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post #3871 of 3882 Old 11-20-2014, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by REnninga View Post
Even as is, the system will have a few hundred dollars value to an enthusiast who knows how to repair it and make it fully functional; that is provided the case is in nice cosmetic condition.
It dies with a BIOS POST code of 52, but I can't find a POST reference for the MrBig BIOS. The case is fine.
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In other words it probably is worth more to you as an "as is" resell, than the value of the parts you remove from it (and all those parts are 6 to 7 years old technology and nearing obsolescence).
Well, my thought was just to put the working parts into another Core2Duo system in an HTPC case; far out of date but perfectly fine for the media PC function. But you may be right; the tuner was the part I wanted to save most, as when I first got the system I couldn't even find CableCARD based tuners, but now there's a better selection. I have been keeping an eye out for XL3 motherboards, as I am certainly able to replace that, but haven't found any yet.

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If you do decide to part it out, you will find that there IS already a physical eject button on the face bezel of the Blu-ray optical drive itself. It's just a standard laptop optical drive which is mounted behind the front face panel of the VGX case with its separate, software operated eject button. You can reinstall it in a laptop, or spend $10 - $15 for an USB external enclosure and use it as a portable or extra (spare) Blu-ray drive.
Ironic, as I just bought an external Blu-Ray drive for my laptop last month. Now I'm annoyed we were saddled with that soft button! LOL

The ATi CableCard Hybrid ATSC/NTSC TV tuner is USB, and can be used in a different pc.

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A used HD5450 card is worth less than $10.
Yes, just one less thing I have to buy for the next one.

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Even though the 250GB HDD has little value, and is small capacity by today's standards, I think it's best to pull and just keep them than try to wipe them securely for resell with a pc.
My guest room PC and my arcade emulation cabinet are both still using 120G's so I'll get use out of them. I'll probably use a SSD for the next HTPC.

Quote:
Again, Chris, if you do decide to part it out (as opposed to keeping it intact and selling it "as-is"), some colleagues and I are working on a "VGX-XL Power Supply Retrofit Project", which will reuse the metal enclosure cans and 18-pin harnesses. We need to obtain a few more OEM Delta Power Supply Units from these systems for our project; working or non-working.
So I would be interested in acquiring the PSU from your system for our project. You can send me a 'PM' (private message) anytime, by clicking my account name link on the left.
Well, you have me rethinking this now, but if I do part it I'll get in touch! Thank you!

Chris
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post #3872 of 3882 Old 11-20-2014, 01:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celamantia View Post
It dies with a BIOS POST code of 52, but I can't find a POST reference for the MrBig BIOS. The case is fine.

Well, my thought was just to put the working parts into another Core2Duo system in an HTPC case; far out of date but perfectly fine for the media PC function. But you may be right; the tuner was the part I wanted to save most, as when I first got the system I couldn't even find CableCARD based tuners, but now there's a better selection. I have been keeping an eye out for XL3 motherboards, as I am certainly able to replace that, but haven't found any yet.


Ironic, as I just bought an external Blu-Ray drive for my laptop last month. Now I'm annoyed we were saddled with that soft button! LOL

The ATi CableCard Hybrid ATSC/NTSC TV tuner is USB, and can be used in a different pc.


Yes, just one less thing I have to buy for the next one.


My guest room PC and my arcade emulation cabinet are both still using 120G's so I'll get use out of them. I'll probably use a SSD for the next HTPC.


Well, you have me rethinking this now, but if I do part it I'll get in touch! Thank you!

Chris



Hi Chris,

Hmm, your "Code 52" comment has me thinking that it may be something quite simple ... as opposed to an unrecoverable failure ( such as a fried, un-repairable motherboard).

"Code 52" is typically a reference to the system's failure to verify a digital signature for drivers required for a device. If this is noted during boot, when the computer is in check phase confirming that everything is ok, a Code 52 error will typically result in system shutdown (or occasionally a blue screen crash). This can happen from something as simple as installing a 'Beta' video/graphics driver; which is not properly signed.
A recent hardware or software change (even an update installed automatically by Windows Update) might have installed a boot-critical file with incorrect signature, or a corrupted or damaged driver, ....OR ....


