Thursday, December 31, 2009

Nvidia G84/G86 Chips Defective (Overheating)

Got to have this in mind for a VGA card upgrade (this page is worth reading, series 9 is more appropriate for my needs).

Links related to this issue:
The Inquirer - All Nvidia G84 and G86s are bad
Tom's Hardware - Report: All Nvidia G84/G86 Chips Defective
ZDnet - Report: NVIDIA issues cover all G84 and G86 GPUs
Maximum PC - Burning Question: Are All Nvidia G84 and G86 Parts Bad?

About G84/G86 and video decoding in hardware
Available from 2006 and part of GeForce 8 Series of GPU made by nVidia, these cores came as GeForce 8600 GS/GT/GTS (G84) and GeForce 8300 GS (OEM)/8300 GS/8500 GT (G86), PCIe only. The mobile cores came as GeForce 8600M GS/8600M GT/8600M GT and GeForce 8400M G/GS/GT (G86M).

"Starting with the G84/G86 GPUs (sold as the GeForce 8400/8500/8600 series), NVIDIA substantially re-designed GPU's H.264 decoding block. The second generation PureVideo HD added a dedicated bitstream processor (BSP) and enhanced video processor, which enabled the GPU to completely offload the H.264-decoding pipeline. VC-1 acceleration was also improved, with PureVideo HD now able to offload more of VC-1-decoding pipeline's backend (inverse discrete cosine transform (iDCT) and motion compensation stages). The frontend (bitstream) pipeline is still decoded by the host CPU. The second generation PureVideo HD enabled mainstream PCs to play HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies, as the majority of the processing-intenstive video-decoding was now offloaded to the GPU. From GeForce 178.24 drivers onwards, VP2 capable cards are able to decode H.264 High@L5.1 while ATI UVD2 can support up to H.264 High@L4.1.
The second generation PureVideo HD is sometimes called "PureVideo HD 2" or VP2, although this is not an official NVIDIA designation.
In 2006, PureVideo HD was formally introduced with the launch of the GeForce 7900, which had the first generation PureVideo HD. In 2007, when the second generation PureVideo HD (VP2) hardware launched with the Geforce 8500 GT/8600 GT/8600 GTS, NVIDIA expanded Purevideo HD to include both the first generation (retroactively called "PureVideo HD 1" or VP1) GPUs (Geforce 7900/8800 GTX) and newer VP2 GPUs. This led to a confusing product portfolio containing GPUs from two distinctly different generational capabilities: the newer VP2 based cores (Geforce 8500 GT/8600 GT/8600 GTS/8800 GT) and other older PureVideo HD 1 based cores (Geforce 7900/G80).

NVIDIA claims that all GPUs carrying the PureVideo HD label fully support Blu-ray/HD DVD playback with the proper system components. For H.264/AVC content, VP1 offers markedly inferior acceleration compared to newer VP2, VP3 and VP4 GPUs, placing a much greater burden on the host CPU. However, a sufficiently fast host CPU can play Blu-ray without any hardware assistance whatsoever." [source: Wikipedia]

ATI's Avivo and the accompanied Unified Video Decoder is the primary competitor of nVidia PureVideo in hardware decoding of video.

Read bellow about the G84/G86 chips generation for GPU cards:
Comparison of Nvidia graphics processing units [Wikipedia]
GeForce 8 Series [Wikipedia]

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Updated / Actualizat: 2009-12-31.


nVidia Quadro vs. Geforce & ATI FireGL vs. Radeon

"Quadros are essentially Geforces, and FireGL's are essentially Radeons. Same GPUs."

I was reading it all over the internet and I could not believe it. Many forums and discussions have this subject on their topics. To make a long story short, it looks like GeForce and Radeon VGA cards are given to the public (home users) for a lower price and drivers are optimized mostly for games, while Quadro and FireGL are given to the public (professional market) for a much higher price and drivers are optimized for 3D applications (3dsMAX, Maya, SolidWorks, Catia etc.) and/or 2D applications (Photoshop). Hackers successfully converted GeForce/Radeon cards into Quadro/FireGL cards, operation not 100% completed at the end (due to differences in hardware), but close to it. I am ready to take this challenge and I'll post updates as soon as I'll start this project. Until then, from time to time I'll post here links related to the subject, to have them at hand.

Some thoughts taken from discussions:
Cleeve - Hardware editor, Tom's Hardware Guide [11-29-2007]
"The pro (Quadro, FireGL) drivers allow for more control over certain settings in CAD apps, and are geared to accelerate OpenGL pro apps instead of games. The last time I read a review with a gaming card vs. it's pro counterpart playing a game, the pro drivers tended to accelerate games slower than the consumer drivers, and the pro drivers tended to accelerate CAD apps much faster than consumer drivers."

