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Old 12-09-2008, 01:40 PM
Jussi Nurminen
 
Default totally crashed workstation

Hi,
when burning a DVD today, our new Debian workstation suddenly froze. I could
move the mouse cursor, but the system did not respond to any keypresses
(even magic sysrq). I could not ssh to the box and it did not even respond
to ping.

With no other options, I powered it down and back up again, and it come up
nicely. None of the logfiles show nothing interesting, at some point the
logging just stops.

How can I investigate this further? I already burned and erased a DVD-RW
dozens of times in a loop without a problem. Currently I'm running
memtest86. I suspect some kind of hardware problem, because our other Debian
workstations have never done this kind of thing.

The machine is a Dell Precision 690 with 2 dual-core Xeon processors, 4 GiB
of memory and two SAS hard drives, running Debian Lenny.

thanks,
Jussi






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Old 12-09-2008, 01:50 PM
François Cerbelle
 
Default totally crashed workstation

Le Mar 9 décembre 2008 15:40, Jussi Nurminen a écrit :
[...]
> How can I investigate this further? I already burned and erased a DVD-RW
[...]
> The machine is a Dell Precision 690 with 2 dual-core Xeon processors, 4
> GiB of memory and two SAS hard drives, running Debian Lenny.

Check the frequencies (FSB and core) in the BIOS, your Mother Board or CPU
could be overclocked and become too hot to work.

Install something to monitor the thermal and fan sensors on the CPU (and
the disks). It might be because of CPU too hot, a deffective fan.

Look in the SMART information from your disks. If a disk with a SWAP
partition fails, it might freeze the kernel too.

It can also be because of a power weak. Too much power asked by the
DVD+Disks + Video +... and not enought for the CPU. Often, there is a
limit, even if the manufacturer says "2 rails".

But, dont ask me why the mouse pointer still worked.

Fanfan
--
http://www.cerbelle.net - http://www.afdm-idf.org


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Old 12-09-2008, 02:34 PM
Ron Johnson
 
Default totally crashed workstation

On 12/09/08 08:40, Jussi Nurminen wrote:


Hi,
when burning a DVD today, our new Debian workstation suddenly froze. I could
move the mouse cursor, but the system did not respond to any keypresses
(even magic sysrq). I could not ssh to the box and it did not even respond
to ping.


With no other options, I powered it down and back up again, and it come up
nicely. None of the logfiles show nothing interesting, at some point the
logging just stops.

How can I investigate this further? I already burned and erased a DVD-RW
dozens of times in a loop without a problem. Currently I'm running
memtest86. I suspect some kind of hardware problem, because our other Debian
workstations have never done this kind of thing.

The machine is a Dell Precision 690 with 2 dual-core Xeon processors, 4 GiB
of memory and two SAS hard drives, running Debian Lenny.


I've experienced these same symptoms (when simply surfing the web,
when my system is under a heavy memory load, not when burning a DVD)
in Unstable, running 2.6.2[0-4] kernels, but, like you, haven't been
able to find a cause. Hasn't happened with 2.6.2[567] kernels, yet.
Of course, the kernel might have nothing to do with the error...


My suspicion, though, has been memory overcommit issues, since I
have this in my /etc/sysctl.conf :


vm.overcommit_memory = 2

--
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson LA USA

How does being physically handicapped make me Differently-Abled?
What different abilities do I have?


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Old 12-09-2008, 05:20 PM
Jussi Nurminen
 
Default totally crashed workstation

François Cerbelle wrote:
>
> Check the frequencies (FSB and core) in the BIOS, your Mother Board or CPU
> could be overclocked and become too hot to work.
>

I will check, but I don't think that's the problem. Everything is at factory
defaults and I can e.g. stress the CPUs without any indication of
overheating. The cooling on the Precision workstations is pretty powerful...



> Look in the SMART information from your disks. If a disk with a SWAP
> partition fails, it might freeze the kernel too.
>

That's a good point, I will look at the SMART monitoring tools.



> It can also be because of a power weak. Too much power asked by the
> DVD+Disks + Video +... and not enought for the CPU. Often, there is a
> limit, even if the manufacturer says "2 rails".
>

Probably not. Normally, the system can take all kinds of stress without any
complaint and I think the PSU is actually overrated for the components.
Also, it wasn't under heavy load when it crashed.

Maybe it was a cosmic ray?

Thanks for your suggestions!

Jussi


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