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Frequent / Random Video Driver Crash Fix

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Customer Service (Read-Only)
Frequent / Random Video Driver Crash Fix

Gainesvillain's Avatar

07.31.2012 , 01:29 PM | #1
After about a month of research and trying different possible fixes it seems I have finally figured out why my video driver would crash at random times/intervals.

I am using Windows 7 Pro 64bit, i5-2500, a Z68 Gigabyte Mobo, Sapphire AMD Radeon HD6850, Crucial M4 SSD, and the 12.7 Catalyst Beta drivers. No overclocking, nothing horribly exotic. I have seen posts with similar issues described for nVidia rigs as well.

The issue presents as a frozen SWTOR screen which flashes to a black screen after a few moments. After several seconds a Windows message appears explaining that the system has recovered from a video driver failure. Sometimes the client would crash, sometimes it would recover. The situation seemed to worsen after 1.3 and would completely crash my system maybe 50% of the time (hard freeze, mouse movement with no other interaction possible). After the second minor patch following 1.3 my rig would crash 100% of the time, resulting in a BSOD if left to timeout on the error.

I tried many fixes including: increasing the amount of time Windows will wait for a jammed-up video driver to respond via a registry entry (TDR), changing video card slots, disabling onboard video, disabling onboard audio (sound via the 6850's HDMI being my main source), every Catalyst driver between 12.1 and 12.7b, every possible video setting (bloom, AA, shadows, windowed/nonwindowed, etc), BIOS updates, every BIOS setting, disc checks, temperature checks, RAM checks, exchanging RAM, offerings to computer spirits in the form of alcohol, food, money, virgins, Lego.... etc etc etc.

I was about to give up and concede the motherboard was dying or something of that nature. I found one obscure post on a forum, so obscure that I can't find it again to link it, that suggested updating the firmware for my solid state hard drive (SSD). I figured I would try it out. Updating firmware is pretty nerve wracking in my opinion. My friends and I call it 'flirting with bricks.' Update worked fine, firmware on the M4 was two versions old.

The game has never run better. So far: six days system up time, no client crashes, no system crashes, no disconnects. I know enough about computers to know I don't know enough about computers, but my theory is that the system was trying to load a particular graphic/mesh/whatevs from the SSD and having some kind of read error that delayed the render, crashing the video driver in the process. Assuming the issue was with my video card and/or its interface with the mobo I did not consider that hard drive/chipset compatibility issues might be the culprit.

TL;DR: If you are having frequent, random video driver crashes and are using a solid state hard drive, try updating the drive's firmware.

Sorry for the long-winded account of my ordeal. A guildie suggested I make a post in an effort to save anyone else in a similar situation the hours of trial and error I had to endure. If anyone has questions or wants more specific info feel free to shoot me a PM or post in this thread.