2016-08-22_13-08-07

ASUS PG279Q BIOS Defaulting Issue – Z97 + 4790K

Yesterday my little brother Doug  (aka TopHattWaffle) called me with a weird issue on the new system that I helped him tweak. We swapped out his older Core i7 3820K and its X79 motherboard with a new Z97 board (Gigabyte Gaming 7 Z97X) and a Core i7 4790K. The system was working perfectly and quick at my place with no issues. He brought it home and once he got all his monitors and other devices connected is when the issues started. Instead of going in depth of each step and different things we tried I am going to just put a bullet point list below.

Here is the issue: When the ASUS PG279Q is connected to the system through the main GTX 970 video card and the system is restarted (particularly on a cold boot) the BIOS hangs and reverts to defaults (peripheral settings, overclocking, preferences, etc).

Note:

  • This does NOT happen when the monitor is disconnected and others are connected.
  • This is reproducible on-demand 100% of the time.

System Specs:

  • NZXT H630 Case
  • Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7 Motherboard
  • Intel Core i7 4790K
  • Dual Gigabyte Gaming G1 GTX 970
  • Corsair H115i Cooler
  • 32GB DDR3-2400 Corsair RAM (4x 8GB)
  • Samsung EVO 850 512GB SSD
  • 3x 1TB in RAID 5 (Intel RST)
  • SteelSeries Apex Keyboard
  • Logitech G700S Mouse

Monitors:

  • Asus PG279Q over DisplayPort
  • HP ZR2740W over Dual Link DVI
  • HP ZR2740W over DisplayPort

Troubleshooting Steps Attempted (None Worked/Changed the Outcome)

  • Removed all RAM but 1 stick
  • Tried another stick of known good RAM
  • Disconnected ALL drives from motherboard
  • Swapped Video card slots
  • Ran only 1 video card
  • Flashed Motherboard BIOS from F8 to F7 version
  • Flashed video card BIOS to stock GTX 970 version
  • Removed ALL USB devices including keyboard and mouse
  • Removed all USB devices excluding keyboard
  • Connected ASUS PG279Q to HDMI (no video at all)
  • Factory reset motherboard BIOS
  • Checked CMOS Battery voltage (it was OK)
  • Switched active motherboard BIOS to backup BIOS
  • Checked and re-seated all power cables
  • Deleted and re-created Intel RAID arrays
  • Reinstalled Windows from new installation ISO and media
  • Wiped ALL drives in the computer
  • Reinstalled Windows and tested issue with NO drivers installed

As you can see we have tried to cover all our bases but no matter what the BIOS will always crash and reset when the ASUS PG279Q monitor is attached to the system. We can restart over and over as many times as we want with the other monitors connected with no issues but as soon as the ASUS is connected it starts.

I have never seen an issue like this. I have a feeling it is something to do with the UEFI BIOS crashing for some reason due to the ASUS monitor and causing the reset. Given the lack of logging and the Gigabyte DIAG LED not being of much use we are grasping at straws. We did order a new GTX 1070 to see if the same thing happens, if it does we will be replacing the motherboard next.


Here is a video demonstrating the issue:

Here is the Gigabyte BIOS DIAG LED when it resets to default.

You can see it reset when the DIAG light shuts off and comes back up. The BIOS codes are ambiguous at best.

If you have any ideas, comments, or suggestions please contact me using the Contact Me page.

ZXQzOTe

The FDA’s War on Vaping – I am Disgusted – Non-IT Related

There are many reasons why I am disgusted by the current state of our government but one that is hitting me the hardest is all these new regulations on the vaping industry. Why? Because I am involved with the vaping industry and have seen many close friends quit tobacco through it successfully after other methods failed.

The new regulations that are in effect are so strict that a vape shop cannot even help customers with their devices in any way or else face steep fines. They cannot tell anyone that it is safer than smoking (despite there being actual medical studies showing it is safer than smoking). They cannot recommend flavors or proper nicotine levels to help people quit their smoking habit.

