Half-Life 2: Episode 1
So yeah, I've got the looping-sound-crash-bug-blues.
Here's the ticket I submitted to steam support just now:
Yep, I've got that one. The supposedly unsolvable one. I'll tell you as much as I possibly can and see if there's a solution that I haven't tried.
Windows XP Sp2 Latest patches,
ATI X1800XT 512MB Video card, latest catalyst drivers,
AMD Athlon64 3700+,
AC'97 onboard sound, latest drivers,
2 GB dual-channel ram (Checked by running Memtest86 overnight),
Ample hard drive space for swap file,
Defragmented hard drive, including gcfs.
Playing any part of Half-Life 2: Episode 1 for a period of time between ten seconds and two minutes will result in a lockup. I get a half-second parcel of sound repeating over and over with a frozen frame of video. Sometimes after a few seconds I get another single frame of video and a fresh half-second parcel of sound before returning to the looping. Running task manager on my other monitor reveals steam.exe running with 99% processor usage. I must then kill hl2.exe to resume normal use of my system. It's also worth noting that the Lost Coast level refuses to load. The progress bar gets a few bubbles along before it freezes. I have no problem playing any other source-based games. Nor do I have problems playing any other game.
The (half) solution:
Running with -dxlevel 81 fixes the problem totally. But I want to take advantage of my video card's capabilities.
What I've tried:
Everything listed here: "Game Crash: Games freeze or crash with looping sounds"
Turning down sound hardware acceleration in dxdiag doesn't prevent the crashes. -nosound doesn't prevent crashes either. Reinstalled DirectX more times than I care to count (directx_aug2007_redist.exe), updated video card drives, tried changing onboard sound IRQs (Can't), new chipset drivers (Both the motherboard manufacturer and the chipset manufacturer), ditto for sound drivers.
My computer isn't overheating.
I regularly run up-to-date virus scanners and adware detectors.
I'm running Kerio personal firewall, set to allow all traffic on hl2.exe and steam.exe.
I've been as thorough as I possibly can. Please let me know if there's anything else you need. I'd really like to get this problem sorted out so it won't prevent me enjoying Episode 2, which I've already bought.
I wonder if anyone's solved this properly.
"Show me an operation that is running smoothly and I'll show you someone who's covering up mistakes. Real boats rock." - Frank Herbert