I was reminded recently about an issue I had many months ago. Back when I was building the HTPC, I had many problems to contend with.

Little did I know that these problems were all most probably caused by one (or possibly 2) pieces of hardware which I had dismissed as a cause because they were previously working fine, and so therefore had little reason to check them.

So here was definitely a lesson to learn from this: Always follow standard troubleshooting practise i.e. start with nothing and add devices one by one regardless of their flawless history.

Anyway the problem child ended up being the Leadtek PxDTV2300H PCI-E TV tuner, or rather TV tuners; 2 of them to be precise.

It really should have been a dead give away when it was the 2 tuners that disappeared from device manager. From what I remember, I didn’t think of it because of the LAN adapter (onboard) also disappearing/not working at random, thus throwing me off the scent.

At the time I was sure it was a motherboard failure or a PSU failure or even a problem with the RAM.

It wasn’t until long after I replaced the TV Tuners, the motherboard and consequently, the RAM, that I realised it was the TV tuners causing bluescreens, crashes, random device disappearances and general instability. I confirmed it when I put them both into my own computer and I started to get random BSODs and they also started removing themselves from device manager at random.

Whether this is a driver problem (very possible considering Leadtek’s history) or some kind of chipset compatibility issue (both machines I tried were AMD 800 series – 890GX and 890FX), I have no idea, or way of testing it. All I know is that both cards do the same when put together, as they do apart and no amount of driver changing or windows reinstalls helps.

So from all this I suppose my main point is this:

Always check any addon cards, AGP, PCI, PCI-E;

Check em all!