Question All games on PC crash, but no other issues

Jan 11, 2022
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Specs

The PC is a Dell Optiplex 760 which I've significantly modified.
Motherboard and power supply: Dell OEM
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.83 GHz
RAM: 8GB DDR2 @ 400 MHz
GPU: GTX 750 TI w/ 2GB Dedicated VRAM
SSD: Kinston A400 120GB
HDD: 2 Hitachi Ultrastar A7K1000 1TB Drives in RAID 1


Symptoms

Every time I play a game, it runs completely fine for about 20 seconds to sometimes over a minute, and then completely without warning, it will crash. Before the crash and right up to the crash, the game runs just fine. The amount of time it takes varies between games, some always seem to crash after only a few seconds, and some last longer, but the amount of time is never consistent, and it never correlates with any in-game action. The crashes manifest themselves in different ways. Sometimes the screen will freeze, sometimes with the audio still working, and through the audio I can tell the game is still responding to key presses. Sometimes the screen will go black, and sometimes the application will just close. Never, however, have I had a BSOD or my entire PC freeze, I can always Alt+Tab out and just go to task manager to force close the application. Although the amount of time and the way the crash happens varies between games somewhat, they always follow this same pattern. They run just fine, and then suddenly crash. None of them have ever been unable to run at all.

One very peculiar thing is that I have never had any issues with my PC while this has been happening in anything except games. I have been able to use the video decode functionality of the GPU while watching video just fine, and I have used the GPU in CAD, also with no issues. I even ran FurMark as a stress test, and that ran perfectly fine. Also, I have never been able to recover any crash logs from any games that tell me anything remotely useful. Most of the time, it seems the game crashes without the game even realizing it, and the only information I've ever been able to find is just something like, "unexpected crash" or "unexpected error", nothing that gives any details as to what caused the issue.

I first noticed the issue after I installed No Man's Sky. I did some research, and I found someone saying that there was a bug when using Core 2 series processors, and that the bug was later fixed, but I guessed that it had broken again and no one had bothered fixing it, since they're such old CPUs, and I figured that was the problem. I wasn't gaming on my PC much at the time, mainly using my PS4, so I didn't realize how widespread the issue was at the time. Later, I installed Rocket League, and I had the same problem, but again I figured it was just some sort of incompatibility with my old processor. Then, a while later, I tried playing TrackMania Nations Forever, and I had the same issue. At that point I knew something funky was going on, since that game was from 2008, making it older than my CPU, so my theory of modern games being incompatible with it made no sense. I then tried the other games I had installed, Minecraft Java Edition and Minecraft Bedrock Edition, and they also had the same problem. Initially, I thought that modded Java Edition was the only one with the problem, and vanilla worked fine, but then I realized that vanilla also didn't work, it just took significantly longer to crash than modded for some reason. Interestingly, Bedrock is different than any other game, since it doesn't completely crash the entire application, it instead just unexpectedly goes to the world loading screen and reloads the world. It still happens often enough to make the game basically unplayable, though. Also, both editions of Minecraft are notable, since they are the the only two games that were definitely working before, and now aren't. I could re-download some other games that I know were working before this started happening, but that doesn't really seem necessary at this point.

The last time I know that my PC was working to play games was around March of 2021, and I first noticed that it was having problems was July 2021. During that time, I did quite a bit of moving, taking my PC with me, so it's possible that the hardware somehow got damaged during that time.

Troubleshooting

So far, I've tried using different monitors, messing around with various settings in the NVIDIA control panel, and bringing my refresh rate down to 60 Hz. I also tried updating any graphics drivers.

I thought that maybe something had come loose in transport, so I took the PC apart, took out the RAM and graphics card, cleaned all the contacts, and put everything back together.

I found this thread, where someone had a similar problem, and I followed the advice there of using DDU to completely uninstall all graphics drivers, and then install only the latest ones.

None of these seemed to have any effect on the problem.

Conclusions

It's worth noting that I'm using a PCIe 16x riser cable for the graphics card, as it wouldn't fit otherwise. It's possible that the cable has become slightly damaged, or isn't working properly. I really don't know if this is a software issue or a hardware issue, either seem like possibilities. If it is a software issue, my best guess is something in Windows update or in graphics driver updates has caused something to stop working properly, maybe because of my very old processor. Might uninstalling all graphics drivers, and then reinstalling older ones, from before the problem started, solve the issue? Or maybe I could install my GPU, complete with riser cable, in a friend's PC, to see if there's anything wrong with the hardware?

