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Velocity Micro MCE - Page 13

post #361 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenMiller View Post

Is there anything special that needs to be done to support 4GB RAM? My S85 has 2GB, but I will probably be adding more later. I understand from a previous post that there may have been a problem with 4GB and the onboard audio.

I understand that some of 4GB will not be used depending on other uses of memory addresses. Does a 640MB eVGA GeForce 8800GTS use 640MB of the 4GB address space? What else uses this memory address space?

If I install 4GB RAM total, approximately how much of that RAM should I expect to be usable?

Would I be better off adding an additional 1GB RAM to my current 2GB instead of adding 2GB?

To support 4GB of ram properly the BIOS needs to support memory remapping. If your BIOS does not support that feature then the maximum ram available in, for example, Vista 32-bit is 3.12GB. Less may be available depending on your hardware configuration. Yes, that 640MB of local memory on your video card is mapped to the 4GB of address space. Normally (with 3GB of ram or less) it's not an issue since it gets mapped to the address space > 3.25GB.

I have to ask though. Is there any particular reason you need 4GB of ram? Is your system serving mutiple data streams simultaneously or doing some complex math that requires that amount of ram? Simply using a system as an HTPC doesn't require all that much ram. 2GB is more than sufficient.
post #362 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

If you add RAM to a machine, does that change the config enough so the OCUR license will stop working? When the machine is certified for a given configuration, I am not sure you can add too many things to it without causing problems. It makes sense that RAM shouldn't be an issue, but I am unsure about what the parameters of change are that are allowed by MSFT.

Thanks,
Mike

Hehe, I once had Microsoft tell me my copy of Windows was pirated after upgrading the firmware on my DVD drive!
post #363 of 1315
Quote:


To support 4GB of ram properly the BIOS needs to support memory remapping.

I thought the 4Gb issue was related to Vista and not to a mobo bios.
post #364 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micromain View Post


I have to ask though. Is there any particular reason you need 4GB of ram? Is your system serving mutiple data streams simultaneously or doing some complex math that requires that amount of ram? Simply using a system as an HTPC doesn't require all that much ram. 2GB is more than sufficient.

I've been following this and wondering the same thing, is there something about Vista, or Vista with this particular setup, that requires that much RAM?
post #365 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micromain View Post

I have to ask though. Is there any particular reason you need 4GB of ram? Is your system serving mutiple data streams simultaneously or doing some complex math that requires that amount of ram? Simply using a system as an HTPC doesn't require all that much ram. 2GB is more than sufficient.

I do not know that I will need more than 2GB of RAM, and that is all I ordered originally. I would like to know my options if I determine that I need more.

I plan to use my Velocity Micro S85 for games, some software development, and other computer functions as well as for media center. In fact, my primarily use will not be media center - even though I will be using it for that purpose also.
post #366 of 1315
Well, I wanted to use the Grand Theater for dual HD recording while watching a 3rd HD show or Blue-ray disc at the same time. Someone may be watching another show on an Xbox360 extender as well. Also want to do some light gaming (is there any such thing?) So, from what I have read and been told, if I have the budget, throw it at the hardware. How much RAM, however, is unclear. The VM site only allows up to 4 - 1Gb modules which limits the amount of RAM you have in the long run. Assuming RAM is critical for my needs, a better option would be to pair 2 - 2Gb sticks with the option to add up to 8Gb.
post #367 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by intofx View Post

I thought the 4Gb issue was related to Vista and not to a mobo bios.

The 4GB issue is a limitation of the 32-bit x86 processor design. 4GB is the maximum amount of memory that 32-bit hardware can physically address. Since the Pentium 2, 32-bit x86 processors have had a sort of hack designed in that permits 36-bit memory addressing in order to get around the 4GB limitation.

In the coming years we'll all be going 64-bit so we won't be limited. However, legacy support and design still requires that there be a memory hole between 3GB and 4GB for MMIO such as PCI configuration addressing. For the time being using a 64-bit OS still requires BIOS support for memory remapping for those using 4GB or more of ram. I imagine eventually that will become transparent to the user, much like the legacy 640k barrier is really still there but it's handled by the BIOS/OS automatically and the user doesn't have to mess with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

I've been following this and wondering the same thing, is there something about Vista, or Vista with this particular setup, that requires that much RAM?

No. If anything Vista has better memory management than XP. At least it's more aggressive by using pre-fetch, super-fetch, and the like. Vista uses more of your ram than XP which, imo, is a good thing. I've never understood why people get massive amounts of ram and then tweak their services to a barebone configuration to have as little physical memory in use as possible. Back in the day when we were using the himem switch in config.sys w/ 2MB of ram, trying to squeeze in device drivers as efficiently as possible, it made sense. Today if you've got 2GB of ram, as much as possible of it should be in use or it defeats the purpose of having a good chunk of ram in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

I do not know that I will need more than 2GB of RAM, and that is all I ordered originally. I would like to know my options if I determine that I need more.

