Replacing the GPU in the field...

mac.caldermac.calder Registered User
edited March 2009 in Axon
So the video glitches which I mentioned in my last thread have one upped, and started throwing up an ATI Graphics Driver error message then black screening, which is making me think that there is a much deeper problem than outdated software (I am suspecting GPU, as evidenced in the title, although I am going to upgrade first just to make sure).

So my question is - I know there are a limited number of supported graphics chipsets for the axon - the ATI HD2900 etc... Should I be in the pickle that I think I am in (finding myself with a dead GPU in the near future, or at least finding myself with a GPU that is not stable enough to count on in a show), in the middle of the ocean and needing to pick up a new one up PDQ will any manufacturers board do provided it is of the correct chipset? Is there a specific brand of boards that HES use for the axons? I would like to stay as close to genuin as possible, but would also like to know that if I jumped off the ship and went to the local computer shop and bought a card with the correct chipset that it would work...

Anyway, any assistance would be appreciated

Mac.

Comments

  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited March 2009
    There are only a few video cards supported in the system.....there are no drivers present for any others.....nor anyway to install new drivers as the OS partition is "locked-off".

    As far as getting a replacement, it is not only a matter of the correct ATI card model, but also the correct one for the motherboard in your AXON (there are 2 different motherboards).

    So in short, you might get lucky enough to find one at a local store, but don't just grab the first one that looks right.

    You should also consider looking at why the card failed in the first place so you can keep it from happening again. IE- are they really dirty and never cleaned, stored in a place with an ambient temperature that is too high, improper space for venting heat, etc, etc....

    Hope this helps. :)
  • mac.caldermac.calder Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I am almost 100% certain that it is due to overheating because of lack of cleaning, combined with a fairly "dodgey" source of power (not running through the UPS!?!) and a whole heap of vibration - the plan is to fix items 1 and 2 and hope that will prolong the life of all the other parts at least. :15:
  • Joe BleasdaleJoe Bleasdale Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Could better cooling be an option to help prolong thier lives?
  • mac.caldermac.calder Registered User
    edited March 2009
    The actual rack is extremely well cooled - their is an AC duct directly over the top of the rack, nothing below the axon, and a 1ru gap between it and the next PC, and there is not much in it. The booth is kept bellow 19 deg C - I think it is purely the fact that there is most likely 18 months worth of dust clogging the GPU fans.
  • Joe BleasdaleJoe Bleasdale Registered User
    edited March 2009
    OK. I assume it was your predecesor that hadnt cleaned them..?
  • ClydeClyde Registered User
    edited March 2009
    If you are looking for some spare ATI HD 2900 XT then I can help you out. I have a few near new from Asus.
  • Joe BleasdaleJoe Bleasdale Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Clyde;35687 said:
    If you are looking for some spare ATI HD 2900 XT then I can help you out. I have a few near new from Asus.

    Could you please PM me with your prices and delivery. They wont be for an AXON, but my friend and I biuld computers and servers for fun. ;)
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited March 2009
    Guys,

    As Marty stated, there are only a handful of cards that are supported. If the units are still under warranty, then you can get replacements from us directly under the warranty or we can sell replacements otherwise.

    You have to be careful in buying the the video cards elsewhere unless you are certain they are the exact model. There are a lot of different manufacturers and versions even of the HD2900 card. You have to make sure it is the identical model as the one we shipped with otherwise there are high odds it won't work.

    The video card market turns over very quickly. For the top end cards we use, a given model is typically only built for about 6 weeks by the vendor and then out in distribution for a few months until the next one comes along. Thus we buy a very large inventory at once when we switch to a new card.

    You can always get replacement cards from HES Support. Either of the original card or the current model we are shipping with.
  • ClydeClyde Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Scott said it correctly, make sure its the right model as a HD 2900 pro will not work like a HD 2900 xt. The only difference between brands is the cooling normally and also things like warranty and chassis packaging but the drivers are all the same so brands shouldn´t play a role.
    Hopefully you will get a free replacement card from High End anyway.
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited March 2009
    It *can* matter which brand as well as the cards will have different model ID's for Windows even for the same card between different brands so the system may not work properly.