Part of me thinks that my PC is just too old, and that it's time for it to be replaced. But even though my PC is old, with an SSD it feels plenty fast, and I know it's powerful enough to play the games I'm interested in playing. Also, replacing it with something newer, but at least as powerful would require a significant amount on time, effort, and money, that I don't know I want to spend right now, especially with how expensive and hard to find everything is right now.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated, thanks in advance
 
Jan 4, 2022
50
3
45
2
Specs

The PC is a Dell Optiplex 760 which I've significantly modified.
Motherboard and power supply: Dell OEM
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.83 GHz
RAM: 8GB DDR2 @ 400 MHz
GPU: GTX 750 TI w/ 2GB Dedicated VRAM
SSD: Kinston A400 120GB
HDD: 2 Hitachi Ultrastar A7K1000 1TB Drives in RAID 1


Symptoms

Every time I play a game, it runs completely fine for about 20 seconds to sometimes over a minute, and then completely without warning, it will crash. Before the crash and right up to the crash, the game runs just fine. The amount of time it takes varies between games, some always seem to crash after only a few seconds, and some last longer, but the amount of time is never consistent, and it never correlates with any in-game action. The crashes manifest themselves in different ways. Sometimes the screen will freeze, sometimes with the audio still working, and through the audio I can tell the game is still responding to key presses. Sometimes the screen will go black, and sometimes the application will just close. Never, however, have I had a BSOD or my entire PC freeze, I can always Alt+Tab out and just go to task manager to force close the application. Although the amount of time and the way the crash happens varies between games somewhat, they always follow this same pattern. They run just fine, and then suddenly crash. None of them have ever been unable to run at all.

One very peculiar thing is that I have never had any issues with my PC while this has been happening in anything except games. I have been able to use the video decode functionality of the GPU while watching video just fine, and I have used the GPU in CAD, also with no issues. I even ran FurMark as a stress test, and that ran perfectly fine. Also, I have never been able to recover any crash logs from any games that tell me anything remotely useful. Most of the time, it seems the game crashes without the game even realizing it, and the only information I've ever been able to find is just something like, "unexpected crash" or "unexpected error", nothing that gives any details as to what caused the issue.

I first noticed the issue after I installed No Man's Sky. I did some research, and I found someone saying that there was a bug when using Core 2 series processors, and that the bug was later fixed, but I guessed that it had broken again and no one had bothered fixing it, since they're such old CPUs, and I figured that was the problem. I wasn't gaming on my PC much at the time, mainly using my PS4, so I didn't realize how widespread the issue was at the time. Later, I installed Rocket League, and I had the same problem, but again I figured it was just some sort of incompatibility with my old processor. Then, a while later, I tried playing TrackMania Nations Forever, and I had the same issue. At that point I knew something funky was going on, since that game was from 2008, making it older than my CPU, so my theory of modern games being incompatible with it made no sense. I then tried the other games I had installed, Minecraft Java Edition and Minecraft Bedrock Edition, and they also had the same problem. Initially, I thought that modded Java Edition was the only one with the problem, and vanilla worked fine, but then I realized that vanilla also didn't work, it just took significantly longer to crash than modded for some reason. Interestingly, Bedrock is different than any other game, since it doesn't completely crash the entire application, it instead just unexpectedly goes to the world loading screen and reloads the world. It still happens often enough to make the game basically unplayable, though. Also, both editions of Minecraft are notable, since they are the the only two games that were definitely working before, and now aren't. I could re-download some other games that I know were working before this started happening, but that doesn't really seem necessary at this point.

The last time I know that my PC was working to play games was around March of 2021, and I first noticed that it was having problems was July 2021. During that time, I did quite a bit of moving, taking my PC with me, so it's possible that the hardware somehow got damaged during that time.

Troubleshooting

So far, I've tried using different monitors, messing around with various settings in the NVIDIA control panel, and bringing my refresh rate down to 60 Hz. I also tried updating any graphics drivers.

I thought that maybe something had come loose in transport, so I took the PC apart, took out the RAM and graphics card, cleaned all the contacts, and put everything back together.

