Feb 27, 2012

Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3T - Crystal HD For High Definition Video

[There are various non "whitelist" versions of the S10-3T bios. I also heard that the latest bios does not have a whitelist. I cannot confirm if the latter works.]

Crystal HD and S10-3T

Thanks to jfrakes, adding the Crystal HD card is possible. I have done it with my system and found that there are some video improvements depending on the encoder used on the video. You can see the most difference with a 1080p video. Assuming you have your Crystal HD (BCM970012 or BCM970015) card you can now follow these steps which will enable your Crystal HD and void your warranty.

I'm not responsible if you try the following and fry your system. It would be jfrakes fault ;-) hahaha.

  1. Get Tools
  2. Do Software/Bios modifications
  3. Do Hardware modificatin
  4. Do -To Not Do Crystal HD

Step 1 - Tools

Required hardware components:
Screw driver set, knife or something hot, your hands, eyes, and patience.

Note: For XBMC you will need DirectX 9 runtime

Step 2 - Software/Bios modifications
Now that you got the tools please follow the steps mentioned at:
Lenovo Forums BCM970012

You might want to modify your windows so it displays known files. It will help you a lot.

In short:
  1. Install WinPhlash, navigate to where you installed it and copy the .wph file
  2. Open it with Phoenix Bios Editor
  3. Open Hxd and edit the mod_5100.rom located in the PBEP temp folder, save it.
  4. Edit something in Phoenix Bios Editor, then edit it out, and save as a new .wph file
  5. Open WinPhlash.exe and select your newly created .wph file, run it.
  6. Plug your Crystal HD card onto the slot
  7. Install Crystal HD drivers
  8. Run your video player and run an HD video

Step 3 - Hardware Modification
You will have to cut a chunk of plastic to get the Crystal HD. There are two methods.
  • Method 1 - Remove all screws, and disassemble your S10-3T and get to that one SOB piece of plastic that you have to remove with hot knife.
  • Method 2 - Use a hot knife and just melt the plastic from close to the Mini PCI-E slot. (If done improperly the plastic will melt to your motherboard)

No Need For Crystal HD

You can see that doing these mod/hack is a lot of hassle. All it takes is one little piece to go wrong and you have destroyed your system forever.

These are some reasons why you should not add a Crystal HD card:
  1. Cost of getting the Crystal HD is about $50
  2. Lot's of hours spent on modification
  3. The Crystal HD is not supported "officially" by the S10-3T
  4. This hack voids your warranty
  5. There is a good chance of getting malware/viruses from trying to find Phoenix Bios Editor Pro
  6. Good chance of ruining your S10-3T's bios permanently
  7. Good chance of permanently breaking something during disassembling or assembling of your S10-3T
  8. Not all videos are encoded the same way, therefore the Crystal HD can be useless
  9. Removing your wifi card and now having to do some bios hacking because Lenovo likes to have a "white list" which means that you can only have supported hardware. No you cannot put that wifi card onto the other slot. This also requires you to create a new .wph file and flash your bios again
  10. Having to get a new wifi card that is a Mini PCI-E with USB Interface, or simply using a USB wifi dongle instead
  11. Static can ruin electronics easily so you better be grounded correctly
  12. No flash video improvements (yet)
  13. HD videos work just fine with the S10-3T by using the proper player and proper encoding of your videos (WHAT!?)

At the end I decided to removed the Crystal HD card. This hack is simply not worth all of that hassle. JFrakes must have "balls" to have done this mod in the first place. This was no easy installation. If you properly optimize your system, use the right video encoder, and use the right video player you can get really good results when playing HD Video.

Broadcom Crystal HD BCM70015

One thing that the S10-3T can be improved upon is the Flash playback. It's the only thing that makes Firefox shoot up in CPU and RAM usage like no other. The previous Crystal HD that I installed on my system wasn't that good, maybe the new BCM70015 is.

Single-Chip High Definition Advanced Media Processor

The BCM70015 single-chip Crystal HD advanced media processor is a low cost, low power, highly integrated solution for high definition (HD) video playback applications. It is targeted for PC/x86 applications such as playback of streaming video content, Blu-ray Disc™ playback, file-based content, and broadcast and other TV sources. It is optimized for use in netbooks, notebooks, and Small Form Factor (SFF) and slim desktops.

Crystal HD solutions leverage Broadcom's proven set-top box (STB) and consumer media player technologies to provide one of the industry's best HD media playback experiences on low cost netbooks. With support integrated within Adobe® Flash® Media Player, the vast library of online HD content from popular websites is now available for enjoyment on netbooks at a low cost and without sacrificing the benefits of portability and long battery life.

* Provides software support for Adobe Flash Player (v10.1), Windows Media® Player (v12), as well as support for other third-party media players including both commercial and open-source

* Supports standard definition (SD) and HD multi-format video decode of industry standard codecs (H.264/AVC, MPEG-2, VC-1, WMV9, MPEG-4, DivX®, Xvid and AVS), enabling users to enjoy a mobile media experience with no frame drops or jitter, even under a heavy CPU load

* Is optimized for motherboard designs and is also available in the PCI Express® mini-card module format

The new card comes works with the mini PCI-E slot, but I guess you could remove it from that container and have the half mini size. Now if we didn't have to hack the bios to get this card working that would be super!

Having a SSD would help the S10-3T a lot.


1 comment:

  1. I just installed hacked bios on my S10-3t to install the Crystal HD, also to get around some other modes I did. But I was able to use my stack and upgraded Wifi card in the secant slot by using the pin 20 tap trick. So I have Crystal HD and 5GHz internal wireless N.

    One not is my Wifi is always on now but I can live with that.