UNHAPPY - HD HomeRun Prime major issues with Intel DH67CF & DH67GD motherboard NICs - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 67 Old 11-29-2011, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry in advance for this long-winded rant...

I was one of the very first Prime owners. Excited to get the product, but experienced nothing but issues right off the bat. As far as I know I was the first to experience major network connectivity issues that they first tried to blame on my switch/cabling, but later reproduced and "fixed" with a firmware update.

I've experienced a huge number of issues with this product, everything you may have read on the their forums including tuner not available errors, pixelization, ehcrecvr crashes, dropped recordings, etc...

I was a trooper and fought through it all for weeks, spending countless hours sending in trouble reports, updating my firwmare/drivers, testing various switches, NIC settings, swapping cables, etc. - all seemingly to prove issue after issue was not caused by my equipment but instead a problem with the Prime.

After many firmware updates and configuration changes on my end I finally have a stable TV viewing experience, but unfortunately not as advertised.

Around the 30 day return mark I contacted SiliconDust saying I was considering returning the product. They replied and indicated that they considered my issues high priority and if I kept the product THEY would refund my money if they could not resolve their issues within 30 days. Of course, here I am months later feeling like I was strung along all this time. SiliconDust now refuses to refund my purchase because they say the issue is with my Intel motherboard and not the Prime.

I was able to obtain solid recordings and avoid random tuner errors by disabling tuner sharing between PCs. When running the WMC tuner setup I simply selected unique tuners for each PC. Although this alleviated the tuner errors, this defeats one of the main advertised features of the Prime - the ability to share a pool of tuners amont HTPCs.

I was able to resolve my pixelization issues by locking my NICs down to 100Mbps. Again, although this alleviated my pixelization, I paid for and need gigabit network speed on my HTPCs.

Which leads to my major issue....

My HTPCs are running Intel DH67CF and DH67GD mothebroards which use Intel 82579V NICs. These PCs experience intermittent pixelization when recording or watching live TV from my Prime.

The problem is not cabling or switch related. I've tested using SiliconDust's packet loss test documented here:
http://www.silicondust.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5877

When running at gigabit speeds I get considerable packet loss, even when connected direct to the Prime using a crossover cable. I've tried a variety of NIC settings with no good results. I'm running clean systems, latest drivers, latest BIOS, etc. The only way to alleviate the packet loss is to lock my NICs down to 100Mbps.

Keep in mind I have no other apparent networking issues with these PCs - I'm able to stream full bitrate blu-ray without issue, file transfer speeds over the LAN are fantastic, etc.

SiliconDust claims to have purchased a DH67CF, tested in-house, and confirmed there is an issue with this NIC/motherboard causing packet loss. This was about 6 weeks ago, and they said they would work with their contacts inside Intel on a resolution.

I contacted Intel through my channels to report the issue. I also exchanged contact information between SiliconDust and the Intel rep I have been dealing with. Intel claims to have escalated the issue but are unable to reproduce a problem with their NIC. SiliconDust, of course is very slow and intermittent to respond to me but basically admit that they have not been working with Intel - 6 weeks after I provided them with my Intel rep's contact information.

I can say that I've tested other NICs that experience no packet loss with the Prime, so the problem only seems to occur with some NICs (or perhaps this one NIC).

Now, I'm not going to pretend to know exactly where the problem lies, but my gut is telling me that the problem is some sort of compatibility or interopability issue between certain NICs and the Prime. With all the issues SiliconDust has had with the Prime it's hard for me to blame Intel, with the solid reputation they have with their motherboards and NICs.

Even if it was an issue with the Intel NIC, you'd think it would be in SiliconDust's best interest to work with Intel on a resolution since there are undoubtedly others using the same motherboards/NICs with the Prime.

So, I'm hoping others might be able to offer their experiences. Do you have an Intel DH67CF or DH67GD motherboard? Or do you have a different motherboard with an Intel 82579V NIC? Do you experience pixelization or other issues with your Prime?

Or, do you have the same NIC and perhaps use a Ceton tuner over the LAN? If so, do you experience any pixelization or other packet loss related issues?

Thanks for listening.
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post #2 of 67 Old 11-29-2011, 10:18 PM
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I find it curious that you're having trouble with an Intel NIC - in fact, I generally tell people having network card issues to buy an Intel NIC, as in my experience, they are the most reliable NICs out there. While I haven't worked with these boards specifically, Intel boards are generally pretty reliable. We also have some similar Intel boards (Intel tends to introduce a family of boards which are essentially the same, but with more/less PCIe slots and similar) and haven't seen issues with the NIC that I am aware of.
Are you able to reproduce the packet loss using ping between two computers?
You might try upgrading your BIOS and NIC drivers to the latest ones. Also turn off any "green ethernet" functionality that it may have.

