My computer is broken (formerly blamed on Civ V)

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My computer is broken (formerly blamed on Civ V)

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:25 pm

Hi all. Seems I'm not the only one experiencing freezes or even full 'blue screens'. After a random number of turns the game just stops. On the other hand, some (few) games I've been able to play all the way thru' to victory.

It's been patched twice since release.

I've tried running dx9 and dx11 modes. I've tried windowed mode. I've tried dialing down the eye candy. I've re-installed my Nvidia drivers. I've re-installed direct x.

Anyone on here experienced similar issues with this game? And did you manage to resolve them?

Cheers.

BTW: I just built this computer recently and it runs Dirt 2 like a dream so I'd struggle to believe it's a hardware issue.
Last edited by pedro on Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:26 pm

Run a data file verification through Steam.
ChronoReverse
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:05 pm

Thanks for the reply and suggestion. I did the game cache check thru' Steam and it said there was one error and that that file would be reacquired.

Then I booted back into the game and did a quick-fire 57 turns and then BOOM - another hard lock-up that even a 3 fingered salute couldn't get me out of.

It's a real shame because I think the game looks excellent. But judging by the amount of text cropping up on various boards, Firaxis didn't bother too much with beta testing on this one. I guess we're doing that now for them.

Anyone else got a suggestion?
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:11 pm

Do you maybe have any hardware issues with your system? It may be that under load your system isn't totally stable.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:15 pm

I've had one freeze since I've had the game - but my machine is a bit below the minimum specs for running it. I'm actually pleasantly surprised at how well it runs for me...

As for your problem, you might try running in windowed mode for a bit with performance monitor running and see if you notice anything peculiar with memory right before or during a lock. Also keep track of CPU usage, and even temperature - this game uses some serious CPU cycles.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:25 pm

Buub wrote:Do you maybe have any hardware issues with your system? It may be that under load your system isn't totally stable.


Not sure, but I've had no issues up until now, including doing things like playing Dirt 2 (everything cranked up) for hours on end, video encoding, etc. When I first bought the computer I ran MemTest overnight, two nights running and no errors were reported.

Nothing is overclocked.

I'll try out the performance monitor/windowed mode tip tomorrow. Thanks a lot.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:25 pm

What error codes are you getting? Have you checked your logs? It sounds like hardware/driver issues. If you have the error codes, we can find out where the problem is.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:57 pm

the problem I've been having is freezing during the AI's turn. Usually it starts back up but sometimes crashes. It hasn't BSODd me yet but I've lost some games; when it happens there's also usually no autosaves, or at least not for a long while (I have them set to every 5 turns but sometimes it'll be like 15 or 20 turns past the last autosave). Pissing me off cause I love playing it.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:44 pm

TheEmrys wrote:What error codes are you getting? Have you checked your logs? It sounds like hardware/driver issues. If you have the error codes, we can find out where the problem is.


I'll play a bit today and generate a few. I'll post back.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:50 pm

Wish I could help beyond my first post.

I'm running it on my Q9450, GTX260, Win7x64 without a single hitch as a data point.

Have you tried adjusting the settings just in case as well as updating drivers? Just the usual stuff.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:43 pm

Oh. I though this thread was going to be about the allegedly bad AI. Turns out you meant literally.

by the way, that seems so screwed up, system requirements (not just GPU) go through the roof and Firaxis boasts about the new AI, and yet several reviews say it's worse then Civ 4. What's all that processing power doing, then? Oh well, that's what the mod community is for.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:18 pm

It's getting worse:

a) Steam have told me to re-download the 4.5+ GB game (this should take between 16 and 24 hours to complete on my connection); and
b) My computer now lasts about 15 seconds after logging into Windows before it freezes up.

The joys of reformatting.

This has been a real pleasure.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:25 pm

pedro wrote:...
b) My computer now lasts about 15 seconds after logging into Windows before it freezes up.

This is starting to sound more like a hardware problem...

