My HTPC has a problem, please help me!

Jul 11, 2001
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#1
I've built all my systems with these exceptions:

My laptops
The first system I had, which was built by an electrical engineer in the early 1990s, I bought it used from him.

Spec on this system:

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
Q8200 (2.33Ghz 45nm Core2Quad), copper core stock heatsink/fan
PNY 9600 GSO dual DVI PCI-e GPU
2x2GB GSkill blue DDR2-667 RAM
EVGA SuperNOVA 550 G2 550W 80 Plus Gold Modular Power Supply
MIT MyHD-120 HDTV PCI + daughterboard
Hercules Game Theater XP (GTXP) PCI sound card + breakout box
120GB IDE HDD for OS/Apps
Western Digital 2TB Red 5400 SATA III HDD for secondary storage
Midtower case
2x 120mm fans


Since I picked up the mobo and video card from an AT member it seemed to be working fine, at Xmas 2016. Fine except for the fact that it never once recovered from any S3 Suspend. Searching online reveals that this is a common issue with this motherboard. My workaround is to do a wake from shutdown on a daily basis and set the time it wakes up, if I want it on within the next 24 hours.That at least, gets the system booted at the time I need it on to make my programmed HDTV recordings.

Well, the system has gone strange for the last couple months or so. Sometimes it seems alright. But it goes bonkers... when or why, I haven't a clue.

The most stark symptom is seen when the system starts. Instead of the typical booting video I usually see, there are strange colors (not the usual black and white). I think there's a pervasive green all over the screen (I'm green blind, so that's a guess!), but then there are crazy figures all over as the machine continues into the boot sequence and Windows never loads correctly.

Other times, the system will just lock up in Windows.

I can overcome this syndrome by booting into Safe Mode (press F8 during boot). Once in Safe Mode, I reboot and it's OK. Well, almost all the time, because yesterday, that didn't fix it and I had to do it again.

It's running Windows XP. I've been meaning to try Win7, even a trial, but haven't gotten around to that. I installed a fresh copy of XP in the 3rd boot partition a couple of months ago or so and everything seemed dandy for a while, but then the problems resurfaced, WTF.

I ran Memtest on the two 2GB sticks yesterday and it had zero errors after 2 passes.


Any ideas what might be wrong? The power supply is pretty top notch and not old. Should I look for another mobo/video card on ebay? Replace the video card? I figure a mobo replacement is probably a good idea so I can have S3. I need that to support the system's main function which is to timeshift HDTV programming.

Crucial in a replacement mobo is PCI support... the HDTV card needs that and if I am going to continue to use the sound card, another PCI is necessary. Plus, there needs to be space for the HDTV card's daughterboard, which nestles up against the PCI HDTV card.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#2
Well, you kind of know how I feel about this... time to move on from WinXP, and PCI HDTV daughtercards. They make USB ATSC tuners, and modern CPUs can decode and play back HDTV formats just fine, right on the iGPU. You can get IR remotes, with USB IR receiver dongles.

WinXP was always fairly poor with power-management, I used to disable it as a general rule. I have a gut feeling, that if you tried Windows 7 (even 32-bit), that your power-management issues would largely go away.

Whether that would fix all your problems with that board, I have no idea. I did tell you that it was designed for Windows 7, though, I think.

Edit: I do think that your GPU is dying though. I'll send you a less-power-hungry one, something Fermi-based, Paypal me $10 to cover shipping, and I'll get that out for you Monday. (Edit: Or if you want a GeForce GT710, a newer card, Paypal me $30. That one would be BNIB.)

Edit: Wait, do you still require dual DVI ports? That might be hard to come by, short of a much newer Polaris or Pascal dual-slot card.

Edit: Really, surprised that you haven't embraced Windows 7 already, due to the presence of Media Center.
 
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Jul 11, 2001
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#3
I have never used Media Center.

Dual DVI, well, I'm using both DVI out from that card right now. So, if I want the same setup, yeah, 2 DVI.

The Win7 I'll try. Gotta take the time, figure out how to do a Win7 trial

I had great success with power management on my last mobo using XP, so I'm not one to think that it's not possible with the right mobo.

All that stuff about other ATSC from USB, a dongle, IR remote. That's a whole new system. ATSC 3.0 is coming down the pipe, obviously I'm going to be abandoning the MyHD PCI card solution with it's DVR, IR remote at that time, but I'm hoping to not have to do a sweeping upgrade and abandon it in the meantime. Shouldn't be that hard to do, lots of other people are living with the MyHD cards, many using an HD Homerun in tandem, and I already have one of those.

