Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Discussion about old graphics cards, monitors and video related things.

Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby liammac001 » 2017-3-14 @ 20:05

I got an old DOS machine recently for free that seems to be working fine besides the old Trident ISA 2D card. I don't know what model it is but its 16 bit, and looks fine. When turning on the PC the monitor its connected to will display a black screen for a fraction of a second then lose the signalf. I don't think the graphics card is completely dead because removing it causes a BIOS beep code to sound, but putting it in allows the PC to turn on without any issues. I don't have a spare ISA card so if I want to replace this one I'll have to buy one. What I'm wondering is if there's some way to repair it, since the problem just seems to be getting the signal outputted. It's worth mentioning that I tried 3 different monitors but they were all modern LCD's, I saw it mentioned somewhere that some old Trident cards run a test to see if a display is monochrome or color, and modern displays can confuse it. I don't know if that's whats causing the problem or not because I don't have any old CRT's, only LCD's with VGA ports. Any advice on how to move forward?
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby lazibayer » 2017-3-14 @ 20:22

Do you know if the machine had been working fine before you got it? If so, check if there is a jumper/switch on the card that toggles between interleaving and non-interleaving. Try fiddling with that. Some older cards have switches for output mode and scan frequency but I haven't seen that on the trident cards (8900/9000) I had.
If not, you may try polishing the gold fingers, switching ISA slots, fiddling other jumpers such as 8/16bit BIOS, 0WS, IRQ9 if the card has them.
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby liammac001 » 2017-3-14 @ 20:40

lazibayer wrote:Do you know if the machine had been working fine before you got it? If so, check if there is a jumper/switch on the card that toggles between interleaving and non-interleaving. Try fiddling with that. Some older cards have switches for output mode and scan frequency but I haven't seen that on the trident cards (8900/9000) I had.
If not, you may try polishing the gold fingers, switching ISA slots, fiddling other jumpers such as 8/16bit BIOS, 0WS, IRQ9 if the card has them.

No it was sitting in storage for quite some time, so I'm really not sure. I'll mess with the jumpers though and see if that solves anything. Thanks!

Update: I fiddled with the jumpers available but that didn't seem to solve anything. I discovered that the GPU is an 8900C, and I tried sticking it in different slots and stuff but the same thing happened each time. I guess the card just isn't working so I'm going to order a new one. Any suggestions?
Last edited by liammac001 on 2017-3-14 @ 21:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby lazibayer » 2017-3-14 @ 21:15

Also try to disconnect hard drives, floppy drives, etc.
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby brostenen » 2017-3-14 @ 21:55

Or your issue could be this that I have had with my Trident cards as well.

I have three flatscreen monitors, and with a Trident card (and some other ISA cards) my IBM monitor will not turn on.
Just as you'r issue, the same exact symptoms. Using my samsung flatscreen, I get a constant signal and I have no issues.
What I did to solve this, was to buy one of those signal splitter boxes that are powered by 5 volt.
What exactly is going on, I do not really know.

All I know is that the monitor will enter hibernation, if the card does not have a constant signal.
What exact signal that is, I have not found out, only that I have solved the issue by having a constant signal from that box.

Does this sound familiair in someones ears?

Anyway... The box I bought was this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-Port-SVGA-VGA-Video-HD-Signal-Amplifier-Booster-Splitter-Sharing-Box-for-PC-EB-/142206295151?hash=item211c27dc6f:g:N2QAAOSwA3dYSmfo
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby liammac001 » 2017-3-15 @ 00:46

brostenen wrote:Or your issue could be this that I have had with my Trident cards as well.

I have three flatscreen monitors, and with a Trident card (and some other ISA cards) my IBM monitor will not turn on.
Just as you'r issue, the same exact symptoms. Using my samsung flatscreen, I get a constant signal and I have no issues.
What I did to solve this, was to buy one of those signal splitter boxes that are powered by 5 volt.
What exactly is going on, I do not really know.

All I know is that the monitor will enter hibernation, if the card does not have a constant signal.
What exact signal that is, I have not found out, only that I have solved the issue by having a constant signal from that box.

Does this sound familiair in someones ears?

Anyway... The box I bought was this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-Port-SVGA-VGA-Video-HD-Signal-Amplifier-Booster-Splitter-Sharing-Box-for-PC-EB-/142206295151?hash=item211c27dc6f:g:N2QAAOSwA3dYSmfo


Thanks a bunch I'll check that out.
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby Malvineous » 2017-3-15 @ 01:09

I've had the same problem with many ISA video cards, including Trident. Some LCD screens don't work at all (saying 'no signal' or going into powersave) while others work fine.

