Zotac Zbox AD04

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Version Status Date Updated Updated By
710 Unknown N/A N/A
810 Unknown N/A N/A
1004 Unknown N/A N/A
1204 Works with some hacks 10th May 2014 jamo
Usage Information

Media Director General info

This is a great little media director. Very lightweight, quiet and reliable. I use it as a diskless MD. The only grumble is Radeon graphics that is still not well supported.

Zotac zbox ad04.jpg

Technical Details

  • CPU - AMD E-450 APU 1.65GHz Dual-Core
  • AMD Radeon HD 6320 GPU
  • HD Analog Audio, Optical digital S/PDIF output
  • Onboard Gb LAN
  • 802.11b/g/n wifi
  • Bluetooth
  • 1 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gb/s hard drive connection, 2 204-pin DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM slots - up to 8Gb memory
  • HDMI (1080p with 8-channel audio), Dual-link DVI, HDCP compliant, VGA (with DVI-to VGA adapter)
  • Compatible, DirectCompute ready, OpenGL 3.2 compatible, OpenGL compatible, Integrated 802.11n WiFi
  • 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0

Getting AD04 working under 12.04

Setting up PXE boot

You have to press "Del" key during POST just after ZOTAC sign appears on screen to enter BIOS. In my system, you could use the keyboard to navigate BIOS but the highlighting didn't work well so when you went "down" a menu you had to count your keypreses to figure out which option you were on before pressing enter.

First boot

Once PXE boot is working, device should happily boot from Gig NIC connected to internal linuxMCE network. It will follow the normal pattern of MD creation up to the third reboot where it gets into a loop trying to sort out the video card. You will be left at the last text message - "trying to load: pxelinux.cfg/xx-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx" or something as it flashes the screen clearly trying to start X, failing and dropping back to this point. This happens about 20 times before you miraculously end up in AVWiz.

AVWiz will let you choose 1080p, UI2 (medium), sound over HDMI with no issues.

You may have a TV underscan black border, depending on your TV. My Hisense 40" LCD does require tweaking (see below).

However, I found that with the default driver installed above, there were the following issues:

  1. youtube videos are extremely jerky
  2. if screensaver kicks in when you're on firefox (youtube or other) you have to quick reload router to get out of it
  3. playback of normal videos is slightly jerky
  4. No nice alpha blending

I solved most of these issues by upgrading to the latest catalyst driver as outlined below. After doing this, video playback was noticably better, youtube was much better, certainly watchable, the screensaver issues were gone and I had alpha blending.

Install Latest Catalyst Driver (fglrx)

Download the latest ATI driver for Linux. At the time of writing it was 13.35 (download file is called Linux_AMD_Catalyst_14.3_Beta_V1.0_B22_March12_2014.zip) You need to get the zip file onto your MD- the way I did it was to sftp it to the core and then moved it into the root drive of the appropriate MD /usr/pluto/diskles/XX/root where XX is the media director number. You will need to do all this as root on the core.

ssh into MD as root from core

Unzip driver

unzip Linux_AMD_Catalyst_14.3_Beta_V1.0_B22_March12_2014.zip

That creates a folder called fglrx-13.35.1005 Inside that folder is amd-driver-installer-13.35.1005-x86.x86_64.run Make sure it is executable... if necessary add the executable bit:

chmod a+x amd-driver-installer-13.35.1005-x86.x86_64.run

Now we need to try to purge existing drivers

apt-get remove --purge fglrx fglrx_* fglrx-amdcccle* fglrx-dev*

On my system this threw errors which meant fglrx wasn't completely removed so I had to use the force option when running the installer:

./amd-driver-installer-13.35.1005-x86.x86_64.run --force

Takes a while... just follow the prompts and accept the licence. Then, when done, configure. You need to stop X before configuring:

/usr/pluto/bin/Stop_X.sh

Now configure

aticonfig --initial -f
aticonfig --sync-vsync=on
aticonfig --set-pcs-u32=MCIL,HWUVD_H264Level51Support,1

If your TV had black borders, like my Hisense, disable underscan:

aticonfig --set-pcs-val=MCIL,DigitalHDTVDefaultUnderscan,0

That should sort it out. Reboot the machine with AVWiz and it should work!

/usr/pluto/bin/RebootWithAVWizard.sh


Note, I also installed xvba as follows but I don't think it actually achieved anything:

apt-get install xvba-va-driver libva-glx1 vainfo
vi /etc/environment:
LIBVA_DRIVER_NAME=xvba
LIBVA_DRIVERS_PATH=/usr/lib/va/drivers

Bundled MCE remote

The bundled MCE IR remote comes with an IR receiver which I couldn't get to work nicely but I purchased a USB-UIRT and that receiver works well with this remote. The remote uses template #2287 and just adding this to your Media Director should have it working sweetly (provided you have the USB-UIRT receiver).

Buttons work pretty much as expected. The skip-track button works nicely to page down and up through the media grids. Green button selects the menu, Red exits (like Esc) Zotac zbox ad04 mce remote.jpg