---[ queue the eerie music now ]

-- the system might have acquired malicious software/malware (boot sector worm, rootkit, etc.)

Before giving up I would first download a copy of "Windows Defender Offline", and burn a bootable CD then try to boot to CD and run the program on your system.
If you are able to boot to the "Windows Defender Offline" CD, then in all likelihood your major components including motherboard and other key hardware are fine (see this demonstration video):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PaltG0fexjU

Download "Windows Defender Offline" from Microsoft: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/what-is-windows-defender-offline

If "Windows Defender Offline" does not find malicious software/malware, I would next try pulling the system OS hard disk drive, and install a fresh, empty hard drive (either HDD or SSD) and do a clean (aka: "custom") reinstallation of Windows, which will install all the correct digitally signed drivers. If the Code 52 error IS related to a primary driver issue for a boot device, this would be the next most expedient workaround, if the system components are undamaged and functional.

*You can also try 'F8' boot to 'safe mode' or 'safe mode with networking', and if you can successfully boot, run a System Restore operation selecting a Restore point which you know was prior to the date when your system failed.

*You can also create a bootable Windows Repair CD on another computer running the same OS, (or download from NeoSmart Technologies: http://neosmart.net/blog/2008/window...disc-download/ ), and try repairing any corrupted boot and system files using the Repair CD.

I would also recommend closely examining all of the electrolytic capacitors on the motherboard and other printed circuit board devices. If you find expanded, domed or leaking capacitor(s), replace it/them or have it replaced by your local pc repair shop, or the Geek Squad guys at Best Buy.
I would wager that if you still have your old, failed OEM video/graphics card, 9 chances out of 10 the reason it failed is because of one or more failed capacitors (which are replaceable, and cost only pennies at Radio Shack or eBay).
Our motherboards have a couple of dozen of them, and there are several more on the other devices with printed circuit boards.

Now: Back to the question of parting out, or selling your VGX-XL3 "as is" (if it's not repairable), I would be very surprised if you couldn't get enough selling it intact, to a VGX-XL enthusiast .... to pay for a new HTPC case and all the new components for a HTPC homebuilt.
People keep and upgrade these old VGX-XL systems because they are beautiful, and unusual, not because they are still "relevant", HA! LOL
And some enthusiasts are still regularly paying $350-$400+ for presently non-functional VGX-XL3 systems in nice cosmetic condition, ... which would pretty much pay for all of your new homebuilt HTPC project components and case. Food for thought...

Chris, have you thought about buying a multi-tuner CableCard device for your home network router (which can be used by all your networked computers, your dlna streaming devices, and your networked Smart TVs, rather than using the ATi internal CableCard device in a pc.

There are several on the market (one example):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-006-_-Product
These frequently go on sale for less than $100.

Cheers!
Robert.

©REnninga. All rights reserved. Reuse of the above post in whole or in part is prohibited.
VAIO VGX-XL3 (x2) * Windows 10 T.P. [64-bit] * Xeon X3230 Quad 2.66GHz * 8GB PC2-6400 * 3D Blu-ray BD-R/RE
VAIO VGX-XL2A * Windows 10 T.P. [32-bit] * Pentium D 960 Dual 3.60GHz * 4GB PC2-5300 * Blu-ray BD-RE
VAIO VGP-XL1B / XL1B2 (x2) 200-Disc Media Changers * DVD/CD-RW
VAIO VGP-XL1B Media Server * 20x HDD 'RAID10' * 3D Blu-ray BDXL (project in progress)

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post #3873 of 3882 Old 11-20-2014, 02:27 AM
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[quote=REnninga;29188906]Hello Chris,
Hmm, your "Code 52" comment has me thinking that it may be something quite simple ... as opposed to an unrecoverable failure ( such as a fried, un-repairable motherboard).