    I know this makes it complicated, but the video card manufacturer's unfortunately make it complicated for us.

    To answer the obvious question, we have used different ATI AIB's depending on the model. Some models were actual ATI branded, others have been Asus or HIS.
  • mac.caldermac.calder Registered User
    edited March 2009
    So it is as I initially thought - "Any old HD2900" won't necessarily do...

    Well I will get the ball rolling for a PO;

    Thanks

    Mac
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited March 2009
    Mac,

    Any idea how old these servers are? Are they still in warranty possibly?

    We also need to get the serial number off the back panel or inside door for the server too to make sure we know which rev it is.
  • mac.caldermac.calder Registered User
    edited March 2009
    They are over two years old... I don't know the actual age, I just know that they were bought as part of the origional install on the ship and it is now just over 2 years old, so they may have been sitting in a warehouse for months before that...

    SN is 76CA4306002

    Re:
    Joe said:
    OK. I assume it was your predecesor that hadnt cleaned them..?

    Cruise Ships are an odd beast - Tech turnover is huge... a contract is 6 months and 3 weeks in length, you have the full range of techs, from those who just want to party for a while and see the world, to those who love their job and treat the venues like their own. Most technicians move to different ships after each contract too - so information is very quickly lost - like the last time the racks were vacuumed out for example... Get a brand new technician on a ship who has never done ships before, they may not realise that these sorts of things need to be done, because their background is not venue oriented. It is very difficult to just point the finger at someone and say "Their fault" - because it is a culmination of factors
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited March 2009
    Hmm... 76CA would have been an original Intel motherboard. That motherboard really couldn't properly support the HD2900 card. If it has an HD2900 video card in it, then I'm guessing somewhere along the way that motherboard got upgraded to an Asus motherboard.

    Can you verify which motherboard is physically in that server? I want to make sure we get you the right thing.

    Thanks.
    Scott
  • mac.caldermac.calder Registered User
    edited March 2009
    MOBO is an Intel D915GUX... TBH appart from opening up the case and giving it a quick blow/vac, I had not really looked at the graphics card and motherboard yet, as I was not yet up to the stage of going shopping for parts (not in port yet...). Just assumed it would be the same generation as on the Independence... Teach me to assume.
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited March 2009
    Is the video card in there really an HD2900 or an X1950 instead?
  • mac.caldermac.calder Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I will bring it out of the rack again some time tonight, but I would say X1950. As I said, it was a bit of an assumption on my part that the axons on the two ships were bought at the same time (like the desks etc were), and had not yet taken the time to properly look at the gizzards (been a bit busy)
  • mac.caldermac.calder Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Just confirmed it is not the HD2900...

    Got another problem with this Axon - I tried to upgrade, it all looked to go well, however it freezes once it boots up. Giving it the 3 finger salute brings up the normal, greyed out options box, as well as the following error message: "DL2: DL.exe - Application Error ... The exception unknown software exception (0xc000000d) occured in the application at location 0x7813fae2. Click on OK to terminate the program."
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited March 2009
    Mac,

    What version is currently on the Server and which version are you going to? If you have a version before v1.4.0 then you will have to download the current recovery disc to upgrade the O/S itself.

    Your best bet is to contact the Support guys here so we can figure out what replacement/upgrade option for the video card will work best for you.

    Scott
  • schiefelsschiefels Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited March 2009
    mac.calder;35768 said:
    Got another problem with this Axon - I tried to upgrade, it all looked to go well, however it freezes once it boots up. Giving it the 3 finger salute brings up the normal, greyed out options box, as well as the following error message: "DL2: DL.exe - Application Error ... The exception unknown software exception (0xc000000d) occured in the application at location 0x7813fae2. Click on OK to terminate the program."

