Please help solve my DV500 nightmare!!

17 replies [Last post]
cassian
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Joined: Dec 31 2000

Hello

Once again a DV500 crashing, freezing, system lock-up story. If anyone could help I would really really appreciate it - especially since I have just followed Paul Dutton's simple formula (p.98 Computer Video - April 2001), without success!!

So here goes....

Motherboard: ASUS K7M
Chipset: AMD 751 with latest 4.80 AGP drivers
Graphics: Matrox G400 with 6.50.008 drivers
Operating Sys: Windows 98SE with all critical updates (are there any Service Packs I could install??)
RAM: 512 mb
HDDs: IBM 18 and 46GB - both DMA set
Soundcard: Creative Sounblaster Live 1024! with latest drivers
Network Card
Direct X version 8
Windows Media Player version 7

IRQ's are as follows:

0 System timer
1 Standard 101/102-Key or Microsoft Natural Keyboard
2 Programmable interrupt controller
3 (free)
4 SCI IRQ used by ACPI bus
5 Kingston EtheRx KNE20 Plug and Play ISA Adapter
6 Standard Floppy Disk Controller
7 Creative SB16 Emulation
8 System CMOS/real time clock
9 Pinnacle Systems DV500-1394
9 Pinnacle Systems DV500 E4
9 Pinnacle Systems DV500 Overlay
9 ACPI IRQ Holder for PCI IRQ Steering
10 Creative SB Live! Value
10 VIA Tech 3038 PCI to USB Universal Host Controller
10 VIA Tech 3038 PCI to USB Universal Host Controller
10 ACPI IRQ Holder for PCI IRQ Steering
11 Matrox Millennium G400 - English
11 ACPI IRQ Holder for PCI IRQ Steering
12 Microsoft PS/2 Port Mouse
13 Numeric data processor
14 Primary IDE controller (dual fifo)
14 VIA Bus Master PCI IDE Controller
15 Secondary IDE controller (dual fifo)
15 VIA Bus Master PCI IDE Controller

I know many people have had problems with their DV500 setups. At this stage I have formatted, reformated etc etc a million times! I myself have patience but I am not sure how long my marriage can take it!

Any advise would be most appreciated.

Cassian

PD
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Joined: Aug 6 1999

Hi Cassian,

Okay first things first.

In my direct experience the ASUSTek K7M is not a stable platform with Matrox G400.

However, before you replace your display adapter, answer me a few questions: -

1. What PCB revision is your ASUSTek K7M? This should be detailed on the mainboard just below the AGP Slot and adjacent to PCI Slot 1 and directly below where it is marked K7M.

2. What BIOS revision is installed?

3. What frequency of AMD Athlon microprocessor are you running?

4. Are you certain your Power Supply Unit is validated by AMD? If you’re not sure, whilst you can check this yourself at http://www1.amd.com/athlon/power, we’ll help if you provide us with the details of the manufacturer, model and stated power output.

5. You have a Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live! Value, did your K7M variant come with integrated audio and have you disabled this within the BIOS?

6. In what way have you assessed the stability of the system without Pinnacle Systems DV500?

If you need help checking any of these things then don’t worry come back here and I’ll direct you through it.

Cheers!

------------------
Paul

Paul Dutton
DVdoctor R&D

HEXUS.swankyDynamicSignature - Give it a click!

cassian
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Joined: Dec 31 2000

Hi Paul,

Thanks so much for your speedy reply...

As to your questions, here goes:

1. The PCB revision is 1.04

2. The BIOS version is 1.18

3. My processor is a 550mhz

4. The power supply is a Chieftek model No ATX 1123B, 230 watt. This isn't listed at the site you mentioned. The computer was originally supplied by MESH PLC with this psu installed.

5. The motherboard's onboard sound is disabled.

6. I have had this pc now for just over a year and has always run well - writing web sites, using Photoshop, large databases, word processing etc.

I would like to point out that one of the actions which always causes a crash is movie capturing via Premiere 5.1c. As soon as I have finished capturing, and press escape, my system ALWAYS crashes as soon as playback begins. Hopefully this a clue to the problem!!

Look forward to your reply...and big thanks.....Cassian

PD
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Joined: Aug 6 1999

Hi ‘Cassian’,

I cannot be more clear on this, the power supply you use with Athlon should be validated by AMD for the frequency of processor you are running.

