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[SOLVED] Random Desktop Freezes
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fredbear5150
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:26 pm    Post subject: [SOLVED] Random Desktop Freezes Reply with quote

[Moderator edit: Copied OP's SOLVED marker from the bottom post to the initial post. -Hu]

Can someone give me some pointers as to how to start analysing this problem?

I have an Athlon Quad Core ITX multimedia PC that keeps experiencing desktop lockups - I am using Xorg, XFCE and Nouveau drivers with an NVIDIA GT-730 graphics card.

If I simply leave the PC on logged in to the desktop, after anything from a few hours to a day, the GUI partially crashes. The conky display and clock freezes, the mouse pointer still moves and the clock on the panel still updates. If I do a CTRL-ALT-F1 to get to a console, then the whole display freezes, the mouse pointer disappears and it doesn't switch to the console.

I can log in from another PC with SSH, if I try to do restart xdm (I am using Openrc) the command freezes and nothing happens until I CTRL-C back out.

There is nothing obvious in the logs, no sign of any heavy CPU usage in top, memory and swap usage is minimal.

It will also crash more frequently if I am playing a YouTube video in Google Chrome, video will suddenly stop after an hour or two of playing them and the audio that was playing at the time usually infinitely loops back on the last 2 or 3 seconds of playing, like a traditional LP sticking.

It has also crashed playing movies in VLC, but it is never immediately - it can last for 30 minutes or even a couple of hours before it does it again.

Does anyone have any other suggestions as to where I can go for more clues as to the cause?
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Usually this points to a hardware problem if you get no logs.

Check/replace power supply.
Ensure you're not overheating. Especially GPU and Northbridge; then again with AMD you should check CPU too.
Check/Replace motherboard.

Running memory tests is a good start but typically bad RAM ends up causing segfaults, etc.; not system crashes.
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szatox
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite funny I used to have similar issues with some particular kernel versions (issue started after update and then was gone like 2-3 updates later, on the same hardware).
Checking out another version won't hurt.
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Logicien
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need to check your Xfce4 setup from the beginning. The USE flags activated and the desktop parameters like Power Management. Before replacing material, be sure that the problems occur with an other kernel version like szatox say and an other distribution who use Nouveau.

Because you can Ssh to Gentoo, this mean it is not a full freeze but related to graphic. Try to enable Vsync to blank in Xorg Nouveau and in the window manager setup and disable desktop effects if needed. I would check first my graphical setup and Nouveau on the kernel and Xorg sides.
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fredbear5150
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for your responses.

I have experienced random lockup problems before and fixed issues by replacing the CPU or memory, which tend to be the main causes - but those were full system crashes or random reboots, which is not happening here.

I do think it's something to do with the graphical subsystem, even a NVIDIA card fault and I do have a spare AMD/ATI one I can drop in as a replacement.

I am the type of person that if something works then I don't tinker with it too much, I do have very specific sets of USE flags that I try to keep the same across different machines, and I build a lot of machines, and I also tend to stick with one personalised kernel config that I just make small changes to as the hardware across machines vary.

It is possible, therefore, that a lot of the USE flags and kernel config I use go back some years as I have probably been using Gentoo for a long time now.

One question with regards to kernel configs - does anyone recommend using genkernel as opposed to continuing to configure the kernel manually as I have been doing? Maybe some old and strange kernel settings exist in my .config and switching to genkernel may get my system to use more "traditional" settings?
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albright
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

can you try the nvidia proprietary driver as a test?
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fredbear5150
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:50 pm    Post subject: [SOLVED]Random Desktop Freezes Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice all, I have solved this to my satisfaction though not isolated a true cause.

I swapped out the NVIDIA card for an ATI one and there have been no freezes for 24 hours now, so fairly certain the problem has gone. I did not try the NVIDIA proprietary driver because the kernel ones are good enough for most of the machines I build, unless I need gaming performance - which I don't for the PC in question.

I can say the problem occurred on the 4.4.21 and 4.4.26 kernels and that I was using the nouveau driver.

Marked thread as solved.
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Hu
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:32 am    Post subject: Re: [SOLVED]Random Desktop Freezes Reply with quote

fredbear5150 wrote:
Marked thread as solved.
Not quite. You marked your most recent post as solved. The thread title is controlled by the opening post, not the most recent post. I updated the title of your opening post since your intent was clear. Going forward, you need to use Edit on the top post in the thread when you want to add a SOLVED marker.
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