"Code 52" is typically a reference to the system's failure to verify a digital signature for drivers required for a device. If this is noted during boot, when the computer is in check phase confirming that everything is ok, a Code 52 error will typically result in system shutdown (or occasionally a blue screen crash).
[quote]
No, nothing ever appears on the screen. I had to insert a PCI POST test card to see the 52 code. The system is not initializing at all. What it means varies from BIOS to BIOS, and near as I can tell there is no published POST code list for the MrBig BIOS.

Quote:
I would also recommend closely examining all of the electrolytic capacitors on the motherboard and other printed circuit board devices. If you find expanded, domed or leaking capacitor(s), replace it/them or have it replaced by your local pc repair shop, or the Geek Squad guys at Best Buy.
I would wager that if you still have your old, failed OEM video/graphics card, 9 chances out of 10 the reason it failed is because of one or more failed capacitors (which are replaceable, and cost only pennies at Radio Shack or eBay).
Our motherboards have a couple of dozen of them, and there are several more on the other devices with printed circuit boards.
I didn't think about looking for a popped cap... that's easy enough to replace. Seems like I recall a lot of PCs from the 2007-2008 vintage suffered cap issues, like there was a big batch of bad caps running around. I saw a lot of those on Dell Optiplexes back in my PC bench tech years, don't know why I didn't think of it.

Quote:
Now: Back to the question of parting out, or selling your VGX-XL3 "as is" (if it's not repairable), I would be very surprised if you couldn't get enough selling it intact, to a VGX-XL enthusiast .... to pay for a new HTPC case and all the new components for a HTPC homebuilt.
People keep and upgrade these old VGX-XL systems because they are beautiful, and unusual, not because they are still "relevant", HA! LOL
And some enthusiasts are still regularly paying $350-$400+ for presently non-functional VGX-XL3 systems in nice cosmetic condition, ... which would pretty much pay for all of your new homebuilt HTPC project components and case. Food for thought...

Chris, have you thought about buying a multi-tuner CableCard device for your home network router (which can be used by all your networked computers, your dlna streaming devices, and your networked Smart TVs, rather than using the ATi internal CableCard device in a pc.

There are several on the market (one example):

These frequently go on sale for less than $100.
I was actually just researching that unit before you posted and I'll probably be picking one up. The single tuner has always been the one downside of the XL3.

Chris
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post #3874 of 3882 Old 11-20-2014, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REnninga View Post
I would also recommend closely examining all of the electrolytic capacitors on the motherboard and other printed circuit board devices. If you find expanded, domed or leaking capacitor(s), replace it/them or have it replaced by your local pc repair shop, or the Geek Squad guys at Best Buy.
A quick look and I can see at least three domed caps, one of which is just starting to leak. So I might give replacing those caps a shot. Thanks!

Chris
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post #3875 of 3882 Old 11-20-2014, 03:30 AM
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Your VGX-XL3

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Originally Posted by celamantia View Post
A quick look and I can see at least three domed caps, one of which is just starting to leak. So I might give replacing those caps a shot. Thanks!

Chris

Hi Chris,
Excellent! Sometimes bad news can be good news. Maybe that's your gremlin?
I'll bet you have capacitors in the same or worse condition on that failed OEM NVidia video card, too.



Quote:
No, nothing ever appears on the screen. I had to insert a PCI POST test card to see the 52 code. The system is not initializing at all. What it means varies from BIOS to BIOS, and near as I can tell there is no published POST code list for the MrBig BIOS.....

Chris

Ah, yes, I have one of those little PCI slot POST diagnostic cards too. I never found it very useful, but in this case it just may be, because it may be pointing in the direction of another easy thing to check (and fix).


The generic EISA (PCI) Hex post code '52', for most motherboards, means: "
"Memory Test - Test all memory of memory above 1MB using Virtual 8086 mode, page mode and clear the memory"


What I would try is remove all of the RAM modules. Then reinstall just one module at a time in slot #1 (marked 'XMM1' on the motherboard). Then test boot each individual RAM module.


