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Second Life (and Catznip too) crashes in busy places on specific machine after SSA


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Hello,

I have started getting regular crashes in busy places. This happens with both stock SL and Catznip, and started around the time Server Side Appearance was deployed (I did get some crashed before but much more rarely).

Crashes seem to be hardware related, as another laptop with the same software runs fine. The affected PC is a 2006 laptop. It should NOT have overheating issues as it was taken apart for cleaning recently and also has a good fan system under it.

It is a Dell Latitude D620 with the NVidia NVS 110M chipset. It runs Windows XP. I have to use the drivers provided by Dell, as the ones from NVidia (selected for this specific chipset) say that they can not find supported hardware, and fail to install. In the download notes it does say Dell notebooks are not supported.

So I don't have the option of a driver update, unless perhaps I use Windows 7 or 8 instead. (Or Linux, but I think there is voice trouble and no video support under Linux?)

I'd prefer to have things running in XP. Are there any changes that I can make to SL settings or Windows settings that could possibly tackle the crashes?

Thanks!

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Hello,

I have started getting regular crashes in busy places. This happens with both stock SL and Catznip, and started around the time Server Side Appearance was deployed (I did get some crashed before but much more rarely).

Crashes seem to be hardware related, as another laptop with the same software runs fine. The affected PC is a 2006 laptop. It should NOT have overheating issues as it was taken apart for cleaning recently and also has a good fan system under it.

It is a Dell Latitude D620 with the NVidia NVS 110M chipset. It runs Windows XP. I have to use the drivers provided by Dell, as the ones from NVidia (selected for this specific chipset) say that they can not find supported hardware, and fail to install. In the download notes it does say Dell notebooks are not supported.

So I don't have the option of a driver update, unless perhaps I use Windows 7 or 8 instead. (Or Linux, but I think there is voice trouble and no video support under Linux?)

I'd prefer to have things running in XP. Are there any changes that I can make to SL settings or Windows settings that could possibly tackle the crashes?

Thanks!

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Muireann McMillan wrote:

Hello,

 

I have started getting regular crashes in busy places. This happens with both stock SL and Catznip, and started around the time Server Side Appearance was deployed (I did get some crashed before but much more rarely).

 

Crashes seem to be hardware related, as another laptop with the same software runs fine. The affected PC is a 2006 laptop. It should NOT have overheating issues as it was taken apart for cleaning recently and also has a good fan system under it.

 

It is a Dell Latitude D620 with the NVidia NVS 110M chipset. It runs Windows XP. I have to use the drivers provided by Dell, as the ones from NVidia (selected for this specific chipset) say that they can not find supported hardware, and fail to install. In the download notes it does say Dell notebooks are not supported.

 

So I don't have the option of a driver update, unless perhaps I use Windows 7 or 8 instead. (Or Linux, but I think there is voice trouble and no video support under Linux?)

 

I'd prefer to have things running in XP. Are there any changes that I can make to SL settings or Windows settings that could possibly tackle the crashes?

 

Thanks!

Voice and streaming media work perfectly under linux unless you use a 64 bit linux and a 32 bit viewer

 

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I have seen this issue too, it seems to be caused by a traffic choke somewhere upstream - I would suggest your router, but honestly the solution seems a little different for each person at the moment. I am still investigating.

Suggest these steps:-

  • If you're on WiFi, stop that.
  • Toggle HTTP textures in the Advanced menu - if it's currently on, disable it. If it's currently off, enable it.
  • If you have a spare router, configure this for use and test again. If your router is from the same decade as your laptop (likely), it could well be failing,
  • Disable any indexing being carried out in the cache folder.
  • Disable or re-evaluate any Firewall rules running on ports: 53, 80, 443, 12043 or 12046.

Information that would help:-

  • If you could paste your primary and secondary DNS hosts this would be useful for my research into this issue. If you don't know what this means, ignore it.
  • Find your overall connection speed using http://speedtest.net as well as your typical ping sim (found in Statistics Ctrl+Alt+1).
  • Test to see if nslookup responses are intermittent during your crashes. If you don't know what this means, ignore it.

 

Your entire computer seems on the low-end for the SL experience. I am doubtful that you will get good results in busy places even if this issue is resolved.

Note that WinXP is now EOL. Any solutions that I come across will only be tested on Win7 and above.

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Your entire computer seems on the low-end for the SL experience.

