Basic GLSL particle system crashing GPU (Radeon Pro 4GB)?

Hi there,

I just had a graphics card dying scare while going through the “Introduction to TouchDesigner” book examples on particle systems/GLSL (to be precise, example “01_Moving_particles_with_textures.toe” from section 12.7.2).

As I opened the patch, there was a yellow warning sign (I think on the GLSL mat object?) saying something to the effect of this shader is not supported by this GPU.

Here’s my specs:
MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
Processor: 2.9 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
Memory: 16 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3
Graphics: Radeon Pro 560 4 GB , Intel HD Graphics 630 1536 MB
TouchDesigner build 2019.16600

So after receiving the warning, thinking that my relatively decent Graphics card should be able to handle a simple patch, I starting browsing online to see if there’s a way to monitor which Graphics card is being used by TouchDesigner, while the patch was running in the background. After a few minutes things started to slowdown, mouse stopped responding, so I looked at activity monitor (which took a long time to load up), and showed a Kernel Task CPU usage of thousands of percent, going down to 500 percent, and at this stage the display went black.

I started manually turning the machine on and off, to run into the apple logo once, followed by another black screen, then restarting again, for the OS to load up but giving me a warning about improper shutdown, but then mouse was not reactive. It was at this stage that I also realised that the battery was at 1% (however, my adapter was plugged in), right before the screen going dark again. So I changed the USB port to which the power was connected to. Turn the machine back on, OS loaded ok, battery started to charge, but then my second display (PHL 243V7, 23-5inch) was not being detected. Looking at About This Mac, Radeon did not show up either.

So I did another shut down routine, to finally load everything up as normal, with the second display working and the Radeon being detected and use.

In usual debugging mode, I tend to force the same procedure to figure out where the problem was initiated. But at this stage, I’m quite scared to run that patch again (it’s a bit silly I know, but with the current lockdown in NZ, there are no repair facilities available and I do not want to risk losing my laptop under current circumstances).

So I’m just wondering if this all would have had to do with the power adapter, somehow not being fully connected, leading to a battery discharge (which was probably faster than normal due to touchDesigner / particle system running), or there could be something more serious going on. Is it possible that a simple GLSL particle system somehow overloading my GPU to the brink of a complete breakdown? Are there any careful steps that I can take to probe the issue, and to make sure nothing is permanently damaged?

Sorry about the long thread. Any help or advice would be much appreciated.


Hey @mhzareei,

yikes - not a nice moment when that happens. Why your videocard would react this way is not quite clear to me.
We usually recommend making sure that all the latest drivers are installed on the system. For files that behave badly and you need to get into them without them running, there is the option to rename the file CrashAutoSave.toe which will start in a mode where no operator is being cooked or evaluated. From here you should be able to easily make changes (for example change the GLSL Shader Version), save it and start it again.
But again: why your video card acted up the way it did might point to a different problem (purely guessing) that could be based in some hardware malfunction.