We have 6 Media Center PCs and 5 of them currently take advantage of S3 to save on electricity. I wanted to start using S3 on our main Media Center PC, but so far I've had nothing but trouble.
One major problem is getting it to wake up whenever a client PC starts Media Center, or tries to access the Recorded TV module.
Of the 5 client Media Center PCs, only one is running Vista. The other 4 are running MCE2005.
One issue is I don't know of any software I can install on the MCE2005 systems that will automatically wake up the server Media Center PC.
For the single Vista Media Center PC client, I figured I could take advantage of DVRMSToolbox's WOL feature.
I configured DVRMSToolbox so it will wake up the server. Most of the time, both by testing the WOL from the DVRMSToolbox Settings and by starting Recorded TV (I have it checked), the server will wake up.
Unfortunately there are problems:
When I start Recorded TV on the Vista client, the addin wakes up the server. Unfortunately since it doesn't try to wake it up until I'm already starting the Recorded TV module, the server wakes up too late and the client ends up with an empty list of Recorded TV available. The only way I can access Recorded TV is I have to go into Recorded TV, then exit Media Center altogether and then start Media Center again. On the second attempt, Recorded TV populates and I can access everything. Is there a way to configure the addin to send the WOL signal as soon as VMC is started instead of waiting until the Recorded TV module is started?
While watching TV on a client, the serving Media Center PC regularly "falls asleep". Basically serving SD content over the network is not enough effort to trigger Vista's non-idle detection. Vista thinks the server is idle so after 15 minutes, the server goes back to sleep. How can I configure the server so it doesn't go to sleep while serving SD content?
While watching HD TV on a client, the serving Media Center PC does not "fall asleep" consistently. I assume the network traffic for HD is borderline enough to keep the system awake. Still, eventually the server does still fall asleep; if not while actually watching TV, it falls asleep the instant I click "stop" or finish a show on a client. Again I need to figure out how to not only keep the server awake while actually serving content, but I also need to figure out how to configure the server to STAY awake for a period of time after a show is finished. Essentially I need to do something like keep triggering the activity monitor on the server somehow while watching TV on a client.
I'm having tons of other issues getting S3 to work properly, but these are the ones that DVRMSToolbox might be able to resolve.
FYI, some of the other issues are:
Since I use a Harmony remote with our main Media Center PC, the remote control's "known" power state keeps getting out of sync. Essentially if the system goes to sleep on its own, the remote doesn't know. The only semi-work around I have found so far is to enable "Away Mode" always so the remote control is never actually able to make the system go to sleep (instead I now have it configured to rely on idle detection and automated sleep). By changing the Harmony's "power on" command set to "power toggle", "green button", the system will always enter a power on state and be ready to go (It turns out that the "green button" will wake the system from away mode).
While Media Center is running, the system doesn't consistently go to sleep. After a fresh reboot, including starting VMC, it will always go to sleep after a while. Unfortunately once something has been watched on the system, it doesn't seem to want to go to sleep again unless I physically exit Media Center. I've tried to take advantage of the MCE Standby Tool, but unfortunately if away mode is always enabled (per issue #1), it is unable to put the system to sleep if VMC is running. To make matters worse, once MST does try to put the system to sleep, from then on the system based idle detection sleep fails to function - always. My best workaround so far is to totally disable MST's Media Center idle detection and rely on the system level Vista idle detection (that doesn't seem to work after watching anything if VMC is running).
I've tried to figure out a way to configure the Harmony remote to exit Media Center when "Off" is pressed on the remote, but the number of key presses takes too long to be practical (keeping the remote pointed at the system for something like 5 seconds is required).
Overall this whole S3 sleep functionality on a Media Center PC that is acting as a Media Center server simply does not work worth beans.... Should I just give up and leave our main Media Center system on 24/7?
Have you managed to get a serving Media Center to take advantage of S3 in a reliable, easy to use way for the entire family?
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS4, Intel Quad Q6600, 4 GB RAM, ATI HD 2600XT 512MB, Enermax 495P PSU, 2x SATA 500GB, 3x SATA 300GB, LG GSA-4167B, Hauppauge PVR-250, Toshiba 51H83 (51" HDTV), Yamaha RX-V2400 Amp, 5x Energy Speakers, SVS Subwoofer