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post #3 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 01:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply. I agree - Intel NICs, in my experience, have always been rock solid, which is one of the reasons I went with Intel boards in my builds.

No, absolutely no packet loss that I can tell using a PING test.

BIOS and NIC drivers are up-to-date and all power saving features were disabled on the NIC.

My problem is that I have 5 very small form factor PCs so do not have room to add replacement NIC cards, and like I said I feel living with 100Mbps performance long-term is not an acceptable solution. I also don't feel like replacing 5, what I feel are solid, motherboards for no good reason.

I will be watching NewEgg and hope they get Ceton cards back in stock at that $219 price. If they do I'll most certainly be giving one a try.

Thanks again.
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post #4 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 05:46 AM
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I fail to see how this is a Prime issue when it demonstrably only occurs with your setup. If you are seeing packet loss, it is either your NICs or your router/switches doing it, which has nothing to do with the Prime. The Prime is streaming data to your PC just like an FTP would, but the 3-tuner Prime can't even saturate a 100mb connection.

Have you tried a straight crossover cable packet loss test between your HTPC and the Prime directly, cutting out the switches? Based on your post I'm sure you've tried all the recommended GigE tweaks for the Intel NIC and W7 to get the best performance (e.g. flow control, disabling W7 multimedia throttling as mentioned by SD, etc.)?

Did you try getting another Prime with RMA etc. just to make sure it wasn't a hardware issue with it? If the Prime has a flaky NIC, there's your answer.
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post #5 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


I fail to see how this is a Prime issue when it demonstrably only occurs with your setup. If you are seeing packet loss, it is either your NICs or your router/switches doing it, which has nothing to do with the Prime. The Prime is streaming data to your PC just like an FTP would, but the 3-tuner Prime can't even saturate a 100mb connection.

Have you tried a straight crossover cable packet loss test between your HTPC and the Prime directly, cutting out the switches? Based on your post I'm sure you've tried all the recommended GigE tweaks for the Intel NIC and W7 to get the best performance (e.g. flow control, disabling W7 multimedia throttling as mentioned by SD, etc.)?

Did you try getting another Prime with RMA etc. just to make sure it wasn't a hardware issue with it? If the Prime has a flaky NIC, there's your answer.

If you read my rant you'd see I did try a crossover cable.


My points are:

- The Prime had major network connectivity issues at release. They had me replacing switches, cables, etc., before finally admitting an issue on their end and apparently "fixing" it with a firmware update. My otherwise perfectly functioning LAN is having issues with only the Prime. At this point am I supposed to feel it's my 5 Intel NICs that are the issue, or my Prime?

- SiliconDust admits to being able to reproduce the issue at their end with this particular Intel NIC, and claims that they want to work with Intel on the issue, yet in 6 weeks they have not made any contact with Intel - even after I spoon-fed an opportunity to them by CC:ing them on emails to an Intel rep I am dealing with.

- I was very willing to return my Prime within the 30 day return Window, but SiliconDust convinced me otherwise by offering a refund if they could not solve their issues. At this point I've been strung along for months with promises that have not been delivered and they refuse to refund my money because they are blaming Intel saying there's something wrong with the NIC and/or driver.

- Take a look at their forums and see all the complaints about dropped recordings, tuner errors, etc. God, I didn't complain about pixelization until I got my overall playback stable. How many of these problems are related to packet loss? How many of these people might be experiencing pixelization but at this point it's the last of their concerns?

- I was involved in a thread early on where people were having issues with the QuickTV app unless they disabled Windows Firewall. SiliconDust went on blaming the end-user PCs, firewall configurations, etc. until I took a look at it and found they had a type-o in the Windows Firewall rules they were creating during their installation. That whole incident struck me the wrong way - could they seriously not just test it on a clean system themselves before blaming multiple end-user systems and wasting their customers' time?

Do I know for certain that the problem is not a flakey Intel NIC or driver? No, but Intel claims they can find no issue on their end and SiliconDust has not pursued the issue with Intel after 6 weeks. How am I supposed to feel?

Hey - maybe I'm wrong and perhaps there is an issue with this model Intel NIC, if so I will come back and offer an apology. I'm not one to speculate, but at this point I'm feeling like the Prime has a crappy NIC and they're compensating for issues with creative firmware updates.

