Vaio VGX-XL1 First opinion/ review - Page 16 - AVS Forum
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post #451 of 479 Old 02-11-2010, 01:08 PM
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I have installed Vista in both my vgx-xl1 and xl2. I have an unknown device in device managar. Windows problem solver says I need driver for firmware extension parser. Can anyone shed any insight?????

Also, I have cracked the code on 8400GS series video cards and hdmi audio. Most of the nVidia cards have a audio connecto on the card that plugs into the motherboards spdif. the xls have a black and white cable connector that carries spdif signal. It plugs into the 6200/6600 via a proprietary connector. If you cut and splice into the connectore that comes with the new video card, you will have sound.
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post #452 of 479 Old 02-26-2010, 08:46 PM
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I'm sharin'... Got a VGX-XL1 back in '07. I quickly upgraded to 2GB of RAM. Trouble was, I hated the MCE 2k5 experience, system was always crashing. I installed Windows 7 a few months back... it was the single greatest upgrade I could have made. SO MUCH BETTER!!! LIKE CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER!!!

*Hint: run XP wireless adapter install package from Sony website in compatibility mode. If you are still using the original graphics card, download and install the Vista driver package from NVidia. Once the wireless is up and running, most hardware drivers are resolved automatically by Windows... so sweet!*

My 2nd ATSC tuner card now functions... MCE 2k5 would only let it tune NTSC. HD formats are choppy as well as NetFlix streaming. After reading this forum, I now have a good direction to take my ole Vaio. A new HD and Video card are now on my project table.
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post #453 of 479 Old 03-03-2010, 06:08 AM
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milkburp - i second that motion on windows 7. i just pulled my old xl1's out of retirement a few weeks ago to give 7 a whirl on them. 7 has been great for every other machine i've tried so i figured what the heck. sure enough they are now running like they did new (better actually).

what video card are you considering? i have been doing some looking and narrowed it down to an ati hd 4350 or nvidia 210 chipset. both chipsets are available in low profile silent designs. i think i'm leaning to the nvidia though.

for those of you out there frustrated with your MCE2k5 setup, give Windows 7 a try. I'm not a MS fan (my primary machine runs Ubuntu with Windows in Virtualbox), but 7 does seem to be the best OS they've released since Win2k.
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post #454 of 479 Old 05-18-2010, 09:29 AM
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Hi All,

I am new in AVforum but find a lot of useful thread. I recieved my XL2 a few days ago and immediate do a lot of mod.

1/. I upgrade teh RAM to 2GB
2/. I change the display card to GT220. I seacrh on the shop and find that there is a lot of low profile display card. i find one brand call Focus or Mali which is offered low profile GT220 with 1GB GDDR3 RAM and only around USD 70. I remove the original heat sick or the 6600 and can successfully install inot the new card. i am testing the stability now and seems OK
3/. I try to upgrade the CPU E6520 and E6420. and seems failed. Then, I spend a lot of time and download the Xl201, 202 BIOS upgrade but not worked.......... It is failed to upgrade either in Windows XP or DOS.

I am now very unhappy abotu the failed of upgrade CPU. I am think to buy the motherboard of XL201 or XL202 ot Xl3xx

I dont know where I can buy. ebay always no goods......

Neo
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post #455 of 479 Old 05-28-2010, 08:55 PM
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sony has the part which costs ~$400 but won't sell it for an owner install. you have to send them your computer and pay for them to do it. I also tried to buy an xl3 motherboard from Nextronics, but I canceled my order because it was taking forever. the refund back to my credit card is also still in dispute after 2 months, so I don't recommend doing business with them.
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post #456 of 479 Old 06-25-2010, 08:29 AM
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Hi Everyone,
i recently upgraded to windows 7 and loved it. The media center works great. My only issue is I cannot get the HDMI output to work with my Sony Plasma TV. When i connect it, it shows the windows start up, then the screen goes blank. It does work how ever with the component outputs. I am sure it is a driver issue. When i go to Nvidia to download the newest drivers and install. It still doesn't work. I'm not happy with the Geforce 6200. Anyone have the same issue and come up with a solution?
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post #457 of 479 Old 12-12-2010, 10:52 AM
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I had the XFX 9400GT installed on the XL1a but wanted more so I found a new card that works with the stock power supply. Its called the PNY Verto Geforce GT 430, it comes with the low profile bracket. It outputs HDMI, DVI, or VGA, so it works in many different home theater configurations... The card can easily decode 1080p video. Gaming performance isn't the greatest compared to high end graphics cards but compared to the stock 6200 it is dramatically improved. I thought I would share this bit of info with everyone on this thread, for me it extended the life of the XL1a for a few more years.
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post #458 of 479 Old 01-14-2011, 09:40 AM
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Has anyone tried to change the power supply in the Sony XL1A? I have done several upgrades to mine but am wanting to put in an ATI 5670 card to upgrade to the HDMI TrueHD sound but am worried about the power issues. I currently am running 2GB RAM and a ATI HD4650 card. I don't really want to build a completely new system so am trying to mod this one as best as possible.

