Sunday, September 19, 2010

"A Mini 311 Update"...

  An update on the HP "Mini 311" experience, if I were to sum it up in one word I think it would be "underwhelming", the main culprit here being Intel's somewhat anemic N270 Atom processor. In retrospect it probably would have been a good idea to hold out until a dual core Cpu to become available such as the new "N550", but such is not the case. That said, a bios update has become available that addresses the Mini's inability to boot to Windows while the Logitech usb nano receiver is installed, which is indeed a fix, chalk one up for the folks at HP... Problem solved.

                              Does anyone remember "Atom Ant"...?

  Also I've been having some audio issues whilst streaming Pandora radio on this unit, namely an intermittent interruption in the audio accompanied by a loud buzz ( approx. 3 second duration ). Once the buzz  starts occurring, after several minutes of streaming, it  seems to become almost cyclical occurring at regular intervals of a minute or so. This presents itself through the headphone jack and the on board speakers.  For me, one of the principal uses of this machine was as a portable audio player, so this is exceedingly very friggin annoying.

  As an electronic tech, my first concern was that it was a hardware issue, such as an ic or capacitor experiencing thermal breakdown or a bad solder connection on the motherboard. Being an eternal optimist, and because it's much simpler (hopefully), I decided to pursue the possibility of a software related problem. After some investigation at HP's technical support site and some other tech forums I came to the conclusion that reverting the SATA driver from the "Nvidia nforce" to the standard AHCI controller was the best fit for a fix. The result, no more buzzing Pandora...

 However, I am still experiencing an audio stuttering, (the problem this fix was originally intended to address), when trying to play mp3 files from a USB flash drive or the hard drive via Windows Media Player.
 I first discovered the "stuttering problem" after I'd had enough of the "buzzing issue" and inserted the thumb drive from my vehicle into the "Mini" to listen to some music and got the "M,M,M,Mel Tillis" version. Wonderful choice here, loud  intermittent buzz or constant stutter, WTF?... aaaaaaggghhhh!... Is the vein on my forehead bulging out yet?


 This "Mini" shipped from HP with Win 7 home premium 32 bit, most of the success stories on this particular fix seemed to be on the XP machines. For now I've regained partial functionality (and a slight drop in blood pressure), but we're not out of the woods yet...

  If you're experiencing buzzing, stuttering or similar audio problems on the Mini 311, give this a try...

 1. Open Control Panel -> Device Manager. Go to IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers. Choose the Nvidia nForce Serial ATA Controller.

  2. Go to the Driver tab. Click Update Driver. Choose Browse my computer for driver software. Click Let me pick from list of device drivers.


  3. Select the Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller. Click Next, Okay, or whatever it asks for, and you’re done.

    The computer will need to be rebooted. ( possibly more than once... )
 If this doesn't fix your problem, don't forget to revert back to the Nvidia driver.
Transmission ended, Peabody over and out....


  1. Thanks! The link to the bios update fixed my problem, wish I had thought of it sooner:)

  2. This corrected the stutter on my xp mini,found it the hp site 1st. I met Mel Tillis after a show in the late 80's, talked fishing with us for almost an hour. a super nice guy.

  3. Are you really a Buzzkill fan?