Want to see what this is doing? Just watch this video: https://www.facebook.com/MommaVape/videos/vb.1606220196312192/1743170175950526/?type=2&theater

Eliquid makers are being hit hard with PMTA filing fees for each product that will cost over $500,000 PER filing that *might* get approved. If they do not they will have to pull their products off the market and close their businesses.

Thousands of jobs are disappearing as shops, online stores, and ejuice makers are closing their doors because they have no other choice. Millions more people are going to die from Tobacco use that could have been prevented by switching to vaping.

America needs to get their head out of their asses and realize that all the “danger” that is being spread about vaping is just propaganda that the mass media and the FDA are spreading. Chicago has even managed to “find” millions of dollars to launch an all out billboard and ad campaign against vaping (see the image at the top of this post).

Why would they do this?

They take every angle to try and make this industry seem evil, including the classic “think of the children” bullshit that has been use to push through other unfair and unconstitutional legislation in the past. If you are that worried about your kids smoking or vaping then talk to them and be a better parent. It is not MY problem if you don’t know how to raise your children properly.

Big tobacco is NOT vaping. Vaping is thousands of small businesses that are trying to provide a living for themselves and provide a safer alternative to smoking. Vaping IS a safer alternative (source) to smoking. They just want to keep you hooked and dying.

ClassicShellHackFT.fw

[TTT] PSA – All FossHub downloads are COMPROMISED – Includes Audacity and Classic Shell

I just wanted to send this out to all my followers because not only do I use Classic Shell but I am sure that many of you do.

DO NOT UPDATE from FossHub at all.

Earlier today their site was compromised by “CultOfRazer“.  Download the software DIRECTLY from the authors website. They replaced all the installers to just simply overwrite your MBR when you install the program. After you restart you will get the errors that are in the slideshow below.

Infected file from FossHub

 

If you need to fix your MBR after this please see the guide below. All the details can be found in this Reddit thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/comments/4vw21h/massive_psa_do_not_download_classic_shell_read/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Repair Master Boot Record MBR (Source)

The process is almost same for Windows 10 / 8 / 7. First and foremost you need a Windows 8 or Windows 7 installation DVD. Without that, it will be hard to proceed.  Please don’t ask where you can download it since we are not at liberty to discuss the sources, where we can find the installation DVD.

Step 1:

Press F8 while booting the system to go into the Windows Recovery Menu. Unlike other version Windows 8’s recovery menu has the Metro UI style.

Step 2:

Click on Troubleshoot.

Repair-Master-Boot-Record-3

 

Step 3:

Click on Advanced options to get into Automatic Repair menu.

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Step 4:

We need to use the Bootrec.exe tool. Click on command prompt and type in the following commands, one after the other:

image_thumb20

  • bootrec /RebuildBcd
  • bootrec /fixMbr
  • bootrec /fixboot
  • Exit

Now go ahead and reboot your system. In some cases you may need to run some additional commands.

image_thumb21

 

  • bootsect /nt60 SYS or bootsect /nt60 ALL

It’s wise to backup MBR or create a System Recovery Disk so that in case something like this happens you don’t have to run for the Windows Recovery Disk. To create a system recovery drive in Windows 8, follow these steps:

  • Press Win + R and type in RecoveryDrive.exe

image_thumb22

  • Click Next
  • Once you insert the USB drive it will start creating the Recovery for you’re USB drive.
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[TTT] Finding the right 4K HDMI Cables

Welcome to HDMI Hell

Recently I started upgrading my home theater setup to full 4K (with exception of the ChromeCast 2.0 that I have). I picked up the new Samsung UBD-K8500 UHD Blu-Ray Player along with a Denon AVR-X3300W receiver to handle the audio and HDMI switching. I have the Samsung UN65KS8000 4K TV that supports the full 18GBPS on all HDMI ports so I can send a full 4Kx2K 60HZ with 4:4:4 Chroma signal to it for the best possible picture. In addition to that, I have a custom PC that has a GTX 1070 that I use for media playback as well as running a HTC Vive setup that is installed in the living room.

