What the hell happened to protected RAM?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by spencecb, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. spencecb macrumors 6502a

    spencecb

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    #1
    I mean, come on??? I don't know if anyone else out there is experiencing what has been going on on my iMac G5, but protected RAM on this machine is a joke.

    I play three games on a regular basis: WarCraft III, Star Trek: Elite Force II, The Sims 2 and Halo. And all four of these games will create scenarios every once in a while in which the computer will lock up, forcing me to reset it by holding down the power button and turning the computer back on.

    Things did not use to be like this. If a game (or any application, for that matter) suffered some sort of crash, it would not bring down the whole system. What is the deal with the change?

    I think this problem is in OS X. Blizzard's website makes mention of experiencing unrecoverable crashes in OS X and gives steps to avoid it as they are trying to sort out the problem. I believe it is Apple, however, that needs to sort out this problem.

    It really ticks me off that I have to put up with this. I used to be able to look up my uptime and see multiple days, now I have to restart my computer just about every day.
     
  2. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Gone but not forgotten.
    #2
    It's never been as bad as with Windows, but there are issues at the system level that games cause to happen. Generally, the video card drivers and OpenGL are a little more sensitive and the fact that the drivers themselves are loaded very close to the kernel means that things sometimes happen.

    I've not found any issue to be worse than it had been. In most instances, things have improved.
     
  3. spencecb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    spencecb

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    #3
    Not for me. I haven't had this many crashes since I used a windows computer, over four years ago. When I had my PowerBooks, this never happened. Maybe the G5 is more sensitive to these types of kernel panics.
     
  4. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #4
    Just to check, did you try Command-Option-Escape to bring up the Force Quit window? I'm assuming you did, but just checking.

    As bousozoku mentions, games tend to use more 'closer to the hardware' routines, which makes a kernel panic more likely. Or, the MOST likely scenario is a game that takes complete control over the keyboard (which, in good programming circles, it SHOULDN'T do,) and then the game crashes. The rest of the system is probably intact, just unresponsive, since you can't get input to anything else.

    If you have it on a network with another computer, you can try to log in remotely. First, you need to have 'Remote Login' turned on in the 'Sharing' Preference pane.

    If the other computer is a Mac, open up Terminal (it's in the Utilities folder,) and type in 'ssh [computername]'. It will prompt you asking if you really trust the other computer, say yes, then it will have you log in. If you use different user names on the two, then you'll have to use 'ssh [username]@[computername]'. If the other machine is a Windows machine, go to the Start menu, click 'Run', and type in 'telnet [computername]'.

    You can then 'kill' the game. First, you have to find out what the game's executable is really called. You use the command 'top' to figure this out. Just type 'top' and hit enter, and it will show you a list of running programs. They are listed in reverse order by 'PID', which is the unique number assigned to each program you run. If your computer hasn't been rebooted in a long time, the most recent PIDs will likely be very big, since it won't reuse one until you reboot. Assuming the game is the most recent program you started on the 'dead' Mac, the top program should be the game. Most games have names that are at least vaguely identifiable in top, if not outright the same as the name of the icon you clicked on to start it.

    Once you have figured out which one is the game, pay attention (write down) its PID. Then hit 'q' to quit top. Next, you'll need to kill the game. This is done with the 'kill' command. The command you want to use to be certain the program goes away is 'kill -9 [PID]'. The -9 tells it to really, really kill it. You can use different codes to tell a program to quit in different ways. -9 is the one that means 'I don't care how badly it's behaving, just make it stop.' Then you should be able to go up to the keyboard and mouse of the 'dead' computer and see if it's at the Finder. If it's not, check for other processes in 'top' that might be related to the game and kill them.

    Finally, if no amount of 'kill'ing can recover Finder, try 'shutdown -r now'. This forces a restart that is nicer to the system than a hard power off.

    (And, if you can't ssh/telnet in to the 'dead' computer in the first place, it means the game caused an unrecoverable kernel panic.)
     
  5. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
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    #5
    Are you sure that it's not something more, such as disk errors, permission problems, etc.? I've occasionally had odd problems such as Kernel Panics because of such situations.
     
  6. spencecb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    spencecb

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    #6
    Thanks for all this info, I'll have to write this down to be able to remember it all! Hopefully that will be useful information. I will be getting a MacBook Pro soon, so I will have it right next to my iMac for a sweet setup, and that will make it easy to login to this computer.
     
  7. spencecb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    spencecb

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    #7
    I suppose it could be a kernal panic, although when there is a kernel panic, I believe all functions of the computer cease. There are times when this happens that you can still hear sound elements of the game, but there is a nice dead, black screen.

    Also, I don't believe I would be able to tell if it is a kernel panic, because when you are in a game atmosphere like that, the kernel panic screen does not pop down from the top of the screen to let you know what is going on.

    I'm going to pop in my OS X DVD to repair the disc and then boot back into OS X to repair permissions to see if this solves the problem. It'll probably take me a day or two to see if that fixed the problem.
     
  8. spencecb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    spencecb

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    #8
    Well, I performed both repairs, and the HDD was fine, as expected. But there were numerous permissions that were repaired, more than the normal widget repairs that are almost always made. Maybe this will help out, who knows?
     
  9. XNine macrumors 68040

    XNine

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
    #9
    How do you know it's an Apple problem and not a Developer issue? It could be many things, such as a memory leak in the game engines or what have you. I've enver had a game crash my mac. Could it be your HD? What do the log files say?
     
  10. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #10
    It's definitely not lack of protected memory that is the issue. It can be some other kernel problem, more likely video card driver problem, or even a hardware issue. It's hard to say, but it's definitely not the memory architecture that is to blame.
     
  11. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #11
    You know.. I never had any problems like this with an OS X box until last month.

    I bought a new video card (ATI Radeon 9800 Pro) for an MDD and experienced the SAME problems with World of Warcraft. The game would completely lock up the entire computer. I tried a vanilla install of OS X on a separate drive and it did the same thing. I tried updated drivers and tricks from ATI. Pulling RAM. Pulling PCI cards. Dead chicken blood. Rum. Voodoo dolls. Nothing. Crash. Always.

    Eventually, I moved the card to a Quicksilver '01 and it's been just fine. No problems. I moved a nVidea GeForce 4Ti into the MDD and it's been just fine as well.

    I was (and still am) stumped. Hardware incompatability? Maybe. OpenGL problem? Possibly. OS X? I don't think so.
     
  12. spencecb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    spencecb

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    #12
    Well, I don't think this could be the case when it comes to my iMac...unless Apple is putting incompatible hardware into their computers, which would be quite ******.

    I don't know what else to do about this. I can't find any driver updates on ATI's website. My iMac uses an ATI Radeon X600 XT. Does anyone know if there are updates for this card?

    I am using the latest version of OS X, 10.4.4, and as far as I know, all current updates of the games that I mentioned above. Not really sure what else to do about this problem.
     
  13. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Gone but not forgotten.
    #13
    Special permissions aren't specifically repairs but I understand.

    Disk Utility will say that everything is fine when Tech Tool Pro 4, Disk Warrior, etc. will have something to repair. Who is wrong? I'm not sure.

    There is also something about the G5 and kernel panics. Apparently, the bridge mode they're using to allow the machines to access more RAM isn't as stable for Mac OS X as it should be. It's probably still a software problem but I figure that it would be cured by using either 64-bit mode (impossible without a lot of changes) or 32-bit mode.
     

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