Crash to desktop - Turing - 0x80000003 / display driver nvlddmkm stopped responding

Last update : 2019/12/15

Hi everyone,

This guide is intended to help all players affected by the (in)famous 0x80000003 TDR crashing issue that occurs in HITMAN 2 with a Turing card (GeForce 16 series and RTX series). Before posting, please make sure you are affected by this problem, and only that one.

:man_farmer: A bit of context :

Click here if you want to read some context about 0x80000003 issue

As many of you know, Hitman 2 is affected by an odd issue since November 2018 (it is literally the first known issue in each patchnote since january…), I have myself experienced this for 5 months between november and march. Another community members know this problem as well (@Mads47, @abeg, @JayE, @Fortheseven…etc). My first crash happened to me on November 8, I still remember very well, it was during Alma’s cutscene, after maybe 10 minutes of gameplay.

At that time, I thought it was only a minor issue, the game just come out, games are never very stable at this point, and thought IO was going to fix it quickly. I was trying to stay positive while waiting for an official solution.

Between November and January my game crashed more than 300 times (I got that number with Windows Event Viewer). So I sent a zip with all my logs files to IO’s QA team. More and more topics have been created on both steam forums and, the number of people affected has also increased gradually.

After two months, IO finally acknowledged the problem and decided to looking at the issue :


  • PC players are experiencing “0x8000000_” (and related) crashes. We’re continuing to work on a permanent solution to this with our friends and partners at Nvidia.

At first, only Nvidia RTX card owners were affected by this problem. After more than 300 crashes and seeing that the community could not find a solution, I almost stopped the game to play something else. But I’m a hardcore fan… Hitman is my forever game, as some people would say.

So I started playing HITMAN 2 on Linux with Steam Proton and after a few hours, the game never crashed on this operating system with my RTX GPU, never. I played maybe 20 hours. So I decided to play with the same rendering process on Windows 10, and it worked ! A solution has finally been found, not the best one but definitely makes the game a lot more stable.

The solution is DXVK.

DXVK is a DX11 to Vulkan translation layer used by Steam Proton on Linux. You not really change the renderer, you add another layer. DX11 is still used by the game but your GPU receives Vulkan’s translated calls.

Game :arrow_right: DX11 :arrow_right: DXVK :arrow_right: Vulkan :arrow_right: GPU

According to my observations after 5 months, with DX11, Nvidia Turing architecture and HITMAN 2, the GPU randomly hits the timeout threshold defined in TDR Windows registry keys. The default threshold value is 2 seconds. With a low level API like Vulkan, the GPU never reach this threshold, result : 0x80000003 crashes never happen.

I used DXVK almost 3 months, then IO released DX12 and like Vulkan, DX12 doesn’t seems to produce any TDR crashing issue with Turing GPUs.

Everything seemed to be fine, 0x80000003 crashes was gone, everyone was happy. Ideally, 0x8000003 should be fixed regardless the API but since this issue seems to affect only Nvidia’s Turing architecture, DX12 was a great solution for almost all users affected.

But the problem came back two months later in May 2019 after a game update for some users (not all) with Pascal and again Turing GPUs with DX11 and DX12. It seemed to hits people randomly. The GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 431.18 fixed this issue on Pascal for both Shadow of The Tomb Raider and HITMAN 2 :

Shadow of the Tomb Raider may experience a game crash or TDR when launching game on Pascal GPU

A lot of users was not aware of this hotfix because it was merged 3 weeks after in the next stable driver.

But it’s not over yet because the problem came back again after the July update ! (just look the Official HITMAN 2 Technical Support Thread or the steam forum, 0x80000003 is everywhere).


1. How can I know if I am affected by this issue ?

It’s simple. If your game randomly crashes very very frequently with no error code, sometimes after 5-10 minutes of gameplay, sometimes after, open the Windows Event Viewer (in start menu search bar). In application category, look for Hitman application error. If in the detail you see 0x80000003 exception code and if in System category, you see this too : “display driver nvlddmkm stopped responding”, it means that you are affected by the TDR (Timeout Detection & Recovery) crashing issue.

2. How can I fix these crashes ?

These steps are independent and are the result of multiple feedbacks from the community. After each one, try to play and if it doesn’t work, go to the next step.

