11 days ago - [DE]Glen - Direct link

While investigating crashes in Warframe we came across a particular series that were not crashing in our code (they were crashing in nvgpucomp64.dll, a component of Nvidia drivers). After aggregating hundreds of reports from helpful players we discovered a pattern: almost all were coming from systems with 13th and 14th generation Intel processors.

nvgpucomp64.dll crashes.png

 

Luckily we found a staff member who would encounter these crashes on his home computer. Curiously, his computer at the office was fine: he was playing with the same loadout, the same customizations, with the same people, but he would only crash at home.

He wasn’t over-clocking anything and it was a new machine so there was no reason to expect problems. We tried all of the usual fixes: he got the latest Windows Updates, he updated all his drivers, he disabled all third-party overlays being injected, he tested his RAM, and by all accounts everything was fine.

We ran aggressive stress-tests on similar machines: we used scripts to repeatedly open and close various user-interface components that were mentioned in crash reports, we ran endless simulated battles between squads of NPCs, and we even we made a test that would load up random levels, teleport around quickly to a whole bunch of vantage points to exercise the graphics driver, and then move on.

Everything was fine for us and yet he kept crashing doing the most basic things like launching the game and flying to a mission.

Because the crash wasn’t in our code it was hard to guess what we could be doing wrong but as we looked over the reports we noticed that these crashes tended to occur when the graphics driver was working very hard on all CPU-cores. The penny dropped when we realized that this was a particularly power-hungry state for the processor to be in and we were reminded of a recent report from Intel that suggested that a BIOS update might help.

BIOS updates aren’t usually delivered automatically by Windows Update although they are for certain OEMS: many of our office machines get regular updates from the vendor but the person who was crashing was using a custom-build gaming rig at home – he checked and it turned out that it was running the stock BIOS from 2022 and was missing over a dozen updates including one that “replaced tweaked system power settings.”

After updating his BIOS to the latest he hasn’t crashed in nvgpucomp64.dll since and we’re optimistic that the weird crashes that only he was getting won’t be back either. We’re not positive that it was the issue described by the report linked above but we’re happy that updating the BIOS helped.

Updating the BIOS is usually a simple process but it’s not something we would normally encourage people to do – usually the advice is “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” – however if you’re crashing playing Warframe and other games, you have a 13th or 14th generation Intel processor, and you’ve updated everything else, then it’s something to consider (check with your motherboard vendor for updates and instructions).

If you happen to be playing on an AMD CPU or aren’t lucky enough to have a recent Intel processor, don’t worry: we have a bunch of fixes for crashes unrelated to this issue coming soon – we’re just waiting to get through cert on all platforms.