Once I had everything hooked up I noticed that I was getting either “grainy” signals or complete signal dropouts on the TV with my existing random assortment of high-speed HDMI cables. This led me to purchase quite a few cables from Amazon to try and get a stable and high quality 4K signal to my TV. The problem is that most of the reviews currently on most HDMI cables on Amazon are people that are either running 4K @ 30HZ or even just 1080p. Almost all half-way decent cables will handle the [email protected] signal or the 1080p signal just fine. I even read prior to going on this HDMI cables purchasing expedition that the existing “High Speed HDMI” cables would be fine for [email protected] but the HDMI consortium has since changed their stance since most cables (even higher end ones) that were made prior to the [email protected] HDMI 2.0 standard were found to not be able to handle the increased bandwidth that was necessary to push such high amounts of data.

Let’s go over how I plan to “qualify” these cables and the equipment that is involved.

Equipment

Testing methods

  • PC to TV Playback will be tested by playing a 1 hour long 4K video from YouTube and monitored for any dropouts/distortion
  • BluRay to TV Playback will be tested by play 1 hour from a UHD BluRay and monitored for any dropouts/distortion
  • The connection from the BluRay to the Receiver will be with a qualified 6FT HDMI 2.0 cable – I used a MediaBridge brand cable for this.
  • The connection from the PC to the Receiver will be with a qualified 6FT HDMI 2.0 cable – I used a MediaBridge brand cable for this.
  • The reason for not changing the cables between the devices and the receiver is that the dropouts went away when I changed the cable between the Receiver and the TV with a 3FT High Speed cable.
  • This led me to isolate the issue to the cable carrying the signal from the Receiver to the TV as this is the longest one, it requires a 10ft length as the TV is wall mounted and requires the cable to be in the wall for aesthetic purposes.

HDMI Cables

I am going to include ALL the HDMI cables that were used, including existing ones that I had that failed.

Existing Cables

These cables are between 1-2 years old and were acquired from various sources. They are all in good condition with no damage to the cable or plugs.


Newly Purchased Cables

These were all purchased from Amazon.com


Cable Reviews

BlueRigger 12FT HDMI "Latest Version"

BlueRigger 12FT HDMI “Latest Version”

This cable I had purchased before going to full 4K since on the page when I purchased it they advertised that it was “4K” compliant and actually had mentioned that it was 18GBPS tested. Currently their page shows that it is now only 10.2GBPS for the speed.

This cable would not work completely and would drop signal every 1-2 seconds. It was completely unusable.

"Twisted Veins" 10 FT HDMI Cables

“Twisted Veins” 10 FT HDMI Cables

This cable was included with one of the wall mounts that I had purchased in 2014 and had been laying in my extra cable box. This would not display a picture at all when set to a 4K resolution. The only way I was able to get a picture was to set the source to 1080p and even then the picture had artifacts on it and did not look correct.

Even though it says on their Amazon page that it is a “high speed HDMI cable” it cannot even do the minimum 1080p. Stay away even for 1080p only.

e18474e8bcaec5b96faedab933c7b3dcGeneric 12Ft HDMI Cable (From Comcast at some point)

 

This one I received from the Comcast guy when he brought when the cable box was installed years ago. This cable worked for a while but then started dropping out at random times when running a 4K signal into it. This does work with all my 1080p sources without issue and it says “High Speed HDMI” on the outer cable jacket.

 

"Ultra" Brand 12FT HDMI Cable

“Ultra” Brand 12FT HDMI Cable

 

The Ultra brand cable is one that I was actually using with the 4K TV to go from my PC to the TV since I picked up the TV. This cable does work from the PC directly to the TV but for some reason once it is hooked up to the receiver I end up getting a distorted picture and/or drop outs.

