Adventures in Television (Part The Third)

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As I mentioned in my first post about my homemade PVR, I've been having problems with occasional hard disk thrashing and lockups. Over the weekend I decided to try and fix that.

First thing I did was drop in an 80 GB ATA drive to hold the operating system and the swap drive. That means it's got three drives now: 80gb ATA for the OS & swap, 120GB SATA for the live TV buffers, and 250gb SATA for recorded shows.

The install went just fine, got everything copied over and changed the boot order of the drives to make the new 80gb the boot drive (If you can get a copy of it Maxtor's software that ships with their drives is awesome - it allows you to copy from drive to drive, including all the bootable-ness stuff completely automatically, it's WAY earier than using Ghost or whatever and it was free with the drive).

I changed all the settings for Beyond TV so it's buffering and recording whare I want and start trying to make the machine lock up.

No problem. It takes about 5 mintues to do it, and now it seems like the problem is worse - the viewing interface just locks up completely, instead of for a minute or two.

Being the technologist that I am, I assume that I need to throw more hardware at the problem. Memory! I only have 512megs (approx. 51 times the size of the hard disk on my first IBM PC). Obviously it needs more RAM.

So, I doubled it to 1gb (8,192 times the amount of memory in my original Apple IIe computer).

Still having exactly the same problem.

The upside is that it only appears to affect the viewing application - I can ctrl-al-del out it it and shut it down, but the backgroungd processes that record shows continues to work just fine, so I am not losing anything, but has made viewing live TV extremely dicey.

I think I am going to look at how Windows IRQ sharing is set up and see if there is anything there that might be a problem. If that doesn't do it then I have suppose I have the option of looking at differennt software...I still haven't tried out SageTV...

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Just a couple of ideas:

1) Browsers and viewing applications usually maintain some sort of cache for frequently accessed data. A common thing that happens when someone switches drives around is that the file handles within the cache either point to data that's no longer there, or (worse) point to data that isn't what it's supposed to be. Some applications are good about providing a mechanism for invalidating this cache, while others need you to reinstall the software.
2) If its just running slow, make sure that Ultra DMA is enabled in the BIOS and in the operating system for all the drives.
3) Make sure you're running up to date drivers for the motherboard/disk controller. If this is your first time using a SATA drive

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This page contains a single entry by edgore published on June 13, 2005 1:25 PM.

I Close My Mind Now and I Scream was the previous entry in this blog.

Adventures in Television (Part 4) is the next entry in this blog.

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