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LAME Encoding Hang
everstar
post May 8 2005, 04:21
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I hope someone here can help me; I've been struggling with this for weeks.

Whenever I rip to mp3, the WAV portion of the rip goes fine. I use EAC, v0.95, configured according to help here and at the EAC website. It calls lame.exe, which is in a subfolder of the EAC folder, with the following options:

User-defined encoder
extension .mp3
command line options: --alt-preset standard %s %d

LAME starts and encodes part of the file, but a short way into it, it hangs the whole computer, and I have to reset it. Occasionally, for reasons I haven't been able to figure out, it'll actually complete the encoding, but more often than not, it hangs.

Some information about my computer, with more data provided as needed:

1800+ Athlon XP
512 MB RAM
LAME 3.90.3

It used to work beautifully, and I can't figure out what's changed. Help!
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rjamorim
post May 8 2005, 05:13
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Are you overclocking?


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Cosmo
post May 8 2005, 05:15
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Could be overheating. Do you monitor your PC's temps? (Do you do any other computing (like 3d games) that causes the CPU to run at full load, yet doesn't cause a problem?) If you've never cleaned the dust out of your heat-sink/fan, it might be clogged and restricting the air flow / cooling.
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everstar
post May 8 2005, 05:51
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I don't overclock, and while I had a program to monitor my temps, I reinstalled Windows XP recently which wiped it out. I'll see if I can find something. I try to clean the dust out of the front and back of my computer fairly frequently; I'm not certain how to clean the dust out of my heatsink. I'll look it up.
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Cyaneyes
post May 8 2005, 06:02
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QUOTE (everstar @ May 8 2005, 12:51 AM)
I'm not certain how to clean the dust out of my heatsink.  I'll look it up.
*


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everstar
post May 8 2005, 06:12
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Heh. Duh. *slaps herself on the side of the head*

Well, I found a little program thingy which purports to be reading the temperatures from the sensors on my motherboard: it says my CPU is at about 43 C, which sounds about right. I'll hunt down a can of air to clean out my heatsink, though.

ETA: I used to play World of Warcraft but then I tried upgrading my video card and all of a sudden the game started hanging. The video card I have now isn't strong enough to run the game, so I'm not sure if it's the same problem.

This post has been edited by everstar: May 8 2005, 06:23
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Cosmo
post May 8 2005, 06:22
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QUOTE (everstar @ May 8 2005, 12:12 AM)
it says my CPU is at about 43 C, which sounds about right.

You need to watch the temp when the CPU is stressing with intensive tasks, such as encoding. My Athlon XP of that era would jump from 39-41C at idle to over 50C under load, if not getting proper cooling, and lock up the system.
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Sebastian Mares
post May 8 2005, 09:25
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According to Everest, my CPU has 43-45 °C while encoding LAME files and 37 °C when idle. You might also get a new fan if cleaning doesn't help. Mine is a silent Papst fan which rotates at 2500 RPM.


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cabbagerat
post May 8 2005, 10:10
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I would recommend trying to run Prime95's Torture Test on your machine. Try running the test for a while and if your machine is still working fine try copying a large file to a different place on your drive. If you can do this and run Prime95 happily for a few hours then it's likely your hardware is OK.

It doesn't sound like a LAME bug - the OS shouldn't allow an errant process to hang the whole machine.


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mlb2gm5x
post May 8 2005, 10:40
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Have you checked the voltage from your PSU (+12V and +5V)? I use speedfan to do this task.
Too low voltage may explain the computer's behaviour after upgrading the graphics card...
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GoWaN
post May 8 2005, 11:00
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QUOTE (Cosmo @ May 8 2005, 07:22 AM)
QUOTE (everstar @ May 8 2005, 12:12 AM)
it says my CPU is at about 43 C, which sounds about right.

