Video Memory BSOD

Video Memory BSOD Causing Issues in Rendering Workflows

Introduction

We have discovered what appears to be a bug within recent Nvidia driver packages that is leading to hard-locks or VIDEO_MEMORY_MANAGEMENT_INTERNAL blue-screens in certain rendering and encoding workflows.

Issue

When using an affected driver and the graphics card’s VRAM is 100% utilized, systems consistently freeze or blue-screen. So far, our testing has shown that Intel systems tend to lock up, while AMD systems will present a blue-screen pointing to either “watchdog.sys” or “dxgmms2.sys”.

This issue presents most commonly while using Cinema4D/Redshift and After Effects. It can happen with Premiere Pro as well, however the most important factor is not the application, it’s whether the system hits 100% VRAM usage, which is easier to do if using multi-cam edits or utilizing numerous plugins/effects.

Video Memory BSOD

Workarounds

We’ve reported the issue to Nvidia, but while we await a fix, we have some suggestions for preventing these crashes if you’ve been impacted by this problem.

  • The latest GeForce driver that appears to not have this issue is 512.96, so rolling back to this driver may be a short-term solution. However, this driver is not compatible with 40-series GPUs, so it appears that all 40-series drivers currently available are affected.
  • There are more options in the RTX / Quadro / Professional space, due to the various driver branches available. So far, testing has shown that both R510 U10 (514.08) and R470 U12 (474.14) appear unaffected by this issue.
  • Applications may have options for manually adjusting VRAM usage. A common workflow that leads to crashes is concurrent use of Cinema4D+Redshift and After Effects, because by default, the Redshift renderer will reserve a large amount of VRAM for itself. Lowering the “Used GPU Memory %” within the “Render Settings” menu, under the “Memory” subsection, may help prevent the crash.
C4D settings
  • If you are unable to use the drivers above, then you should consider what steps you can take to reduce your VRAM usage. Disabling plugins, reducing effects, and lowering project resolutions are common methods, and even disconnecting secondary monitors can help too.
  • In the worst case, you may need to resort to using CPU or software rendering/encoding options instead of utilizing the Nvidia GPU. This will greatly impact performance, but it may allow you to finish a project in a pinch.

Conclusion

It seems that a number of Nvidia graphics drivers released this year are leading to systems freezing and crashing when VRAM usage reaches 100%. Users have the option of using older drivers depending on their GPU, but others that are limited to using affected drivers may need to make workflow adjustments while we await an update from Nvidia. Rolling back to GeForce driver version 512.96 seems to resolve the issue, if you’re unable to roll back it’s time to review the workflow and program settings to see if there is a better solution. As always, please reach out to Puget Systems Support if you identify a hardware failure.

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