  1. First, try to start the game in DirectX 12 mode (available in launcher settings). This is the official solution recommended by IO but it does not work for some overclocked computers.
  • DirectX 12 requires a recent and updated Windows 10 build with all drivers update to date and compatible hardware.
  1. Underclock your RAM by disabling any XMP (Intel Extreme Memory Profile) or AMP (AMD Memory Profile) profile in your BIOS/UEFI interface.

  2. Use the Nvidia reference clock speeds for your GPU. If your GPU has been factory overclocked by the manufacturer or if you have applied a custom overclocking, underclock your core clock using MSI Afterburner or an equivalent tool.

  3. Final solution, this method works for almost all people to get rid of this issue but has some downsides about performances, especially in 2K/4K. Follow the instructions below to install DXVK and use it above of DirectX :

For the latest version, check releases page :

Decompress this archive with WINRAR for example and put x64 d3d11.dll and dxgi.dll in your Hitman retail folder. Then start the game in DX11 mode. DXVK is a DX11 to Vulkan translator, and Vulkan API doesn’t produce GPU 0x80000003 timeout with Hitman 2.

The game will be a bit laggy at the start, because DXVK needs to recalculate and cache all the shaders in real time on each map. Once this step is done, the game will be stable with no stutter.


To enable DXVK’s HUD, open a Powershell terminal in administrator and use this :

[Environment]::SetEnvironmentVariable("DXVK_HUD", "gpuload,fps,version", "Machine")

The list of all HUD elements is available here :

:information_source: INFO 2019/12/15 : A DXVK helper is now available. Many thanks to Giovanni Solinas (@Tharon on Steam).

What is HITMAN Vulkan Enabler for ?

This tool is intended to help all players affected by the (in)famous 0x80000003 error that occurs in Hitman 2 with a Turing card (GeForce 16 series and RTX series). This issue can be fixed by intercepting and translating the DirectX API calls to Vulkan, a new and powerful 3D graphical API. This can be done using DXVK, a project born on Linux (but availabe for Windows too) and able to make DirectX games running on Vulkan API. DXVK is now sponsored by Steam.

IO Interactive works on a solution with Nvidia since January 2019 but " they don’t have a specific fix planned " and " continuing to gather data on to pinpoint the cause " as stated in September 2019. In the meantime, DXVK is recommended if both DX11 and DX12 don’t work properly for you.

For the moment, this is the only reliable community workaround recommended by IOI for people continuing to encounter this issue with both DX11 and DX12.

Steam guide :


(post withdrawn by author, will be automatically deleted in 24 hours unless flagged)

@Hardware Maybe a hope for a HITMAN™ 2 patch soon?

I don’t know. But some guy posted that on steam forum today. Interesting read.

I’ve discovered the real problem, it has to do with your base vs. boost clock. If you base clock is set too high, the boost clock also gets shifted upwards. It creates a “race condition” in the game engine and if certain callbacks are not received in the same order they’re sent out the game engine crashes, in which the whole game crashes.

The RTX has higher latency on the cores but does far more calculations per second than the GTX series cards do. It’s this additional latency that push the game engine to an artificial limit. If you overclock the base clock higher or try to match it with the boost clock, you’re asking for trouble. I’ve noticed that the memory clock has no effect on the timing for this game engine. There is marginal improvement in frame rates if you do a slight bump, around +200 MHz to the memory clock so it reads 7000 ~ 7002 MHz. Also, you can adjust the power limit to 106% and set the fan for auto and your game won’t crash. You can have every single item cranked all the way up, for the best settings. Don’t need to disable any other options. Use DX11 or DX12, makes no difference.

As a hint my base core clock that is sitting at 0 MHz boost is 1365 MHz and boost tops out at 1920 MHz. My base memory clock is 6800 MHz and manually boosted to 7000 MHz, reads as 7002 MHz, I’m using MSI Afterburner. Have a 2060 RTX non Super.

I hope this helps you all, it was bugging me for quite some time until I broke out my developer’s tools and test equipment to figure out what was actually happening.

A month ago, I helped a friend (a RTX GPU owner) who had crashes (0x80000003) on HITMAN 2 with both DX11 and DX12. No solution worked except DXVK but he did not want to use it. I advised him to use Nvidia reference clock speeds for his GPU, and do not use those of the manufacturer. Just after that, the game was working perfectly.

Now, that’s why I think the main reason behind 0x800000003 error with Hitman 2 is engine instability on high frequencies.