Hopefully this thread is not dead...
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post #459 of 479 Old 01-14-2011, 01:00 PM
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this might fit but its a server power supply:

http://www.sparklepower.com/pdf/SPI4002UC.pdf
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post #460 of 479 Old 01-14-2011, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sboyer View Post
this might fit but its a server power supply:

http://www.sparklepower.com/pdf/SPI4002UC.pdf
Thanks for the suggestion!

I have not measured the PSU that is currnetly in the device but if I get a PSU with a height under 3.4 inches and under 6 inches for width it would fit or does it need to be smaller? Also, are there any issues with a special connector for the MB?
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post #461 of 479 Old 01-14-2011, 02:10 PM
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6" is too wide and I'm not sure if the connector is 24pin or not but I believe you can email the manufacturer for a more detailed specification sheet.
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post #462 of 479 Old 11-22-2011, 11:39 AM
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So I've been running Win 7 32-bit on my XL1A for a while, and I just wanted to see if anyone has experienced the following issues. Overall, Win 7 32-bit runs well (better than Win XP MCE 2005 did). My issues:

-DVD drive eject button: Cannot eject DVDs or CDs using the eject key. I always have to eject through Win 7

-memtest86+ issue: Recently (as of 2 weeks ago), I've been experiencing random blue-screen of death crashes (a few times daily) that I suspect are caused by memory that has gone bad. I was trying to run memtest86+, but my Vaio XL1A won't boot a bootable CD with memtest86+ on it. Anyone else run into this?

-Memory type: I know 1GB DIMMs work, but can I use 1GB PC2-5300/DDR2-667 instead of 1GB PC2-4200/DDR2-533?
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post #463 of 479 Old 11-22-2011, 12:56 PM
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You may have tried this but to check, have you gone into the BIOS to select the CD as the first boot option? This is not set this way by default.
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post #464 of 479 Old 11-22-2011, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikto34 View Post

You may have tried this but to check, have you gone into the BIOS to select the CD as the first boot option? This is not set this way by default.

Yep, already verified that. My XL1A definitely is reading my memtest86+ CD I burned (I can see the disc icon light up, as well as the red laser light up the optical drive) upon pressing the power button, but after a while of what looks like reading my memtest86+ CD, it boots to Win 7....

I almost feel like just skipping the mem test and going on my hunch to just order new memory.

Do you know about whether or not the XL1A can handle 1GB PC2-5300 DIMMs?
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post #465 of 479 Old 11-22-2011, 03:30 PM
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Ok, just wanted to check. Not real sure what it is doing then. The other option would be to try and boot memtest from a USB drive but may be more hassle than it is worth. I would tend to agree that your hunch is correct and I would go with memory.

I have 2GB of memory in mine but I am not sure if PC2-5300 will work as I do not think the MB supports this speed. I am using PC2-4200 and works fine. At some point the processor will be the bottleneck so not sure you will get that much benefit from 5300 anyway...

Another option to look at could be the video card instead of the memory... What card are you using?
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post #466 of 479 Old 11-22-2011, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikto34 View Post

Ok, just wanted to check. Not real sure what it is doing then. The other option would be to try and boot memtest from a USB drive but may be more hassle than it is worth. I would tend to agree that your hunch is correct and I would go with memory.

I have 2GB of memory in mine but I am not sure if PC2-5300 will work as I do not think the MB supports this speed. I am using PC2-4200 and works fine. At some point the processor will be the bottleneck so not sure you will get that much benefit from 5300 anyway...

Another option to look at could be the video card instead of the memory... What card are you using?

I was checking out some PC2-5300 DIMMs at Microcenter that claim to down-clock to 533MHZ (PC2-4200), but I think I'll just order actual PC2-4200 DIMMs online instead.

For my graphics card, I'm using the stock Geforce 6200. I didn't see anything in my event log suggesting GPU or graphics card issues, but I'll double check. I don't really care to upgrade my graphics card since I use 7MC on my XL1A with my 360 extender always. 360 is doing all the decoding regardless of codec, and I don't know of any transcoders that use the GPU, so I wouldn't see a day-to-day benefit.