The true test will be trying a Ceton in my setup. If it's rock solid with no pixelization I'm going to be pissed for wasting all this time and money on a Prime. If I have the same issues I'll post an apology.
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post #6 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 10:08 AM
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But the point remains that tons of other folks are running the Prime with zero issues. If there was a widespread problem with their NIC (or drivers), it would have been apparent by now. You have to admit that. Here's the main thread here, and I don't recall anyone complaining about network issues after the last couple of firmware releases.

So what happens when the Prime is connected to a switch at 100mb and your NICs are GigE?

I still think the best way to eliminate a flaky NIC is to exchange the Prime for another, but that's between you and SD.
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post #7 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
But the point remains that tons of other folks are running the Prime with zero issues. If there was a widespread problem with their NIC (or drivers), it would have been apparent by now. You have to admit that.

I'll agree that many I'm sure are likely running without issue. And hey - I'm running without issue too if I drop to 100Mbps and stop sharing tuners. The title of my thread is not "the Prime doesn't work for anyone". The problem is clearly configuration dependent.

You must admit that others (including me) are running without issue with these same motherboards/NICs with everything else EXCEPT the Prime.

You must also admit that there are LOTS of people with Prime issues and many of the complainers have said they've moved on to Ceton or stopped posting abruptly (probably moved on to Ceton). Check out their forums. Clearly there were and are a lot of users with problems. Apparently if I were smart I would have returned within 30 days as well. However, since then their level of support to me has dropped dramatically. I never would have thought they would have left me hanging like they have.

And hey - if I had a different model motherboard with a different NIC I might have your view. But if you had 5 HTPCs with quality Intel motherboards and NICs and had my issues (and my past Prime issues detailed in my initial post) you might have mine.

I would be more understanding if I had a garbage motherboard and/or NIC, but I don't. I would also be more understanding if they were working with Intel on the issue like they claimed they would but they're not.

Quote:
So what happens when the Prime is connected to a switch at 100mb and your NICs are GigE?

Same issues.

Quote:
I still think the best way to eliminate a flaky NIC is to exchange the Prime for another, but that's between you and SD.

Again, SiliconDust claims they are able to duplicate the issue on their end so the problem is not with my unit alone. I also have a 6CC, which is basically 2 Primes, so if both my Prime NICs and their in-house Primes have flakey NICs they have even bigger issues.

Perhaps the issue is with the Intel NIC or driver - I really don't know. I can say that if I were in SiliconDust's shoes I would be working with Intel on a resolution because there must be others running with this same NIC and/or motherboard having flakey issues that they cannot diagnose or simply living with the pixelization. These are typical Sandy Bridge Intel motherboards, nothing out of the ordinary. I can also say that I would have refunded my money given my situation and their refund offer and their lack of promised action.

SiliconDust claims I will see the same issues with a Ceton card, so we'll see...
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post #8 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 11:48 AM
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If you have room in the SFF HTPC for Ceton, then you certainly have room for a NIC. I would just get a non-Intel NIC and see if that fixes the problem.

It is definitely less prohibitive to buy a $10-$40 NIC than $200-$300 Ceton...

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #9 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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The Ceton would go in my media server, I have small SFF HTPCs at each TV location.
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post #10 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

But the point remains that tons of other folks are running the Prime with zero issues. If there was a widespread problem with their NIC (or drivers), it would have been apparent by now. You have to admit that.

Corner cases are the devil.

So what happens when the Prime is connected to a switch at 100mb and your NICs are GigE?

I still think the best way to eliminate a flaky NIC is to exchange the Prime for another, but that's between you and SD.[/quote]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Boulanger View Post

Perhaps the issue is with the Intel NIC or driver - I really don't know. I can say that if I were in SiliconDust's shoes I would be working with Intel on a resolution because there must be others running with this same NIC and/or motherboard having flakey issues that they cannot diagnose or simply living with the pixelization. These are typical Sandy Bridge Intel motherboards, nothing out of the ordinary. I can also say that I would have refunded my money given my situation and their refund offer and their lack of promised action.

SiliconDust claims I will see the same issues with a Ceton card, so we'll see...

I can't speak for SD's contacts and what they have/have not done, but I will say we have contacts with Intel and they are generally good about looking into issues we have brought to them.

I'm not sure how SD expect that the InfiniTV will have the same issue, as it isn't even an Ethernet device, so if it's truly the NIC's fault, using a PCIe card (or USB) would resolve it.

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post #11 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I can't speak for SD's contacts and what they have/have not done, but I will say we have contacts with Intel and they are generally good about looking into issues we have brought to them.

As an Intel Partner (VAR) even I have access to Intel techs. Intel has some of the best tech support in the business IMO, especially on the server side of things. I traded contact information and SiliconDust has done nothing to reach out to Intel like they said they would (they said their Intel contact never responded to them). After 6 weeks - which is what irritates me the most.