As you're probably already aware, a failed or even not properly seated RAM module will prevent these ASUStek 'P5' motherboards from booting.


Cheers!,
Robert.



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VAIO VGX-XL3 (x2) * Windows 10 T.P. [64-bit] * Xeon X3230 Quad 2.66GHz * 8GB PC2-6400 * 3D Blu-ray BD-R/RE
VAIO VGX-XL2A * Windows 10 T.P. [32-bit] * Pentium D 960 Dual 3.60GHz * 4GB PC2-5300 * Blu-ray BD-RE
VAIO VGP-XL1B / XL1B2 (x2) 200-Disc Media Changers * DVD/CD-RW
VAIO VGP-XL1B Media Server * 20x HDD 'RAID10' * 3D Blu-ray BDXL (project in progress)
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post #3876 of 3882 Old 11-20-2014, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by REnninga View Post
[FONT=Arial]
The generic EISA (PCI) Hex post code '52', for most motherboards, means: "
[FONT=Courier][FONT=Courier]"Memory Test - Test all memory of memory above 1MB using Virtual 8086 mode, page mode and clear the memory"


What I would try is remove all of the RAM modules. Then reinstall just one module at a time in slot #1 (marked 'XMM1' on the motherboard). Then test boot each individual RAM module.
Tried that, no go... but the three bad caps are right next to the memory slots and likely serve them, so this makes sense.

Motherboard is out. Bad caps are all 820uf. Going to Radio Shack to see if they actually still carry parts. Wish I had a better Core2Duo CPU handy to drop in while I have it all taken apart.

Thanks again!

Chris
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post #3877 of 3882 Old 11-20-2014, 01:28 PM
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Your VGX-XL3

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Originally Posted by celamantia View Post
Tried that, no go... but the three bad caps are right next to the memory slots and likely serve them, so this makes sense.

Motherboard is out. Bad caps are all 820uf. Going to Radio Shack to see if they actually still carry parts. Wish I had a better Core2Duo CPU handy to drop in while I have it all taken apart.

Thanks again!

Chris

Hello Chris,


If you find that your local Radio Shack no longer carries the electrolytic 820uf capacitors (be sure to buy the correct voltage rating), and they don't have them stocked in the warehouse to mail direct to you, you might consider ordering "solid" polymer replacements. They're more expensive, but also more robust (you won't be replacing them again in the future).
If you look at the capacitors ringing the CPU socket you'll note that Sony/ASUStek made the decision to go with solid polymer caps, and nearly all newer quality video/graphics cards have switched to solid caps. Electrolytic capacitors have been the vulnerable weak link on computer PCB's. So I've been replacing any blown electrolytic caps with solid for the past year. Food for thought (or for future reference) ...


Cheers!
Robert.

FYI, if you get up and running again and are considering upgrading your CPU, rather than going with a faster Core2 Duo dual-core I recommend updating your BIOS with our Mr.Big BIOS Update Project release, and then install a Xeon X3230 Quad Core 2.66GHz.
They are relatively plentiful and inexpensive on eBay (in the $40 to $50 range), and are a huge home theater pc performance improvement over the dual-core Core2 Duo's (especially when coupled with a SSD for the system drive).

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VAIO VGX-XL3 (x2) * Windows 10 T.P. [64-bit] * Xeon X3230 Quad 2.66GHz * 8GB PC2-6400 * 3D Blu-ray BD-R/RE
VAIO VGX-XL2A * Windows 10 T.P. [32-bit] * Pentium D 960 Dual 3.60GHz * 4GB PC2-5300 * Blu-ray BD-RE
VAIO VGP-XL1B / XL1B2 (x2) 200-Disc Media Changers * DVD/CD-RW
VAIO VGP-XL1B Media Server * 20x HDD 'RAID10' * 3D Blu-ray BDXL (project in progress)

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post #3878 of 3882 Old 11-21-2014, 01:26 PM
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Mr.Big BIOS Update Project v1.2 - BETA Test Opportunty

In the past couple of months I did a revisit on this project that warrants a new release, I had intended to put this invite up around a month ago but got caught up with some other work. But, better late than never so if you would like to take part in BETA testing this new update please PM me with your e-mail address and I'll be in touch within the next week. If there are any users from the projects first BETA test who want to take part again for v1.2, please PM me and I will reactivate your previous test forum account.

