Windows and bootcamp on a Mac. But here's what I have installed, just in case.

Windows XP Service Pack 2
All Windows XP updates, both "critical" and "optional"
Bootcamp Beta 1.1 and the 1.1 Apple drivers CD (installed this way from scratch, not updated.)
ATITool 0.25 Beta 13 (beta 14 [i]may[i] work.)
Directx 9.0c (latest as of September 2006)


Notes

What's interesting about this fix is that I was unable to cause graphics problems in any way except playing games. I downloaded and ran benchmarking utilities, ran dxdiag tests, and even ran ATITool's "search for artifacts" routines, all of which ran flawlessly. Do any of you have any input on this?
( Last edited by markponcelet; Jun 6, 2007 at 05:51 PM. Reason: Linked to a better solution.)
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Sep 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 18, 2006, 09:25 PM
 
First, congrats on writing what has to be by far the most coherent post I have read on this subject.

Unfortunately, for me, it just doesn't work. I have a 17' mac book pro, and I really like it. This is actually the second one that I have had. The first one had the freezing issue in xp. I thought I had some bad ram, so I sent it back. The second one did the same thing, and I got on the boards and started reading.

If I just go with the ati drivers that install automatically with the bootcamp driver cd windows will freeze in a matter of minutes. What I mean is I get no cursor or keyboard response. If I install the ati drivers (normal ones the mobile ones don't work) I can keep it running, but as for gaming nothing works.

I have tried the ati tools to downclock the graphics card to one of about a dozen or so settings I have seen various people say to try, but it invariablly results in the system shutting itself down or a driver error which forces a reboot when I try to launch the game (not immediately but whenever it gets to a point that it has to do something involving directx).

I dont really understand how it can work for some people with the exact same system. I must be missing something, but I have no idea what that might be. I am not a super computer tech guy, but I am not exactly a dufus either as these things go. Any help/advice/suggestions/feedback would be greatly appreciated.

-me
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 20, 2006, 11:39 AM
 
trippfitz, I've been thinking about your problem for a couple of days now. This very same thing happened to me, but only once: right after I installed bootcamp and windows XP for the first time.

In my case, I'm pretty certain that the problem occurred because of how I installed everything. I installed Windows successfully, then turned to Windows Update to get the software up-to-date. But unlke Apple's Software Update utility, Windows doesn't download all the updates in one go. You have to run the update, reboot, run the update again, reboot -- [i]ad nauseum[/]. In adddition, only the so-called critical updates are downloaded; if you want the other updates, you have to specify this manually.

So the first time that I installed the software, with just one round of updates, things went terribly. I was able to get things to be stable by following this approach:

1. Delete the bootcamp partition.
2. Recreate the bootcamp partition
3. Format using NTFS.
4. Install Windows XP SP2
5. Install the Bootcamp 1.1 drivers.

(At this point, you have to install the drivers before updating, because Windows can't find the ethernet card on its own.)

6. Run Windows Update through the web interface.
7. Select all critical and optional updates and download.
8. Reboot.
9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until no updates of any kind are available.
10. Install DirectX 9.0c from Microsoft.
11. Reboot.

Now you can follow the instructions above to install ATITool Beta 13 and lower the clock speed of your graphics card. Be absolutely sure that you have the right version. Beta 15 SEEMS like it works, but it doesn't do anything. Other versions may do this as well; I haven't tested them all.

Mark
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Sep 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 20, 2006, 03:24 PM
 
I appreciate the reply very much. You are correct, in that, the freezing for me did not start until I installed the boot camp drivers. Also, I did not thoroughly update Windows in the fashion you described. I will give it a shot. I have Norton System Restore, so if I make sure the new partition is the same size if I screw things up to badly I can put myself back in the same shape I am now. Thank you very much again. I will post an update after I give it a shot.

-me
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Dec 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 9, 2006, 03:04 PM
 
So, is nuking the Windows partition the only way to get the crashes to stop? Mine only crashes at startup about 50% of the time.
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 9, 2006, 06:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by rads View Post
So, is nuking the Windows partition the only way to get the crashes to stop? Mine only crashes at startup about 50% of the time.
No, I wouldn't say that. It seemed to help the situation I was having initially, but I still suffer from occasional (black screen on boot) crashes, and the very rare blue screen of death. I consider these things to be a fact of life for windows use, be it on a Mac or no.

Now, I don't have crashes fifty percent of the time, either. Maybe ... fifteen percent. If things are that rough, then yes, I'd start from scratch at least once to see if a fresh install helps things a little.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Dec 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 13, 2006, 06:22 PM
 
It appears that installing the latest Omega Drivers has solved my crashing issues for now.

Originally Posted by markponcelet View Post
No, I wouldn't say that. It seemed to help the situation I was having initially, but I still suffer from occasional (black screen on boot) crashes, and the very rare blue screen of death. I consider these things to be a fact of life for windows use, be it on a Mac or no.
Oh, and I'd like to add real quick: Windows is not that bad in terms of stability. It's just that most people don't know how to maintain their computers and end up getting a lot of junk on there that can make their computers slow or unstable. It isn't as common on Macs because there is less malicious software, and unlike Windows software, Mac programs tend to avoid adding various things (startup items, taskbar icons, etc...) the background. Sure, you can get a blue screen or a freeze every once and a while, but I would be lying if I said my Mac didn't suffer from similar issues on occasion.
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Feb 25, 2007, 08:47 PM
 
I don't know if it has to do w/ the new BootCamp, but ever since that was installed, I was not able to get any of the AtiTools to work getting blacked out screens and crashes when trying to adjust the core/memory.