Quote:


I'm not sure how SD expect that the InfiniTV will have the same issue, as it isn't even an Ethernet device, so if it's truly the NIC's fault, using a PCIe card (or USB) would resolve it.

I'm not going to pretend to know what I'm talking about here, but something about how the tuner streams to Windows Media Center I believe they said using Multicast. They were basically saying that I could be seeing packet loss streaming Blu-Ray or doing file copies over my LAN but the only thing I would notice would perhaps be a slight drop in throughput.

They claimed that a Ceton would behave similarly to the Prime if there packet loss when streaming to Windows Media Center.
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post #12 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 01:17 PM
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OK that doesn't make any sense - if you run the Prime at 100mb and your NICs at GigE you have problems, but if you run them both at 100mb you don't? How is this the Prime's fault?

Sure sounds like a W7 or Intel driver/firmware issue to me, regardless of how your stuff performs on the LAN otherwise. I agree that SD should be working with Intel on the issue, however.
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post #13 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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OK that doesn't make any sense - if you run the Prime at 100mb and your NICs at GigE you have problems, but if you run them both at 100mb you don't? How is this the Prime's fault?

Sure sounds like a W7 or Intel driver/firmware issue to me.

Not sure how much more clear I can be. I've said I don't know for certain where the issue lies, but all I know is my NICs operate fine at gigabit speed with every other device I throw at it.

If it's an issue with the Intel NIC so be it, but it doesn't change the fact that SiliconDust has handled the situation extremely poorly and strung me along outside of my 30 day return window.

If it is an issue with the NIC there sure are a lot of people out there with broken NICs that have no idea.
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post #14 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 01:56 PM
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If I keep reading these prime threads and forums, I'll never open my new Prime box :-P.

 

 

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post #15 of 67 Old 11-30-2011, 03:42 PM
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Don't know if this will help but I was having similar problems with video from a network share. I had to lock my GB switch down to 100MB speeds to get good video and sound. I was finally able to solve the problem by adjusting the Network Throttling Index in the registry. A link to the procedure is here: https://wiki.sihnon.net/index.php/Ad...ork_Throttling. This works on Windows 7 as well as Vista. I set mine 50. Don't know if it'll help you, but worth a shot.
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post #16 of 67 Old 12-01-2011, 04:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Boulanger View Post

If it is an issue with the NIC there sure are a lot of people out there with broken NICs that have no idea.

I didn't say that it was 100% an Intel NIC problem, it could also lie with Win7 or some reg tweak that needs to be done, as posted.

All I said was that if the Prime works fine at 100mb w/Intel 100mb, then the only change you make is to make the Intel run at 1gb and you start getting packet loss, there's nothing wrong with the Prime.

Not sure why you can't fathom that.
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post #17 of 67 Old 12-01-2011, 05:21 AM - Thread Starter
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SD claims they tested with Linux as well so it is not a Windows 7 specific issue. As I said, my gut feeling is that it is some sort of compatibility or interopability issue between this Intel NIC and the NIC in the Prime.
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post #18 of 67 Old 12-01-2011, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
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BTW you have a unique way of not reading what I post.
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post #19 of 67 Old 12-01-2011, 09:14 AM
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As do you, because you still didn't address what I said - if the only thing you change to break it is the Intel NIC speed setting, it's probably not a Prime issue.

And you didn't say anything about Linux until now.
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post #20 of 67 Old 12-01-2011, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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As do you, because you still didn't address what I said

I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that I was required to.

Quote:


if the only thing you change to break it is the Intel NIC speed setting, it's probably not a Prime issue.

Where did I say exactly that it was definitely an issue with the Prime? Based on my experience and previous LAN connectivity issues with the Prime, yes I would not be surprised if it was some issue with the Prime - some kind of compatibility or interopability with this NIC running at gigabit speeds.

However, I have been pursuing all options including trying to work with Intel on the issue. It's a difficult thing to do without SiliconDust's involvement since Intel says they can't reproduce an issue and don't have an HD HomeRun Prime kicking around to test with.

My problems are both the past issues I've had with my Prime and the current issues (some of which may apparently be agitated by my particular NIC).

But, more than anything, my problem is with SiliconDust and how they've handled this situation (and many others actually - read their forums).

Quote:


And you didn't say anything about Linux until now.

I'm sure there are dozens of things I haven't mentioned about the problem, obviously.
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post #21 of 67 Old 12-01-2011, 11:24 AM
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Is the power turned on? Did you reboot it?


