All right...after chasing some software gremlins around for a bit, I'm back.
First of all, good and/or bad news is that a teetering hardrive aside, my PC passed all the stress and diagnostic tests with flying colors. GPU, RAM, CPU, PSU are all fine. Temps are also fine, again.
This pretty much brings it down to either an issue of software gremlins or--by totally random chance--Trine has for some reason chosen to highlight my HDD's imminent demise.
So, I brought the PC back home to do some testing of my own.
First off was to delete the Steam edition of Trine off my drive and reinstall it from scratch. I also installed a non-Steam version of the game (thank you again, Joel) just in case the issue happened to be with Steam, and simply to have another copy of the game running from another location on the drive.
The second thing I did, on a crackpot theory, was to uninstall PhysX (v.9.09.0814, according to my control panel), reboot, and then reinstall using the 9.09.0408 version included in the Trine Steam folder.
Also--in theory--Windows had been instructed not
to automatically restart in the event of an error in hopes that it would spit out an enlightening error message. So the goal of each test I ran was to either get a useful error message out of Windows or successfully run the game for 45 minutes to an hour. (Since the longest it's gone without crashing so far has been 30-40 minutes, I figured that was a good goalpost to aim for.)Test #1:
Steam version, exact same settings as prior:
- windowed mode @ 1366x768
- very high graphics settings
- AA and antistropic to max
- everything but EAX & multiple controllers enabled
- vertical sync on
Result: computer shut down & restarted at three minutes into the game, just after beginning the wizard solo sequence. No error message (curses!).
Then the non-Steam version, exact same settings as above.
Result: seemed to happen faster this time, if anything...restart/shut down again, no error message, just after starting the thief solo sequence.
Steam version, same settings as above but using the console options Joel suggested to limit FPS.
Result: ...success? I successfully made it to my stated goal of an hour of continuous play--from the intro up to Crystal Caverns.
I did notice at a few points--seemed to happen mostly when lots of the wizard's objects were on the screen, if that makes any difference in terms of code--where the game seemed to "hang" momentarily. A split second at most, just enough to be noticeable. Also, with FPS limited my GPU stayed much cooler--around 65C with the fans going at 45% (compared to 75C, fans at the same speed, without limiting FPS).
So...here's my current theory. I honestly don't know what kind of FPS the 4870x2 was pulling in, but I'm willing to assume it was less than the 6970. Something
about this game and uncapped FPS, when combined with a newer card, causes a hard shutdown. Why? ...Absolutely no idea whatsoever.
Am I willing to declare "victory!" on this? In all honesty, no. I've thought I had the solution to this thorny problem far too many times at this point to say that I've hit on the answer. I will say this, though...current plan is to take the PC back into the shop tomorrow to get it a new HDD. I'm going to try and get through the rest of the game before then.
If I can make it all the way to the end credits without the game shutting down (I've just hit "Forsaken Dungeons" now), then
I think I'll stamp a "victory!" on this and move on.
We'll see how it goes!
Edit: Yup...spoke too soon. Mid-way through "Forsaken Dungeons" with the FPS capped, boom, shutdown and then restart. AAAAARGH.