I found this thread, where someone had a similar problem, and I followed the advice there of using DDU to completely uninstall all graphics drivers, and then install only the latest ones.

None of these seemed to have any effect on the problem.

Conclusions

It's worth noting that I'm using a PCIe 16x riser cable for the graphics card, as it wouldn't fit otherwise. It's possible that the cable has become slightly damaged, or isn't working properly. I really don't know if this is a software issue or a hardware issue, either seem like possibilities. If it is a software issue, my best guess is something in Windows update or in graphics driver updates has caused something to stop working properly, maybe because of my very old processor. Might uninstalling all graphics drivers, and then reinstalling older ones, from before the problem started, solve the issue? Or maybe I could install my GPU, complete with riser cable, in a friend's PC, to see if there's anything wrong with the hardware?

Part of me thinks that my PC is just too old, and that it's time for it to be replaced. But even though my PC is old, with an SSD it feels plenty fast, and I know it's powerful enough to play the games I'm interested in playing. Also, replacing it with something newer, but at least as powerful would require a significant amount on time, effort, and money, that I don't know I want to spend right now, especially with how expensive and hard to find everything is right now.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated, thanks in advance
Hey GeorgeTR,

First of all excellent job on the post. Very concise with lots of information.

What's the situation with the HDD? Are the games installed on that? How old is it? If you don't need it to play a game go ahead and remove it and then try to play a game to see if the issue happens again. Could also try a SMART test of the HDD, see if you get bad sectors.

I thought maybe it could be your CPU over heating however the PC would just shutdown if that was the case. You mentioned you took your PC apart, did you remove the heatsink/fan, clean everything, and reapply thermal paste?

I think the troubleshooting idea with the GPU is a good one, though likely not the culprit. If it was such a clear device issue you would be getting a BSOD, though i'm no expert.

What's your PSU situation looking like?
 
Jan 11, 2022
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Thanks for the complements on my post.

Some of my games are stored on the HDD, but not all of them. I could try disconnecting them and see what happens. They are pretty old; I bought them used, and they each have power on hours of over 79000, implying they were in constant use in a server somewhere for something like 9 years. I think I checked them when I got them, but I don't recall.

I did not do anything with the CPU when I took it apart. I have monitored all temperatures in HWiNFO64 while these crashes are happening, and nothing seems out of the ordinary.

My PSU is probably one of the weaker parts of the system. I believe it's rated for 250W, and I doubt it's very efficient. Unfortunately, it's not of any standard size, otherwise I might have replaced it with something better. I just went on the Newegg PSU calculator, and they do say that I need a bigger power supply, but it's just the hard drives and optical drive that put it over the edge. I will try disconnecting the hard drives and optical drive (I doubt the optical drive is drawing power when it's not in use, but I might as well) and see if that changes anything. Since the two hard drives and the SSD are all running off the same SATA power connection, just with splitters, maybe that could be causing a certain voltage rail to drop.

I decided to try running FurMark again, and now I can see that it does crash, but it took over 5 minutes, which is longer than any game. However, if I run FurMark along with the included CPU burner, it crashes significantly faster. Again, though, all temperatures stay at reasonable levels while this is happening.

It seems this issue may happen any time the GPU usage is pushed significantly. Both video decoding and CAD use the GPU, but usage always stays below 50%.
 
Jan 4, 2022
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Thanks for the complements on my post.

Some of my games are stored on the HDD, but not all of them. I could try disconnecting them and see what happens. They are pretty old; I bought them used, and they each have power on hours of over 79000, implying they were in constant use in a server somewhere for something like 9 years. I think I checked them when I got them, but I don't recall.

I did not do anything with the CPU when I took it apart. I have monitored all temperatures in HWiNFO64 while these crashes are happening, and nothing seems out of the ordinary.

My PSU is probably one of the weaker parts of the system. I believe it's rated for 250W, and I doubt it's very efficient. Unfortunately, it's not of any standard size, otherwise I might have replaced it with something better. I just went on the Newegg PSU calculator, and they do say that I need a bigger power supply, but it's just the hard drives and optical drive that put it over the edge. I will try disconnecting the hard drives and optical drive (I doubt the optical drive is drawing power when it's not in use, but I might as well) and see if that changes anything. Since the two hard drives and the SSD are all running off the same SATA power connection, just with splitters, maybe that could be causing a certain voltage rail to drop.