I plan to use my Velocity Micro S85 for games, some software development, and other computer functions as well as for media center. In fact, my primarily use will not be media center - even though I will be using it for that purpose also.

You can always pop in another 1GB if you feel the need, though depending on your hardware Windows may only report 2.75GB or so total available.

2GB should be fine for just about anyone for the next couple of years. Once 64-bit OS and app usage becomes more commonplace then it might be the time to look to upgrade your entire system to accomodate 64-bit computing and more ram.

Oh, and sorry for taking this thread OT.
post #368 of 1315
Thanks for memory education. Would still be interested to hear from Chris as to how their systems will be affected once everything starts to go 64 bit and upgrades are needed. Hate to see years of recorded favorites go down the toilet.

Another question: I will be new to Media Center, and so far, I cant see any fundamental differences between MCE and Tivo. As a previous Tivo user, will I see most of those features in MCE and then some?
post #369 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micromain View Post

The 4GB issue is a limitation of the 32-bit x86 processor design. 4GB is the maximum amount of memory that 32-bit hardware can physically address. Since the Pentium 2, 32-bit x86 processors have had a sort of hack designed in that permits 36-bit memory addressing in order to get around the 4GB limitation.

. . .

2GB should be fine for just about anyone for the next couple of years. Once 64-bit OS and app usage becomes more commonplace then it might be the time to look to upgrade your entire system to accomodate 64-bit computing and more ram.

Oh, and sorry for taking this thread OT.

Thank you for your comments. I don't think you took the thread off topic. This thread is about the Velocity Micro MCE, and I believe discussing configuration of the system is on topic.

The 4GB limitation is not in the hardware. The Core Duo processor is a 64-bit processor, and the Bad Axe II motherboard (used by the VM Grande Theater and S85) documents support for 8MB RAM. The limitation is because Velocity Micro - and every other OEM - is sticking with Vista 32-bit because too much stuff doesn't work with Vista 64-bit. Once the appropriate drivers are available, we may be able to upgrade this system to Vista 64-bit with strictly a software upgrade. But I suspect it will take some time before Velocity Micro is advertising the Vista 64-bit upgrade with digital cable tuner support.

Since Velocity Micro offers the system with either 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB, I appreciate discussion and recommendations about which way to go. Based on comments from you and others, I would find it difficult to justify paying for 4GB in order to obtain 3GB. I believe it is important that users understand the limitation. I had ordered my system with 2GB with some thought about possibly adding more later. However, some people have ordered with 4GB, and they may not understand the limitations - especially if they ordered a 640MB GPU.

Chris, I recommend Velocity Micro change the web site option for 4GB to state something like "Only approximately 3GB will be used" if that statement is true. If more than 3GB would be used, then please let us know how much.
post #370 of 1315
Is this going to be the ultimate compliment to the VM HTPC?????

http://www.gearlog.com/2007/03/ctia_...ith_window.php

I imagine you could have your HTPC connected to a dlp or projector, then have a couple of these xstreams in other parts of the house and act as extenders? Anyone else think this would work????
post #371 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by intofx View Post

Thanks for memory education. Would still be interested to hear from Chris as to how their systems will be affected once everything starts to go 64 bit and upgrades are needed. Hate to see years of recorded favorites go down the toilet.

I would also be interested in the answer, but I suspect the answer would be pure speculation at this point. Chris is having a big enough problem trying to make the digital cable tuner work with Vista 32-bit (with all of us impatiently waiting and wanting it yesterday), and I suspect no one knows when it will work with Vista 64-bit.

I have confidence that Velocity Micro will try to make the Vista 64-bit upgrade available to us sometime in the future, but I don't know if Microsoft, AMD, CableLabs, and all the other players will make it possible for them to do so. If Microsoft offers Vista 64-bit with CableCard support as an upgrade sometime in the future (with the same keys for encrypting content), then maybe. If it requires a new OS installation with new keys, then forget it.

I personally don't believe we will ever be able to upgrade these systems to Vista 64-bit without losing the protected content. I hope I'm wrong. However, I would definitely not recommend purchasing a system with any plans to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by intofx View Post

Another question: I will be new to Media Center, and so far, I cant see any fundamental differences between MCE and Tivo. As a previous Tivo user, will I see most of those features in MCE and then some?

I don't think you can order a Tivo with four 750GB hard drives.

I don't think you can configure your Tivo hard drives in a RAID configuration.

I haven't used a Tivo but I have a DVR from my cable company. When anything goes wrong with that DVR, the cable company replaces it - and all my recorded content is gone. If anything goes wrong with the MCE, then it will be repaired - and my recorded content will probably still be there (especially if I am using RAID for redundancy).