While I'm asking XL1A questions, I attempted to install a 4th HDD since there are 4 SATA motherboard ports though only 3 HDD slots. There is no extra SATA power connector though...Is there a way I can provide power to a 4th SATA HDD with the stock power supply?
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post #467 of 479 Old 12-19-2011, 08:31 PM
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So, as a quick update, the issue isn't the memory. WHEA (Windows Hardware Error Architecture) is referring to my BSOD as a 0x0124 Stop error (hardware-related).

Not GPU-related either. My 6200 TurboCache is running ok with the latest Nvidia drivers.

All my memory is checking out ok (Memtest86+), but running a CPU stress-test program like Prime95 results in a BSOD, as does trying to do anything install-heavy like upgrading to Win 7 SP1. I'm thinking the issue is BIOS or CPU related. A new Pentium-D 820 is $27 on Newegg.com, so I'm thinking about trying that since Sony hasn't released any BIOS updates for the XL1A.

For anyone running Win 7 with all the latest updates (including SP1): Are you getting any BSODs? I'm still curious as to whether I could be having a driver issue...
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post #468 of 479 Old 01-12-2012, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BioMatrix View Post

So, as a quick update, the issue isn't the memory. WHEA (Windows Hardware Error Architecture) is referring to my BSOD as a 0x0124 Stop error (hardware-related).

Not GPU-related either. My 6200 TurboCache is running ok with the latest Nvidia drivers.

All my memory is checking out ok (Memtest86+), but running a CPU stress-test program like Prime95 results in a BSOD, as does trying to do anything install-heavy like upgrading to Win 7 SP1. I'm thinking the issue is BIOS or CPU related. A new Pentium-D 820 is $27 on Newegg.com, so I'm thinking about trying that since Sony hasn't released any BIOS updates for the XL1A.

For anyone running Win 7 with all the latest updates (including SP1): Are you getting any BSODs? I'm still curious as to whether I could be having a driver issue...

Well, I just started getting the same BSOD. I made the mistake and tried to install SP1 for WIN7 and the BSOD started happening. Everything was fine until I made this mistake. Looks like MS still can't get service pack installs right... I have uninstalled all the video drivers and still get the BSOD. I can boot to safe mode without issue so I am leaning towards a driver issue. It could be a CPU issue but since things were good before SP1, I am leaning towards drivers... Guess I will try a fresh format and reinstall... YEAH!
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post #469 of 479 Old 01-12-2012, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikto34 View Post

Well, I just started getting the same BSOD. I made the mistake and tried to install SP1 for WIN7 and the BSOD started happening. Everything was fine until I made this mistake. Looks like MS still can't get service pack installs right... I have uninstalled all the video drivers and still get the BSOD. I can boot to safe mode without issue so I am leaning towards a driver issue. It could be a CPU issue but since things were good before SP1, I am leaning towards drivers... Guess I will try a fresh format and reinstall... YEAH!

Ahh, wow. So maybe it is a software issue? In the process of debugging this issue for months now (with tools such as Driver Verifier), just last month, I was really fortunate to find and purchase a rare and awesome almost new Niveus Rainier HTPC (this thing looks so cool, and has the build quality of my Apple Macs, and is dead silent...) for a great price. I set it up to take on all my HTPC duties so that I can take my Vaio XL1A offline for more debugging.

I want to try and put Windows Home Server 2011 on my XL1A next. If it can run it stably, that'll be confirmation that updates leading to and including Win 7 SP1 have crazy driver issues with the XL1A.
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post #470 of 479 Old 01-14-2012, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BioMatrix View Post

Ahh, wow. So maybe it is a software issue? In the process of debugging this issue for months now (with tools such as Driver Verifier), just last month, I was really fortunate to find and purchase a rare and awesome almost new Niveus Rainier HTPC (this thing looks so cool, and has the build quality of my Apple Macs, and is dead silent...) for a great price. I set it up to take on all my HTPC duties so that I can take my Vaio XL1A offline for more debugging.

I want to try and put Windows Home Server 2011 on my XL1A next. If it can run it stably, that'll be confirmation that updates leading to and including Win 7 SP1 have crazy driver issues with the XL1A.


Well, I think I figured out my issue. It was a hardware issue with my video card. After some testing of the system in safe mode I noticed that the fan on the video card was not responding to the increase in heat after running for a short period of time. This made the heatsink of the video card hot to the touch so I could not hold my figure on it for more than a couple seconds. Turns out the bearing in the fan was starting to go out so the fan could not increase in speed. This was causing the card to overheat and then BSOD. Therefore, I am in the hunt to replace my HD4650.
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post #471 of 479 Old 04-11-2013, 07:34 AM
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Hi

Hopefully there are a few folks out there who still read this old thread. I have a XL1a which has served me well for the last 8 years but is definitely showing signs of needing an upgrade. It was working perfectly fine until a couple of weeks back when all of a sudden, it just stopped powering up. I tried to open it up to check connections internally and when I plugged it in with the case open, I can see the green led on the motherboard light up and when I hit the power switch, there is a definite split second click sound of the PC trying to turn on followed up nothing.