The new v1.2 release comes in two different types, updates as follows:

Standard Edition

  • Includes updates from v1.1 - Updated processor microcode to support processors not originally supported in these systems, SpeedStep fix for XL201/XL202 and replacement boot imagery.

  • SATA Mode Switch - There is now an option on the "Advanced" tab of the BIOS so that AHCI mode can be selected instead of RAID, an IDE legacy mode is also available.

  • Version Info - Information has been added to the "Exit" tab of the BIOS that will indicate which version of the modified BIOS you are using.

Advanced Edition (Includes updates from the Standard Edition)

  • Intel RAID ROM updated from "v6.1.0.1002" to "v8.5.0.1030" - May achieve slight increases in performance and stability along with better compatibility with newer versions of Intel RST. The upgrade does not destroy existing RAID arrays, all data is retained.

    For those who run solid state hard drives in a RAID0 configuration for maximum performance, this option ROM has been updated with a modification discovered by Dufus that will allow TRIM commands to successfully pass through to a RAID0 array and prevent the eventual decline in performance caused by lack of TRIM.

  • AHCI ROM updated from "Version iSrc 1.01" to "Version iSrc 1.20E" – Improves boot time/drive detection and may improve performance and stability.

  • Intel LAN Boot ROM updated from "v1.2.40 Beta-4" to "v1.2.50" - This won't make much practical difference if any for most users but I always hated seeing the word "BETA" in the BIOS of a high end product shipped by Sony. I'm considering this an obsessive compulsive update.

NOTE: For the moment these are purely for P5BW-MB based systems - VGX-XL201, XL202, XL3, XL301 and XL302. I have not yet looked into the possibility of implementing some or all of these updates on P5LP-MB based systems – VGX-XL1, XL2 and XL100 but I will post an update when I do.
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post #3879 of 3882 Old 11-24-2014, 03:36 PM
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Hello Chris,

FYI, if you get up and running again and are considering upgrading your CPU, rather than going with a faster Core2 Duo dual-core I recommend updating your BIOS with our Mr.Big BIOS Update Project release, and then install a Xeon X3230 Quad Core 2.66GHz.
They are relatively plentiful and inexpensive on eBay (in the $40 to $50 range), and are a huge home theater pc performance improvement over the dual-core Core2 Duo's (especially when coupled with a SSD for the system drive).
Replacing the three bad caps appears to have worked so far, in that I can get to the BIOS screen now. I am going to replace the clock battery and reassemble enough to get it to boot off the drives, and update the BIOS. Fingers still crossed but looking promising!

Chris
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post #3880 of 3882 Old 11-24-2014, 03:57 PM
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Your VGX-XL3

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Originally Posted by celamantia View Post
Replacing the three bad caps appears to have worked so far, in that I can get to the BIOS screen now. I am going to replace the clock battery and reassemble enough to get it to boot off the drives, and update the BIOS. Fingers still crossed but looking promising!

Chris


Hello Chris,


Before replacing the CMOS coin-cell battery and clearing the CMOS with the jumper, be sure to power down and pull the power cord from the outlet and wait 30-seconds or so to ensure that the power supply capacitors have fully discharged.


Just FYI, if you see this in time, the SiliconDust 3-Digital TV tuner HomeRun unit with CableCard slot is going on sale in about five minutes (3:00 PM PST) for $79.99 at Newegg.com; their upcoming ShellShocker Deal. It's a 3-hour sale (3:00 - 5:59 PM PST), but sometimes if the item doesn't sell out they keep the sale going until 11:59 PST. If interested, and you can't find the deal hyperlink, call them and ask for the $79.99 ShellShocker link to be sent to you.

