Adventures of diagnosing freezing playback of an X96 Air 4GB/32GB

This is the story of me troubleshooting and finally discovering the problem with a new box.
I bought a 4gb/32gb X96 Air after suggestions from this forum. Everything was working fine at first. Latest build 19.2-Matrix_rc2 and rc3 was installed to emmc. Then I noticed that any video I played would freeze at random once or twice per playback for a couple seconds. It didn’t matter if it was x264, hevc, 1080, 4k. So I spent several days testing video settings, buffers, network, USB ports, and found nothing wrong. I even installed heatsinks and drilled holes in the case, and now it’s running at 40c. Then I finally found a clip that always froze up at the same spot, and copied the media to a USB drive, from an original copy I had on my PC, but this time it played perfectly. Then I did a md5sum and found out the files were different. Then I found out every time I run md5sum, I’d get a different hash. Uh oh. Then I ran “memtester 2G 1” and it blows up with failures. So this bad memory would put random errors in the files as they were copied to the drive. So that’s money down the drain, I can’t return a box that looks like swiss cheese.

tldr; Lesson learned? If you have any type of playback or buggy issues, it could be bad RAM. Try “memtester 2G 1”. It’s always possible the memory controller isn’t being initialized properly, but if other people have the same box without memtester errors, then I’m just unlucky.


Thank you for your detailed description!

This shows one more: buy cheap, buy twice. So all please be carefully what you buy. My personal opinion is you can get lucky but maybe not with any X… device on the market.

It’s like playing lottery and the first price is a stable, full functionally device.

I bet it doesn’t take long for the next user to report problems after buying a cheap box.

Swings and roundabouts.

There will be many happy cheap box users and other reporting problems with the ‘name’ brands.

I suspect that with the chip shortages that there will be more boxes and boards cobbled together with whatever is in the available stick bins, which may well lead to quality issues.

I have had a X96AIR working reliably for over a year at this stage. I had to replace the first one I bought after about a week because the HDMI socket failed, but that was a problem that effected all of the new generation AMLogic chips in the early chip releases - including the much more expensive N2. You may notice that the chip quickly jumped from V1 to V3 in the early days to address these issues.Unfortunately there was no recall from AMLogic.


Thanks for sharing.

Moneyin drain, you need to use emmc? I dont use emmc on any of my devices (JustOS from small USB flashdisc + USB HDD network share), and I am quite happy. Although every user is different I guess :slight_smile:

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