VOGONS


First post, by DoutorHouse

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So, I got a Venus DGX4 REV 2.0 S3 ViRGE GX On Board (86c385) PCI 4MB card for one of my old machines and I'm thinking about flashing its BIOS with a file i found online but I'm not sure about how to do it.

My cards bios says "S3 VIRGE 375/385 vedio BIOS. Version 2.01.13D" and the one I found says "S3 86C375/86C385 Video BIOS. Version 2.01.16.M45"

I suppose I really should backup the BIOS first. What program should I use for the backup? I heard even old versions of GPU-Z won't work on Windows 9x...

Then, what program should i use to flash the new bios files?

Help really appreciated, guys!

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Reply 1 of 7, by darry

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DoutorHouse wrote on 2020-07-15, 19:50:
So, I got a Venus DGX4 REV 2.0 S3 ViRGE GX On Board (86c385) PCI 4MB card for one of my old machines and I'm thinking about flas […]
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So, I got a Venus DGX4 REV 2.0 S3 ViRGE GX On Board (86c385) PCI 4MB card for one of my old machines and I'm thinking about flashing its BIOS with a file i found online but I'm not sure about how to do it.

My cards bios says "S3 VIRGE 375/385 vedio BIOS. Version 2.01.13D" and the one I found says "S3 86C375/86C385 Video BIOS. Version 2.01.16.M45"

I suppose I really should backup the BIOS first. What program should I use for the backup? I heard even old versions of GPU-Z won't work on Windows 9x...

Then, what program should i use to flash the new bios files?

Help really appreciated, guys!

20200427_010059.jpg

I could be wrong, but I do not believe that S3 Virge variants have provisions for flashing their BIOS EEPROM . If I am correct, you would need to de-solder remove the flash chip, program it externally using a compatible EEPROM programmer and re-solder it (or solder-in a socket ) re-insert it . EDIT: flash chip looks socketed .

Why do you want to flash the VGA BIOS ? Is it to address an issue that you are experiencing .

Reply 2 of 7, by zyga64

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I'm afraid that this card isn't prepared to flash its bios on board 🙁 None of the Virge cards I have seen were.
Fortunately chip itself could be re-programmed. You have to remove EEPROM chip from card and program it in external programmer.

By the way - BIOS version 2.01.07 may be better choice because it is known not to have problem with luminance S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright.
I don't know about 2.01.16 but 2.01.13 is definitely affected by this problem.

You can use NSSI in DOS to save video BIOS.

I didn't tested it personally but there is possibility to flash EEPROM using network card https://www.flashrom.org/Supported_hardware#PCI_Devices

1) VLSI SCAMP /286@20 /4MB /TVGA9000C /CMI8330
2) i420EX /486DX33 /16MB /Trio64V+ /AZT2316
3) i430HX /P233MMX /64MB /VirgeDX+3DFX /YMF701
4) i440BX /P II 400 /256MB /FX5500/AWE64
5) i865G /E5800 /2GB /Ti4200 /YMF724

Reply 3 of 7, by DoutorHouse

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zyga64 wrote on 2020-07-15, 20:29:
I'm afraid that this card isn't prepared to flash its bios on board :( None of the Virge cards I have seen were. Fortunately chi […]
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I'm afraid that this card isn't prepared to flash its bios on board 🙁 None of the Virge cards I have seen were.
Fortunately chip itself could be re-programmed. You have to remove EEPROM chip from card and program it in external programmer.

By the way - BIOS version 2.01.07 may be better choice because it is known not to have problem with luminance S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright.
I don't know about 2.01.16 but 2.01.13 is definitely affected by this problem.

You can use NSSI in DOS to save video BIOS.

I didn't tested it personally but there is possibility to flash EEPROM using network card https://www.flashrom.org/Supported_hardware#PCI_Devices

Thank you so much for your help, guys!

Reason i wanted to flash it was exactly because of that problem. I might have one of those network cards so i'll maybe have a chance at flashing it after all, unless using a network card is beyond my technical skills (which are next to 0%)!

Reply 4 of 7, by Jo22

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Programming an EEPROM or Flash chip is easy nowadays.
All you need is a TL866 or similar cheap programmer (G540 etc), a blank EPROM / One Time Programmable ROM (EPROM without window) / Flash Chip.

If you are unsure, get a cheap UV eraser box from China and use traditional UV erasable EPROMs (27c512?) that match the original type on the card.
That way, you can experiment without worrying.

