[TTT] PSA – EVGA Nvidia GTX 1060, 1070, & 1080 Cards Exploding – Non-Reference Boards

I just wanted to put out a PSA of sorts since I keep seeing reports about these EVGA cards that are actually exploding. The issue is that EVGA failed to properly cool the VRM’s on the board and they are overheating causing them to pop. This will kill the card itself and even damage other system components.

Here is a video of the card dying LIVE on a Twitch stream: https://www.twitch.tv/aerosimgaming/v/101518948

JayzTwoCents video on the issue. Do note that there have been failures for people with the thermal pads installed.

What do I do?

EVGA has released a BIOS patch that lowers the power draw and they also have a VRM thermal pad kit that you can self install. You can also send in the card to have them replace it but you will likely get a DIFFERENT card that is refurbished. The latest post (Here) shows that this is STILL happening even with the new thermal pads installed. My professional recommendation? STAY AWAY from EVGA 1060, 1070, & 1080 series video cards.

You can check if your card is affected here as well as download the updated BIOS: http://www.evga.com/thermalmod/

Affected EVGA Card SKUs
Affected EVGA Card SKUs

EVGA’s service has been hit and miss. The unfortunate part is that a user on Reddit had it completely kill his PSU and motherboard but EVGA is NOT replacing these even though their product damaged them. That alone is enough to take a long time EVGA customer like myself to look at other companies in the future.

Here are the reports that I was able to locate on these cards exploding and/or catching fire:

Images of cards after they failed:

[TTT] NVIDIA’s Latest Driver Adds Telemetry – How to Disable It

It’s been brought to my attention that nVIDIA now has telemetry included with its drivers if you installed GeForce Experience with the drivers. It is not clear if it is just included with the GeForce Experience package but there are many other services that are included that are really not needed for most users.

First, let’s go over what these unnecessary services are.

  • Telemetry is essentially considered spying by many as it is a way to send data back and forth. It’s nowhere near that simple, but we’d like to know what it’s doing in our video drivers when it’s never been needed before.
  • nVIDIA Wireless Controller requires you have, you guessed it, a nVIDIA Wireless Controller.
  • ShadowPlay is a way to capture and record gameplay.

The easiest way to check for, and disable these is to download Microsoft Autoruns. Autoruns is portable, so no installation is needed. Download it and unzip Autoruns.zip into its own folder and double click Autoruns.exe or Autoruns64.exe.

 

Type nvidia in the filter box.

You will find Telemetry in the Task Scheduler section and the nVIDIA Wireless Controller, and ShadowPlay services further down under the registry entries.

Uncheck what you don’t want, close and reboot. If you get an error, close the program and right click on Autoruns.exe or Autoruns64.exe and “Run as Administrator.”

Here is an image showing you how and what to disable:

nvidia-telemetry-and-how-to-disable-it

Update your Hisense H8 Series TV to support HDR – 50 & 55 Models

Update (11/1/2016): I am getting reports that the firmware *may* be officially available if you manually check for updates through the TV itself. I can’t confirm this as I already installed the firmware below on mine but try it out and let me know if they are pushing it out over the air.

With the current firmware the 50H8c and the 55H8C TVs do not support HDR10 playback. Below is the leaked firmware to enable full HDR10 support from all sources. This has been tested on both models and some H7 owners are reporting that it even enables HDR support on their sets as well. This firmware was obtained directly from HiSense support as of 10/4/2016.

I cannot confirm or endorse installing the firmware on ANY TV so this is at your own risk. 

Now that the “it’s not my fault if you brick your TV” disclaimer is out of the way here is how you get your TV updated.

Instructions:

  1. Download the appropriate firmware for your TV size
    1. 50H8C Firmware
      1. Direct Download – 50H8C
      2. OneDrive Mirror – 50H8C
    2. 55H8C Firmware
      1. Direct Download – 55H8C
      2. OneDrive Mirror – 55H8C
  2. Locate the file ‘upgrade_loader.pkg’. Copy and paste this file into an EMPTY FAT32 formatted USB Stick.
    1. Please ensure that NOTHING ELSE is on the USB, ONLY the ‘upgrade_loader.pkg’ file.
    2. The file must be named ‘upgrade_loader.pkg’. If it is not named that please rename the pkg file to ‘upgrade_loader.pkg’.
  3. Safely Eject the USB from your PC by right clicking on the USB (on your Desktop or in your My Computer) and selecting ‘Eject’, then unplug the USB from your PC.
  4. Turn OFF the Hisense TV.
  5. Plug the USB in to the TV’s top most USB port(located on the rear of the TV).
  6. Press and hold the POWER button on the Hisense TV Remote Control, once you see “Software updating…” appear on the screen you may RELEASE the power button.
  7. Please wait and let the Software Update process finish.
    1. The Software Update Process will complete without any further user interaction.
    2. The Process should take between 5-8 minutes.
    3. DO NOT turn OFF the TV during this process.
  8. When the update is complete, the “Software updating…” Screen will disappear and the TV will come up as it normally does.
  9. Remove the USB from the back of the TV.

And now your TV is updated!

