Author Topic: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04  (Read 2852 times)

jamo

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Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« on: November 19, 2012, 09:34:50 am »
Hi Everyone

I had a pretty cheap price on a Zotac Z-box ID41 which looked like the ideal media director to me but, predictably, when I order I find that it is no longer in stock and they have offerred me an ID81 or AD04 model(s) as alternatives. Still waiting to see the pricing, though.

I couldn't find anything on the forums searching for these. Does anyone have any recommondations? From what I can see from the site (zotac):

ID81:
Intel Graphics (GPU) - HD Graphics. Chipset H65 Express.

AD04:
AMD Radeon Graphics (HD 6320)

My primary concern (and what I liked about the ID41) was the GPU. The ID41 had Nvidia chipset, these are Intel / AMD. However,  I do know l3mce has been doing great work with intel and radeon support lately so perhaps these are not a no-no anymore?

Any comments?

Otherwise, these are newer models so quite a bit higher spec than the ID41 and I see they come with an IR receiver (USB) and MCE remote. Not sure if that could be easily set up with linuxmce or not but I would still require a blaster to control my settop box in any case.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 09:41:45 am by jamo »

jamo

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2012, 07:58:42 am »
Arrrggh, I'm getting anxious. I want this thing!!!

Think I'm going to go for the AD04... some googling seemed to reveal that the ID81 has sandy (or ivy?) bridge graphics which involves some uncomfortable sounding back-porting etc etc so between the two Radeon sounds more likely to work OTB.

posde

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2012, 02:27:40 pm »
* posde wonders why people do not just go with the options available from http://lmcecompatible.com or Dianemo.

jamo

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 02:49:43 pm »
Excellent question, posde, my reasoning may be of use to someone even if it is not valid-

  • They don't ship to South Africa
  • If they do, it gets stolen on the way
  • The jokers at customs will fleece me with import duty
  • There wasn't a viable alternative on lmcecompatible
  • I forgot to check

Ok, so the main reason is the last one. I basically didn't check carefully. In the past, when I checked out lmcecompatible, I had the impression that it wasn't going to work for me remotely for the first 4 reasons. Now, looking back there so I didn't look like a fool it appears that I was wrong on most counts above. The Z1 invisible looks as if it would fit the bill very nicely and wouldn't be much more expensive if the shipping and tax estimation is accurate.

So I must apologise (having already ordered the AD04 locally) if I am wrong and I will certainly make lmcecompatible my first stop. I think it's a great initiative and would like to support it if possible.

As for Dianemo... what's the link? I thought they just did installations, not hardware. Maybe they too ship to SA.. don't know?

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2012, 10:26:45 pm »
So I went for the AD04 and it arrived today, yippee. Got 4gb of memory for it (it can handle 8 but I figured 4 should cover it). Plugged the sucker in and fired it up.

First issue- "no bootable devices". Huh? Surely this thing can PXE boot? Luckily I found that F3 brought up the bios menu and, it seems, enabling some kind of legacy support for PXE in the settings allows it to pxe boot. "legacy"? Weird, anyway, on it went, announced itself to the router and all that good stuff.

Then it detected the Radeon graphics and installed fglrx but pulled that same old "no avwizard stunt" where it just went straight through to Sarah videos in crummy vesa mode.

On looking at /var/log/AVwizard_run log I saw the same old "aticonfig --initial" command had failed - no devices detected...

darn, battery on laptop running low. Will carry on post tomorrow....

l3mce

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 01:24:38 am »
hmm... I need to figure out why the repo version of aticonfig is bombing so many chipsets.

For the time being, if you wanted to, transform lines 623-628 of Utils.sh to

Code: [Select]
*1002)
prop_driver="fglrx"
#if grep -Ei '((R.)([2-5])|(9|X|ES)(1|2?)([0-9])(5|0)0|Xpress)' <<< "$vga_info"; then
prop_driver="radeon"
#fi ;;
;;

Note the semi-colons at the end.
This will use the radeon driver so you can motor around and we can try that. What is going to happen is the routine is going to see that it is different and try and purge the fglrx stuff and reinstall some stuff and use the radeon driver until I can figure out what is buggering it.
I never quit... I just ping out.

jamo

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 07:57:18 am »
Sorry, meant to carry on to say I think I tracked down the problem-

It appears fglrx *is* the right driver for the card but there is a bug in the catalyst 12.6 (and maybe some other close versions) that cause it to have issues thinking there are no compatible controllers. I installed the latest (12.10) and AVWIZ came up and I've got 1080p.... sweet. If this was the right thing to do, L3, perhaps at some stage I can help to make this automatic in the detection routines? If not, no sweat, I realise it's unsupported GPU.

Now I'm just struggling with sound. Not just sound over HDMI but any sound!

Interestingly, I seem to have sound in the KDE desktop, though over HDMI! But when running AVWiz, I hear nothing, regardless of which of the "cards" I chooose (there are 2) or whether I choose analog or HDMI a the next screen.

Any ideas?

< I did an
apt-get install pulseaudio
which I probably shouldn't have but google made me do it. don't think it's changed anything>

jamo

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2012, 08:36:00 am »
Re the sound issues:

Gonna tinker (late this evening :-( )with some of the info I found in this thread...

http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php/topic,12363.msg87360.html#msg87360

l3mce

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2012, 11:35:40 pm »
Where did you get the version you are using? The website?