I would not be surprised if installing a validated power supply resolved your issues outright and my recommendation would be that for a properly configured desktop video editing system this should have an output of no less than 300W.

My current preference is for EnerMax PSU and if you’re in London then I suggest you check out http://www.hitechpc.co.uk. I realise that it’s kind of ‘risky’ for me to say it but I have had good experiences with them, not least because they stock kit that is not available at a lot of other component suppliers, and I have found their prices to be very competitive to say the least.

You’ve come here looking for help and so please do not consider replacing your PSU with one that is not validated and one that has an output less than 300W.

EnerMax are not the cheapest but when you have one in your hand and compare it to most anything else you do not have to be an engineer to see why I have a lot of confidence in them.

As far as I know you are using the last revision of the K7M but you should update your BIOS to Release Version 1009 dated 04/20/2000; the details of what issues are addressed by that release and the download URL can be found at http://www.asus.com.tw/products/motherboard/bios_slota.html

I assert again that in my direct experience the ASUSTek K7M is not a stable platform with Matrox G400 but if it works for you, whilst I am more than surprised, all well and good.

Let us know how you get on.

Hope this helps.

------------------
Paul

Paul Dutton
DVdoctor R&D

HEXUS.swankyDynamicSignature - Give it a click!

royston2000
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Joined: Jun 8 1999

The G400 works very well on my system.I have an Asus K7m/Athlon600/Win2000. No problems whatsoever. The Raptor works well with Premiere 6, especially now I can Alt/scrub and get a preview on my external monitor.

archibald studios

cassian
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Joined: Dec 31 2000

Hello Paul...

Ok, I am going to buy an Enermax power supply unit. In your experience which unit would you reccomend:

Enermax EG451P-VE (430 Watts) -£71.68 inc VAT

or

Enermax EG351P-VE (330 Watts) -£48.18 inc VAT

Presumably since you reccomend a unit >300 Watts (minimum), then a 430W unit would be ample and more than capable for the job in hand.

I plan to but a second monitor soon. If you say that in your experience the G400 has glitches with the K7M then I am happy to replace the G400 with a dual monitor card, even though Royston, with his semi-similar system, does not seem to have any problems. (I have another desktop that could quite happily do with a graphics card upgrade!)

Looking forward to your comments,

Cassian

cassian
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Joined: Dec 31 2000

I forgot to ask which dual monitor card you recommend!!

Cheers mate

PD
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Joined: Aug 6 1999

Hi Cassian,

Firstly, and very generally speaking, you will probably find that your system with two HDD's and one other mass/optical storage device, i.e. your CD/DVD-ROM drive fitted with the 330W unit should be sufficient.

However, my thoughts are that if you can swallow the price of the higher rated unit then get that; you will know for sure that power supply is not an issue even if/when you add additional devices, whether they be ISA/PCI adapters or storage devices...

In any event be careful with buying the 330W Enermax units as in the last few weeks they have been replaced by 350W models; my view is that they should be 'outed' at a slighter lower price than the new model.

In respect of a dual-monitor display adapter recommendation, I am in a little difficulty here...

It could be argued that Matrox has consistently delivered better 2D image quality than their peers; the Matrox Millennium G450 is a good product, though not imo as good as the card it superseded, the G400, and is not unreasonably priced.

I have not used either the NVIDIA GeForce2 MX based or the new ATI Radeon VE dual-monitor cards and the cost of more specialist dual-monitor solutions from Appian and, um is it Datavision?… probably put them out of consideration for a system of your current specification.

On a specification basis I would hands down recommend ATI Radeon VE but our own engineering samples have not yet arrived (are you listening Simon?) and I cannot therefore make a confident recommendation from personal experience and I do not even know if they are actually currently available in the retail channel or not.

Appian recently entered into a cross-licensing technology agreement with ATI Technologies and as a result the ATI Radeon VE is shipping with Appian’s excellent Hydravision software and in addition Appian have launched a card which is based upon the same Radeon256 GPU on ATI’s own Radeon VE but is I think circa £40 or so more expensive but, again I think, is bundled with some additional software.