You need to watch the temp when the CPU is stressing with intensive tasks, such as encoding. My Athlon XP of that era would jump from 39-41C at idle to over 50C under load, if not getting proper cooling, and lock up the system.
*


50C should no be problem for an Athlon XP huh.gif
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dobz
post May 8 2005, 13:08
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I have an athlon 1800xp 512mb ram and a a7v266-e system board

My pc started to crash, lock up 6 months ago, whenever i decided to encode with flac or do some replaygaining of files.

I tested using only 1 stick of ram and swapped it over, and still crashed. I also but some beefy fans in and cpu temps reported 43 idle 55 underload, which aparently is fine.

After some detective work i realised if i underclocked it in the bios it was rock solid.

So i'm now runing at 1.1ghz at about 47 underload, i dont think its a temperature thing though, more likly to be abuse from days when i overclocked a bit.

I think the cpu is just faulty, maybe the ram or chipset on the mobo (my chipset fan died years ago) I have a 480 watt enermax, its unlikly to be that.

If you find a cure let me know so i can run at full speed again smile.gif
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Gecko
post May 8 2005, 13:45
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If your motherboard is older and/or the manufacturer buys cheap components, it might be a blown capacitor. Look at the large ones near the CPU. If the cap is dented outwards or even blown and leaking electrolyt, then your MB is toast. Heat will shorten a capacitor's lifetime.
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everstar
post May 8 2005, 18:13
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I tried encoding an mp3 last night. The temperature didn't even get a chance to change from 43 C before the system hung.

The voltages for 12.00+ and 5.00+ are listed as 12.40 and 4.99. I'm not sure if this is within the range of tolerance.

I'll check the MB later when I actually have the computer off.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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everstar
post May 9 2005, 05:47
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well, I ran Prime95's torture test per cabbagerat's suggestions and it failed after two minutes. So I've got a hardware problem of some sort. I still haven't checked the MB, but I will tomorrow.

guess I know what I want for my birthday!
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Kenno
post May 13 2005, 22:20
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QUOTE (dobz @ May 8 2005, 02:08 PM)
After some detective work i realised if i underclocked it in the bios it was rock solid.

I've seen this happening before. {Cheap mainboard/bad power/overclocking/improperly aligned heatsink(particularly tricky)/static/alpha decay/jove-knows-what} can abuse your {cpu/memory/northbridge(yes that's right)} up to a point that it just doesn't keep up anymore. Underclocking will make the system run stable for a while, but don't expect it to stay alive for several years. So, guess you know what you want for your birthday! biggrin.gif
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cabbagerat
post May 14 2005, 09:56
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QUOTE (Gecko @ May 8 2005, 04:45 AM)
If your motherboard is older and/or the manufacturer buys cheap components, it might be a blown capacitor. Look at the large ones near the CPU. If the cap is dented outwards or even blown and leaking electrolyt, then your MB is toast. Heat will shorten a capacitor's lifetime.
*
This was a big problem a few years ago when Athlon XP mobos were being marketed. It didn't really have to do with cheap components - more components which didn't perform as the suppliers (Jamicon, Nitai and others) told the mobo manufacturers that they would. The whole story is fairly interesting - with some cloak-and-dagger industrial espionage amongst other things. Mainboards from many manufacturers (I've seen Soltek, Abit and Gigabyte boards personally) were affected by the problem.
QUOTE (everstar @ May 8 2005, 08:47 PM)
well, I ran Prime95's torture test per cabbagerat's suggestions and it failed after two minutes.  So I've got a hardware problem of some sort.  I still haven't checked the MB, but I will tomorrow.
*

Something is not as it should be. This could include dodgy RAM, bad Northbridge, a Sound Blaster Live! (or Audigy), heat or wrong voltage. If you have a Sounblaster or EMU card in your machine, try taking it out temporarily. It's likely that the problem will go away. If your sound card turns out to be the problem then there are ways to remedy the situation.


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everstar
post May 14 2005, 18:13
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I don't have a Soundblaster card in my machine; it's a Santa Cruz Turtle Beach. I don't think it's the heat, either, since my machine seems to hover around 43 C no matter what I'm running (that doesn't make the machine crash).
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R.A.F.
post May 14 2005, 18:45
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It could also be the power-supply, which doesn´t deliver the necessary amperes anymore. Power-supplies loose their ability to deliver the full power after running for a few years.