Most of my LCDs work when the cards are in text mode, but sometimes when the video mode changes the LCD will drop out permanently. Switching the monitor off and on again with the power button on the front is often enough to get a picture back again. You might find it's the BIOS post in graphics mode that the monitor can't display, but if you power cycle it after it has started booting at least one screen should be able to display the normal text mode image.

My Trident cards tend to display a little unstably, as if each pixel randomly moves left or right by one on each frame. So looks like the cards weren't that robust to begin with (not that that will surprise anyone here...)

I picked up an old 15" IBM LCD monitor for $5 through eBay a couple of weeks ago, and amazingly that displays every mode perfectly and it syncs to the signal so quickly that I can briefly see the VGA banner before the POST starts. So if you can find a cheap old monitor that could also be another option.

IIRC the colour/B&W check is just checking the resistance of a pin on the cable. There's nothing that can be confused, it's either colour or it's not. Had a friend back in the day with a flaky solder joint on the monitor socket, and half the time his PC would boot with everything in B&W and he'd have to jiggle the cable a bit and reset the PC in order to get it into colour. Once it was in colour it was fine until the next reboot.
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby Frasco » 2017-3-15 @ 01:47

lazibayer wrote: If so, check if there is a jumper/switch on the card that toggles between interleaving and non-interleaving. Try fiddling with that.

Now that brostenen nailed it, I hope you don't mind telling us what interleaving and non-interleaving are supposed to do. I am asking you this because all my ISA Tridents are presenting shadows, even in BIOS Setup. I'm using a Samsung 22'' Flatscreen for testing them.

Just to echo what Malvineous said:
All my Tridents are misbehaving or dead.
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby brostenen » 2017-3-15 @ 22:24

Frasco wrote:Now that brostenen nailed it


Not 100% shure if you have the exact same problem as I had. If you happens to have such a box, then try it and see what happens. :-)
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby kixs » 2017-3-15 @ 22:57

Also try different VGA cable. I had similar issue with one cable and after replacing it every card worked fine - from old Tridents (tested more then 20) up to HD6870 on my 22" LCD.
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby kenrouholo » 2017-3-15 @ 23:14

Frasco wrote:Now that brostenen nailed it, I hope you don't mind telling us what interleaving and non-interleaving are supposed to do.


I don't know about Trident cards specifically but in general, interleaving RAM means using multiple RAM ICs (or sticks) in multiple channels, you basically use them in a "RAID 0" type mode rather than "JBOD" - if you know storage terms, that's the simplest way to describe it. But basically instead of using each RAM chip sequentially, which may leave most of your data in a small number of RAM chips (which lowers your usable memory bandwidth for that data), it will try to use a mix of all of the chips. It will have chunks of a certain size and each time you go up in the address range, when you pass a multiple of that chunk size, it will switch to the next RAM chip. By using all of them this way, you can potentially get more usable memory bandwidth.

It could mean something else in Trident world but I'm not sure what else it could mean offhand so I think that's likely the case... correct me if I'm wrong please
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby kixs » 2017-3-15 @ 23:31

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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby lazibayer » 2017-3-15 @ 23:32

I don't know about Trident cards specifically but in general, interleaving RAM means using multiple RAM ICs (or sticks) in multiple channels, you basically use them in a "RAID 0" type mode rather than "JBOD" - if you know storage terms, that's the simplest way to describe it. But basically instead of using each RAM chip sequentially, which may leave most of your data in a small number of RAM chips (which lowers your usable memory bandwidth for that data), it will try to use a mix of all of the chips. It will have chunks of a certain size and each time you go up in the address range, when you pass a multiple of that chunk size, it will switch to the next RAM chip. By using all of them this way, you can potentially get more usable memory bandwidth.

It could mean something else in Trident world but I'm not sure what else it could mean offhand so I think that's likely the case... correct me if I'm wrong please


I meant interlacing vs. non-interlacing. Sorry for the mistake.
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Re: Trident Graphics Card Dead or Dying?

Postby Frasco » 2017-3-16 @ 07:13

brostenen wrote:Not 100% shure if you have the exact same problem as I had.

Image

That's more like it.

brostenen wrote:If you happens to have such a box, then try it and see what happens. :-)

I don't want four monitors displaying that freak! :lol:
This problem is happening with 4 Tridents and 1 HMC (I just can't believe all these 5 cards are dying).

An extract from Wikipedia Interlaced video article:

ALiS plasma panels and the old CRTs can display interlaced video directly, but modern computer video displays and TV sets are mostly based on LCD technology, which mostly use progressive scanning.
To display interlaced video on a progressive scan display requires a process called deinterlacing. This is an imperfect technique, and generally lowers resolution and causes various artifacts—particularly in areas with objects in motion.

I'm on the right track :evil: or way off (It looks like that article applies to video clips) :dead:
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