I decided to try running FurMark again, and now I can see that it does crash, but it took over 5 minutes, which is longer than any game. However, if I run FurMark along with the included CPU burner, it crashes significantly faster. Again, though, all temperatures stay at reasonable levels while this is happening.

It seems this issue may happen any time the GPU usage is pushed significantly. Both video decoding and CAD use the GPU, but usage always stays below 50%.
Anything of interest in Event Viewer after a program crash?

So temperatures aren't really an issue since it seems like you've been monitoring them. Some of those programs can be inaccurate but I don't believe to the degree that you're overheating and just not reading it.

Your PSU and GPU setup is interesting, it could be causing the crashes. Definitely remove your optical drive, surplus data drives, really any extra peripherals and do more testing, run some games on the GPU.

Testing the GPU on another system is a good idea for troubleshooting but i'm not so sure that's the problem.

I think it's likely you're not getting the power you need or the PSU is old and needs to be replaced. It could also be faulty cabling you may be using. If you have a friend with a PSU multimeter you can check to make sure its putting out the correct power. Do not try and service the PSU unit, leave it closed. It can give you a nasty jolt, if you think its toast just recycle it and replace.
 
Jan 11, 2022
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I disconnected all unnecessary drives (only leaving the SSD) and other unnecessary peripherals (including networking) and the problem still occurred.

I did, however, run FurMark again, until it crashed, and then looked at Event Viewer, and I found these two errors, that might contain an answer to what the problem is, or not, I'm not really sure. But it's more than I was ever able to get from the error logs in a game. I'll paste the logs here.

Log Name: Application
Source: NVIDIA OpenGL Driver
Date: 1/12/2022 3:53:52 PM
Event ID: 1
Task Category: None
Level: Error
Keywords: Classic
User: N/A
Computer: DESKTOP-V47D521
Description:
Unable to recover from a kernel exception. The application must close.


Error code: 3 (subcode 7)
(pid=6352 tid=4724 furmark.exe 32bit)

Visit http://www.nvidia.com/page/support.html for more information.
Event Xml:
<Event xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event">
<System>
<Provider Name="NVIDIA OpenGL Driver" />
<EventID Qualifiers="49152">1</EventID>
<Version>0</Version>
<Level>2</Level>
<Task>0</Task>
<Opcode>0</Opcode>
<Keywords>0x80000000000000</Keywords>
<TimeCreated SystemTime="2022-01-12T21:53:52.6131908Z" />
<EventRecordID>48609</EventRecordID>
<Correlation />
<Execution ProcessID="0" ThreadID="0" />
<Channel>Application</Channel>
<Computer>DESKTOP-V47D521</Computer>
<Security />
</System>
<EventData>
<Data>Unable to recover from a kernel exception. The application must close.


Error code: 3 (subcode 7)
(pid=6352 tid=4724 furmark.exe 32bit)

Visit http://www.nvidia.com/page/support.html for more information.</Data>
</EventData>
</Event>

Log Name: Application
Source: Application Error
Date: 1/12/2022 3:53:53 PM
Event ID: 1000
Task Category: (100)
Level: Error
Keywords: Classic
User: N/A
Computer: DESKTOP-V47D521
Description:
Faulting application name: FurMark.exe, version: 1.28.0.0, time stamp: 0x615e9589
Faulting module name: nvoglv32.dll, version: 30.0.14.9709, time stamp: 0x61a0f733
Exception code: 0xc0000409
Fault offset: 0x00f27af8
Faulting process id: 0x18d0
Faulting application start time: 0x01d807fec4f6658e
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Geeks3D\Benchmarks\FurMark\FurMark.exe
Faulting module path: C:\WINDOWS\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\nv_dispi.inf_amd64_642e50d7b66aa2a4\nvoglv32.dll
Report Id: ec14e1dc-a413-40a1-a81c-f361bb810948
Faulting package full name:
Faulting package-relative application ID:
Event Xml:
<Event xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event">
<System>
<Provider Name="Application Error" />
<EventID Qualifiers="0">1000</EventID>
<Version>0</Version>
<Level>2</Level>
<Task>100</Task>
<Opcode>0</Opcode>
<Keywords>0x80000000000000</Keywords>
<TimeCreated SystemTime="2022-01-12T21:53:53.0731972Z" />
<EventRecordID>48610</EventRecordID>
<Correlation />
<Execution ProcessID="0" ThreadID="0" />
<Channel>Application</Channel>
<Computer>DESKTOP-V47D521</Computer>
<Security />
</System>
<EventData>
<Data>FurMark.exe</Data>
<Data>1.28.0.0</Data>
<Data>615e9589</Data>
<Data>nvoglv32.dll</Data>
<Data>30.0.14.9709</Data>
<Data>61a0f733</Data>
<Data>c0000409</Data>
<Data>00f27af8</Data>
<Data>18d0</Data>
<Data>01d807fec4f6658e</Data>
<Data>C:\Program Files (x86)\Geeks3D\Benchmarks\FurMark\FurMark.exe</Data>
<Data>C:\WINDOWS\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\nv_dispi.inf_amd64_642e50d7b66aa2a4\nvoglv32.dll</Data>
<Data>ec14e1dc-a413-40a1-a81c-f361bb810948</Data>
<Data>
</Data>
<Data>
</Data>
</EventData>
</Event>
 