I tag @Travis_IOI @Clemens_IOI because :

This remains an open issue that we are continuing to gather data on to pinpoint the cause.


Woah, so much technical aspects but i think i got the idea :+1:
At least he found the problem now!

A player/developer fix soon?

It’s not as simple. A fix from the community probably not because it requires too much knowledge about the engine to make a refactor like this. The guy on steam forum said (but this is only his opinion as an engine developer) :

This game engine was not designed for the RTX series graphics pipeline, that’s where all the problem starts. The higher the core frequency, the higher the latency in process occurs but there is much greater throughput.

On the GTX based cards (except the 16xx series), the overclock introduced very little latency issue in which the game engine could easily tolerate. GTX 16xx series does have some of the same problems that the RTX has, as it’s a stepping stone in between. While those can be clocked higher, it still has a relatively low ceiling as compared to a 1080Ti.

Chalk it up to bad game engine design.

Even if IO Interactive patches the game to work on RTX with overclocking, it will screw with the players that have GTX hardware. They need to completely redo it.

During the development of Hitman 2, IOI being independent, kicked out by SquareEnix, lost 50% of their effective, I think they did not have sufficient resources for maintaining in good conditions such a complex engine and pipeline. They said in their financial report in 2018 the lack of qualified larbour is an important point to improve to stay in development cuting edge in video game industry.

So they probably have not had time/money/resources to redo a critical part of the code to make the engine works with overclocked Turing GPUs during HITMAN 2 development. Maybe the refactor will be done in HITMAN 3, for Turing and the following architectures of Nvidia. Now that they are recruiting AAA dev profiles for Hitman 3 and their other game, wait and see.

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Too bad for HITMAN™ 2 players anyway, who were teased with all the new and outstanding RTX features Nvidia had to offer at release…

So basically this means that any HITMAN™ 2 player with an RTX card (old or new player) will have that problem for sure (DX12 mode) and we’re stuck with it forever, at least on this sequel, right? :grimacing:

At least Nvidia Ansel seems to work as intended :sweat_smile:

Not all, probably only RTX GPUs with custom overclocking and some with overclocking done by the manufacturer. I haven’t any issue with my MSI GeForce RTX 2080 GAMING X TRIO and DX12 since october driver (440.97).

The game was stable with DX12 for me between April and July 2019. Then Nvidia broke the driver in August and fixed it in October 2019. The remaining bug is about RTX/DX11 and for RTX overclocked cards with both DX11 and DX12.

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Alright not so bad then!
Hopefully H3 will take full capacities of any RTX GPU without problems :+1:

An Hitman Vulkan helper is now available. Many thanks to Giovanni Solinas (@Tharon on Steam).


The main post has been updated.


@Hardware @Mads47, @abeg, @JayE, @Fortheseven

Gents, sorry to tag you all but I’m looking to upgrade my PC in the very near future and as you guys have been affected by the 0x80000003 issue I was wondering whether you’d be kind enough to let me know your current setups and whether you are still getting the crashes happening to you?

Current setup : i7 9700K / RTX 2080 / 16GB RAM

No more 0x80000003 crashing issue since Nvidia october 2019 driver and DX12. But the problem is not solved for everyone, there is always a probability that you have this issue with a new Nvidia GPU and DX12. I advise you to not buy a too overclocked model or go AMD.

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No more crashes since DX12

Edit: Only crashes a lot during ET’s for some strange reason

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Cheers fella. I need to upgrade my CPU and GPU (RAM is fine, 32GB 3000MHz DDR4) and I was looking at the i9 9900k and RTX 2080 Ti. I’m using a system builder (because I can’t handle water cooling) and after seeing advice in this thread I think I will need to ask them to leave the CPU/GPU at stock speeds rather than overclocking.

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Thanks frote. Do you mind me asking your specs?

My setup consist of these components

  • GeForce RTX 2080
  • Intel i7 9700K
  • 32 GB DDR4 Ram

I haven’t had a crash since DX12 was introduced, but never had a problem with my old rig.

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Thanks Mads!

Same as mads and hardware.

Even convinced @Mads47 to buy the same monitor as me


Thanks m8. Looking forward to getting the rekky on your times when I’m pulling 3fps more than you with with the 9900k in my new setup, got those speedrunner skillz to pay the billz, yo.

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Sure you want to go for the 9900k?

New rayzen stuff shreds

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