Here's the one I have:
http://www.newegg.com/Special/ShellS...6-_-11242014_4


Cheers!
Robert.

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VAIO VGX-XL3 (x2) * Windows 10 T.P. [64-bit] * Xeon X3230 Quad 2.66GHz * 8GB PC2-6400 * 3D Blu-ray BD-R/RE
VAIO VGX-XL2A * Windows 10 T.P. [32-bit] * Pentium D 960 Dual 3.60GHz * 4GB PC2-5300 * Blu-ray BD-RE
VAIO VGP-XL1B / XL1B2 (x2) 200-Disc Media Changers * DVD/CD-RW
VAIO VGP-XL1B Media Server * 20x HDD 'RAID10' * 3D Blu-ray BDXL (project in progress)

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post #3881 of 3882 Old 11-24-2014, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by REnninga View Post
Hello Chris,
Just FYI, if you see this in time, the SiliconDust 3-Digital TV tuner HomeRun unit with CableCard slot is going on sale in about five minutes (3:00 PM PST) for $79.99 at Newegg.com; their upcoming ShellShocker Deal. It's a 3-hour sale (3:00 - 5:59 PM PST), but sometimes if the item doesn't sell out they keep the sale going until 11:59 PST. If interested, and you can't find the deal hyperlink, call them and ask for the $79.99 ShellShocker link to be sent to you.
What perfect timing.... ordered it. Thank you for the heads up! Off to hunt for a Xeon or Core 2 Quad...

Thank you for all your help... you saved my XL3!

Chris
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post #3882 of 3882 Old 11-24-2014, 05:50 PM
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Your VGX-XL3

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Originally Posted by celamantia View Post
What perfect timing.... ordered it. Thank you for the heads up! Off to hunt for a Xeon or Core 2 Quad...

Thank you for all your help... you saved my XL3!

Chris


Excellent, Chris,

You should be able to continue to use your existing ATi TV Wonder internal tuner as well, for receiving ATSC Over-The-Air local digital broadcasting, and the three additional tuners on your home network router for your Cable (you should be able to get rid of your monthly cable box rental, the savings from which will quickly pay for the purchase price of the SiliconDust HomeRun unit).

Just FYI, read our Mr.Big BIOS Update Guide carefully. You need to update your BIOS first, then upgrade the CPU (the expanded CPU support microcode is in the update).

Mr.Big BIOS Update Project - Release Version 1.1
http://htpc.jwaiv.co.uk/Public/Sony_VGX-XL_BIOS_Upgrade_1.1.pdf


The Intel Xeon X3230 2.66 GHz processor is the commercial file server analog of the retail consumer model Intel Core2 Quad Q6700 2.66 GHz. The reports we found during BETA testing suggest that the Xeon is designed for 24/7 always-on service, has superior quality silicon crystal in its cores, runs cooler (because of its lower Tcase temp), and scores approx. 10% higher than its Core2 Quad cousin in Passmark Software Performance Benchmark testing. All in all a better choice for our VGX-XL* systems.

You can run your existing Core2 Duo E6400 as long as you need to on the Mr.Big BIOS Update, until you find a price you like for a Quad on eBay or elsewhere.


Cheers!
Robert.

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VAIO VGX-XL3 (x2) * Windows 10 T.P. [64-bit] * Xeon X3230 Quad 2.66GHz * 8GB PC2-6400 * 3D Blu-ray BD-R/RE
VAIO VGX-XL2A * Windows 10 T.P. [32-bit] * Pentium D 960 Dual 3.60GHz * 4GB PC2-5300 * Blu-ray BD-RE
VAIO VGP-XL1B / XL1B2 (x2) 200-Disc Media Changers * DVD/CD-RW
VAIO VGP-XL1B Media Server * 20x HDD 'RAID10' * 3D Blu-ray BDXL (project in progress)

Last edited by REnninga; 11-24-2014 at 06:09 PM.
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