If you have everything ready, open the software, uncheck "check ID", select chip model, select ROM file
and program the chip.. 🙂

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 5 of 7, by darry

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Jo22 wrote on 2020-07-16, 21:33:
Programming an EEPROM or Flash chip is easy nowadays. All you need is a TL866 or similar cheap programmer (G540 etc), a blank EP […]
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Programming an EEPROM or Flash chip is easy nowadays.
All you need is a TL866 or similar cheap programmer (G540 etc), a blank EPROM / One Time Programmable ROM (EPROM without window) / Flash Chip.

If you are unsure, get a cheap UV eraser box from China and use traditional UV erasable EPROMs (27c512?) that match the original type on the card.
That way, you can experiment without worrying.

If you have everything ready, open the software, uncheck "check ID", select chip model, select ROM file
and program the chip.. 🙂

I would not bother with a UV erasable EPROM as the original chip is an EEPROM already (w27e257-12) https://www.digchip.com/datasheets/parts/data … E257-12-pdf.php and getting a spare one shipped from China is less than 2 Euros plus shipping .

As far as programmers go, the TL866 II Plus is a good choice and supports the w27e257 (the -12 is a speed rating) http://www.autoelectric.cn/MiniPro/TL866II_List.txt

Reply 6 of 7, by Jo22

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darry wrote on 2020-07-16, 21:41:
Jo22 wrote on 2020-07-16, 21:33:
Programming an EEPROM or Flash chip is easy nowadays. All you need is a TL866 or similar cheap programmer (G540 etc), a blank EP […]
Show full quote

Programming an EEPROM or Flash chip is easy nowadays.
All you need is a TL866 or similar cheap programmer (G540 etc), a blank EPROM / One Time Programmable ROM (EPROM without window) / Flash Chip.

If you are unsure, get a cheap UV eraser box from China and use traditional UV erasable EPROMs (27c512?) that match the original type on the card.
That way, you can experiment without worrying.

If you have everything ready, open the software, uncheck "check ID", select chip model, select ROM file
and program the chip.. 🙂

I would not bother with a UV erasable EPROM as the original chip is an EEPROM already (w27e257-12) https://www.digchip.com/datasheets/parts/data … E257-12-pdf.php and getting a spare one shipped from China is less than 2 Euros plus shipping .

It was meant as a general advice only..
"Normal" EPROMs are simple and can be programmed with that classic 100us impulse almost universally, in case the programmer doesn't know the exact type.
Voltages have to be checked manually then, of course.

Speaking of voltages.. I don't know if I can recommend the Mark II model yet.
It dropped support for higher voltage EPROMs, as sometimes found in vintage gear.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 7 of 7, by darry

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Jo22 wrote on 2020-07-17, 04:02:
It was meant as a general advice only.. "Normal" EPROMs are simple and can be programmed with that classic 100us impulse almost […]
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darry wrote on 2020-07-16, 21:41:
Jo22 wrote on 2020-07-16, 21:33:
Programming an EEPROM or Flash chip is easy nowadays. All you need is a TL866 or similar cheap programmer (G540 etc), a blank EP […]
Show full quote

Programming an EEPROM or Flash chip is easy nowadays.
All you need is a TL866 or similar cheap programmer (G540 etc), a blank EPROM / One Time Programmable ROM (EPROM without window) / Flash Chip.

If you are unsure, get a cheap UV eraser box from China and use traditional UV erasable EPROMs (27c512?) that match the original type on the card.
That way, you can experiment without worrying.

If you have everything ready, open the software, uncheck "check ID", select chip model, select ROM file
and program the chip.. 🙂

I would not bother with a UV erasable EPROM as the original chip is an EEPROM already (w27e257-12) https://www.digchip.com/datasheets/parts/data … E257-12-pdf.php and getting a spare one shipped from China is less than 2 Euros plus shipping .

It was meant as a general advice only..
"Normal" EPROMs are simple and can be programmed with that classic 100us impulse almost universally, in case the programmer doesn't know the exact type.
Voltages have to be checked manually then, of course.

Speaking of voltages.. I don't know if I can recommend the Mark II model yet.
It dropped support for higher voltage EPROMs, as sometimes found in vintage gear.

That lack of support for higher VPP EPROMs may indeed be an issue for some, but wouldn't procuring compatible lower VPP replacement EPROMs or even EEPROMs be a simple enough workaround in most cases or are there some (many?) vintage high VPP parts that have no newer, pin compatible, low VPP substitutes ?

I am asking because my needs do not usually extend to parts with high VPP and I am totally unfamiliar with those older parts .