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Other games are fine, but Alyx crashes to desktop every 10 minutes or so, or sometimes even restarts.

At first I couldn't even get past the menu. Googling told me to update the Oculus software on my PC, which got me into the game.

But the crashes persist.

This is a not-uncommon problem. Other suggestions online include:

  • Updating drivers for headset/GPU/etc
  • Verifying integriti of game files in Steam
  • Increasing Windows VM max size (or ticking the box to let Windows handle it)

But none of these worked.

A lot of people suggested a hardware issue, and replacing my PSU or CPU or GPU might be needed. But I'd at least want to get some confirmation of which part is bad before spending the time and money replacing it.

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  • What are your hardware specifications? Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 1:13

2 Answers 2

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It ended up being the CPU overheating, above 90°C. This can cause math/logic errors.

It stumped me because it was only happening in Half-life Alyx. But seems it was just that Alyx is a more demanding game than any I've been playing recently (trying to achieve the high framerates needed for decent VR was really working it, even on lowest setting - which still looks amazing, by the way).

CPU is an AMD Ryzen 3 3300x with the included Wraith Stealth cooler. The thermal paste looked very dry and not spread evenly when I removed it to take a look. Wiped it off with alcohol wipes, applied new paste. It works fine now.

If Half-life Alyx (or any demanding game) crashes a lot on you, try downloading a benchmark tool that can focus on components one at a time and see which one fails (I used the free trial of passmark's BurnInTest, but others should work too).

CPU-specific tests in this tool failed for me, and recorded temps above 90c, so that's how I knew to check the CPU cooler and the thermal paste.

Without this I might have been wasting money on a new PSU or even GPU.

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    "This can cause math/logic errors" not really, the CPU just throttles down performance until it gets to a safe temperature (speaking from personal experience with an i7 6700 and a stock cooler in HL:A).
    – Lemon
    Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 9:29
  • Nope, got actual math errors reported in the benchmark tool. Perhaps i7 6700 throttles, but this was a Ryzen 3 3300x. And as I said, Alyx didn't simply run slower, it crashed to desktop. Unless I misunderstood your meaning?
    – MGOwen
    Commented Nov 7, 2022 at 6:06
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Make sure you also plug your link cable in the usb socket (tagged with usb3, ss, or blue plastic usually) that is in the BACK of your PC, not top

USB ports on the back panel carry more power than the USB headers on the front/top panel, and oculus traffics alot of data plus charging through the same cable, which leads to variety of issues on both ends if power supply is insufficient.

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  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 6:48
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    What is this answer supposed to mean? Even if they're plugged to not-so-good USB plug it doesn't lead to crash, they just don't work as intended (such as video lag etc).
    – Skye-AT
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 6:56
  • Nope. Sounds like it should be like that. But game freezing, steamVR crashing with the game altogether, oculus link disconnects and oculus link freezes all happen to me between each few seconds to each few minutes when using the usb3 port on top of pc, and not a single issue happens when using usb3 on the back. If you have a working solution, go ahead and provide one, i spent alot of hours trying every solution online beforehand. Btw also playing half life alyx
    – Marius Gri
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 14:13
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    Assuming you're using either Rift S or Quest 2... First of all, they're supposed to be connected to USB-C port (because official link cable is C to C cable). Almost all of Type-C port should be able to supply power that's sufficient to Rift S or Quest 2. Type-A USB 3.0 port isn't what Oculus/Meta intended. Chances are high that your case's top USB port is 3.1 gen1 or 3.0 which couldn't supply needed power and your back port are 3.1 gen2. Some case do provide 3.1 gen2 or higher USB port on their top.
    – Skye-AT
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 14:43

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