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beto
post May 14 2005, 18:53
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My setup:
Athlon XP 1800+ (no overclocking)
512Mb RAM
GeForce 4 64Mb
Soyo K7V Dragon Plus!
Win XP Pro SP2

In the past i had a similar problem. In my case I got blue screens all the time and the system became highly unstable.

To solve it I had to shutdown the 2 back usb ports in my motherboard through the bios. Everything wold crash after some minutes and everything else didn't work.
After I did that everything became stable again. The funny thing is that the 2 front usb ports work perfectly. Go figure.
I even bought a PCI to usb adapter and installed it, but that didn't work either. No hardware was recognized, and after some time the system was unstable again.

I think soyo's mobo usb support must have some kind of issue... I never figured out what was wrong.

This post has been edited by beto: May 14 2005, 18:54


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Kenno
post May 15 2005, 19:26
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If you really want to go to the bottom of this, first check the ram. This can be done by taking one stick out of the computer, see if the problem persists, if yes, take another stick out... In 80% of these cases, faulty ram is the culprit.
The second thing to test is IMHO the CPU's heatsink. Check if the heatsink is mounted stably on the CPU. It should not make the slightest angle. Check if there's an adequate amount of thermal paste between them. Too little is not good, too much neither. Note that the CPU temperature measurement often can't be relied upon. Particularly if the CPU does not make contact with the heatsink over its full area.
Bad power also is a frequent source of instability, although it often causes random crashes, i.e. not necessarily when doing a stress test. A "bad power" problem may be more subtle than a wrong voltage; unstable power doesn't always show up on a voltage meter. Unfortunately, the only sure way to test this this involves connecting your system to a good power source, which may be a lot of work for checking a more remote possibility like this.

Note that you may be suffering the consequences of earlier abuse. I don't know the history of your system, but it's quite possible that the damage has already been done, and that there's nothing you can do about it anymore. And even if its history is perfectly OK, any compound on your mainboard may deteriorate and cause stability problems. S*** happens.
If you can't find the problem, I'd systematically underclock, and slowly start looking for a replacement.

As a sidenote, I think this discussion is drifting out of the scope of HA. It clearly doesn't have anything to do with lame, or with your soundcard (since lame and prime95 don't use it). You may be better off checking more technically oriented forums. Experts exchange used to be quite popular...

This post has been edited by Kenno: May 15 2005, 19:29
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philly4
post May 15 2005, 20:01
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QUOTE (cabbagerat @ May 14 2005, 01:56 AM)
QUOTE (Gecko @ May 8 2005, 04:45 AM)
If your motherboard is older and/or the manufacturer buys cheap components, it might be a blown capacitor. Look at the large ones near the CPU. If the cap is dented outwards or even blown and leaking electrolyt, then your MB is toast. Heat will shorten a capacitor's lifetime.
*
This was a big problem a few years ago when Athlon XP mobos were being marketed. It didn't really have to do with cheap components - more components which didn't perform as the suppliers (Jamicon, Nitai and others) told the mobo manufacturers that they would. The whole story is fairly interesting - with some cloak-and-dagger industrial espionage amongst other things. Mainboards from many manufacturers (I've seen Soltek, Abit and Gigabyte boards personally) were affected by the problem.


I've had my athlon xp overheat once when i was playing around with quieting down my system and turning fans down etc. Anyway's there are at least two caps that are dented outward and leaking electrolyt. Seems like my mobo still works fine. What kind of effect does having blown caps have on the system. How long till my mobo just doesn't work. Thanks.


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Kenno
post May 21 2005, 01:11
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QUOTE (philly4 @ May 15 2005, 09:01 PM)
What kind of effect does having blown caps have on the system.  How long till my mobo just doesn't work.  Thanks.
*
There's absolutely no telling. But... better safe than sorry.
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