I really need to be clearer that there are 3 possible audio configurations for every detected setup. We take our best guess based on the things we installed.
There is a parameter that is uses to do this. In /etc/pluto.conf
AlternateSC = 1  for instance. The long and short is it that sometimes our stuff needs to pipe to a card number and it automatically selects the appropriate device, and sometimes it requires that we specify the device.

In my experience things that want it one way, do not want it another way.

So the 3 configs write either to hw:<card#>   or plughw:<card#>,<device#>   or hw:<card#>,<device#>   plughw:<card#> is also avail

The way we USED to do it was hw:<card#>. So if nothing unusual is required to get sound going to begin with... that is what it sticks with (which would be AlternateSC = 0), if we guessed at this config, you will not HAVE the AlternateSC = 0 in pluto.conf... because it is the same as null (non existent).

Add or change the values of AlternateSC and see if it changes. Also make sure you are updated. This value can be edited during avwizard, while you are on the Sound card selection step 5 and then move forward. If you want to just test audio in the MD, you can just edit the value in pluto.conf and run /usr/pluto/bin/SetupAudioVideo.sh, then test. No reloading necessary.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 11:37:37 pm by l3mce »
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jamo

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2012, 07:33:24 am »
Thanks, L3.

Regarding the fglrx(catalyst) version, yes, I downloaded the latest installer from the website (all 100 odd megs of it). It extracts into an exectuable of sorts which then installs rather cleanly. You do need to manually remove the previous version, though. I'll wikify for the AD02 shortly... just don't want to jinx it ;-)

Then, if possible and/or desirable, I can work with you regarding getting it working otb.

Amazingly, got HDMI audio working (mostly) last night. I say mostly because the volume isn't adjustable from linuxmce but that might just require a few further tweaks.

Didn't have the time to update the post but basically I got it going by putting an .asoundrc (I think) file in the home of the root folder which pointed to the hdmi device. Will update when I get home. On reboot, had audio in MD, then I re-ran AVWIz and did the dolby and dts tests as well which (I think) passed. How does one know? I heard sound on each but it wasn't exactly rachmaninoff.... maybe it's because I'm listening on a crummy 2.1 system coming *out* my TV's stereo jack. Need to borrow somone's high-end amp and see if it sounds better. Still, it's a big step.

Now, when searching I see the following page:

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=HOW-TO:Install_XBMC_on_Ubuntu_with_AMD_GPU

Which, I have to say, looks as if it has some pretty cool tips and tricks! It also makes me lust after xbmc a bit....

Oh yes, one other thing, UI2 (non-alpha-blending) doesn't fill the screen. Noticed the same thing in the "zoom" step of AVWiz. I was not able to zoom the image or shift it at all. Is that functionality there in AVWiz still... possibly just the graphics card / conf. So UI2 shows with about a 1cm black frame around it. I *think* that some of my DVDs play at full screen, though... will have to confirm.

And another thing- the zbox comes with a little mce remote and usb-IR receiver... pretty cool. It is usable as far as left,right,up,down,"click", enter go but the other buttons don't seem to work. I imagine it basically emulates a usb keyboard and is sending keystrokes. Would be nice to get the other buttons to work so I don't have to hit F3 etc on the keyboard and can just work from the remote. I see there are some ideas in the link above... maybe I can set it up as a "proper" remote in LMCE rather than just having it work as a keyboard.... however...  I guess I can otherwise figure a way to map some of those buttons to the appropriate keystrokes or something. More late nights ahead.

It is a sleek and attractive device, I must say.


l3mce

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2012, 08:48:41 am »
I would like to see your asound.conf.

HDMI audio has no volume control. It is digital. It is either on or off.

You shouldn't have to do anything at all with audio... but again, I would like to see that.
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jamo

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2012, 07:11:05 pm »
as promised, /etc/asound.conf
Code: [Select]
pcm.!default {
  type plug
  slave {
    pcm "hdmi"
  }
}

l3mce

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2012, 07:34:19 pm »
Have you switched your audio to M (manual) in web admin?

Something is breaking preventing your sound from being configured otherwise. Please drop into IRC.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 07:36:34 pm by l3mce »
I never quit... I just ping out.

jamo

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2012, 09:29:58 pm »
To follow up here, L3mce advised me in IRC to update and then run the SetupAudioVideo.sh. That has provided a decent /etc/asound.conf file and HDMI audio is working, yay! So presumably this will now work out the box with the AD04. Great news, thanks L3.

Busy wikifying this MD: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Zotac_Zbox_AD04

jamo

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Re: Zotac Z-boxes - ID81 or AD04
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2012, 02:15:02 pm »
Blast... spoke to soon, HDMI audio is not working after reboot. It is possible that I broke something (was fiddling with the LIRC remote control stuff before reboot) but unlikely.

so I can

Code: [Select]
aplay -D plug:hdmi superdupertune.wav
and I get sound coming over HDMI but nothing with the usual media director audio or video players. KDE desktop also has sound.

Any pointers? If nothing else I'll stay up late tonight (again) and dig my way through SetupAudioVideo.sh in order to reach the required level of enlightenment