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HTPC Build Completed (Mostly)


Joe_Miner
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That's a great little case. I love mine. Just make sure you get a modular power supply. Cable routing can get difficult otherwise.

 

Very good point -- the SS-400SL was great in that regard and it has been really rock solid though for this configuration though the 400W is overkill.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Recent developments – after moving my new HTPC build [GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 (Rev. 1.0)] to the Family Room and attaching to my Samsung 850…

 

I started getting flashes of “snowy” screens when I would do display switching – the Samsung 850 has 4 HDMI ports. This would occur whenever I switched from the HDMI input that the Z68MA was plugged into to another HDMI input (such as my Comcast cable box on #1 or my Play Station 3 on #3) and back to HDMI the Z68MA was plugged into (I tried it in #2 and #4 with the same effect -- #2 was where my Acer AR3610 had been plugged in for the last 2 years trouble free and #4 is the port I use to plug in my Acer 1810T when I want to play content or view power points from my laptop – also Trouble free). I would also get “snowy” screens when I did a restart on the Z68MA – sometimes In the BIOS post and sometimes in the OS boot.

 

I then updated all of my drivers to the latest from Gigabytes board. That helped some. Then I flashed the latest BIOS (F12) which helped a LOT – my original BIOS had been F2. The Z68MA was a lot more stable but I was still getting the “snowy screens” sometimes during display switches (via my Harmony One) or about 1 out of 7 restarts – this was severely impacting the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor).

 

I next completely rebuilt the my setup on the SSD and HD by erasing everything and reinstalling the OS with only the bare minimum in Drivers just in case some of the fooling around I had been doing before in VM’s etc. had messed up my drivers or OS. I also suspected that some of my not-so-graceful crashes of my VM’s when my OS had installed new updates and had done a reboot may have caused me problems.

 

The Z68MA does seem even more stable after this rebuild but I still get the “snowy” screens which is killing my WAF rating.

 

My latest “snow” was when installing Adobe Flash last night – when the screen flashed to display the Administrator screen for me to OK the installation my Samsung went to Snow – I did a power on/off on the Samsung and got my desktop back and was able to finish the install and even watch several TV shows off the internet without further incident.

 

I’m beyond the point of believing this was a Driver or BIOS issue and suspect it is a HW issue – especially since my Board is Rev 1.0 and Rev 1.3 is out there. I’ve been in contact with Gigabyte throughout this saga so we’ll see what they say/do.

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Have you tried updating the firmware on the TV? Swapped out HDMI cables?

 

Very good points.

The HDMI cable being bad was my first thought -- especially since it was a new purchase for this build. I tried 4 other calbes that I knew were working with the same impact.

It seemed pretty obvious that since the issue would even occur at OS boot and BIOS Post that it wasn't a driver issue but either a HW issue on the Samsung or the MB. I'm still pursuing the Samsung firmware possibility.

 

Though, something interesting happened yesterday. While reviewing the Intel board for similar issues with HD2000 I found a lot of cases where problems occured due to grounds on the MB -- I don't know why I did it but just for grins I unplugged the HDMI connector on the back of the HTPC (after powering it off) and gave the entire back a good shot of compressed air -- especially into the HDMI port. I plugged the HDMI cable back in and powered up and have yet to experience a snowy screen! Is it possible that some foreign material was causing an intermitent ground within the connector?

 

I'm not sure if this is fixed yet but I certainly have some more testing to do this weekend. (OK, I know I've listened to way too many BYOB podcasts when I could hear PCDoc say "that's interesting!?!" last night after spraying compressed air across the back of the HTPC and getting no snowy screens in my subsequent tests :) )

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Its quite possible I store all my spare HDMI with plastic covers. I've had grounding issues with my receiver where the screen would flash on and off intermittently for no apparent reason.

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Very good points.

The HDMI cable being bad was my first thought -- especially since it was a new purchase for this build. I tried 4 other calbes that I knew were working with the same impact.

It seemed pretty obvious that since the issue would even occur at OS boot and BIOS Post that it wasn't a driver issue but either a HW issue on the Samsung or the MB. I'm still pursuing the Samsung firmware possibility.

 

Though, something interesting happened yesterday. While reviewing the Intel board for similar issues with HD2000 I found a lot of cases where problems occured due to grounds on the MB -- I don't know why I did it but just for grins I unplugged the HDMI connector on the back of the HTPC (after powering it off) and gave the entire back a good shot of compressed air -- especially into the HDMI port. I plugged the HDMI cable back in and powered up and have yet to experience a snowy screen! Is it possible that some foreign material was causing an intermitent ground within the connector?

 

I'm not sure if this is fixed yet but I certainly have some more testing to do this weekend. (OK, I know I've listened to way too many BYOB podcasts when I could hear PCDoc say "that's interesting!?!" last night after spraying compressed air across the back of the HTPC and getting no snowy screens in my subsequent tests :) )

 

Well, hopefully that resolves your problem. But isn't it amazing with all of the technology that exists today, something that has been around since the beginning of time can still cause such problems.

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Well, hopefully that resolves your problem. But isn't it amazing with all of the technology that exists today, something that has been around since the beginning of time can still cause such problems.

 

We'll see. I'm cautiously optmistic at the moment.

 

I should of thought of a possible intermitent ground before -- grounding issues are the root of many problems. Though blasting the back of my build with compressed air is more of a SWAG than anything based on sound technical judgement.

 

On the plus side -- I've been able to meet many nice people at Gigabyte, Intel, and Samsung. :)

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There are some issues with HDMI hand shaking on many boards but most of the time is boils down to the TV/receiver and your HTPC. I found that running my HDMI via a remote based HDMI switch or an HDMI receiver has always worked for me and others. You might try a switch as a way to at least trouble shoot.

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