Matrox Millennium G200 PCI no video, suspect bad BIOS?

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

Matrox Millennium G200 PCI no video, suspect bad BIOS?

Postby superderek » 2018-12-01 @ 21:05

System Setup:
I recently bought a couple of Matrox Millennium G200 cards from an ebay seller, here's the card for reference. This is a dual-output variation that requires a splitter to function, which I grabbed from here. The processor I'm running is an AMD 486 DX4 100 running at 100MHz, and I have 16 MB of RAM installed. My motherboard is an M-tech R418 using the SiS 85C496/497 1994 chipset.

The Problem:
    No video output from the Matrox G200.
    When no card is installed, the motherboard beeps 4 times indicating an error
    When the Matrox card is installed by itself, the computer loads all the way into Windows 98, but no video is displayed at any point.
    When the Matrox card is installed along-side my trident VGA card I can see that Windows recognizes the Matrox card, and have installed the necessary drivers, but I continue to be unable to see anything from my Matrox card.

This should not be a compatibility problem, as evidenced by this forum thread, and as evidenced by this DOOM benchmark result page where a user posted results using the card and motherboard working together.

I suspect that the problem may be BIOS related. I've read posts from other users experiencing similar problems which seem to be rooted in BIOS trouble. I found this resource on the Wayback Machine which I've tried to follow to no avail. Based on what I'm reading, there are two main parts to the Matrox Graphics Card BIOS, there's the BIOS itself, and the card-specifc PINS. Using the Matrox DOS utility, I've tried dumping my PINS file only to find they are corrupt or unreadable. Here's the dump of what should be my PINS file..

Code: Select all
MGA Bios Programming Utility v1.73d
(C) Matrox Graphics Inc. (1997)

Matrox MGA-G200 AGP - WARNING: Invalid Pins Offset...

VGA Disabled - BIOS

Matrox MGA-G200 AGP - WARNING: Invalid Pins Offset...

VGA Disabled - BIOS

 - WARNING: Invalid Bios.
 - WARNING: Invalid Bios.

 - WARNING: Cannot find PINS's structure.


This would appear to confirm my suspicion that something's up with the BIOS and/or PINS file. It's interesting that the card is detected as the G200 AGP, when it's a PCI card, but whatever. So I've followed "The Routine" which I'll post below for posterity:

1. Install the other VGA, leaving your Matrox card in place. Remember to connect the monitor cable to "the other VGA". The computer should now display bootup messages.
2. Boot plain DOS. Very plain, with no drivers. This can be achieved by booting Win9x in command line mode (skipping config files).
3. Go to BIOS files directory, run "PROGBIOS -i auto" and observe the results. If the BIOS programs correctly (nearly impossible), the recovery is finished. Otherwise the PROGBIOS "should" show "VGA is disabled", and the serial number displayed as "???????".
4. If you have the emergency file (described above), try "PROGBIOS -i <emergency_file> -k". This should restore the old BIOS and PINS.
[list=]If it says "Invalid PINS offset", try using PROGBIOS 1.73 from SETUP343.[/list]
5. Run "PROGBIOS -d" and observe the output. The PINS data (if found...) is dumped to the screen. Check if this contains something which makes sense, in particular the card's serial number (labeled with "7:"). If "yes", goto 6, else goto 8.
6. Run "PROGBIOS -i auto -k" This will program the new version of BIOS, preserving the PINS.
    If this works (no error messages), check the PINS as described above. If PINS looks OK, the recovery is finished; otherwise go to step 8. (It may happen that PROGBIOS does not complain about invalid PINS.)
    If PROGBIOS barks about not recognizing board type - go to 7.
    If it barks about PINS, continue with step 8.
    If PROGBIOS says it cannot erase BIOS, or aborts in the middle of process, disable all caches and write posting in motherboard's BIOS setup (check Chipset and PCI sections) and try again from the beginning. (Remember to reenable caches and buffers after BIOS recovery).
    If PROGBIOS still complains about invalid PINS offset, change the PROGBIOS.EXE to an older version (recommended v1.73 from setup343.zip)
7. Find the BIOS base file name for your board in BIOS files table, check what BIOS file version you have in the MGA/SETUP folder, and try:

PROGBIOS -i <basename-version>.bin -k.
Example: The board is G200 SD AGP. Base file name is 879-x. The newest (highest numbered) version in MGA/SETUP is 879-5.bin. Use "PROGBIOS -i 879-5.bin -k".
8. If PROGBIOS is unhappy with PINS, continue with next step.
Find your saved PINS file, "mypins.txt"; make sure to have it in BIOS files folder. Depending of the results of step 5, run:

PROGBIOS -i auto -s mypins.txt -k
or
PROGBIOS -i <basename-version>.bin -s mypins.txt -k
Now PROGBIOS should be happy, and the card should work OK. Otherwise contact me, sending the description of your efforts and PROGBIOS messages.