In any event if you’ve got to buy today then all I can say is that the Millennium G450 works well but does not have the level of hardware assisted MPEG-2/DVD acceleration facilities of the NVIDIA GeForce2 MX based products and they in turn don’t have anywhere as near as comprehensive a specification as the ATI or Appian Radeon VE variants; furthermore if/when it ships the generic ATI card is very likely to be the cheapest of all.

Sorry if this post contains a lot of, um, ‘unspecifics’ but hey I tried!

Hope this helps.

Cheers.

------------------
Paul

Paul Dutton
DVdoctor R&D

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cassian
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Joined: Dec 31 2000

Just a quickie - and I hope it tests time...I removed 2 x 128mb 100 ram and left in a single 256mb module (crucial.com/uk) - no crashes, perfect capture, no probs yet...more ram on order - as per original 256 module, as well as a 450 Enermax psu...

Maybe a ram mismatch has been responsible for my probs??? - funny tho' since the original 2 X 128 was from the pc supplier, and the 256 upgrade was supposedly the "optimum" for my ASUS k7M??.....makes one wonder...

Watch this space...!! Love the new forum...nice one all

Cassian

PD
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Joined: Aug 6 1999

Hi Cassian,

Last night I composed a reply to Ken Lewis in this Forum’s topic, ‘DV500 not working’ within which I have asked questions relating to the specification and number of SDRAM DIMM’s in his system.

This can be a real problem and very few people pay any attention to it. Glad to see you’re buying Micron originals form Crucial, they and IBM modules are my preference.

Let us know how you get on with the Enermax PSU installation.

Oh btw Cassian you might want to hold off on that dual monitor purchase as the GeForce2 MX based and Radeon VE engineering samples should soon be with us for testing.

Cheers.

------------------
Paul

Paul Dutton
DVdoctor R&D

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cassian
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Joined: Dec 31 2000

Hello

Well I received my Crucial ram today - 512 mb (2 x 256) and optimised for my K7M motherboard, and guess what....same as before - system locks up.

I suspect the fault lies in one of two areas. Could be a problem with the motherboard RAM banks, although on their own the system (seems to) run fine capturing and editing with each individual 256mb module in each bank. I therefore suspect, like you originally postulated Paul, that the problem lies more with the power supply as I can virtually rule out faulty RAM since they each work on their own - just not with 2 x 256 or 3 x 256.

Although I have an Enermax 450 watt PSU on order, my system in the meantime is going back to MESH since it is still under guarantee. Hopefully if it is a motherboard fault then it will be spotted and a new one installed.

Likewise, if they read my letter stating that the motherboard manufacturer recommends a higher wattage psu then maybe - just maybe - they will be kind enough to do the honourable thing....somehow I am a little sceptical...

Cassian

PD
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Joined: Aug 6 1999

Hi Cassian,

When is your PSU arriving? If your warranty extends beyond this timeframe and it is acceptable to MESH, and I advise you to check with them first, I suggest that you try the new PSU before sending your system back to them.

To be fair to MESH you say your system worked fine in the specification that they shipped it to you. However you are now using it for a purpose they are unlikely to have anticipated.

My current line of thinking is that I doubt there is a 'motherboard fault' that is specific to your own mainboard; more of an overall issue I suspect.

In any event just my opinion Cassian.

Oh FYI check out: http://www.asusnetq.com.tw/English/Component/slota.asp

and specifically:
[url=http://www.asusnetq.com.tw/English/forum/trans.asp?gpname=Components.Motherboard.ASUS.SlotA.K7M&ArtID={F49BB932-F491-11D3-BA16-00E018007335}]http://www.asusnetq.com.tw/English/forum/trans.asp?gpname=Components.Motherboard.ASUS.SlotA.K7M&ArtID={F49BB932-F491-11D3-BA16-00E018007335}[/url]

There's some, er, interesting stuff in there about K7M and AGP...

Cheers.

------------------
Paul

Paul Dutton
DVdoctor R&D

HEXUS.swankyDynamicSignature - Give it a click!

cassian
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Joined: Dec 31 2000

Hi Paul,

Yes you are probably right - Mesh more-than-likely didn't think I would be using my system to edit video. However, and I am not sure if this is the done thing on this forum - I WILL NEVER BUY A COMPUTER FROM MESH AGAIN! I have had far too many problems with this company and have spent far too many hours on the phone to them, as well as them getting my order wrong several times and generally being extremely snotty. Luckily they fear BBC's Watchdog and considering a member of my family worked for Watchdog at the time I took receipt of my pc, their attitude suddenly changed when she gave them a ring. In no time at all I got the goods I had paid for and the service I feel any computer buyer deserves from a PLC. Shame on you Mesh PLC...

