random FreeBSD panics

John Baldwin jhb at freebsd.org
Mon Mar 29 16:16:42 UTC 2010

On Sunday 28 March 2010 4:28:29 am Masoom Shaikh wrote:
> Hello List,
> I was a happy FreeBSD user, just before I installed FreeBSD8.0-RC1. Since
> then, system randomly just freezes, and there is no option other than hard
> boot. I guessed this will get solved in 8.0-RELEASE, but it was not :(
> Many times I get vmcore files, not always. I have dumpdev set to AUTO in my
> rc.conf. Almost every time it just fsck's the file-system on reboot. I have
> not lost any files though. This is a Dell Inspiron 1525 Laptop with 1GB ram,
> Intel Core2 Duo T5500 with ATI Radeon X1400 card. The installation in
> question is KDE4 from ports, with radeon/ati driver.
> I felt the problem is with wpi driver, then suspected dri driver of X. Then
> I observed system freezes even if none of this is installed. e.g. if it is
> under some load, like building a port and simultaneously fetching something
> over network it hangs, and hangs hard. This persuaded me to think something
> is wrong in kernel scheduling itself. May be it is lost in some deadlock,
> etc... Thus last weekend I thought I would see how immediate previous
> version i.e. FreeBSD-7.3-RELEASE would behave.
> I reinstalled FreeBSD7.1 from iso images, svn up'ed FreeBSD7.3 source, did
> the normal buildworld, buildkernel, installkernel, installworld cycle.
> Unfortunatly this kernel is naughty as well ;-), it also freezes with same
> stubbornness. But difference is this time I happen to catch something
> interesting.
> It panics on NMI, fatal trap 19 while in kernel mode. Loaded the vmcore file
> in kgdb and got the backtrace. I obtained vmcore files on two occasions. I
> have attached both the back traces. This error most likely suggests hardware
> error in RAM, but Windox7 and XP boot just fine and never caused any errors.

Yes, and note that the chipset has set a register to indicate a RAM parity 
error as well, so it is not a random NMI.  Have you checked your BIOS' event 
log?  You may also want to try running with machine checks enabled 
(hw.mca.enabled=1 in loader.conf, but it would have to be on very recent 7/8-
stable) to see if you get machine checks for ECC errors.  OTOH, if you do not 
have ECC memory then this will probably not help.

> To verify if I have errors in my RAM I let run sysutils/memtest86+
> overnight, to double verify I also executed Windows Memory Diagnostic test
> for four times. None of them reported errors. Can anyone here suggest any
> solution.

You can still have bad RAM even if those do not fail.

John Baldwin

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