DIY Iyonix mobo mod job to cure freezesBy Chris Williams. Published: 29th Jan 2004, 19:13:51 | Permalink | Printable
Warranty, what?Apparently an undisclosed number of Iyonix users have been suffering from system "freezes", or "lock ups" relating to hardware based sound and DMA problems. We haven't seen any widespread public outcry about it so perhaps it isn't as critical as it sounds, but still Iyonix developers Castle have felt it necessary to issue an "engineering update" to fix the issue.
Or rather, for you to fix the problem. In cutting a PCB track on your Iyonix motherboard and soldering a patch wire across another two points, Castle believes this will cure the stability problem. Naturally, if you accidentally destroy your mobo in the process then you'll have another kind of 'stability' problem on your hands.
The "freezing" issue lies with the two on-board PCI controller devices and whether they initialise in 32bit or 64bit PCI mode. According to Castle, the suggested modification forces the primary PCI bus to start up in 32bit mode, which increases system reliability.
Another DIY suggested fix aims to correct a problem with the machine's reset button. By soldering a resistor across two pins, any noise on the system reset line should be reduced.
John Ballance, Castle CTO, has said that the PCI problem is being "actively persued" by Hint and ALi, the manufacturers of the controller chips.
"Some Iyonixes have had problems with freezing, mine was one of them", Iyonix user Michael Drake told us. He reported that his Iyonix would freeze "quite quickly" once any audio playback was started. Issuing
*audio off at the command line would stop the freezes, but at the expense of a working sound system. As a result, Michael would work on his Iyonix whilst playing music on the trusty nearby RiscPC.
"Different people had found diferent things stopped the freezing, some people have had no freezing at all. Other people found disabling the DMA stuff cured the freezes and the other thing that cured people freezes was to disable the screen saver.
"I'm going to wait and see how people get on with the fix and if it is fine, I'll send the Iyonix back to Castle."
Castle's website refrains from mentioning how these DIY fixes will affect your warranty, so for goodness' sake, do contact Castle before you take hot soldering iron to expensive PCB. A source close to the Suffolk based company informed us that Castle will be offering a service to fix users' machines and that all new Iyonixes should include the aforementioned fixes.
Update at 16:48 30/1/2004
John Ballance has confirmed that Castle will undertake any modifications for users. He also added: "It is anticipated that all Iyonix shipped from now on will have been pre-modded, and ship as default with a jumper in place setting a 32bit primary bus."
Motherboard update details - follow at your own risk or call Castle
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