If I have to get a mobo that was designed for XP, fine, they should be around. The MyHD solution wasn't designed for Win7 but with well documented workarounds I'm told that they will work in win7.
 
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Malogeek

Golden Member
Mar 5, 2017
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#4
Sounds like you need to move in from ancient tech. HDTV from OTA or cable?
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#5
If I have to get a mobo that was designed for XP, fine, they should be around.
My gosh, man, why are you going backwards in technology? Let it go...

Here, buy this:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...re_T_TC-865-NESelecti3-_-83-101-686-_-Product

New PC, 8th-gen Intel, i3-8100 quad-core, DDR4, etc. $349

https://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-Digital-ATSC-Clear-QAM-TV-Tuner-With-HD-MPEG-DVR-Recorder/122303240478

USB ATSC tuner with MPEG DVR feature, $30

Edit: You can move over the 2TB SATA desktop HDD, into the tower (most likely), or if you have to, get a USB3.0 UASP-compatible external SATA6G desktop enclosure. I picked up a few of them for like $35 some months ago (Vantec), they're probably cheaper now. (Vantec and StarTech are generally good ones, but pricier than the primarily Chinese vendor ones.)

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1DS5R14215

external 3.5" HDD enclosure, supports UASP, up to 8TB, $23
 
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Aug 25, 2001
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#6
I just looked at the video card that I offered you for $10 shipping. It's used but AFAIK working (full refund if DOA), it has VGA / HDMI / DL-DVI-I .

If you only need dual DVI-D, and don't need dual-link on both of them, you could always use an HDMI-to-DVI-D cable, plug one end into the HDMI port on the card, and the DVI port into the monitor. My friend's older rig with a GT610 dGPU is using his that way.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#8
I guess, I don't get why you are so "married" to an older, lower-tech solution, like those MyHD PCI cards, when you can get a modern PC, a USB ATSC/QAM tuner for OTA or Cable, and go to town?

I mean, I remember when I used to have an MPEG-2 decoding card, for watching DVDs on my PC, with my 2X DVD-ROM drive. Wow! DVDs!

Well, nowadays, a modern CPU and iGPU can decode DVD format video without even hardly lifting a finger, so to speak, it takes so little of a modern CPU and iGPU's processing time, and we have $13 24X DVD-RW drives, that can not only read DVDs, but write them, all at really high speeds.

Technology progresses. The only reason to stick with old tech, is if you're hard-headed, or don't have any spare funds. (Which, being on a fixed income myself, I understand. But I still make room for 'toys'.)

I see an upgrade in your future, as an "investment". I considered my twin 40" 4K UHD TVs an "investment", and it's ... one of my best-ever tech purchases. 4K or bust!

Edit: Look at it this way, consider it a "progressive upgrade". Just buy a USB ATSC / QAM tuner soon, and see if it works for you, rather than those MyHD cards. Then, consider doing a full PC upgrade, or at the very least, a GPU upgrade / replacement (don't forget my offer, but you needn't go with that one if you don't want to), and then a full upgrade later, if things don't work out.

So:
1) Full Upgrade, new PC, new USB ATSC/QAM tuner, IR (Media Center) remote: $400

2) Partial upgrade, keeping existing PC, new USB ATSC/QAM tuner, maybe IR remote, new entry-level dGPU, probably aroound $100 or less? Add $100 for Windows 7, if you can find it somewhere, or just install the MS ISO, and use it in trial mode indefinitely (but you didn't hear that from me).

Edit: You want to just Paypal me $40, and I'll send you the dGPU (it's either a GT430, or like a GT610/620 or something, it's Fermi regardless, still currently supported I think), a 160GB 7200RPM HDD, or a 500GB 5400RPM HDD, your choice, and a Windows 7 install DVD. All in a Med. Flat-Rate USPS Priority box on Monday?

You can install the dGPU, verify your system is booting OK without graphical anomalies, and then install Win7 to the new HDD, so that you don't have to get rid of your existing XP setup (zero risk, basically), and then buy that ATSC/QAM USB tuner, and get that working in Windows 7 with Media Center, and get a cheap remote.
 
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Malogeek

Golden Member
Mar 5, 2017
1,398
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yaktribe.org
#9
OTA exclusively
Get a HDHomeRun Duo and a Shield TV and you're done. Everything taken care of and can enjoy so much more stuff on the Shield at the same time. Want DVR? Add in the DVR subscription and record to a USB or SD card from the Shield or get the high capacity Shield version.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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#10
I just looked at the video card that I offered you for $10 shipping. It's used but AFAIK working (full refund if DOA), it has VGA / HDMI / DL-DVI-I .