I would go with an overnight Memtest86+ run before you take any other troubleshooting steps. If that passes, try swapping the PSU if you have a spare handy.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:25 pm

Yeah, I'm with jbi here - sounds like there's a more fundamental issue with your system than just Civ V - no game should be capable of preventing Windows functioning properly. In addition to Memtest, I'd consider running a HDD diagnostic to see if there's some data corruption going on.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:29 pm

could be hardware issues. I had Starcraft 2 randomly crash on me a few times and I thought my graphics card was faulty as after the crash, I needed to reboot for it to work. After I reduced the overclock of my system by 120MHz, I have not had a crash since. Never thought it was the CPU prior to this because I never encountered any issues before.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:42 pm

Thanks for all the replies folks.

I'll start off with another day or so of Memtest86+ to see what happens...
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:44 am

It looks like switching from AHCI to IDE in the BIOS has at least allowed me to carry out some diagnostics on the hard drive. Before (in AHCI mode) Western Digital's diagnostics tool wouldn't boot. A generic "write zeros" DOS utility would get some way into it and then hang as well.

I wonder if AHCI mode was causing my Civ and then Windows and eventually DOS issues. If so, then why has the computer worked so well up until this point, including some heavy Dirt 2 playing?

Perhaps a silly question but now that I think of it, the HDD is a WD6402AAEX. It's a SATA 6 Gb/s one for some unknown reason. Should there be any issues with hooking such a drive onto a Intel SATA 3 Gb/s port? Or should I be fiddling with jumpers? Or should it be plugged into the Marvell 6 Gb/s port? (I realize I won't get a speed boost from doing this.)

If this is an AHCI associated issue then I can understand the flood of posts on Steam's boards and other places 'round the net.

I'll report back in about a day.

Cheers.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Sat Oct 02, 2010 4:04 am

Well, I'm baffled.

I'm doing lots of Memtest runs. Sometimes it fails miserably - 360 errors in 6 hours; or Memtest will crash altogether. Other times it will run for 6 hours with no errors at all. How can this be so?

I've tried different wall sockets, different power boards, removed 1 DIMM, rotated DIMMs, etc. The good runs and bad runs still appear (seemingly) at random.

Any clues?
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:30 am

Could be the PSU is slowly dieing, can you swap it out and run mem test again?
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:36 am

Have you tried each DIMM individually? A single DIMM which is just on the edge of failing could explain the behavior. Or it could be a cracked trace or solder joint on the motherboard, which only fails when it is above (or below) some temperature threshold, due to thermal expansion effects.

Are you running Memtest86 or Memtest86+? I've seen Memtest86 (the non-"+" version) give spurious false positives on some newer hardware. Memtest86+ seems to be more actively maintained, and receives updates to support newer systems on a regular basis.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:51 am

The PSU is only 6 weeks old so I hope it isn't dying but it could be. It's a Seasonic and I've had pretty good experiences with them in the past. I don't have a spare PSU lying around unfortunately so I'll need to take it into a shop to test the PSU aspect.

I'm using Memtest86+ - sorry for not being clear. It's the latest version.

I've tried single DIMMs. Sometimes when I do so, DIMM 'A' will pass with no probs for hours and sometimes it will spew out errors like no-one's business. The same goes for DIMM 'B'.

It's a real puzzler that's for sure.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:28 pm

It could be that there is a piece of failing hardware. You're on the right track on the different things you're trying. Have you tried a different motherboard?

It could also be that some component(s) are marginal -- running correctly most of the time with occasional failures at the margins. You might try backing off some of your BIOS settings to more conservative values, especially for RAM timings. Also maybe try boosting the voltages one notch for various processor and/or RAM voltages (don't over-do it -- just a little bit).

I had instability in my machine for awhile. It was very annoying. I had four sticks of RAM (actually six, but of course only four fit at a time). Four of them were 1GB sticks and two were 2GB sticks. Obviously I wanted to go 2+2+1+1 to get 6GB. I ended up rotating through the pairs to finally isolate that one or both of the 2GB sticks was not entirely stable. It worked most of the time, but I would get a crash about once a day on average.

I ended up doing an RMA replacement on the RAM, and the new RAM is working perfectly. But until then I was trying a lot of the same things you're going through.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:44 pm

Do you run Windows 7? You could try using the Windows 7 memory test for faster results.

I've found that sometimes memtest86+ has to run for hours before detecting an error that the win7 memory tester catches on the first pass.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:12 pm

if you have a digital multimeter you can test the voltages of your psu from a spare molex or sata connector. do you have a UPS or surge protector? maybe something got fried during a thunderstorm...i am leaning towards your psu being at fault...do you have a spare to test with? if not my guess is mobo. good luck!
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:58 pm

Buub wrote:It could be that there is a piece of failing hardware. You're on the right track on the different things you're trying. Have you tried a different motherboard?

