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December 15th, 2001
December 15th, 2001
December 15th, 2001
December 15th, 2001
December 15th, 2001

[User Picture]Ever made a suggestion, and after the suggesting is taken, wished you could curl up in a hole, die, and erase the suggestion from existance?

I have, as of late.

I'll explain this from the beginning for the techies. For the non-techies, skip to the near-bottom. A house-mate of mine does a LOT of video recording on their computer. Voyager to Zoids, the works pretty much. Now, he was having a minor problem with a few dropped frames here and there on his Celeron 800 w/ ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon card and Sound Blaster PCI 512 on Windows 2000.

I suggested he try one of the new dual-Athlon motherboards, and quoted a reasonably-guessed price of around $600 or so for his current system. I was off by about $200, I'll admit that right off. Mis-judged the price of the motherboard by about $100, and the price for memory by about $100 total, as he went for 2 * 512MB DIMMs instead of 4 * 256MB DIMMs.

Well, he splurged and got a sweet-as-hell all-aluminum Lian Li case for mounting all this crap in. It was worth the $200 it alone cost. Excellent cooling, excellent construction, had to buy a quick $10 pair of longer IDE cables, but other than that zero complains with the case he got. Then we hit the power button.

Beep. Beep Beep Beep. Beep Beep Beep. Beep. silence...

Finally diagnosed it as being the wrong DIMMs. Needed registered, he got unregistered 512MB DIMMs. Figured it out by going to Fry's and buying a cheap 256MB registered, ECC DIMM.

New beep code to play with:
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

@WHEE!

Swapped CPU's...

Happy Beep.

1 CPU(s) Detected...

Error, error. Failed CPU...

Next day...

2 CPU(s) Detected...
256MB memory...

Later that week when the replacement memory chips came in... (2 DIMM's here, folks. This is TWO DIMM's...)
2 CPU(s) Detected...
1536MB memory...

WHAT THE FUCK?!? How the HELL did it get 1.5GB of memory out of two 512MB DIMMs?!?

*pull a DIMM*

2 CPU(s) Detected...
768MB memory...

Christ in a Codpiece, slathered with a Red Wine sauce! These are 768MB DIMMs?!? With which Holy Handgrenade of Antioch did they create these heathen beasts? A non-power-of-two DIMM... WOW

Needless to say, the extra $100 these cost compared to four 256MB DIMMs was quickly forgiven, forgotten, and two more ordered from the same batch, once the full suite of relatively quick memory tests found no failures. :-)

Okay, we've got two CPU's locked and loaded, 1.5GB of memory to play with, time to get Win2k happy again!

Loading Windows 2000 Professional...

*Happy Beep*

ATi Radeon 8500 BIOS...

2 CPU(s) Detected...
1536MB Memory...

Oh give me a break! Windows 2000 happily reboots every time it tries to start up... Turns out the Hardware Abstraction Layer and other fun shit is throughly boloxed up from a combination of:
Switching from Intel to Athlon.
Switching CPU Chipset vendors entirely.
Switching from a single-CPU motherboard to a multi-CPU motherboard.
Switching from single-CPU to multi-CPU.
Yes, pretty much any of those things can completely break Win2k. We did em' all. At the same time...

So, a re-install, re-format, and re-install later, we FINALLY boot up!

Load up VirtualDub, hit Capture mode, test...

Audio frames dropped. Reduce capture rate...

Video frames dropped. Reduce capture rate...

*sigh* At this point we're at around 10-14 days without being able to record on this machine.

That's a lot of missed episodes and empty CD-R's...

Then, please don't ask how, we find something out after re-installing the video card drivers 20 ways to sunday with more and more refined adjustments that have managed to get the CPU load from 186% down to 134%

The audio card is the problem.

If any of you have dealt with the beast called the PCI 512 under Windows at all, you know the most recent drivers for it are dated nineteen ninety-nine. Lemme emphasize this. The drivers are OVER TWO YEARS OLD! Windows 2000 didn't even exist when these drivers were released last.

Which explains why, when I turn off audio capture to get a short and random chunk of frames from the frame-card for a new windows background from Zoids, I suddenly see CPU usage in the 10-15% range, thanks to all the optimizations we went through improving the video card's subsystem one fucking byte at a time.

So, ANOTHER $100 later, we now have a nice, shiny new Sound Blaster Audigy installed. Same problem now...

So we've now:
Replaced the motherboard with a new type.
Replaced the CPU's with a new type.
Replaced the sound card with a new type.
Replaced the case with a new type. (Figure I might as well be complete here.)

And the recording is still boloxed up.

And I wish I could just make the entire fucking thing go the fuck away and have never started, so all this pain and chaos it's causing me personally for my little suggestion of trying a dual-Athlon system since they're available relatively cheaply now has turned into the biggest S.N.A.F.U.B.A.R. I've ever seen.

Anyone have any ideas? Help...2 commentsLeave a comment
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