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Author Topic: Getting what I can out of 1st gen Link  (Read 2670 times)
ncfoster
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« on: February 08, 2012, 10:29:49 pm »

So, I got a bigger SSD for my desktop this week, leaving a 30GB SSD that I could put in the Link.  I also have a no-frills nVidia video card installed in it (I'll have to check the model number, but it is basic).

From the get-go, the existing Windows 7 install (from my desktop) seemed to work, and I installed Ubuntu 11.10 along-side it.  Windows 7, as configured, seems to be choking on the 1GB of memory frequently, and didn't like me trying to go without a swap file.  Ubuntu seems to be choking on higher-quality video, much like it seemed to do in the baseline configuration (ATI graphics, flash drive boot and Link software).  I got so far as installing Chrome and trying to update the video drivers on Ubuntu when I ran out of space on the partition, and things went amok).  Both OSes seemed quite usable, though Ubuntu seemed a little more geared toward a television interface.

It seems like Windows has the far superior video drivers and is more within my comfort zone when it comes to tinkering, but that Ubuntu (and any modern Linux) still seems to have a smaller memory footprint, at the cost of subpar video drivers (could be that the ones that I was in the middle of installing would be passable).  I do like the IDEA of running Linux, especially one designed for set-top box use, or otherwise adaptable to be so, but the old Link builds were too problematic, and nothing seems to be coming for the original boxes (much less my nVidia hybrid).

I'd like to go one way or the other, getting the most that I can out of the box without investing too much more time, money, etc.  My #1 goal would be to be able to do 720p video (MPEG2 and/or H.264) full-screen without issue.  So, my questions are:

1. If I am starting from scratch, am I best off just going with Windows 7 and installing more memory, or will Ubuntu (or any other flavor of Linux that is happy with my 30 GB SSD) do the trick?

2. Either way I go, for set-top box use, is it worth getting 4 or even 8 GB of ram, or will 2 GB be fine?

3. If I went 2GB, I'd ideally like to economize and find a matching 1 GB module for the one that is included.  Is the part number for that module readily available without me opening it up all of the way again.

Extra credit: The Live install of Linux and Windows 7 with only basic VGA drivers both seemed to provide a proper image without needing overscan compensation, but once the nVidia drivers were installed on either, getting the proper 1366x864 resolution and a desktop without overscan seemed to be a tall order.  Any specific reason why the drivers would make things harder?  And what is the easiest solution?

Thank you in advance to anyone who can help me.
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ChadV
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2012, 07:53:32 am »

1) Yes to both accounts.  The newer nVidia drivers are part of the reason we switched for LINK v2, so either should work.  If you buy more RAM, keep in mind it has to be the low-profile (short) style in order to fit under the drive bay rack.

2) 2GB should be fine, if 4GB is cheap go that route.  8GB is overkill.

3) Nope.  I could open mine up to check, but...

Extra Credit: Drivers suck sometimes?  The nVidia drivers *should* have a setting to switch to broadcast resolutions (480p, 720p, 1080p) that should simplify things...  Though 1366 x 864 isn't horribly common.
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ncfoster
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2012, 10:36:19 pm »

1) Yes to both accounts.  The newer nVidia drivers are part of the reason we switched for LINK v2, so either should work.  If you buy more RAM, keep in mind it has to be the low-profile (short) style in order to fit under the drive bay rack.

2) 2GB should be fine, if 4GB is cheap go that route.  8GB is overkill.

3) Nope.  I could open mine up to check, but...

Extra Credit: Drivers suck sometimes?  The nVidia drivers *should* have a setting to switch to broadcast resolutions (480p, 720p, 1080p) that should simplify things...  Though 1366 x 864 isn't horribly common.

So, no thoughts as to which OS offers better performance for video playback?  Of course Newegg doesn't seem to have any designations as to whether memory is low-profile.  Do you mean that it has to be the sort where the memory chips themselves are horizontal, or does it just have to not have extraneous big heat spreaders, etc.?
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ChadV
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2012, 03:06:21 am »

Not particularly.  In raw, local video playback it's normally a wash, or advantage: Linux just for being more lightweight.  Flash performance is better in Windows, but I'm not sure if it's significant enough of a difference.

It has to be the sort that is short vertically from the slot.  Standard height (with the chips vertical) is too tall.
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ncfoster
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2012, 03:23:58 pm »

Not particularly.  In raw, local video playback it's normally a wash, or advantage: Linux just for being more lightweight.  Flash performance is better in Windows, but I'm not sure if it's significant enough of a difference.

It has to be the sort that is short vertically from the slot.  Standard height (with the chips vertical) is too tall.

After checking the model number on the DIMM that was in the machine, I came up with this item at Newegg, which supposedly matched:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146580

Have it running now with 3 more of those.  However, even though I do think the model numbers match, I'd note two things.  First, the chips are vertical.  Second, I believe the original chip had a different layout, with chips on both sides of the DIMM.  You would think that the model number would have changed.

About to waste more time installing the 64-bit version of Windows 8, since I had installed the 32-bit version when I moved up to 2 gigs, and just bumped it up to 4 gigs.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 03:25:54 pm by ncfoster » Logged
ncfoster
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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2012, 03:55:44 pm »

Seems somewhat silly to keep posting here, as there isn't much activity.  But, unfortunately, it seems that even though the advertised model numbers were the same, the difference in chip configuration was too much for the Link to operate properly once I got 4 modules installed.  32-bit Windows 8 froze after trying to benchmark it, and 64-bit Windows 8 failed repeatedly on install with the new fangled frownie-face blue screen.

If there is anyone out there that wants to send a few bucks my way for an original memory module, I think I'm going to have to pick up a 4th matching one to get this working properly.
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ChadV
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2012, 07:13:54 am »

If you remove the original and its mate, does it work?

You're right that the newer chips may not match closely enough...  When running pairs, they have to match pretty well.
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ncfoster
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2012, 09:26:33 pm »

If you remove the original and its mate, does it work?

You're right that the newer chips may not match closely enough...  When running pairs, they have to match pretty well.

I am currently running 3 identical chips, and it works.  I was previously running the original and one of the newer ones.  I believe they were in different channels, which I assume may have made a difference.  Of course, with 4, I can't do that.  I am beginning to wish I had picked up 2x2GB chips, but I was just trying to find something that I knew would work.
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