Following up on Chinese Back Door Cameras – LeFun/BEW/VimTag/Fujikam/SkyGenius

UPDATE (10/25/2016): They are now being sold under the brand name “SkyGenius”. STAY AWAY. These are the same backdoored cameras as before. Theses are the kinds of cameras that were likely used in the DDOS attacks that took place last week. Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZRFGXN?m=A3G20NDO3H60P2&th=1

I just wanted to make a quick post that these camera companies are removing and deleting reviews on the Amazon pages that alert people to the behavior that I outlined in my previous post: Chinese IP Cameras – The next Trojan Horses? VimTag/BEW/Fujikam

ALL the reviews on the BEW version are gone and the ones I left on the VimTag ones are removed as well. In addition to that they are now being sold under the “LeFun” brand.

[TTT] Updating and Tweaking a S905X Based Kodi/Android Box

UPDATE: I have confirmed that the firmware works on all variants of the T95X boxes.

Recently I purchased one of the Chinese made Kodi Android boxes. The particular model I picked up was from Amazon and was branded as the “Richino I9X”. After much digging and tinkering I discovered this was a re-badged Sunvell T95X. I was actually able to get the updated firmware loaded from Sunvell and this fixed a lot of little glitches and issues that were present on the one I purchased. They are also sold under the “Puersit” label as well as Sunvell and Richino.

Tweaks

When you get these boxes they will have a number of applications pre-loaded. I would recommend uninstalling them all and disabling any apps that you will not use. This will free up the background processes. Also note that while their hardware supports [email protected] output Netflix will NOT stream at 4K due to the lack of copy protection on the device, it will only be 1080p.

I am using mine with a USB keyboard so I downloaded an application that overrides the onscreen keyboard and allows you to change the key mappings. For example I mapped the physical “Enter” key to the Android “Enter” command so that I can press enter to search and/or execute commands like on a normal computer.

App Download: External Keyboard Helper Pro

Firmware Update

These boxes are all identical and you can tell by the housing and port layout that they have. The only thing you have to check (based on posts on numerous Android TV box forums) is that you flash the correct firmware based on the RAM and eMMC memory you have. The particular firmware I have posted here is for the 1GB of RAM and 8GB of eMMC storage variant. Now this may work on other variants but you can try at your own risk, but based on my experience with Android devices the memory shouldn’t matter and the flash should work.

Until you do this update you will have issues with the Play Store crashing as well as other typos in the system. After installing this update it will be on the OEM version of the software from Sunvell and will get their automatic firmware updates from their servers. The one that comes on the re-badged versions does NOT auto update and has numerous bugs.

August 2016 Sunvell T95X Firmware: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dmk1s0htwiuo4ed/firmware082016.zip?dl=0

If you want to install this firmware you must have a Micro SD card that is 2GB or larger and something to press the hidden recovery switch.

  1. Format the SD card as FAT (NOT FAT32). If you have a large card use this utility to format it at FAT: https://www.dropbox.com/s/43ohryu4el9odxc/guiformat.exe?dl=0
  2. Copy the contents of the firmware file posted above to the root of the MicroSD Card.
  3. Unplug the device and insert the MicroSD Card.
  4. Connect the device to HDMI.
  5. Carefully insert a long and small object into the av/headphone port, you will feel a button inside. A toothpick works very well for this.
  6. While holding the button down and the MicroSD card inserted plug the power into the device.
  7. Keep holding the button until you see the little Android Updating logo on the screen.
  8. The update will take between 5-10 minutes.

Here is a video of how to install the update once it is on the MicroSD card: https://www.dropbox.com/s/z7s0lhysnd2ayb6/T95X%20SD%20card%20update.MOV?dl=0

That’s it! You are all updated.

Should you buy one?

All in all these boxes are under $35 on Amazon and if you want a small Kodi box for your TV this is it. If you pair it with a HD HomeRun tuner on your network you can ditch your cable boxes as well! If this sounds appealing pick one up.

What should you look for? 

  • You absolutely should get a minimum of the S905X CPU. There are others out there (specifically the S905) that are older and do not have the new processing features.
  • The Android version should be 6.0 or higher.
  • There are versions with clocks on the front, remote designs, external wifi antennas, and other designs. As long as it has the right CPU it doesn’t matter what one you get.
  • You will see there are different RAM and storage configurations. They are as follows: 1GB RAM+8GB Storage, 2GB RAM+8GB Storage, and 2GB RAM+16GB Storage. The S912 (higher end CPU) versions have up to 3GB of RAM on them, these are more expensive though.
  • There are also some with and without Gigabit ethernet. From my testing these devices cannot even max out a 100mbit connection so this shouldn’t be something you should worry about.
  • There are also some with 802.11AC Dual Band, 802.11N Dual Band, or 802.11N Single Band. Get the one that suits you best. I use ethernet so this was not important to me.

I would also highly recommend getting a keyboard/trackpad device as this will make it much easier to use. I put a link to the one I recommend below, the Logitech K400 is also a larger option that works.

Amazon Links:

Richino I9X – S905X CPU, 8GB Storage, 1GB RAM, 802.11N Single Band Wifi

Puersit I9X – S905X CPU, 8GB Storage, 1GB RAM, 802.11N Single Band Wifi

TICTID T12 – S912 CPU, 16GB Storage, 2GB RAM, 802.11AC Dual Band Wifi

Rii I8 Backlit Keyboard/Trackpad – USB 2.4ghz rechargeable keypad/mouse.

Logitech K400 Keyboard/Trackpad – USB 2.4ghz keypad/mouse.