Any ideas on what the problem could be - motherboard / power supply / something totally different?

Also, if I was looking to upgrade to a faster processor with more memory, what's the best motherboard that people have tried in this case? I'm a complete noob when it comes to building and upgrading PCs but looking forward to tinkering with this one.

Any suggestions/help appreciated. Thanks
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post #472 of 479 Old 04-11-2013, 11:58 PM
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Hi

Hopefully there are a few folks out there who still read this old thread. I have a XL1a which has served me well for the last 8 years but is definitely showing signs of needing an upgrade. It was working perfectly fine until a couple of weeks back when all of a sudden, it just stopped powering up. I tried to open it up to check connections internally and when I plugged it in with the case open, I can see the green led on the motherboard light up and when I hit the power switch, there is a definite split second click sound of the PC trying to turn on followed up nothing.

 

Hello,

 

The greeen LED on the motherboard is the standby power indicator. It should be always lighted, even when the unit is powered off, if the power cord is connected to the power supply.
 


Any ideas on what the problem could be - motherboard / power supply / something totally different?

  

 

Given the age of your system, it's possible you need to replace the CMOS button-cell battery on the motherboard. When you replace the battery, you should also properly clear the CMOS with the jumper, and return the motherboard to its factory default settings (sometimes a dead CMOS battery will cause a checksum error, causing a boot failure).  

 

Important:  Be sure to disconnect the power cable before clearing the CMOS with the jumper. This must be done without power to the motherboard, or it will be permanently damaged. 


If, after a CMOS battery replacement and clearing the CMOS, you are then able to again successfully boot into Windows, immediately perform a "System Restore" operation, selecting a Restore point preceeding the occurence of the present boot problem. Hopefully you have a restore point back around three weeks ago when you say it was working perfectly.

 

Also, if I was looking to upgrade to a faster processor with more memory, what's the best motherboard that people have tried in this case? I'm a complete noob when it comes to building and upgrading PCs but looking forward to tinkering with this one.

Any suggestions/help appreciated. Thanks

 

Presently, the BIOS CPU support microcode is locked, which prevents booting other processors than the OEM Pentium D 820 2.80 GHz CPU. 

 

The motherboard is a proprietary form factor Sony/ASUS P5LP-MB Rev.1.05, with an Intel 945p chipset, and there is not any after-market upgrade option for the OEM board which will fit (except to acquire a P5BW-MB motherboard for the XL201, XL202, XL301, XL302 and XL3 models with Intel P965 chipset.)

 

However, there is a BIOS update team working on a BIOS update for the XL1 CPU support microcode (see my "WANTED Dead or Alive" post preceding yours), but until a XL1 motherboard is made available to the project team for a few weeks for BIOS update testing, that BIOS update is on indefinite hold.

 

Good luck.

 

Cheers!

Robert.

 

PS. Your motherboard Intel 945p chipset will support a maximum of 4GB (4,096MB) of "installed" system RAM (installed in matched pairs of dual-channel 1GB (1,024 MB) DIMMS, populating all four memory slots. Dual-channel pairs of the proper memory type are very inexpensve, presently. Examples:

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231108

 

http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?IMODULE=CT2KIT12864AA667


© REnninga. All rights reserved. Reuse of the above post in whole or in part is prohibited.


VAIO VGX-XL3 * Windows 7 Ultimate * Xeon X3230 Quad Core 2.67 GHz * 8GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800 MHz
VAIO VGX-XL2 * Windows 7 Ultimate * Pentium D 960 3.60 GHz * 4GB PC2-5300 DDR2-667 MHz * Blu-ray
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post #473 of 479 Old 04-12-2013, 01:02 PM
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Thanks for the reply.
Quote:
Originally Posted by REnninga View Post

Hi
Hopefully there are a few folks out there who still read this old thread. I have a XL1a which has served me well for the last 8 years but is definitely showing signs of needing an upgrade. It was working perfectly fine until a couple of weeks back when all of a sudden, it just stopped powering up. I tried to open it up to check connections internally and when I plugged it in with the case open, I can see the green led on the motherboard light up and when I hit the power switch, there is a definite split second click sound of the PC trying to turn on followed up nothing.
Hello,

The greeen LED on the motherboard is the standby power indicator. It should be always lighted, even when the unit is powered off, if the power cord is connected to the power supply.

Any ideas on what the problem could be - motherboard / power supply / something totally different?