Yeah, I guess that's the main reason for OP's crashes, Freya. Even much more beefy machines have some performance trouble in busy sims. Last time I went to Callabor 88 on opening day everything needed an eternity to render and I could see how my poor fugly big block computer started to break a sweat and huff and puff until it turned blue in the face. :smileysurprised:

Of course OP should follow your helpful suggestions nevertheless.

 

@ OP: and, oh yes, by all means switch to Linux, forget about that silly voice stuff and use your computer like real people do.

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Orca Flotta wrote:

Yeah, I guess that's the main reason for OP's crashes, Freya.

It's possible but unlikely. Presumably, the OP is 'used' to whatever their normal SL experience is like, and this is substantially worse. Same system as before, but suddenly worse performance - this matches the profile for my investigation into this issue (which affects seemingly regardless of the rendering capabilities of the machine).

My comment was only to point out that they are - by far - not getting an adequate experience in the first place, if any issue is fixed, it will not help them much.

I would caution against changing Operating System Provider while this issue remains. It may resolve the issue temporarily, but it will change too many sub-systems in ways that will affect the tests. If the OP doesn't know Linux as well as they know Windows, their ability to troubleshoot their own system may be compromised. There's many informed reasons to use Linux - escaping connection problems isn't one of them (and elitism helps no-one).

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Thanks!

Responding on several points:

- I do use wi-fi, and can't realistically route a wire from the router (which is new) to the laptop. The other laptop, where the issue does not happen, was also on wi-fi. However there IS a known issue with wi-fi on this particular machine being slow (I tried to watch movies over Windows file sharing from a server on the very same WiFi router). As soon as I can, which may be a few days, I will do a test run on a LAN wire (that location is not private enough for normal SL use).

- Speeds on speedtest.net are usually approx 3.5 MB/s down, 0.3 MB/s up. This speed can not be improved (without moving house).

- I do know that the hardware is on the lower end, and am used to around 12-14 fps on lowest graphic settings, falling under 10 in busy places. But low fps is one thing, crashes are another. Frequent crashes do make the experience "significantly worse than usual" (usual meaning before SSA).

- I do know Linux on a reasonable level, but I am really not looking forward to tweakng proprietary drivers on it. My stationary media PC runs Linux (Debian), and I now need to upgrade it - I chose an Intel CPU (with built-in GPU) mainly because all drivers for it are open source and built into the distro. But for SL, I have what I have. So Linux on this machine would be a last resort.

 

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Muireann McMillan wrote:

- I do use wi-fi, and can't realistically route a wire from the router (which is new) to the laptop. The other laptop, where the issue does not happen, was also on wi-fi. However there IS a known issue with wi-fi on this particular machine being slow (I tried to watch movies over Windows file sharing from a server on the very same WiFi router). As soon as I can, which may be a few days, I will do a test run on a LAN wire (that location is not private enough for normal SL use).
 

WiFi of course will be affected by temporary interferance and other trouble. Once the SL viewer believes that it can no-longer reach the Internet, it will kick you offline quite quickly. SL is not designed for Sometimes-Up Internet.

This may be useful for you however, it sends Ethernet signal across Mains sockets in a building, allowing you to extend LAN range easily: PowerLine


Muireann McMillan wrote:

- Speeds on speedtest.net are usually approx 3.5 MB/s down, 0.3 MB/s up. This speed can not be improved (without moving house).
 

Unfortunately the minimum stable connection speed is 5.0Mbit/s down, 0.5Mbit/s up. This has become more and more important with SSA and CHUI (CHUI weighs down FPS very significantly if you're using the Expanded View - try changing this if you're using CHUI) and I feel that it's going to be impossible to prevent SL asphyxiating from the lack of bandwidth available.


Muireann McMillan wrote:

- I do know that the hardware is on the lower end, and am used to around 12-14 fps on lowest graphic settings, falling under 10 in busy places. But low fps is one thing, crashes are another. Frequent crashes do make the experience "significantly worse than usual" (usual meaning before SSA).
 

The viewer, like I say, requires a constantly available large-capacity pipeline. As soon as this is interrupted, the odds of a time-out leading to a disconnect increases dramatically. SSA and other recent features have caused the framerate and bandwidth capacity of your connection to become vitally important - the more poorly your computer performs, the more likely your viewer is going to dump the connection. As far as I can tell, this is done intentionally by LL.

I am sad to say that your experiences no longer tie-in with my initial evaluation of your problem. It's far more likely that your connection and PC have been 'aged out' of the SL market. I hope that you can find a solution somewhere, but it is unlikely that it can be done without some changes to your set-up.

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The Internet connection is most certainly not at fault. Another laptop on the very same router and the very same wi fi has no crashes.


