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Elderdeekey

Games' screen is freezing (Asus Maximus X Formula -- EC slowdown?)

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A very strange (and intermittent) situation occurred when I played games (mostly World of Warcraft and Overwatch) - my games' screen freezes. If there was a sound it still was playing. I could switch to, say, Windows Start button menu and click on a program but program will not start. Ctrl-Alt-Del switches to its menu, I could select Task Manager but it will open with empty window. Generally speaking CPU hasn't stopped but it can't recover while game window freezed (that window looks like a screencapture and it seems GPU just stopped rendering). The only way out is soft reset with power or reset button.

I can't recall when exactly it started and, as I wrote above, it is intermittent - it could happened in 10 sec after I've started the game or in like 30 mins. But it always happened several time during the gameplay. Interesting enough that all tests I've run (including AIDA System Stability one) never froze the screen and I didn't have even a single BSOD.

The system itself is custom made, it is ASUS Maximus X Formula with i7 8700K @ 5000Mhz, 16Gb Corsair DDR4 @ 3400MHz, ASUS GTX 1070 (not overclocked), M.2 SSD Samsung 960 Evo and 2 water cooled loops (one for CPU and one for GPU).

I've been fighting with this situation for about a month. I went away from overclocking and played my games with CPU/memory and motherboard default settings - it didn't help. I've used old NVIDIA drivers (like 389.xx ones) - same story.

My best guess was/is that it started when I've added second flow meter from Aqua Computers but I'm not 100% sure, so I've uninstalled their aquasuite SW that visualizes sensors' data. For about an hour I thought I found the reason... but I was wrong - games were freezing again but not that often. 

In the end I decided to uninstall AIDA... and those freezes are gone...

I know there is a long list of devices in AIDA Stability section where it is written "may cause system lockup in rare cases" - could one of those be the source of my trouble? Is there any logging ability to find out what is causing those freezes when AIDA runs? Perhaps there is something built in into AIDA so I could trace it to?

I like AIDA very much as I'm that kind of person who is watching a lot of parameters of my complicated built (mostly temperatures, fan speeds and frequencies) and I really do not want not to use it any more.

Any hints/suggestions/advice are more than welcome!

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While AIDA64 is running, right-click on the bottom status bar of AIDA64 main window --> HWMon Modules --> Aquaero. You may need to enable status bar in AIDA64 / main menu / View first.

That will temporarily disable the Aquaero monitoring module, so you can see if something in that module causes the issues.  Let me know how the test goes.

BTW, what devices from AquaComputer do you have installed in your system?  And what version of AquaSuite do you have installed?

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14 hours ago, Elderdeekey said:

Fiery, thanks for the attention to this issue!

AquaSuite version is 2017-3.2

AquaComputer: 2 MPS, one 100, another 400 (https://shop.aquacomputer.de/product_info.php?products_id=2900). That is interesting flow meters w/o rotating parts...

I'll start testing right away and will post my findings.

Nope... disabling Aquaero module didn't help - games keep freezing. I went a bit further and remove PCI bus operations support from Stability (somehow I think it is related with PCI bus) - same freeze occurs.
Attaching a screencapture of current support enables in Stability section but this combo steel freezing games.

Note - Aquasuite was running together with Aida64. As soon as I exit from Aida freezes are gone... 

I will disconnect one of MPS flow meters from USB and will report a bit later.

stability.jpg.a177ea81c9d74292c91dbec6cd0a6988.jpg

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Do you have a Corsair PSU? If so is it an AXi or HXi/RMi? Disable the option of the PSU you don't have. If you don't have a Corsair disable both.

Additionally if you don't have a Corsair Commander (hardware thingy you need to buy) disable Corsair Link sensor support. This is NOT for the software!

Test now if it still freezes.

Disable Embedded Controller (EC) bank switching

Test for freezes again.

Disable one of the three remaining Low-level XYZ operations options and test for freezes after each change.