It could also be that some component(s) are marginal -- running correctly most of the time with occasional failures at the margins. You might try backing off some of your BIOS settings to more conservative values, especially for RAM timings. Also maybe try boosting the voltages one notch for various processor and/or RAM voltages (don't over-do it -- just a little bit).

I had instability in my machine for awhile. It was very annoying. I had four sticks of RAM (actually six, but of course only four fit at a time). Four of them were 1GB sticks and two were 2GB sticks. Obviously I wanted to go 2+2+1+1 to get 6GB. I ended up rotating through the pairs to finally isolate that one or both of the 2GB sticks was not entirely stable. It worked most of the time, but I would get a crash about once a day on average.

I ended up doing an RMA replacement on the RAM, and the new RAM is working perfectly. But until then I was trying a lot of the same things you're going through.


I haven't got another mobo lying around. I pretty much only have the bits that make up the computer. I'll head to a shop today to get them to take a look at it over the course of a week.

I did back off on the timings of the RAM as one of my strategies. At least the timings I know about that is. I bought GEIL PC3 12800 CL 8-8-8-28 RAM. That's how it's marked at least. This actually reverts to the first SPD value when the BIOS is set to defaults, i.e. PC3 10600 CL 7-7-7-24. I've tested at both these bandwidths/latencies. Both throw up errors.

I've also cranked it down PC3 10600 CL 9-9-9-x. This seemed to give me more errors but I can't say for sure.

I didn't want to increase voltages just yet as I felt that was a last resort. It's getting close to that tho' now. I'll give it to the people who sold it to me first to see if they can try different mobos/PSUs/RAM/etc.


ChronoReverse wrote:Do you run Windows 7? You could try using the Windows 7 memory test for faster results.

I've found that sometimes memtest86+ has to run for hours before detecting an error that the win7 memory tester catches on the first pass.


Yeh I 'run' Win7 but at this point I can't boot into it; we've become that unstable. As for Memtest86+ taking a while, as I type I've clocked up, on the current session, 1479 errors thus far. I'm thinking about shooting for the world record.

ryko wrote:if you have a digital multimeter you can test the voltages of your psu from a spare molex or sata connector. do you have a UPS or surge protector? maybe something got fried during a thunderstorm...i am leaning towards your psu being at fault...do you have a spare to test with? if not my guess is mobo. good luck!


Hey ryko. Nope I don't have a meter. I'm guessing the shop will tho'. I don't have a UPS. I'm running the monitor and computer off a power strip that purports to be a surge protector but I wouldn't be sure. I've tried two different power boards. The one I'm using now is brand new.

In fact, I think you're on the right track. I now believe this is probably a PSU issue. I live in Bangkok. At this time of year we have the most amazing electrical storms almost daily. Sometimes, when the strikes are close it sounds like 3-5 atomic bombs going off at once. Can be pretty cool.

Thanks for all the help thus far folks. I'll be back in touch when I've heard back from the shop.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:11 am

You should change the title of this thread and ask a mod to move it into a more appropriate section of the board, because whatever our opinions of / issues with Civ V, it clearly no longer has any bearing on this problem.
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Re: Civ V is broken

Postposted on Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:55 am

Yeh I completely agree with this. Good call.

Mods: do you mind moving this thread?
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Re: My computer is broken (formerly blamed on Civ V)

Postposted on Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:59 am

Moved to Cases & Power Supplies (since the PSU seems to be the faulty part here).
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Re: My computer is broken (formerly blamed on Civ V)

Postposted on Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:01 pm

I don't know if you mentioned it, but are you overclocking? I have seen similar situations due to the motherboard not handling overclocked ram despite 'supporting' the higher speeds. If you are overclocking set everything to default and give it a try. I'd venture a guess that you're not ocing in which case ignore this post. :)
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Re: My computer is broken (formerly blamed on Civ V)

Postposted on Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:07 pm

Cheers Cap'n Ned.

Hey w4rrior - nah I'm not overclocking. In fact, in the end I was underclocking the RAM. Well, at least loosening up the timings somewhat.
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