 

 

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post #22 of 67 Old 12-01-2011, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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LOL, yeah - forgot to mention that as well. The Prime is on and I did try rebooting it.
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post #23 of 67 Old 12-02-2011, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Just an update - SiliconDust has come back and offered me a refund minus a 15% restocking fee.

I've declined that since they never indicated a restocking fee in their original offer.
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post #24 of 67 Old 12-02-2011, 03:36 PM
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That's wacky. Smells like a MB network port driver issue to me.

Could you list what you swapped in for switches, NICs, boards, etc.? It sounds like you swapped in a crapload of stuff.
If it were a low level networking issue, swapping switches should have fixed it because they're supposed to reprocess the packets somewhat. If you use a router (not a switch), that should massage the packets more.
A crossover cable just seems to imply it's some sort of motherboard network driver issue...
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post #25 of 67 Old 12-02-2011, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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It is whacky.

I currently have a Netgear GS748T 48-port gigabit smart switch. I don't recall the models, but I tried swapping in Linksys, TrendNet and D-Links gigabit switches in its place.

As posted above NIC in question is an Intel 82579V. I do have an Intel 82578DC NIC in my office PC that does not seem to exhibit any packet loss with the Prime.

I have not given up all hope as Intel still claims they are looking into the issue. I have no idea if SiliconDust has decided to contact Intel or not and work with them on the problem, but I suspect not.

If it were possible I'd probably just throw in PCIe NICs and be done with it, but as I said the thought of replacing 5 motherboards for no good reason (IMO) is not appealing to me.

I just find it hard to believe that I'm discovering a bug in the Intel NIC and/or driver. This has to be such a common NIC that SOMEONE out there would have seen issues with devices other than the Prime by now.

At this point SiliconDust's backing off of their refund promise, their unresponsiveness, the fact that they never worked with Intel as they promised they would after 6 weeks, the previous problems I've had, and the hours I've spent beta testing their product has all made this a matter of principle with me. Trust me - I understand products aren't bulletproof when first released in this industry, but the type and number of problems this product had upon release was unacceptable IMO.

If NewEgg still had the Ceton for $219 I would have ordered one by now. I think I'll wait a bit to see if the price drops again - it's now $298 unfortunately. Wish I would have seen that deal. I'd hate to keep dropping money on this project, so I'm trying to be frugal.

I'm really eager to find out if I have the same issues with a Ceton.
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post #26 of 67 Old 12-02-2011, 03:53 PM
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Do you have a switch that will let you mirror ports? The only other thing I can suggest is to mirror the HDHR Prime's port and simultaneously capture there and at the problem machine - that should at least tell you if SD is correct that the packet loss is happening outside of the machine.

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
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post #27 of 67 Old 12-02-2011, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a link to one of the threads I started on their forum which details my configuration:
http://www.silicondust.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10743

Here is my thread specifically about my packet loss: http://www.silicondust.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11049

Quote:


Do you have a switch that will let you mirror ports? The only other thing I can suggest is to mirror the HDHR Prime's port and simultaneously capture there and at the problem machine - that should at least tell you if SD is correct that the packet loss is happening outside of the machine.

Thanks for the suggestion. I might give that a try depending on how everything plays out.
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post #28 of 67 Old 12-02-2011, 07:14 PM
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Mike,

Sorry to hear about your troubles. I've followed your other threads and even built a few HTPCs based on the Habey case (the smaller one) for me and a friend.

I went with Asus ITX boards but my buddy did use the same Intel MB you recommended in your thread and he also has a Prime. I'm not aware of him having any issues (wired gigabit also) with the Prime. I've been fortunate and haven't had any issues at all.
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post #29 of 67 Old 12-02-2011, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

If I keep reading these prime threads and forums, I'll never open my new Prime box :-P.

Well then, don't bother opening the box, I'll pm you my mailing address and take that problem off your hands.

It will be stacked on top of my HDHR6CC.
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post #30 of 67 Old 12-03-2011, 03:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genro View Post

Mike,

Sorry to hear about your troubles. I've followed your other threads and even built a few HTPCs based on the Habey case (the smaller one) for me and a friend.

I went with Asus ITX boards but my buddy did use the same Intel MB you recommended in your thread and he also has a Prime. I'm not aware of him having any issues (wired gigabit also) with the Prime. I've been fortunate and haven't had any issues at all.

I'd be very interesting in hearing exactly what your friend is running as far as motherboard BIOS, NIC driver version, Prime firmware, switch model, etc. I'd also be interested in hearing whether he experienced any pixelization and the results of a packet loss test.

If he is interested, he can feel free to PM me.

Thanks!
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