Quadro vs. GeForce [PDF file]

ATI Radeon To ATI FireGL Mod Guide Rev. 5.1 [article]
NVIDIA GeForce To Quadro Soft-Mod Guide Rev. 4.1 [article]
NVIDIA GeForce To Quadro Soft-Mod Guide [article]

Gaming vs. Professional Graphics Cards [thread, Tom's Hardware Forum]
GeForce -to-> Quadro Soldering Mod [thread, Forum]
Possible? If so, how? FX5900->Quadro / 6800->Quadro [thread, Forum]
It's true. 8800GTS is a perfect Quadro now (3DSMAX9 ONLY!!!) [thread, Forum]
7800/7900/7600/7300 can't be "unlocked" or "Quadro-fied", here is why [thread, Forum]

RivaTuner [software for modding and unlock pro features in GeForce/Radeon cards]

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Updated / Actualizat: 2009-12-31.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Windows XP on Asus K70AB

This model comes with Red Flag linux pre-installed (console only, no graphics). After installing Windows XP, several components won't have drivers installed: LAN, wireless, sound, video etc. Asus published only Vista and Windows 7 drivers for this model. I found on Asus forums a nice post describing how Windows XP drivers can be installed on Asus K70AB. For the inpatient (and backup purposes), here it is:

01. ATI Graphics Driver V8.610.0.0

02. Audio driver (not necessary to install UAA bus driver if you have XP sp3)

03. Atheros AR8121 LAN Driver V1.0.0.33

04. Wireless Console Utility
05. WLAN Driver and Application
06. ATK0100 ACPI Driver
07. ATK_MEDIA Utility
08. ATK_Hotkey Utility
09. ASUS ATKOSD2 Utility
10. ATK Generic Function Utility

11. Alcor AU6371 Card Reader driver

12. Elantech Touchpad driver

13. Life Frame Utility
14. POWER4 GEAR Utility
15. SPLENDID Utility
16. KB_filter Driver (in others)
17. Camera Driver (Refer to the download site instructions and get PID code first)

I did not install all the drivers from above, some of them weren't for my hardware, some I didn't need. Some notes 'thou:

- SM Bus Unknown >> short story: extracted from the Southbridge kit found on ATI website; long story: searched a lot on the internet without luck, downloaded CPU-Z >> found the motherboard on this computer (chipset AMD 780G, southbridge SB700) >> went to AMD support >> choose ATI Catalyst™ Display Driver for Windows Vista/Windows 7 Unified 32-bit - Motherboard/IGP Drivers >> downloaded South Bridge Driver >> extracted SMBus folder somewhere >> open Device Manager >> right-click on SM Bus >> update driver from SMBus folder.

- Unknown device >> ATK0100 ACPI driver from above (step 6)

Some people might be interested to read:

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Updated / Actualizat: 2009-12-23.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

TCP/IP troubleshooting in Windows

Some useful links from Microsoft:

- to reset TCP/IP stack do this at the command prompt:
netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt

Friday, December 4, 2009

Laptop drivers


Acer FTP Downloads (forum)

Acer US

Acer Australia

Fujitsu Siemens:

Samsung Romania

Samsung US

Sony Vaio-X [Windows XP drivers for VPCX11S1]

Sony (Vaio)

Toshiba EU

- Satellite C660-M216 (P/N PSC1SE-01600KAR) - Windows 7 x64

List of BIOS Manufacturer Web Sites Part 1 [Microsoft KB243909]
List of BIOS Manufacturer Web Sites Part 2 [Microsoft KB243971]

Windows XP on Toshiba Satellite A200-130 (PSAE0E-00Y00YAR)

[update] Toshiba support page for this model.

This model comes with Windows Vista pre-installed. After installing Windows XP, several components won't have drivers installed: LAN, wireless, sound, video etc. I found a page of great help a Google cached page (has everything you need on one page). Since the original page cached by Google is not available online as of this writing, I'll copy-paste (and clean it up) here for other visitors to see:

16-05-2009, 02:42 PM
modle name : satellite a 200-130
modle no : psaeoe-ooyooyar
Chip Set Utility
Acoustic Silencer
Config Free
Controls Driver
Display Driver
Hardware Setup
Toshiba Windows XP
Hotkey Utility
Toshiba Windows XP
LAN Driver
Realtek Semiconductor Corporation Windows XP 5.664.205.2007
Sound Driver
Realtek Semiconductor Corporation Windows XP
Modem Driver
Toshiba Windows XP 2.1.77
SD Utilities
Toshiba Windows XP
Touch Pad Driver
Alps Electric Windows XP 6.0.305.6
Touch Pad Driver
Synaptics Windows XP
Touch Pad On/Off Utility
Toshiba Windows XP
Webcam driver
Chicony Windows XP
Wireless Lan Client Manager
Atheros Windows XP
Wireless Lan Client Manager
Intel Windows XP
Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945/4965/5100/5300 XP 32
Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200/2915 XP 32 / 2000
Bluetooth Monitor
Toshiba Windows XP 3.01
Flash Media Driver
Texas Instruments Windows XP
Storage Manager
Intel Windows XP

Power Saver
Toshiba Windows XP 7.03.07.C
Power Saver
Toshiba Windows XP


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Updated / Actualizat: 2009-12-04.