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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Troublesome hardware configurations

Certain motherboards and hardware configurations have problems grabbing images from 1394 cameras. These problems often manifest themselves in the form of:

  • noise stripes and folded image patches, particularly at times when file I/O is heavy
  • inconsistent recognition of camera devices by the system or Device Manager
  • problems with grabbing images from the camera

So far, this has been reported on the following hardware/software configurations or hardware components:

  • Shuttle FV-24 / Windows 2000
  • Shuttle FN41 / Windows XP
  • NOVA 7896FW / Windows 2000
  • Dell machines (Dimension 4100 and others) / Windows 2000
  • Dell notebooks with PCMCIA 1394 interfaces
  • Machines with USB network interfaces
  • Matrox G550 Dual-DVI / Windows 2000
  • Ricoh 1394 Controller / Windows XP
  • Adaptec FireWire PCI cards
  • Single-board systems (e.g. Kontron ePCI-200, Advantech PCA6178, etc.) with PCI-based video

The following workarounds are recommended:

  • On the Shuttle FV-24, the phenomenon disappears if UDMA (Ultra-DMA) is disabled in the BIOS settings.
  • The problem on the Dell machines appears to be resolved by upgrading to Windows XP. There have also been some early reports that Service Pack 3 solves the issue with machines running Windows 2000
  • If the problem appears on a Dell Laptop refer to the related article below regarding video corruption on Latitude notebooks.
  • On machines with USB network interfaces, it appears that moving to a PCMCIA or PCI based interface solves the problem. Presumably, this is because of the fact that USB network interfaces do very little on board processing and require more resources.
  • If using the Matrox G550 Dual-DVI, disable Bus Master in the display settings (Control Panel->Display->Settings tab->Advanced button->Options tab->Bus Master checkbox).
  • To resolve the Ricoh 1394 Controller / WinXP problem, obtain the latest Service Pack for Windows XP.
  • Try other FireWire cards, such as those listed in the Related Article below.
  • Try a high-end AGP video card instead of PCI-based video in order to avoid saturating the PCI bus.

On other platforms, a similar work-around may exist, but has not yet been successfully tested.

Many system configuration problems may also be a result of deficiencies in the operating system's 1394 driver stack. For Windows operating systems, try installing the latest Service Pack. To see a categorized list of fixes included in each Service Pack, see below:

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