So, for those who are using the latest Boot Camp, which versions work? I've tried all the versions from .25 beta 13 to .26 and none of those work correctly.
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Feb 26, 2007, 05:15 PM
 
To this day, I am still using beta 13. I do get occasional black-screen freezes with that tool. Maybe ... one in ten boots or so.

Remember that my method of installing ATITool invovled removing Windows first. This isn't necessarly critical, except that it allows me to be certain of all of the software installed on my Windows partition so that I can avoid bugs like these. In addition, I use very specific settings (as mentioned above: 310/278). Other settings caused my Macbook Pro to do any number of weird things, including freezing.

I can't think of anything else that might be going wrong except this: I vaguely remember that the ATITool settings were recorded in a human-readable text file. Change some settings with ATITool and check to see if that file is being updated. When I used beta 25, this file wasn't changing (or so I think), and that's what helped me find Beta 13.

Good luck.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Oslo
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 5, 2007, 10:46 AM
 
Does anyone think the "freeze at start-up"-problem might have anything to do with using different computermouses etc. at home and work? I plug things in and out of the usb-plug twice or more everyday..

Sometimes I also get a freeze right after start-up (the keyboard and mouse won't respond).

In addition, I sometimes don't see the mouse-arrow, but a squared area forth the size of the mouse-arrow being "scrambled out" (hard to describe, and my english isn't good enough..). The area moves with the mouse, but it's hard to see where I'm clicking. 90% of the time the problem is solved by rebooting. Have anyone else experienced this, and might be able to either describe the problem better, or even better: have a solution for it?

One last question: When I get a freeze at start-up, I reboot. Is that "healthy" for my MacBook? Sometimes I even have to reboot twice to get it starting, and I get this bad feeling about it.. My MacBook is like my baby to me..
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 6, 2007, 08:24 PM
 
I have seen this "scrambled out" mouse problem before. I had this problem when I was using the wrong ATI display driver. (Read above about how I forced different versions of the ATI driver to install while I was tracing this problem.) I never, ever get this problem with the ATI driver provided by BootCamp.

I have not had that problem since I got Beta 13 working. But I have had black-screen freezes from time to time, and there just might be a connection between my freezes and when a USB mouse is attached. When I get my MacBook Pro back from Apple, I'll run a few tests.

In regards to your last question about resetting your Macbook after a freeze: Most likely, any damage done will occur to the file system of the operating system you are running when you reset the computer. Chkdsk can (and will) repair damage to Windows XP, and disk utility can repair damage to MacOS. I very much doubt that you will ever do physical damage to any hardware components by forcing the computer to shut off.
     
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 27, 2007, 11:18 PM
 
i'm not having any problems what so ever with my macbook pro using bootcamp to play intense games such as quake, call of duty, fear and so on, MBP 2.0Ghz, 2Gigs ram, 100Gig HD and 256vram and using bootcamp 1.1.2. the only problem i may have is if i set the res to hi, but i usually keep everything med at 1024x720 or lower on some games and everything works perfectly with no glitches.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: May 2007
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 10, 2007, 07:20 AM
 
I have a 2.3 intel Imac with a x1600 and are having the same problems.

Does anyone else have this mac who is having problems within games, My main games are STALKER and Half Life episode 2. both crash within 5 minuets of opening.

Is it the GPu clock speed with imac's,

Can I damage my mac by using ATITool?
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 23, 2007, 07:28 PM
 
When I was experimenting with ATITool, I installed lots of versions, gave it lots of settings, and never hurt my machine. I suppose if you set your settings very high, the card could possibly become damaged. But if your goal is to play games, you'll probably be setting the card to 310/278 anyway, which is underclocking it.

I haven't had anyone tell me explicity that they've tried this fix on an iMac, but since it has the X1600 video card, I'd give it high odds of working.
     
Professional Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Hamburg / Link√∂ping
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2007, 11:29 AM
 
I have an Intel iMac 24" and I have the same problems with games (Battlefield 1942) described in the first post (but it's rare)!
My problem now is that I do NOT have an ATI graphics card but a NVIDIA 7600GT!

Any ideas what I can do?
***
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2007, 11:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by badidea View Post
I have an Intel iMac 24" and I have the same problems with games (Battlefield 1942) described in the first post (but it's rare)!
My problem now is that I do NOT have an ATI graphics card but a NVIDIA 7600GT!

Any ideas what I can do?
Based on my limited research at the NVIDIA forums, looks like a target might be to underclock to these settings:

Gpu 500mhz (maybe even as low as 490)
Mem 600mhz (1200mhz)

It seems pretty clear that other PC users are having problems with that card that they are solving by underclocking. The only question I haven't been able to answer is how to accomplish this. Find instructions for that, and then you can start experimenting!

Good luck!
     
Professional Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Hamburg / Link√∂ping
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2007, 01:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by markponcelet View Post
The only question I haven't been able to answer is how to accomplish this. Find instructions for that, and then you can start experimenting!
That's exactly what I was hoping that someone could tell me...

Good luck!
Thanks!!
***
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 25, 2007, 01:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by badidea View Post
That's exactly what I was hoping that someone could tell me...
Well, I can't view the pages that explain how to over- and underclock NVIDIA chips, but what I can see from the summary on a google search for "instructions overclock NVIDIA," it appears that the function is built-in to the drivers themselves. Try this web page for a lead. It's not your version of chip, but the steps have to be related.
     
   
Thread Tools
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:38 AM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2014 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2