Given the age of your system, it's possible you need to replace the CMOS button-cell battery on the motherboard. When you replace the battery, you should also properly clear the CMOS with the jumper, and return the motherboard to its factory default settings (sometimes a dead CMOS battery will cause a checksum error, causing a boot failure).  

Important:  Be sure to disconnect the power cable before clearing the CMOS with the jumper. This must be done without power to the motherboard, or it will be permanently damaged. 

If, after a CMOS battery replacement and clearing the CMOS, you are then able to again successfully boot into Windows, immediately perform a "System Restore" operation, selecting a Restore point preceeding the occurence of the present boot problem. Hopefully you have a restore point back around three weeks ago when you say it was working perfectly.

The light is on with the power cord plugged in but I replaced the battery nonetheless. Still no luck booting up .. no sound whatsoever when I hit the power button. Any idea what else it could be? Power supply or motherboard?

Also, if I was looking to upgrade to a faster processor with more memory, what's the best motherboard that people have tried in this case? I'm a complete noob when it comes to building and upgrading PCs but looking forward to tinkering with this one.
Any suggestions/help appreciated. Thanks

Presently, the BIOS CPU support microcode is locked, which prevents booting other processors than the OEM Pentium D 820 2.80 GHz CPU. 

The motherboard is a proprietary form factor Sony/ASUS P5LP-MB Rev.1.05, with an Intel 945p chipset, and there is not any after-market upgrade option for the OEM board which will fit (except to acquire a P5BW-MB motherboard for the XL201, XL202, XL301, XL302 and XL3 models with Intel P965 chipset.)

However, there is a BIOS update team working on a BIOS update for the XL1 CPU support microcode (see my "WANTED Dead or Alive" post preceding yours), but until a XL1 motherboard is made available to the project team for a few weeks for BIOS update testing, that BIOS update is on indefinite hold.

Good luck.

Cheers!
Robert.

Not sure I understand, does this mean that I cannot gut the entire system and reuse the case with a new motherboard and processor? I really like the case and would love to recycle it with new internals if possible.


PS. Your motherboard Intel 945p chipset will support a maximum of 4GB (4,096MB) of "installed" system RAM (installed in matched pairs of dual-channel 1GB (1,024 MB) DIMMS, populating all four memory slots. Dual-channel pairs of the proper memory type are very inexpensve, presently. Examples:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231108

http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?IMODULE=CT2KIT12864AA667
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post #474 of 479 Old 04-12-2013, 01:54 PM
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One more update

I tried to check the power supply using the paper clip test - works fine!

When I had the PC open, I remembered that I had a similar problem a few years back and had to replace the video card ... I ended up putting in a Nvidia GeForce 9400GT at the time. I removed that, plugged power in and hit the power switch .. lo and behold, the machine tried to boot up .. beeped and the front power light came on ... popped the card back in and same as before - nothing, not a peep and no lights.

This leads me to suspect the video card is faulty - am I right? What's the best card that I could pop in - was it because this card needs more power than what the PSU is providing? Would really like to get this machine up and running again.

Also, renninga posted that this can take upto 4gb of RAM ... I have 2gb installed as I thought that was the max it could handle as per Sony's guidelines. If it can take 4gb, I would much rather just upgrade to 4, and keep a bare bones Win7 installation running as my media PC.

Oh, and I also have a Win TV 1600 card installed in the empty PCI slot though that's not getting much use as of now ... haven't gotten MCE to work with that ever!

Thanks and hopefully, I can get this back to it's glory days with your help.
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Not sure I understand, does this mean that I cannot gut the entire system and reuse the case with a new motherboard and processor? I really like the case and would love to recycle it with new internals if possible.

 

Oh, you could certainly do that if inclined to do so, and if you have the cutting and drilling and machining tools and the necessary machining skills to do the modifications to the XL* case.

 

A standard ATX or mATX motherboard will not fit the case; the case is a proprietary design with a purpose-built non-standard form factor motherboard. You would need to drill and tap (thread and install) motherboard offset mounts where mounting holes do not presently exist, and you would need to remove most or all of the rear I/O panel and install a precisely fitted and machined rear I/O panel harvested from another low-profile PC.  The fit would need to be exacting to a fraction of a milimeter for the motherboard I/O insert panel to fit, and for allignment with the expansion slots.

 

I am aware of only one such retrofit which was completed recently by the owner of a later model XL*. You can see that retrofit, including a series of nice photos, on our AVS Forum "Sony VGX-XL3" discussion thread:   http://www.avsforum.com/t/836519/sony-vgx-xl3/3630#post_23118297

 

Cheers!

Robert.

 

NOTE:  Once the BIOS update is available for your XL1, it will support the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 extreme processor family up to and including the Core 2 Duo E6700 and Core 2 Extreme X6800 (and it's looking like a few of the lower TDP wattage Core 2 Quads may also be supported).