I expect to still be using this MCE in four years - probably with a CPU upgrade from two cores to four cores and a hard drive upgrade. I don't expect you can say the same about the Tivo or other DVR.
post #372 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamsergie View Post

Is this going to be the ultimate compliment to the VM HTPC?????

http://www.gearlog.com/2007/03/ctia_...ith_window.php

I imagine you could have your HTPC connected to a dlp or projector, then have a couple of these xstreams in other parts of the house and act as extenders? Anyone else think this would work????

This would not work. These systems are Vista systems - not extenders. Any protected content recorded on one Vista system cannot be played back on another one. It can only be played back on the same Vista system or on an extender.

I personally would not want my computer and TV integrated. I would rather be able to upgrade my display while keeping my computer - and my recorded protected content.
post #373 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenMiller View Post

Thank you for your comments. I don't think you took the thread off topic. This thread is about the Velocity Micro MCE, and I believe discussing configuration of the system is on topic.

The 4GB limitation is not in the hardware. The Core Duo processor is a 64-bit processor, and the Bad Axe II motherboard (used by the VM Grande Theater and S85) documents support for 8MB RAM. The limitation is because Velocity Micro - and every other OEM - is sticking with Vista 32-bit because too much stuff doesn't work with Vista 64-bit. Once the appropriate drivers are available, we may be able to upgrade this system to Vista 64-bit with strictly a software upgrade. But I suspect it will take some time before Velocity Micro is advertising the Vista 64-bit upgrade with digital cable tuner support.

Since Velocity Micro offers the system with either 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB, I appreciate discussion and recommendations about which way to go. Based on comments from you and others, I would find it difficult to justify paying for 4GB in order to obtain 3GB. I believe it is important that users understand the limitation. I had ordered my system with 2GB with some thought about possibly adding more later. However, some people have ordered with 4GB, and they may not understand the limitations - especially if they ordered a 640MB GPU.

Chris, I recommend Velocity Micro change the web site option for 4GB to state something like "Only approximately 3GB will be used" if that statement is true. If more than 3GB would be used, then please let us know how much.

Vista 32-bit has support for more than 4GB, so it's not a Vista limitation. You can set the PAE switch in Vista using BCDedit so it can utilize memory above 4GB. However, as I've stated previously, the BIOS has to support memory remapping (I believe the Bad Axe II has the option available). This is also true with 64-bit Vista. If the BIOS doesn't have the option to remap MMIO above 4GB then you can't use 4GB or more even using Vista 64-bit. Enabling memory remapping does cause problems with some hardware and drivers though so I can see why VM may not want to go that route. PAE tends to degrade ram performance as well.

fyi, the C2D is not a true 64-bit processor. It's a 32-bit proc with 64-bit extensions slapped on.

I do agree that Velocity Micro should make the limitations clear involving ordering a system with 4GB clear to their consumers, if they haven't already and are not enabling PAE with their 4GB systems.
post #374 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micromain View Post

Vista 32-bit has support for more than 4GB, so it's not a Vista limitation. You can set the PAE switch in Vista using BCDedit so it can utilize memory above 4GB. However, as I've stated previously, the BIOS has to support memory remapping (I believe the Bad Axe II has the option available). This is also true with 64-bit Vista. If the BIOS doesn't have the option to remap MMIO above 4GB then you can't use 4GB or more even using Vista 64-bit. Enabling memory remapping does cause problems with some hardware and drivers though so I can see why VM may not want to go that route. PAE tends to degrade ram performance as well.

fyi, the C2D is not a true 64-bit processor. It's a 32-bit proc with 64-bit extensions slapped on.

I do agree that Velocity Micro should make the limitations clear involving ordering a system with 4GB clear to their consumers, if they haven't already and are not enabling PAE with their 4GB systems.

I believe that the processor has the ability to address up to 36 bits with the PAE option, however certain DMA devices (such as the DCT) are probably still limited to a 32-bit address range (i.e. first 4GB of address space)
post #375 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micromain View Post

Back in the day when we were using the himem switch in config.sys w/ 2MB of ram, trying to squeeze in device drivers as efficiently as possible, it made sense.

Ah...the days of DOS...

BTW, that second quote is not something I posted, not sure who it was though.
post #376 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickhuizinga View Post

I believe that the processor has the ability to address up to 36 bits with the PAE option, however certain DMA devices (such as the DCT) are probably still limited to a 32-bit address range (i.e. first 4GB of address space)

DMA is not a problem because with PAE enabled DMA transactions are double-buffered and Windows creates a map register. The device writes to a 32-bit address and the kernel moves it to a 64-bit address. It's all done transparently.
post #377 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Ah...the days of DOS...

