[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:

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!

[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.

ASUS PG279Q BIOS Defaulting Issue – Z97 + 4790K

Update (11/16/2016): I just realized that I never posted a fix for this. We ended up having to get a high quality DisplayPort cable that had good grounding to get this issue resolved. We went with a 6ft Cable Matters cable from Amazon. Since then the issue has not presented itself.

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.

[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/

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.

3_thumb1_thumb

 

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.