That said, my psu should arrive in the next two days. I should also receive a returns note from Mesh tommorrow, and will then need to contact Mesh to book a time for them to collect my pc. Hopefully the psu will sort things out - but if not then my pc is definately going back.

One final thought tho'...since my pc is able to edit and capture fine with the one 256mb RAM module installed, with only a graphics card and the DV500 installed (no soundcard etc), surely the addition of a second identical 256mb RAM module shouldn't be putting too much strain on the power supply?? It seems rather odd that out of my three 256mb modules, when I use any two of them in combination, in a number of different dimm banks, my system crashes on capture EVERY time ...but a single module works fine in any bank on its own!

Food for thought...!!!

Cassian

andrewh
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Joined: Oct 4 1999

I do not know enough about PC memory allocation to give a useful answer but the question surely should be asked:

Are you getting some sort of memory conflict when you go over 256 Mbytes?

Is there some sort of overlap between physical memory allocation on a card and in the main memory? Long shot but perhaps someone who understands the vaguaries of that thing they call "PC design" could refute the possibility.

cassian
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Joined: Dec 31 2000

I do not know enough about PC memory allocation to give a useful answer but the question surely should be asked:
Hi there,

I have now tried my pc with the new Enermax 430 watt psu and unfortunately it hasn't made any difference to this specific problem. It definately seems that here is some sort of memory conflict when more than 256mb of ram is installed. Maybe this is motherboard-caused, maybe something else....Whatever the problem is it doesn't show itself AT ALL when i use ONLY 256mb of ram.

I guess the question of "Is there some sort of overlap between physical memory allocation on a card and in the main memory?" warrants an answer. Unfortunately I know nothing about the subject but if it makes any sense to anyone else perhaps it could be addressed here?

Cheers all - and thanks for all your help..(so far!!)...

Cassian

cassian
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Joined: Dec 31 2000

Latest News - sent my pc back to MESH to see if they could understand why my system would behave badly with more than 256mb of ram installed. The reply - Apparently I needed to change some settings in my Windows 98 system.ini file. They say they are now changed and that my DV500 / Premiere 5.1 setup works fine. My pc should be delived back to me tommorrow so will post more news if this has solved the problem.

lesreeves
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Joined: Apr 28 2001

He he. I hope you apologised for causing them problems of your own making;)

To be honest, the older/more mature that PC hardware and software gets, it seems the problems grow with it!

cassian
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Joined: Dec 31 2000

Apologised? What for? For supposedly not knowing that I should adjust some settings in the system.ini file? Well I have never heard of that, neither has anyone I know that builds systems for video editing, and lastly neither did anyone here on this forum. Likewise, when the support desk at MESH says "Oh, it is obviously a hardware fault, send it back and we will repair it under warranty"...and then they ring up 12 days later and say that hey are charging me £140 for carriage and....now get this...."software reconfiguration" (when they had already told me it was a hardware fault and therefore covered under warranty)...and you laugh and say you hope I apologised....

Anyway...take it from me...I will NEVER by a system again from MESH. If you do, expect what I got which was:

1. A pc which won't arrive on time even though they promised and you have taken a day off work
2. It won't have all the paid for parts
3. It will take you months to get through by phone to anyone who just may be able to help
4. They still won't want to send the parts they forgot to install out to you
5. You will have to get someone you know who works for a famous "name and shame" BBC program to ring their press office
6. They will then behave like dogs on heat trying to get what they want - which is not to be "named and shamed" on the afforementioned program
7. Your motherboard will then mysteriously die
8. Repeat the above etc etc.

Basically - you have been warned. Unfortunately I was taken in by the glossy advertising mand paid my money.

So my friend...do you still think I should apologise? If you do - you must be as MAD as a Man from MESH PLC. Nuff said. Oh, one last thing - I was told my pc would arrive last week - it is now Wednesday 2.10pm. Still no sign of it. Sur-f*ck*ng-surprise.