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Javik
2 Iron

m18x / ATI 6970M Crossfire -- Fallout 3 constant hangs, freezes, crashes

Two weeks ago I bought an Alienware m18x off of Dell Outlet. It's a decently equipped machine for $2000.

16 gig memory

Dual ATI 6970M, 2 gig VRAM per card, with Crossfire

Intel i7-2630QM 2.0 ghz

750 gig HD

Windows 7 Ultimate

Windows is fully updated with SP1, latest Dell ATI 6970M driver

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I am testing a huge variety of games on it, and in particular Fallout 3 runs horribly on this machine.

It constantly freezes and hangs when doing zone transitions, or just randomly when walking around.

HDR lighting does not work properly.. there's supposed to be a gradual fading of light intensity but it happens instantly, from bright to dim and bright again, which causes eyestrain and headaches. I have to turn HDR off.

With HDR off and any level of antialising enabled, then any time there is a flame effect visible, the entire screen turns a bright orange or yellow and I can't see anything.

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I've played this game on an older desktop rig with dual nVidia 8800GTX 512 meg SLI, and it plays fine.

I also have a five year old Dell M170 2.0 ghz with 2 gig of memory and the nVidia 7800 GTX Go 256 meg, and it also plays fine, though Fallout 3 only runs properly at low resolutions and only with Windows XP...  Windows 7 slows it way down

With the m18x / ATI, I've tried every combination of game settings from Low quality to Ultra, plus also suggesting hacks for multicore processors ("bUseThreadedAI=1" and "iNumHWThreads=2") and they have no effect.

Turning ATI crossfire on and off has no effect

Turning Windows 7 User Access Control on and off has no effect.

Setting Fallout 3 CPU affinity to just 1 or 2 cores has no effect.

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At this point I think probably it is incompatibility with the ATI graphics cards, since Fallout 3 uses Havok physics which prefer nVidia physix.

I am looking at options for getting a dual 560M SLI cards to test with Fallout 3, but a new m18x with 16 gig and dual 560M will cost $800 more than this current m18x Outlet laptop. And if I just buy the two 560M cards, heatsinks, and SLI cable alone to install myself, that is also about $770 over the Outlet laptop.

I'm on day 12 of the 21 day return period, so probably returning and getting a new one with 560M SLI is the way to go.

,

How does the 560M SLI m18x work for other people with Fallout 3?

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8 Replies
rx-7pr
2 Iron

Re: m18x / ATI 6970M Crossfire -- Fallout 3 constant hangs, freezes, crashes

dude fallout 3 is full of bugs it even happens on the PS3 and the xbox360 versions trust me i doubt its the machine

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rx-7pr
2 Iron

Re: m18x / ATI 6970M Crossfire -- Fallout 3 constant hangs, freezes, crashes

where would u get those cards so cheap apparently dell sell the 560m for 1100 bucks a pop

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Tesla1856
6 Gallium

Re: m18x / ATI 6970M Crossfire -- Fallout 3 constant hangs, freezes, crashes

I am testing a huge variety of games on it, and in particular Fallout 3 runs horribly on this machine.

Ya, it's probably the game ... See:

http://forums.bethsoft.com/index.php?/topic/1187018-fallout-3-goty-controls-and-game-freeze/

After I made these changes ... super stable for me. Finished the game (all quests, main game and all GOTY DLC) with no more crashes in 5 months of playing.

Hopefully NewVegas will be easier to get going smoothly.


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Like many of you, I can appreciate a good game-engine.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
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Javik
2 Iron

Re: m18x / ATI 6970M Crossfire -- Fallout 3 constant hangs, freezes, crashes

rx-7pr: No, you are thinking of the 580M

560M SLI costs:

Agent (Preston B): "The 560M is part YT99J for $344.99 plus $11.99 S&H"
Agent (Preston B): "The SLI cable is part GDMRG for $3.99"
Me: "Are the proper heatsinks included with that YT99J part?"
Agent (Preston B): "No you would need JW8P7 for the left and Y3WC7 for the right $28.99 each"
Me: "$751.95 for dual 560M upgrade. hmmmmmmm"

580M costs:

Me: "what is the 580M, and are the heatsinks different for it?"
Agent (Preston B): "The 580M is listed at $1189.99 part 3MF8R and the same heat sinks as above"
Me: "Is that for ONE card only? heh"
Agent (Preston B): "Correct"
Me:  "future... upgrade.."

Also Dell's per-part pricing is higher than on the "build your m18x" store page....

You can buy the base machine for $1999 with a single 560M, and upgrading to dual 580M SLI is $1200 more, an apparent savings of $900 for that second 580M card.

 

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Javik
2 Iron

Re: m18x / ATI 6970M Crossfire -- Fallout 3 constant hangs, freezes, crashes

I tried your suggestions of disabling music, and the game INI changes, but it doesn't help at all.

The enable threading options appear to make the game freeze within literally seconds of loading a saved game.

Music disabling alone does not do anything.

Tried turning Microsoft security Essentials completely off, and it doesn't help.

,

At this point I am backing up my Steam folder to another hard drive, and then I am going to wipe out Dell's pre-installed Windows 7, and do a bare metal install, to see if a non-Dell 6970M driver will install with bare metal OS build, then put Steam back on it again.

Day 16 of 21 day return period....

.

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Tesla1856
6 Gallium

Re: m18x / ATI 6970M Crossfire -- Fallout 3 constant hangs, freezes, crashes

I tried your suggestions of disabling music, and the game INI changes, but it doesn't help at all.

 

The enable threading options appear to make the game freeze within literally seconds of loading a saved game.

 

Music disabling alone does not do anything.

 

Tried turning Microsoft security Essentials completely off, and it doesn't help.

 

,

 

At this point I am backing up my Steam folder to another hard drive, and then I am going to wipe out Dell's pre-installed Windows 7, and do a bare metal install, to see if a non-Dell 6970M driver will install with bare metal OS build, then put Steam back on it again.

 

Day 16 of 21 day return period....

Well, it was worth a try ... night and day difference for me.

Yes, a clean install of Dell-AW OEM Win-7 64bit (and using the latest Dell Chipset and other posted drivers) would be a good thing to try right about now ... good luck.


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Like many of you, I can appreciate a good game-engine.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
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rx-7pr
2 Iron

Re: m18x / ATI 6970M Crossfire -- Fallout 3 constant hangs, freezes, crashes

so i can get duel 560m  for my m17xr3 even if i didn't get the sli ?

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Javik
2 Iron

Re: m18x / ATI 6970M Crossfire -- Fallout 3 constant hangs, freezes, crashes

Well, day 19 of 21, nothing seems to help. Fallout 3 is the death of this purchase.

m18x, 16gig memory, 750gig drive, dual 6970M 2gig, for $2000 from Dell Outlet... oh well.

I've initiated the return and have the UPS label in hand. Someone else can deal with it.

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