Problems using small form factor

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All Night Music

New Member
Help!!!

I've been using a Compaq small form factor with PCDJ Red VRM. The CPU is a P4 1.6G, 768Meg Ram, XP Pro, installed 4 place 2.0 USB PCI card, external 160G HD (USB), DAC2, and external Gigaport. I should also note this computer is shock mounted inside my Odyssey case.

The issue is the computer freezing during mid playback of songs. I'm talking about 5 to 10 seconds of dead air each time! This usually happens more than once during an event, and has happened as many as 8 times in one night! :mad:

I've also had problems during power up. The computer freezes during start up, and I have to restart manually (sometimes several times). Once I have it powered on, I can restart without any issues. Also, as long as power is connected, although the computer is off, I can start with no problems. Could this have something to do with the above problem?

Any thoughts, or suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
 

jwg

New Member
As for the sound drop issue, if you are using Windows XP:

1) Right click on my computer, then properties. Click on Advanced. Under performance, click settings. Make sure that adjust for best performance is selected.

2) Go to control panel and click on display. Click the appearance tab and click effects. Make sure that the transistion effect is not selected.

3) In your taskbar, click on the time. When the box opens up, click on internet time. Make sure the automatically synchronize is not selected.
 

CJ Greiner

Supreme Gold Member
Hmmm... I don't think it has anything to do with the size of the motherboard.

First, make sure that you have all of the latest updates for your operating system and every piece of software you're running -- including your DJ programs.


Make sure you have the latest drivers for every component of your computer. Disc Drives, motherboard, monitor, video card, and especially your sound card.

Check your computer for loose or malfunctioning memory.
You can check for malfunctioning memory using one of many software suites that are available that verify that the memory is actually accessible by the operating system, and maintains the information stored in it accurately.

Make sure you have the latest version of DirectX installed:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=0a9b6820-bfbb-4799-9908-d418cdeac197&DisplayLang=en

Then, disconnect from the internet:
You'll want to check that you have your computer disconnected from the internet. Disable virus scan, firewalls, etc. that run in the background. You'll also want to run an Ad-Aware type program to make sure nothing has been installed on your computer that could mess it up.

Make sure your hard drive is de-fragmented. Make sure you have plenty of spare space on your hard drive for the Virtual Memory (swap file).

Make sure you have enough memory! If you're just running audio, then 512 Meg is probably plenty, but 1Gig is extra nice. If you're running programs that are capable of karaoke or video (even if you're not actually showing video), then you should be using 1 Gig as a minimum... and more is better.

___________
You can also tweak your operating system to be "DJ Performance Ready". This is done by turning off some of the Windows XP "extras" that aren't really necessary, and simply hog resources.

If you don't mind giving up some of the "pretty extras" that Windows XP has, and tuning your system for true performance, you can go to:
Control Panel/System/Advanced/Performance/Settings/Visual Effects

The default selection is "Let Windows Decide"... but you can choose the "performance" option and windows won't spend time on extra stuff that you don't need.

On the advanced tab of that window, "programs" should be selected for both cases.

It will modify the way your folders are displayed... but test it with your DJ program and you might find that everything works a little faster... (you can always change it back if your program doesn't work correctly, or you don't like how things look.)

:idea:
 

All Night Music

New Member
Thanks CJ,

Just installed the latest version of DirectX, and updated all drivers. I'm defragementing now. I have already done "DJ Performance Ready", as recommended by PCDJ. BTW, I'm only running audio.

Hopefully this will work. Thanks to everyone who chimed in! :D
 

djjef

New Member
Having dealt with many many many SFF systems... make sure it is not overheating. It may seem obvious but that is most of the time the issue with SFF systems. Be careful not to cover any vents that are on the case bottom and sides. These SFF boxes are not engineered for placing in a case. Some of them have pretty strict airflow requirements to remain 100% dependable.

I have a Dual Opteron SFF that is VERY particular about having something too close on the right side since that is where the majority of the air is brought into the case.

Overheating can also look like a RAM issue BTW.
 