    Mac,

    We have seen this problem a few times recently here in the office. If this the first time that the fixture is being upgraded to 1.4.0, the culprit is most likely improperly encoded content. Try removing all of the user content from the server and then reboot it. This should clear it up.

    Thanks,
  • mac.caldermac.calder Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I used the recovery image, so it should be fine in that respect...

    As for the improperly encoded content... It would not surprise me at all if that were the case... I suppose I will have to dig out the old disk to 'downgrade' so I can access CMA and try again.

    Thanks

    --edit/update--

    Okay, I deleted all the custom content, got through the upgrade, now instead of just sitting there and doing nothing with the blue AXON screen, after about 2 minutes - the outputs of the graphics card just disappear, the monitors loose sync etc.

    Pulled it out of the rack as well, just to check everything was seated correctly - the GC has X1900 on the back near the serial number
  • ClydeClyde Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I can see your viewpoint now after seeing what High End charge for a normally $150,- card.
  • mac.caldermac.calder Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I don't mind the price, I have a fairly decent budget.... it is more a time issue... Deliveries to ships can take weeks, and when your shows depend on video content weeks feel like years, so if I can walk off of the ship and into a computer store and then expense it, it is a lot more convenient (even if it does take money out of my pocket for a couple of weeks)
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited March 2009
    Clyde,

    Street prices on those cards were never $150. They were closer to $450. Remember there are many variations of those cards with different clock speeds and RAM.
  • ClydeClyde Registered User
    edited March 2009
    yes they were around that price back then and now they are not. $150 at the most for old outdated power hungry Top of the range HD2900XT now.
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited March 2009
    Clyde,

    As I explained back in Post #9 in this thread, the video card market is tumultuous to say the least. Any given model is only available in quantity for a very short period at the beginning of the cards introduction to the market. That means we have to buy all that we are going to buy of that model card when it is first released....unfortunately at full price. This includes Service Replacements.

    I know the street prices of the few of these cards you can find have of course dropped, but our cost on them sure hasn't as we had to buy them early on at full price.

    Also understand that there isn't just one HD2900. There are many many flavors of it produced by all of ATI's partners. They all present themselves to the driver as a different model internally. Thus it is critical to have the specific flavor of card that we shipped with as a replacement, or alternatively, the specific model that we are currently using.
  • ClydeClyde Registered User
    edited March 2009
    It still doesn't explain the nearly 75% markup between a $450,- graphic card to the $775,- High End charges and High End wouldn't have bought them at "Street Price" so the margin is even bigger.
    "Thus it is critical to have the specific flavor of card that we shipped with as a replacement, or alternatively, the specific model that we are currently using."
    which could be the HD1900xtx , HD1950xtx, HD2900xt, HD3850 series from either Asus, ATI or HIS at the moment from what I gather. Which means about 50% of the ATI top range cards available will definately work according to your logic.
    Its not that I don't agree that High End should sell spare parts but at least keep the price in acceptable range.
    Its still just a computer - nothing more nothing less
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited March 2009
    Clyde,

    I'm not going to get in a debate or argue the situation with you. I just wanted to provide you and others a bit more insight that might not be obvious.

    To correct a few points here:

    1. Believe it or not on a lot of those cards we had to buy above street price as we bought through specific channels within ATI to enable us for a higher level of support from them that was necessary.

    2. I may not have been clear before. Some models we bought from ATI, some were from HIS and some from Asus. For example we shipped with an ATI X1900XTX, that doesn't mean the Asus or HIS versions of that card will be detected or work properly.

    3. I understand the thinking that it is just a standard computer, but it really isn't. That is why I have gone into a lot of detail in this thread explaining a lot of things we normally don't disclose. You can't just open these up and slap in any replacement part you want and expect it to perform properly as you might with a desktop computer. We very carefully choose and test the exact components we use based on a lot of research and testing. In addition, there is a lot of code written around the specific models of video cards that are detected for example as we have a high level of integration deep into the cards.

    I've explained the situation as clearly and openly as I can. I understand you may not be happy with the situation, but I've given as much explanation and insight as I can.
Sign In or Register to comment.