Good times.

Quote:


BTW, that second quote is not something I posted, not sure who it was though.

D'oh. Sorry.

That demonstrates precisely why the stuff I write at work is subsequently sent to an editor.
post #378 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Ah...the days of DOS...

Those were the days. We could actually understand what the OS was doing and fix it when it was misbehaving.
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

BTW, that second quote is not something I posted, not sure who it was though.

It was my comment.
post #379 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micromain View Post

DMA is not a problem because with PAE enabled DMA transactions are double-buffered and Windows creates a map register. The device writes to a 32-bit address and the kernel moves it to a 64-bit address. It's all done transparently.

I think we need Chris to answer a question. Does Velocity Micro support PAE on these systems or are there unresolved problems using it?
post #380 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenMiller View Post

I think we need Chris to answer a question. Does Velocity Micro support PAE on these systems or are there unresolved problems using it?

If he hasn't tried it yet and he's willing to send me a test system I'll be happy to be a trooper, volunteer, and put it through its paces.
post #381 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenMiller View Post

Those were the days. We could actually understand what the OS was doing and fix it when it was misbehaving.

True that.
post #382 of 1315
Quote:


I don't think you can order a Tivo with four 750GB hard drives.

I don't think you can configure your Tivo hard drives in a RAID configuration.

I haven't used a Tivo but I have a DVR from my cable company. When anything goes wrong with that DVR, the cable company replaces it - and all my recorded content is gone. If anything goes wrong with the MCE, then it will be repaired - and my recorded content will probably still be there (especially if I am using RAID for redundancy).

I expect to still be using this MCE in four years - probably with a CPU upgrade from two cores to four cores and a hard drive upgrade. I don't expect you can say the same about the Tivo or other DVR.

All good points! What about interface and navigational smoothness? Some things are obvious like the time-shifting, season pass mgr, searches (by name, artist, channel) and home media features. Does it have an equivalent to wishlists? Also, are there 3rd party add-on's that integrate into the MCE interface like a browser for downloading movies or internet radio, or is that already built in?
post #383 of 1315
Ah, just found a walk-thru of the Vista MCE interface, but the article is a year old. How much has changed? It seems like its a step up from my Tivo experience and then some!
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?page_id=70
post #384 of 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by intofx View Post

Ah, just found a walk-thru of the Vista MCE interface, but the article is a year old. How much has changed? It seems like its a step up from my Tivo experience and then some!
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?page_id=70

That's what it looks like today.
post #385 of 1315
I noticed at the MCE setup http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?page_id=70&page=3 only 2 tuners are recognized. I thought we could add up to 4 tuners (2 cablecards and 2 OTA HD tuners.)
post #386 of 1315
It does and it will work fine.

Chris
post #387 of 1315
engadget has an article that Veolicity Micro has released the grand theater. - I guess mine is in the mail
post #388 of 1315
I received my Grand Theater system last Tuesday.

Some hard drive issues presented themselves almost immediately, but Vista did a repair and all seemed well.

Then the Blue Screens of death began (sound related - error 124). After hours of driver replacements and everything else Tech Support could think of, the problem went away. (notice I did not say fixed).

Connected TV to the unit, but one DCT was DOA. VM sent a new one, which I was able to install without a problem. Analog cable seemed a bit soft, but expect digital cable to be better.

Cablecard install was simple and there were no issues with the cable company (after getting them to agree to come in the first place). I really suggest that you just tell them the model number(s) of a cablecard capable TV such as the Samsung HLR7178.

Right after the Cablecard install, I suffered a RAID array failure (4 - 400gb Seagate drives). The system tried to rebuild the array, but after about 18 hours, it was only 48% complete and the drives were only showing a throughput of about 4 Mbs. (s/b 30 - 40?).

During the rebuild process, the Blue Screens of Death returned with a vengence. With all video and audio drivers removed, it still Blue Screened and it Blue Screened at least once in Safe Mode.

VM plans to replace the motherboard in hopes this is the cause of the RAID, Blue Screen etc issues.

I have in-home service, but am sending the unit back to VM due to the complexity of the problems.

VM support has been very helpful.

I LOVE the unit and in the little bit of time that it worked, I see the incredible potential of this system. I can't wait to get it back.

UPDATE:

Vm forgot to ship the return label, so it will sit here all weekend and hopefully go back on Monday
post #389 of 1315
Ugh, sounds painful. Now I'm getting weak knees...
post #390 of 1315
Ouch, that is definitely sounds like we need to do a total rebuild on this. FYI - rebuilding 4 400GB drives in RAID 5 can take over one day to complete and during that time throughput is going to be terrible. Rest assured that we'll take care of you. I'll personally make sure of that. I have never seen a BSOD on this platform.
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