 

This cable is a “High Speed HDMI” cable and works fine for 1080p

KabelDirekt 10FT HDMI Pro Series

KabelDirekt 10FT HDMI Pro Series

 

This cable was purchased from Amazon.com (link) in hopes of finding a working cable.

 

I am happy to say that this cable not only is very well made but it passed all the 4K video tests with no distortion or drop outs. I can honestly recommend this cable for [email protected] with 4:4:4 chroma use. Do know that the longer you go, especially after 15 ft, you will be more prone to dropping out no matter what the brand.

OCC 10FT HDMI Cable

OCC 10FT HDMI Cable

 

This cable was purchased from Amazon.com (link) as well.

 

This was a 2 pack of cables and neither could sustain the 4K signal. After about 5 minutes they would drop the signal. They were labeled and sold as 4K HDMI 2.0 compliant cables but they are not. They are also very thin cables so they definitely do not have thicker wire in them. I cannot recommend this cable for 4K use. They do work with 1080p though.

 

"ONN" Brand 12FT HDMI Cable
ONN 12FT HDMI Cable

 

These were purchased in a 2 pack on clearance from WalMart.

 

Surprisingly they actually worked fairly well out of all the cables. I bought 3 of the 2 packs and only 1 cable dropped signal at all. The others worked but had occasional artifacts. They are labeled as a “High Speed HDMI” cable on the outer jacket. They work flawlessly for 1080p but YMMV for 4K sources. For the price you can’t argue.

MediaBridge 10ft HDMI Ultra Series

MediaBridge 10ft HDMI Ultra Series

 

These were purchased from Amazon.com (link).

 

These cables are my favorite out of all of them not only because they are well made and easy to work with but they passed ALL the [email protected] with 4:4:4 chroma tests. These are the ones that I am currently using in my home theater setup, I gave the KabelDirekt ones to my neighbor to use with his 4K TV. They are advertised as 18GBPS cables.

 

I have been using MediaBridge cables for years and they always deliver on what they promise. This is no different.

Vizio TXCH12X-C3 12FT HDMI

Vizio TXCH12X-C3 12FT HDMI

 

These were purchased from Walmart on clearance.

 

They are advertised as 18GBPS cables but fell completely short. They displayed no 4K picture at all.

 

They work fine with 1080p sources and that is it. Stay away for 4K, they do not work at all.


Closing

In the end the MediaBridge Ultra series and the KabelDirekt Pro cables were the 2 that worked for me. This was a long process and I hope this helps alleviate the process for someone else. You can purchase the cables with the links below. I am not affiliated with either of these companies and have not received any free cables in exchange for these reviews, but these are Amazon affiliate links so I will get a commission off of them with no increased cost to you.

Both of these are great cables. I do favor the MediaBridge ones as they are easier to work with due to the lack of mesh sleeving on them.

MediaBridge Ultra Series HDMI Cables

KabelDirekt Pro Series HDMI Cables

comcast-time-warner-cable-company-south-park-meme

WARNING – Comcast applying data caps to ALL residential services starting August 1st, 2016

You read that right! Comcast is now offering their “Terabyte Internet Experience” to all residential customers. What does this mean?

It means that if you are a heavy user and use more than 1TB a month they will be charging you $10/50GB over the 1TB or you can pay them $50/month for “Unlimited Data”.

My household has 4 people and 3 of them are IT Professionals and Gamers. We use around 1.5TB-2.0TB a month depending on what is going on. That means I either fork over the $50/month up front or risk paying $150-200/month in overages. This is absolutely ridiculous and why everyone hates Comcast.

I urge EVERYONE to file a FTC complaint about this. Hopefully if enough people file complaints they will address this issue. You can file a complaint here: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us

This is a direct violation of Net Neutrality. Why? Because if you pay for their streaming services and use them it doesn’t count that data against your data cap.

Source: http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/11/comcast-launches-online-tv-service-that-doesnt-count-against-data-caps/

Email from Comcast that I received today:

Comcast Extortion
Comcast Extortion