All Night Music

New Member
Jef,

I have suspected this, after reading other posts. Thank you for responding. I'm going to see if this is the issue. I do keep about 3 inches on either side of the CPU and about 3/4 inches underneath. Would you recommend additional venting to the case?
 

rfielder

New Member
All Night Music said:
Jef,

I have suspected this, after reading other posts. Thank you for responding. I'm going to see if this is the issue. I do keep about 3 inches on either side of the CPU and about 3/4 inches underneath. Would you recommend additional venting to the case?
It might be easier to get an application to monitor your motherboard temps, hard disk temps, and fan speeds. Provided your drives and motherboard support this.

If it is an Intel motherboard, Intel provides an application to monitor the motherboard.

I use Speedfan, from:
http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php

It may not be perfect, but it does do what I need for various systems.

It is better to measure and see where the problem is, rathern than trying to fix an undefined problem.
 

All Night Music

New Member
Rfielder,

Thanks for the info. I just installed the program. All seems normal, for now. I will attempt some real world conditions in the morning. Hopefully, I can isolate the problem.
 

rfielder

New Member
All Night Music said:
Rfielder,

Thanks for the info. I just installed the program. All seems normal, for now. I will attempt some real world conditions in the morning. Hopefully, I can isolate the problem.
You need to stress the system in different ways, beyond what you would do when working. After all, you never know when you will be asked to do a little more in the middle of an event, and you want your system to be capable.

Two main things to stress are the hard drives, and the CPU. Test each seperately, then test both at once. Memory also needs to be tested, if you have software to do the test, then do all three at once.

My test for both was to defrag a drive while encoding video.

On my laptop, I was having a heating issue, mostly the result of the hard drive being located directly below the PCMCIA slot. When I used my Audigy 2 ZS PCMCIA card, things got worse. Buying a laptop cooler, a Kingwin UC3, made a huge difference and left my Gateway MX6625 running DJ Power 3.95 totally stable and problem free.
 

All Night Music

New Member
Thanks to all,

I've been running the CPU at near 100%, while ripping, playing music and defrag. I do believe it is a heat issue (the remote sensor jumped 15*C in a matter of 10 minutes) I have always had my external HD just above the CDROM. I'm going to be changing the location of the external. It's time to do some rearranging, anyway. I'm also considering venting the case.
BTW, no hiccups or issues for the past 3 hours! 8)

Edited to add: I think this problem was a combination of factors, including heat. I also defragged(sp?) the HD's, changed the internet clock setting, etc.
 

Brycew

New Member
Also you have to consider the enviroment..What was the temperature like at the time in the room? Is your amp in the same cabinet?? If so how much heat did it and other components in the rak produce etc....
 

All Night Music

New Member
Enviro temps have usually been a consistent 68 to 72 degrees. The only other item in the case is my light co-pilot. On top, I keep the mixer (Numark 200FX), DAC 2, and wireless. I use EON G2's, so no amp in the case. When I use my EV's, the amps are in a seperate case under the table.

Attached is a photo of my usual rig. I've stopped using the laptop for another reason, all together.
 

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All Night Music

New Member
Update...
After several nights of troubleshooting, I have found I am running a little hot. The problem I've discovered though lies with the external drive. The situation with the computer freezing during mid playback of songs, only occurs when I am playing music from the external drive.
It is a 160G Iomega USB 2.0 drive. I'm going to try to update drivers, once again.

Any suggestions??
 

JSMain

Active Member
How large of cache does this drive have? What are the specs on it?

Sounds to me like your buffer is drying up. Is it optimized for performance, or for pquick removal?
This info can be found by right clicking the drive selecting properties, the hardware tab, then double click the drive on that tab to open that properties page, and finally click policies.
 

All Night Music

New Member
Jeff,

Here are the Specs, taken from Iomega's website:
Technical Information

* Capacity: 160GB
* Preformatted FAT32
* Fast 7200 RPM
* Compatible with PC and Mac®
* 8 MB Cache Buffer
* 1394a (FireWire 400)
* What is FireWire?
* Includes Iomega Automatic Backup Pro & Disaster Recovery software
* One-year limited warranty

Edited to add:
The computer has a standard L2 cache of 256KB integrated ECC.

Should I check these specs on the computer itself? It is currently set-up for tonights show.

Another question, If I defrag the external HD, do I have to refresh my record case in PCDJ?

Thanks!
 
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