Ubuntu freezes totally; Unresponsive to SysRq reisub; Happens on fresh installs of various distributions; I'm stumped

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I have a workstation. I've had the same issue occur after fresh installs of various distributions: Ubuntu 21.04, Ubuntu 20.04, ElementaryOS.

The workstation has an AMD Threadripper Processor, ASUS ROG motherboard, and NVidia 3080ti graphics card.

The problem is that it just freezes. You can be using it for an hour / 5 mins (it varies) and then it just freezes. The screen stays displaying what it was showing but nothing moves. Mouse doesn't move. Keyboard does nothing.

I've enabled sysrq commands and confirmed that they work before it freezes. Once it freezes it is totally unresponsive to SysRq reisub.

I was told by the company who have a warranty on the machine that it isn't the machine because it worked fine when Windows was run on it. I tried swapping out the SSD to confirm that it wasn't linked to the OS being run off that. It wasn't that.

I'm totally and utterly at a loss. What else could it be? How can windows work and no version of Ubuntu can work? What am I missing? This must be a hardware issue, right?

raj avatar
cn flag
I'm not sure how it is related to your question, but I have had this issue on my old computer. It was running Ubuntu 10.04 just fine for years, but when I installed 18.04 it started to freeze. I was able to pinpoint the issue to Nouveau graphics driver (10.04 used the proprietary Nvidia driver, but the card was too old to be supported by Nvidia in 18.04). Probably there was a small fault in my graphics card (I suspect that because sometimes the image did not show right at boot but only after Ubuntu loaded) which did not affect proprietary driver but affected Nouveau. Issue was unsolved.
oldfred avatar
cn flag
Have you updated UEFI & SSD firmware? Running correct nVidia, and did not attempt to change nVidia driver without purge as duplicate installs create issues. Log files show anything? Are temps normal?
Florag avatar
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I've tried looking in the log files and can't see anything glaringly obvious but frankly they're a bit of a mystery to me. Part of the issue is that you've got to reboot the computer after so the log files get filed will all kinds of bootup messages and it's hard to trace which ones actually relate to the crash (if any!). Temperatures seem normal. The company who has it only warranty replaced the whole liquid cooling system on the off-chance it was that... didn't seem to make a difference.
Florag avatar
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Also don't think it's related to the GPU driver as I've tried it with Nouveau and proprietary and it happens with both.
in flag

Right+Alt does not work if you employed it with

  • PrtScrn+reisub or
  • PrtScrn+r-e-i-s-u-b or
  • PrtScrn+reisui

on a USB keyboard; however it does work with PS2 keyboard. This is also true with openSUSE 15.3 Leap Live DVD.

You must use Left+Alt with a USB keyboard.

in flag

Many nVidia cards will lock up hard and take the keyboard with them if the graphics subsystem is started using the wrong driver. Frequently, the system itself is not locked up, just the video and keyboard. Sometimes the entire system is locked up.

Options to bypass this issue are:

  • Edit the live grub menu and disable the nouveau driver by adding nomodeset to the linux command line
  • Completely disable graphics mode and go directly to text mode by adding to the linux command line in grub
  • From the grub menu, select advanced options and select a rescue mode
  • As a last resort, boot install media and use this to mount the target system and chroot into it

Once you have used one of these options to get into the system, you can then try repairing the video driver. Options for repair include (you may need to try several of these):

  • run ubuntu-drivers autoinstall to try to get the best driver for your video card. Note that several of the newest nVidia cards do not have a working linux driver yet
  • Completely uninstall all nvidia drivers with apt purge nvidia* and then disable the nouveau driver by adding nomodeset to /etc/default/grub and run update-grub to make this permanent

In a very few rare cases, the nouveau driver has worked better than the current version of the nVidia driver, but this typically does not last long. If ubuntu-drivers does not result in a working video driver, try again in a few months and see if a new driver is released.

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