If it's still freezing disable GPU sensor support.

If it still freezes it is a different cause that is just triggered by AIDA, eg. driver or hardware issue.

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I'd second an3k's suggestion on trying to disable both EC options on the Stability page:

Embedded Controller (EC) sensor support
Embedded Controller (EC) bank switching

Aquasuite is supposed to work well together with 3rd party applications about ISA based sensor chip access, but maybe it collides with AIDA64 if it also tries to read EC registers.

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18 hours ago, an3k said:

Do you have a Corsair PSU? If so is it an AXi or HXi/RMi? Disable the option of the PSU you don't have. If you don't have a Corsair disable both.

Additionally if you don't have a Corsair Commander (hardware thingy you need to buy) disable Corsair Link sensor support. This is NOT for the software!

Test now if it still freezes.

Disable Embedded Controller (EC) bank switching

Test for freezes again.

Disable one of the three remaining Low-level XYZ operations options and test for freezes after each change.

If it's still freezing disable GPU sensor support.

If it still freezes it is a different cause that is just triggered by AIDA, eg. driver or hardware issue.

Thank you for suggestions. Yes, I do have HX850i and no, I do NOT have Corsair Commander. Test started, will report results soon.

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Test#1

Conditions: AXi and Corsair Link support disabled, HXi - enabled. HWMon Module Aquaero enabled.

Results: Games keep freezing.

Test#2

Conditions: same as above but HWMon Module Aquaero DISabled.

Results: Games keep freezing.

Will keep testing and reports...

Edited by Elderdeekey
added new test

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Test#3

Conditions: same as Test#2 but EC bank switching DISabled

Results: Games freezing

Test#4

Conditions: same as Test#3 but EC support DISabled

Results: so far 24 hours w/o a single freeze...

Could someone please elaborate what EC support does with video and why it is freezing video games???

P.S. Now I'm bringing back Aquaero in HWMon Module to see if Aida and Aquasuite could coexist peacefully...

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Bottom line:

The cause of games' screen freezing was/is Embedded Controller (EC) sensor support enabled at Stability screen.

It might be due to my setup - I do have lots of sensors/ASUS extension card, mps etc. It might be due to my overclocking (the most recent setup is 5000 MHz CPU and 4000 MhZ RAM). Or anything else, but the fact of the matter is - as soon as I disable this support there is no freeze... Its a real pity as I'm missing a lot of information w/o this feature.

And my question remains - what does this support do and how it is related with screen freeze?

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On ‎2018‎. ‎04‎. ‎19‎. at 11:12 AM, Elderdeekey said:

Bottom line:

The cause of games' screen freezing was/is Embedded Controller (EC) sensor support enabled at Stability screen.

It might be due to my setup - I do have lots of sensors/ASUS extension card, mps etc. It might be due to my overclocking (the most recent setup is 5000 MHz CPU and 4000 MhZ RAM). Or anything else, but the fact of the matter is - as soon as I disable this support there is no freeze... Its a real pity as I'm missing a lot of information w/o this feature.

And my question remains - what does this support do and how it is related with screen freeze?

We've already seen tremendous (up to 1000x) slowdowns on Asus X299 chipset based motherboards about EC register readout.  Sometimes, like once per 10 or once per 20 register readouts the EC does a "hiccup", and holds the system up for over 200 milliseconds -- instead of the usual quarter of a millisecond.  Such huge holdups could cause games to freeze or skip frames.  We've done several test runs on Asus X299 motherboards, but couldn't find the cause or a solution or a workaround to the issue.  We've already contacted Asus about this, and they said they will investigate the issue.  No response from them since then.  We believe this particular issue may be the same issue that your Asus Z370 chipset based motherboard shows as well, although the hiccups may be a lot more scarce than once per 10 or 20 register readouts.  We'll need to wait for Asus to respond to the X299 issue, and hopefully they will provide a workaround or fix that will come useful for the Z370 issue you're facing as well.

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