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CamTron

OpenGL freezing with 512 MB of RAM

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Here are my computer's specs:

PC: Dell Dimension 4300

Chipset: Intel i810

CPU: Intel Pentium 4 at 1.5 GHz

RAM: 512 MB SDRAM at 133 MHz

Graphics: ATI Radeon 9550xl 256 MB

Sound: SoundMax Integrated Audio

Network: D-Link AirPlus XtremeG DWL-g520 wireless 802.11b/g

OS: Windows 98 Second Edition

I have a strange problem. I recently installed the ATI Radeon graphics card and the D-Link Wi-Fi card into my system. Both work very well, except not together. When the Wi-Fi card is enabled and I start up an OpenGL game like Quake 3, Neverball, or Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, my entire system locks up and Ctrl+Alt+Del doesn't even work. If I remove the Wi-Fi card or disable it in Device Manager, the games work fine. However, I removed one of my RAM modules today, reducing it to 256 MB, and surprisingly everything worked. I was able to play Quake 3 online through Wi-Fi. I originally thought I might have some bad RAM and ran Memtest86+, but it didn't detect any problems. I also tried swapping the RAM sticks and trying both slots, but the result was that it always worked with one RAM stick installed and froze with both installed. I've heard of 1 GB of RAM causing problems with Windows 98, but I thought 512 MB should work. 256 MB is okay, but I'd really want 512 since I dual boot this with Linux which needs the extra memory. I'd really like to know what's causing this problem and if there's any way to fix it software-wise.

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That could have do with low swap space or low HD space. Try to compare the swap space values with enabled and disabled Wi-Fi card, if possible.

 

You can try to reduce MaxFileCache, e.g. 393216 or less, in the system.ini. Or you can reduce phys memory (RAM), e.g. MaxPhysPage to 10000 (256MB), in the system.ini. 

example:

[386Enh]

...

MaxPhysPage=10000

or

[vcache]
MaxFileCache=393216

or

[vcache]
MaxFileCache=
65536

It takes effect after restart.
 

Edited by schwups

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Sorry for the late reply. I've been quite busy these past few weeks.

Unfortunately, reducing MaxPhysPage and MaxFileCache did not fix the problem. I've gone all the way down to 5000 (80 MB of RAM) with MaxPhysPage, and 65536 with MaxFileCache, and OpenGL games still freeze the system with both RAM modules installed.

I do notice that my RAM modules are of different brands. One is made by Samsung and the other is made by Crucial Technology. Could they somehow be incompatible with each other in a way that Windows 98 doesn't like.

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  • DIMMs should be okay, but put them in single-channel mode or relax the timings if you can.
  • For a software solution, try rloew's RAM Limitation Patch demo.
  • Check the system resources for each of the cards in Device Manager, modify them if you can, or change PCI slots.

Edited by jumper
no paragraph breaks, so try list bullets
  • Upvote 1

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On Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 7:08 PM, CamTron said:

PC: Dell Dimension 4300

Nope, the OP won't be able to change the Timing. Chances are there's a MisMatch in the Timing between the two. Older Dell/HP were notorious for wrongly detecting RAM.

Try swapping the RAM slots. It sometimes works as these beasts use the FIRST RAM slot's RAM for the Timing and if the FIRST one is "faster" then it will (essentially) use that for the SECOND slower RAM and all heck breaks loose.

HTH

  • Upvote 1

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I tried swapping the RAM slots, as mentioned before, but it didn't make a difference. Changing PCI slots around doesn't do anything, either besides making Windows reload the drivers. The device manager lets me view the details of the resource usages, but I can't change them. I've also tried numerous combinations of IRQ assignments in the BIOS and fiddling with AGP aperture size, but to no avail. I wonder if it's possible to do some low-level diagnostics and debugging and see what's actually happening when the system freezes. I'll give Rudolph Loew's RAM patch a go and see what happens.

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You may just be outta luck, the i810 chipset was a quirky thing in terms of memory. I have an old Dell Dimension L500c based on this chipset, it is specced to take 2x 256MB for total 512MB, but I have never been able to make that work. Two identical sticks, either can run perfectly in either slot (checked with multi-day runs of Memtest86+) but when both sticks are used together all heck breaks loose. Swapping them between slots did not help for me. Not likely the wifi card as I never had one in mine but still have the same problem. I had a similar situation whether running W98SE, or when I temporarily had XP installed, which due to greater memory needs would get into trouble even faster. Mine had plenty of HDD space/swap space so not that either. I didn't use OpenGL so can't speak to that.

I did note some oddities in the pattern of errors in Memtest86+ with both sticks that made me think there is a defect in the cache, but I don't have any way to change any of that. About the only workable (non)solution I found was to use just a single stick.

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Probably it doesn't make sense to to talk about a i810. This chipset has a 370 pin CPU Socket and no AGP Slot. The Pentium 4 needs a socket 478 and a Dell Dimension 4300 should have a i845 chipset. Or is it a special version?

CamTron,  apart from the possible RAM problem, did you check your HDD partitioning and the free space of the partitions. Do you have the WIN386.SWP file on partition C? I had freezing OpenGL programs because of low HDD space. A few hundred MB can be insufficient.

 

Edited by schwups

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On Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 7:08 PM, CamTron said:

However, I removed one of my RAM modules today, reducing it to 256 MB, and surprisingly everything worked.

EITHER one of them? If so then my bet is the Timing Mismatch (as I stated). Dell DOES like Matched Timing. I've had a fun time swapping RAM around in multiple older Dell/HP/Compaq to finally get a good combination. I've used a Single RAM and checked the timing (using programmatic tools) and marked accordingly, thus allowing MATCHING RAM when putting in more than one.

Side note - Do you have the latest/last BIOS update installed?

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schwups, you are correct. According to Device Manager, it's an 845 chipset, not an 810, though the problem that w2k4eva described seems strikingly similar.

rloew's RAM limitation patch did not fix the issue. OpenGL games still freeze up.

I have plenty of free space. I have a 120 GB hard drive with two partitions. The first is a 48.3 GB FAT32 partition with 36.8 GB free, which holds Windows 98 SE, and the second is a 63.4 GB NTFS partition which holds Windows XP Professional.

submix8c, what exactly do you mean by timing? I don't know too much about RAM, but both are 256 MB PC-133 SDRAM (no DDR). Here are the stickers on the two RAM modules.

ram_sticker.JPGram_sticker2.JPG

I haven't updated my BIOS, mainly because I'm paranoid that something would mess up in the process leaving me with a bricked computer.:unsure:

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@CamTron ATI Radeon 9550xl 256 MB

My tips for Resolve: Try with Nvidia GeForce 6200 LE/7300 GT - That's would be better than ATi,due: Nvidia Driver's would be more Stabilize for Oldest OS than ATi Driver's

Seriously.

When If you will be update BIOS that's not would be broke Motheboard. When Some ASRock/ASUS/Gigabyte BIOS would be more Stables than a WinFast (I tried at Newest from AM2 Motheboard from 2007. I don't recommend.)

Edited by Illutorium

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I just updated my BIOS with revision A06, and the issue seems to be resolved.

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