Jan 4, 2022
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Ok thanks, have you changed the VRAM settings anywhere at any point either in Windows or the BIOS?

1. Im a little confused by the driver information. I know you've already tried this but use DDU again to cleanly uninstall the display driver and then download and use this one here. Rolling back to an older driver for your old system might work better.

2. Are you using Nvidia Control Panel? If so open the Nvidia Control Panel -> Manage 3D Settings -> Global Settings tab. Power Management -> change to Prefer maximum performance.

Restart and retest.

If the issue persists you could try to test your RAM sticks. Tom's Hardware has a handy article here.
 
Jan 11, 2022
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No, I have never changed VRAM settings.

I was definitely considering rolling back to an older display driver, but the one you link to is for 32-bit Windows. Should I run it anyway? I was considering this one.

I have been using Nvidia Control Panel, and since numerous posts and articles have suggested what you say to do there, I have done it before, and it doesn't help.

I am hesitant to think the problem is RAM, since I have never had any problems using applications that don't rely heavily on the GPU, but do rely on RAM, such as internet browsing, CAD, video processing, etc. I've had RAM issues in the past, and they've always resulted in BSODs, which I've never had lately. Also, in the thread I link to in my original post, they say that the problem I'm having is unlikely to be RAM unless there were BSODs.

I would think that the problem is more likely to be the PSU, GPU, or riser cable before RAM. I will be able to test those things as we had discussed earlier once I get back to school and can switch compenents out with a friend's PC.

Also, I noticed that when I ran a game until it crashed, nothing was generated in Event Viewer. It only seems to have done that for FurMark. Don't know that this would help anything.
 
Jan 4, 2022
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45
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No, I have never changed VRAM settings.

I was definitely considering rolling back to an older display driver, but the one you link to is for 32-bit Windows. Should I run it anyway? I was considering this one.

I have been using Nvidia Control Panel, and since numerous posts and articles have suggested what you say to do there, I have done it before, and it doesn't help.

I am hesitant to think the problem is RAM, since I have never had any problems using applications that don't rely heavily on the GPU, but do rely on RAM, such as internet browsing, CAD, video processing, etc. I've had RAM issues in the past, and they've always resulted in BSODs, which I've never had lately. Also, in the thread I link to in my original post, they say that the problem I'm having is unlikely to be RAM unless there were BSODs.

I would think that the problem is more likely to be the PSU, GPU, or riser cable before RAM. I will be able to test those things as we had discussed earlier once I get back to school and can switch compenents out with a friend's PC.

Also, I noticed that when I ran a game until it crashed, nothing was generated in Event Viewer. It only seems to have done that for FurMark. Don't know that this would help anything.
Good catch you're right, sorry about that. Definitely try some older drivers, that one looks good.

I agree, like I said before it's odd you're not getting BSOD which makes me think it's PSU or like you said GPU riser cable. Even with the driver I think you should be getting a BSOD, but it doesn't hurt to try some older drivers.

The Event Viewer could be meaningless, it's like getting a BSOD and the error code points to the kernel. It could be literally anything.

Definitely update me if you find anything with the PSU.
 

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