So this is what I'm working with. I have two cards from the same eBay seller, both exhibiting the same problem, neither of which appear to have valid PINS or BIOS info. I ought to be able to resurrect these cards if I can get the right combination of PINS file and BIOS loaded onto them. But when I follow the procedure to the best of my ability, the progbios program crashes. I suspect this is a result of either incorrect PINS file, BIOS or both.

When I follow the process only as described, I get a warning "Cannot map physical address to linear". I'm not sure what this means exactly, but the software also came with a program called PCISPY, which is supposed to detect PCI conflicts, and resolve them automatically with the -c switch. When done, this actually appears to do something, because it says "Conflict detected! Solving problem ..." after which the progbios program doesn't give the address error.

So after using PCISPY to fix whatever the PCI conflict is, when I run the progbios program here is the readout I get during a crash:

Code: Select all
MGA Bios Programming Utility v1.73d
(C) Matrox Graphics Inc. (1997)

Matrox MGA-G200 AGP - WARNING: Invalid Pins Offset...

VGA Disabled - BIOS

Matrox MGA-G200 AGP - WARNING: Invalid Pins Offset...

VGA Disabled - BIOS


Updating Eprom Bios to V2.3

MGA BIOS PROGRAMMING
DOS/4GW error (2001): exception 0Dh (general protection fault) at 148:0014BC8E
TSF32: prev_tsf32 50FC
SS       150 DS       150 ES       150 FS         0 GS       1A8
EAX    1037C EBX   184038 ECX    1037D EDX    1037D
ESI   134560 EDI   14F847 EBP   17B640 ESP   17B410
CS:IP  148:0014BC8E ID 0D COD   130000 FLG    10206
CS=  148, USE32, page granular, limit FFFFFFFF, base        0, acc CF9B
SS=  150, USE32, page granular, limit FFFFFFFF, base        0, acc CF93
DS=  150, USE32, page granular, limit FFFFFFFF, base        0, acc CF93
ES=  150, USE32, page granular, limit FFFFFFFF, base        0, acc CF93
FS=    0, USE16, byte granular, limit        0, base       13, acc  0
GS=  1A8, USE16, byte granular, limit     FFFF, base 43000000, acc 93
CR0: PG:0 ET:1 TS:0 EM:0 MP:0 PE:1   CR2: 0 CR3: 0
Crash address (unrelocated) = 1:00001C8E


at this point, I think I may be in over my head. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. In fact, if anybody out there has one of these specific cards working, I would really appreciate a dump of your PINS and BIOS files.
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Re: Matrox Millennium G200 PCI no video, suspect bad BIOS?

Postby Errius » 2018-12-01 @ 22:31

I have one of these cards, but have never used in on a 486, and have never encountered this problem. It's not actually a Millennium G200 but a G200 MMS (Multi-Monitor Series). It's a much weaker card than the Millennium, even though they have the same GPU and memory. You can use the same cable on the G550 Low Profile card (which again is not the same as the Millennium G550).
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Re: Matrox Millennium G200 PCI no video, suspect bad BIOS?

Postby superderek » 2018-12-01 @ 23:04

Here's a better picture of the card in question. This is the dual-monitor version of the card, a lot of the search results for G200 MMS come back with the Quad-monitor variant. Disappointing to learn that it's slower than an actual G200, but I don't suppose I was going to be getting the most out of the G200 with a 100MHz processor to start with. Thanks for the heads up about the difference though. This might explain why I'm having trouble finding BIOS files that will work with it. And I suspect finding PINS files will be even harder, unless someone here happens to have a working card they can dump them from. :-\

Edit:
Well after perusing Matrox's driver site again, it turns out they all use the same BIOS/driver, regardless of whether it's the MMS variation or not. So at least the good news is I don't need to worry about that part.
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Re: Matrox Millennium G200 PCI no video, suspect bad BIOS?

Postby Errius » 2018-12-01 @ 23:39

Basic stuff:

Try the card in a newer machine. I tested mine on several machines, and it ran without problem on a 440BX PIII running W98SE. (I also tried it on a couple of WXP PIII machines but in both cases got screen corruption during benchmarking.)

Are you sure the cable is OK? Look at the LFH-60 pinout and check the connections with a multimeter.

ETA: aha, I see the problem, you're using the wrong cable. You're using a DMS-59 (which is for much newer cards like the Jaton Video-498PCI-DLP). You need a LFH-60 cable. The 59-pin cable will fit the 60-pin socket but apparently won't work correctly.
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Re: Matrox Millennium G200 PCI no video, suspect bad BIOS?

Postby superderek » 2018-12-02 @ 00:21

Thanks Errius, it'll be a while before I can pony up the cash for a new cable, so that's kinda disappointing. But thanks for spotting it. I'll set aside further troubleshooting until I can get a new cable then. :)
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Re: Matrox Millennium G200 PCI no video, suspect bad BIOS?

Postby Errius » 2018-12-02 @ 00:35

If anyone is interested, these were the benchmark results I got with this card

System was 440BX / PIII (Coppermine) 650 MHz / 512 MB / W98SE

3DMark99 MAX: 1399
3DMark2000: 440
3DMark2001 SE: Will not run due to memory limitations
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