 

If you look at the benchmarks for that Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor, you will see that it has more than 3x the processing power of your OEM Pentium D 820. Your system already supports 4GB of DDR2 RAM (which is quite ample for a HTPC), it supports the newest most state-of-the-art GDDR5 RADEON low-profile Video / Graphics cards, and you can even swap-out your OEM DVD optical drive for an inexpensive slot-load, slimline Blu-ray rewriteable drive, you can install a Solid State Drive (SSD) for your system OS, and high-capacity 2TB, 3TB or 4TB HDD's for your  multi-media TV and ripped music and movie files in a RAID5 storage volume.

 

Do you still have Windows XP-Media Center Edition, of have you upgraded to Windows 7? If not, the differences between XP and 7 are night and day.

 

For a relative fraction of the cost of gutting and rebuilding your system with a different motherboard, you could have a pretty sweet fully upgraded VGX-XL1 which is still more beautiful than almost anything else currently available on the market.\

 

PPS. If you determine that your motherboard is faulty and not repairable, you can currently score a replacement TALAS 2 replacement for the VAIO VGX-XL2A system which followed your. they are available on Ebay for about $15.00 US, plus shipping:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/178945511-GR-A-Sony-Motherboard-System-Board-100-working-VGX-XL2A-R2-0x-/261166880314?pt=Motherboards&hash=item3ccec2563a


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Quote:
Originally Posted by hohoeyo View Post

One more update

I tried to check the power supply using the paper clip test - works fine!
I don't know what the "paper clip test" is, but please be very, very careful.
These Delta PSU's are switch-mode power supplies and are extremely dangerous to work on if you do not know what you are doing. They can store and discharge enough power to kill you, even when they are unplugged from the wall outlet.
When you replaced the CMOS battery, did you also disconnect the power cord and clear the CMOS with the jumper, as noted in my previous post?
 

When I had the PC open, I remembered that I had a similar problem a few years back and had to replace the video card ... I ended up putting in a Nvidia GeForce 9400GT at the time. I removed that, plugged power in and hit the power switch .. lo and behold, the machine tried to boot up .. beeped and the front power light came on ... popped the card back in and same as before - nothing, not a peep and no lights.

This leads me to suspect the video card is faulty - am I right? What's the best card that I could pop in - was it because this card needs more power than what the PSU is providing? Would really like to get this machine up and running again.
It's possible. I can't really diagnose a problem on the basis of this info, without observing the activity, but you could always obtain an inexpensive (or borrowed) working PCI-e video card with HDMI out, and use it as a test; and a full height card is fine if you leave the case top off for testing. 
Or just pack your XL1 in the car and take it over to the Geek Squad guys at your local Best Buy store and ask them to take a look at the boot behavior.
If you decide to replace the card, in answer to your question, the current two state of the art RADEON GPU cards (both of which draw even less PSU power load than did the Sony/Nvidia GPU original OEM card for your system) are the:
Sapphire RADEON HD6670 low profile 1GB GDDR5, (480 stream processors) currently approx. $65 to $75 and falling, and the ...
Sapphire RADEON HD7750 low profile 1GB GDDR5 (512 stream processors) currently approx. $85 to $95 and falling.


Also, renninga posted that this can take upto 4gb of RAM ... I have 2gb installed as I thought that was the max it could handle as per Sony's guidelines. If it can take 4gb, I would much rather just upgrade to 4, and keep a bare bones Win7 installation running as my media PC.
It's Robert.   Sony published the maximum "tested" memory. However your ASUS "TALAS" motherboard and Intel 945p chipset supports a maximum of 4GB.  Note: the "best" memory throughput is achieved by matched pairs of 1GB dual-channel DIMMS. But if budget doesn't allow that, and if any of the DIMMS presently populating the slots in your system are 1GB modules, you can buy more DIMMS of the same manufacturer and exact specification (as noted on the paper labels on the DIMMS) and achieve a similar throughput to factory match dual-channel pairs (not quite, but pretty close).. 
Most likely your system came with 533MHz DIMMS, which are fine, if that's what you have.  If however you decide to start fresh with four (4) all new matched DIMMS, you should use the 667MHz DIMMS such as those at the weblinks I sent previously (Note:  do not buy 800MHz DIMMS to run on an Intel 945p chipset). 
If you watch for a special deal, you can sometimes find matched pairs of dual-channel 1GB DIMMS as low as $11.50 ea. (per DIMM in matched pairs).  Matched pairs means they are benchtest matched by the manufacturer for exact throughput rates, and packeged in pairs after testing.
As for Windows 7, the best installation of Windows 7 for our VGX-XL* systems is to do an "upgrade" installation of either Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit or Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit; retaining your Sony software applications, setups, utilities and personal files.
Both Home Premium and Ultimate have an "upgrade" installation path, and "upgrade" (vs. "custom" also called "clean") provides the most seamless and satisfying end result and hardware drivers compatibility and functionality.  Windows 7 is a dream OS for our XL* systems (Windows 8 is a monster!). Windows 7 is so superior to XP, and Windows 7 Media Center is a whole new world; leaps and bounds better performance than XL Media Center Edition.