If you only need dual DVI-D, and don't need dual-link on both of them, you could always use an HDMI-to-DVI-D cable, plug one end into the HDMI port on the card, and the DVI port into the monitor. My friend's older rig with a GT610 dGPU is using his that way.
OK, thanks! I just paypaled you $10, in case you don't have my address, I'm PMing you that, although I suppose paypal will provide you that, not sure.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#11
Thanks, will attempt to fit in one of my surplus "new" (? it's ebay, I have no idea if they're really new) HDDs in the box, and get it shipped out to you Mon. morning.

Edit: Don't worry about the $40, I'll try to fit everything in that I can.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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#12
Get a HDHomeRun Duo and a Shield TV and you're done. Everything taken care of and can enjoy so much more stuff on the Shield at the same time. Want DVR? Add in the DVR subscription and record to a USB or SD card from the Shield or get the high capacity Shield version.
I have a SiliconDust HD Homerun, which is dual recording capable, is that what you mean? Never heard of Shield TV, I'll look it up. Yes, I DVR all the time, I refuse to do it any other way, can't hack the commercials. I don't have to pay any DVR subscription with my setup, the MyHD app handles DVR adequately. There are some anomalies, but I tolerate them. An occasional lockup of the computer, for instance isn't fun. But I figure any system is going to have its problems.

Like I say, when ATSC 3.0 kicks in in 3 years or so, I'll be totally changing the way I deal with TV, DVR. But until then, I don't see a reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater and get a whole different way of dealing with it. It's not just the money, but the time messing with stuff. I have plenty of other stuff to deal with.
 

Malogeek

Golden Member
Mar 5, 2017
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803
96
yaktribe.org
#13
It's not just the money, but the time messing with stuff. I have plenty of other stuff to deal with.
That's one of the primary reasons I moved away from HTPCs and to Shield TV for my Kodi/HDHR DVR network. I no longer have to mess with anything.

I also gain:
  • Full 4k support when I device to upgrade AVR/TV equipment
  • Protected cable TV content support (HBO etc.)
  • Netflix/Amazon/Hulu etc. support if I decide to use those
  • Spotify that becomes a device I can play directly on or cast to from my phone or Google Home
  • Becomes a home automation hub for very cheap compared to dedicated hubs
  • Stream games via Nvidia Streamlink or directly from my gaming PC
  • Chromecast device for sending anything to the TV for output
 
Jul 11, 2001
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#15
Jul 11, 2001
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#20
Just install windows 10 and use your windows 7 key.
My HDTV cards won't work in Windows 10. They do work in Win7 if you do the workarounds, I'm told.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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#21
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138450&ignorebbr=1

Biostar AM4 X370 ATX mobo, with two PCI slots. Probably one of the few AM4 boards with them. $49.99 ShellShocker on Newegg. Ryzen 1000-series CPUs CAN run Windows 7, if you mod the installer for USB3.0.
Trying to understand this. It's $69.99 right now for the mobo. The Ryzen CPU would be separate, right? Modding the installer for USB3.0??? So, I'd need a separate CPU, not the one I have now?

I don't need much processing power for this, almost nothing, because the MyHD HDTV cards have their own processor onboard. They basically use no CPU cycles AFAIK. I typically have nothing else going on when I do HDTV stuff. I like to close any processes that aren't necessary. I use a little utility called enditall.

Have used that for years. Not sure it helps but I think it might reduce anomalies.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#22
Yeah, you would need a first-gen Ryzen CPU (might work with 2nd-gen too, don't know. I know Ryzen APUs require Windows 10 1803).

Just trying to get you on some overall new kit.

Sorry the dGPU hasn't arrived yet, not sure what's going on with USPS.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#23
I just thought of something. That box I used, had some bar codes on it. I thought that I had covered them up with the label, but maybe there were a couple more. Uh-oh. :(
 
Jul 11, 2001
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#24
I just thought of something. That box I used, had some bar codes on it. I thought that I had covered them up with the label, but maybe there were a couple more. Uh-oh. :(
Larry, I was just going out the door to go to my workout, checked the mail and your box was there! Will open when I return. I don't see any extraneous bar codes on the box, BTW.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#25
Oh yeah, one little "protip". Don't try to use the SSD I sent you with XP. It wasn't designed for SSDs at all, and will probably not be good for it. Use Windows 7, it was designed to work with SSDs out of the box.
 

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