Also, I get *crashes* not *disconnections*. I know what a disconnection looks like - everything goes black and white and "you have been logged out of second life". I got these when my Internet connection was interrupted or when the PC locked up for a few min. Never got any of these in the last few months. What I get now is crashes - the viewer window disappears and the crash logger starts. I doubt it could be linked to the connection at all, though I will try a test run with a LAN wire.

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It's entirely possible that you've encountered something that I have not.

If it's limited only to the destination PC, the issue is most likely related either to a Mapped Network Drive (or other slow access to storage), faulty/failing RAM or hard disk read delays. A failing Network Interface Card could also be responsible.

As I hopefully said above, good luck in resolving the issue.

When the SL viewer asphyxiates, it is quite normal for it to crash instead of disconnecting.

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Freya Mokusei wrote:

I have seen this issue too, it seems to be caused by a traffic choke somewhere upstream - I would suggest your router, but honestly the solution seems a little different for each person at the moment. I am still investigating.

Suggest these steps:-
  • If you're on WiFi, stop that.
  • Toggle HTTP textures in the Advanced menu - if it's currently on, disable it. If it's currently off, enable it.
  • If you have a spare router, configure this for use and test again. If your router is from the same decade as your laptop (likely), it could well be failing,
  • Disable any indexing being carried out in the cache folder.
  • Disable or re-evaluate any Firewall rules running on ports: 53, 80, 443, 12043 or 12046.

Information that would help:-
  • If you could paste your primary and secondary DNS hosts this would be useful for my research into this issue. If you don't know what this means, ignore it.
  • Find your overall connection speed using
    as well as your typical ping sim (found in Statistics Ctrl+Alt+1).
  • Test to see if nslookup responses are intermittent during your crashes. If you don't know what this means, ignore it.

 

Your entire computer seems on the low-end for the SL experience. I am doubtful that you will get good results in busy places even if this issue is resolved.

Note that WinXP is now EOL. Any solutions that I come across will only be tested on Win7 and above.

Win XP will still get support for 7 months

 

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Since you are stuck using Wi-Fi, turn your bandwidth down to 500kbps - Preferences -> Setup. You might try lower values to see if you can stop the crashing.

Also, before logging in, turn your draw distance down to 64m. This should reduce your initial data demand on the system. You can slowly increase the distance once logged in and running without crashes.

You can read through Troubleshoot Your #SL Connection to better understand how your connection works and what the Viewer Statistics (Ctrl-Shift-1) panel read outs mean.

Boost the size of your cache to over 1gb if possible. I consider 1gb the minimum. While all other settings can be tirned down to help with crash avoidance, cache size should be increased to as much as possible.

 

When you ask a tech question include information about your computer and viewer. If the viewer will at least show the login screen, get the info from the viewer's Help-About... and paste that into your post with your question. Help->About... provides all the version numbers we need.  To add your info to an existing question use OPTIONS->EDIT. It’s in the upper right of your post.

If these viewers were working, start checking your computer or connection for a change. The servers are not the likely problem. If they were, we would have a massive number of people having problems. The same is true of the SL Viewer. We appear to have a very small number of people having problems.

You did not say if you have started using RC Viewers are only the main SL Viewer. By default the main SL Viewer will install with Auto-update and 'willing to use RC' enabled. That means we need to see the Help->About infromation to ID your viewer version.

The video driver is a very likely problem. Laptops like to turn off the video chip to save power. Look in the nVidia or Dell control panels to find where to set the laptop for performance over power save. If you can lock the video chip on, you may be able to install the driver. You can Google for how to update the video driver for your specific Dell and chip. You are not the only one likely to have run into this problem.

You can get some pretty nice laptops on eBay for US$50 to $200.

For more ideas visit the Firestorm Wiki and look through the troubleshooting sections. Most of what you find there applies to all viewers.

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Issue has been resolved by making the following changes in references > Graphics > Hardware:

- Turned off Vertex Buffer Objects

- Lowered texture memory slider from 256 MB to 192 MB (actual video RAM is 256 MB)

All works fine now - I don't really want to go testing which of the changes worked.

 

 

 

 

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Congrats on resolving the problem!

It is amazing what turning VBO on or off can achieve I didn't realise it would extend to this kinda thing.


Muireann McMillan wrote:

- Lowered texture memory slider from 256 MB to 192 MB (actual video RAM is 256 MB)

I would assume this was the main fix, I didn't even realise this could be an issue. The 512Mb limit is too low for most people :P

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