Oh, and I also have a Win TV 1600 card installed in the empty PCI slot though that's not getting much use as of now ... haven't gotten MCE to work with that ever!
I have one of those too, but I never have installed it (got it from EBAY, and may install it in a scratch-build HTPC I am building. 
My VGX-XL2A came with an AverMEDIA ATSC/NTSC TV Tuner/DVR card which works perfectly and very reliably with Windows Media Center.  There are a couple of other Hauppauge PCI ATSC cards available, too, but I have no personal experience with them.
A lot of the XL* system owners who contribute to the AVS Forum "Sony VGX-XL3" discussion thread (which actually discusses all of the VGX-XL* models, including the XL1) have switched from using internal TV tuner cards to external multi-tuner devices by SilconDust and Ceton (some are connected to the home network router, rather than directly connected to the XL* system).

Thanks and hopefully, I can get this back to it's glory days with your help.
You might want to give our "Sony VGX-XL3" discussion thread a try. There are already almost 3,700 posts to the thread, and there's an answer there to almost every conceivable issue with a XL* model, if you use the search utility and do some reading.
Cheers!  Robert.

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Hi Robert

Thanks for all your help!!

I figured out the issue with my xl1 not starting up - it was the video card. I found a low profile card in my local Best Buy, popped it in and it works just fine. Ordered the RAM you suggested so that I can bump it up to 4gb.

I had one question about the video card - the card that I got is a Geforce GT610 (http://goo.gl/OAmMa). Any idea if the difference between that and the Radeon HD6670 is noticeable? I got the 610 for $55, just wondering if it's worth the extra $20 for a 6670 or an extra $50 for the 7750.

Thoughts?

AJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hohoeyo View Post

Hi Robert

Thanks for all your help!!

I figured out the issue with my xl1 not starting up - it was the video card. I found a low profile card in my local Best Buy, popped it in and it works just fine. Ordered the RAM you suggested so that I can bump it up to 4gb.

I had one question about the video card - the card that I got is a Geforce GT610 (http://goo.gl/OAmMa). Any idea if the difference between that and the Radeon HD6670 is noticeable? I got the 610 for $55, just wondering if it's worth the extra $20 for a 6670 or an extra $50 for the 7750.

Thoughts?

AJ

 

Hello AJ,

 

I'm pleased to read that you found the problem with your XL1.  Your video/graphics card question is difficult to answer objectively, because we are looking at two different GPU families (GeForce vs. RADEON), and of course the GPU is the brain of the device.  And of course the specifications and configuration are quite different.

 

So I'll quickly respond with some key differences between the two cards in order to show you some important 'objective' information for making a 'subjective' decision.  Following are direct comparisons of specifications; The Galaxy GeForce GT610 spec. in red text, the Sapphire Radeon HD6670 in blue text. (Note:  The link you sent is for the 2GB version of the GT610, so I'm quoting the specs for the 2GB version):

 

Chipset:

NVIDIA

AMD

 

GPU:

GeForce GT610

Radeon HD6670

 

Memory size:

2GB (2048 MB)

1GB (1024 MB)

 

Core Clock:

820 MHz (factory overclocked)

800 MHz (overclockable to 900 MHz in Catalyst Control Center AMD Overdrive software; included)

 

Effective Memory Clock:

1000 MHz

1000 MHz (overclockable to 1150 MHz in Catalyst Control Center AMD Overdrive software; included)

 

Memory Interface:

64-bit

128-bit

 

Memory type:

DDR3  (approx. half the bandwidth of GDDR5)

GDDR5  (approx. twice the bandwidth of DDR3)

 

Stream processors:

48

480

eHow Tech: "What Is A Stream Processor?" : 

http://www.ehow.com/facts_7406102_stream-processor_.html

 

Fan type and position:

6.8-inch long card. 11-blade conventional-pitch open fan with heat-sink. Positioned directly behind the PCI riser card in the VGX-XL* system; compromised cooling air flow, greater turbulence noise.

7.48-inch long card.  13-blade steep-pitch ducted-cowl fan with heat sink. Positioned clear of the PCI riser card in the VGX-XL* system; clean air flow, lesser turbulence noise

 

 

AJ, If you consider some of the key differences between these cards, I think your own subjective decision regarding the differences in cost will be more clear.  After all, for a HTPC Media Center, the video / graphics quality to the display is really what it's all about, right?

 

If interested, you can also do a direct side-by-side specifications comparison of the Sapphire HD6670 and HD7750 cards on the SapphireTech website by selecting compare for the two cards.  http://www.sapphiretech.com/presentation/product/product_comparison.aspx

 

Cheers!

Robert.

 

PS. Have you looked at the most current on-line pricing for these GT610, HD6670, HD7750 cards on-line. If you should decide to return the card to Best Buy and get the same card or a different card at Newegg.com, TigerDirect.com and Amazon.com you'll find some pretty good buys (including mail-in rebates, some with free shipping), etc. The current Newegg price for the HD6670 low-profile is $69.99 (after rebate); the current Newegg price for the HD7750 low-profile is $99.99 (after rebate). Delivery from all three on-line retailers is approx. 3-5 business days.

 

PPS.  This thread is pretty dead.  I think you'll find our AVS Forum "Sony VGX-XL3" discussion thread more lively and fun. With quite a few more active participants who can answer questions and provide tips.  We deal with all eight (8) models of the VAIO VGX-XL* Digital Living Systems on that discussion thread. Here's the link/URL:

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/836519/sony-vgx-xl3/3660


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ANNOUNCEMENT - NEW RELEASE!  FEBRUARY 22, 2014

Mr.Big BIOS Version 1.1

Sony VAIO Models: 

VGX-XL1, X L100,  XL2,  XL201,  XL202,  XL3,  XL301  &  XL302

NOTE:  It is not necessary for users of Version 1.05 to update.

Version 1.1 is a unified release for all models and includes a new installer file.

 

VGX-XL.jpg

 

 

 

The Mr.Big BIOS Update Project team is pleased to announce that the new Version 1.1 public release is now available. The team would like to thank everyone involved in supporting, testing and providing feedback for this release!

 
 
Mr.Big BIOS Update Project Introduction
 
As VGX-XL system users who have tried or researched upgrading the processor in their system know, barring a few exceptions these HTPC’s only support the processors they shipped with from Sony®. The Mr.Big BIOS Update Project solves this problem by updating the processor microcode contained within the BIOS, this allows an expanded range of processors to be used and will allow these systems to carry on serving for years to come.
 
 
Please Support the Mr.Big BIOS Update Project
 
Your donations, in any amount, will help to defray the out-of-pocket project costs of The BIOS Project development team. The project required the developers to acquire external EEPROM programming tools, Sony/ASUS test motherboards and Intel processors (for internal ALPHA testing of the updated BIOS). The many hours of the developers time over the past 13 months has been donated toward our goal of creating and sharing BIOS Updates for all of the VAIO VGX-XL models.
 
If you feel this new BIOS upgrade to your VAIO VGX-XL Digital Living System has value to you, then whatever monetary assistance you can donate to the project will be greatly appreciated, and will help to support our continued work. Thank you!
 
The Mr.Big BIOS Update Project Developers:
 
Kepocuhka – RUSSIA  •  REnninga – USA  •  JWAIV – UK
 
The Mr.Big BIOS Update Project BETA Test Group:
 
AB-H • angelnegron • back2mine • bigoliver • Enterface • Eusebius • gupil • h4. • hannesscheer JST200
• NizZ8 • paden15 • Sidthecat • umicro • Vatanen • viaccess • Wheeker • www.laserdisc.ws

 

 

About the Mr.Big BIOS Update Project BIOS Updates

The Mr.Big BIOS Update Version 1.1 contains:
 
  • Updated Processor Microcode - These BIOS updates contain updated and new microcode to enable these systems to support processors not originally shipped or supported in these systems.

 

  • SpeedStep (EIST) fixes - Corrected SpeedStep values have been included to prevent system lockups when some of the processors supported by these BIOS updates enter into low power state.

 

  • Updated Boot Splash Screen Imagery - Replaces the original BIOS black & white VAIO® logo, and Intel® processor boot splash screen images. Depending upon individual display monitor settings, these replacement images are encoded to allow display in widescreen format. This updated boot imagery also serves to indicate a successful upgrade and an indication that your system is running on the modified BIOS.

 

 

VAIOLOGO-720.jpg?height=213&width=320 SN4IMBW-720.jpg?height=213&width=320
Images: © Mr.Big Bios Update Project 2013. All rights reserved.
 
 

 
Mr.Big BIOS Update Project Version 1.1 update guide (printable .PDF),
which includes the BIOS Updates bootable .ISO disk image download URL:
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

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