S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

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

Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby alexanrs » 2015-10-05 @ 15:35

Great! Does anyone have a nice Virge DX without the brightness issues? I'd love to fix mine as well.
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby wbc » 2015-10-05 @ 16:23

alexanrs wrote:Great! Does anyone have a nice Virge DX without the brightness issues? I'd love to fix mine as well.

http://chukaev.ru54.com/video/86c375_4.zip (not tested yet, it is just a new version)

by the way! does anybody know that does stock S3 video BIOSes programs MCLK when poweron or just uses default reset values? I tried to disasm some roms but didn't find any MCLK-related code.
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby alexanrs » 2015-10-05 @ 16:30

Thanks! I'll try that later.
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby wbc » 2015-10-05 @ 16:36

and the last one: SVBL (Shadow Video BIOS loader), a small utility which loads video BIOS from image to shadow memory (sorry, descriptions in Russian and works only with Intel 430 series (maybe 440\8xx also?) and SiS 496\497 chipsets) (again, not tested yet but author claimed that it works)
Attachments
svbl.zip
Shadow Video BIOS Loader ver. 2.3
(25.11 KiB) Downloaded 146 times
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby alexanrs » 2015-10-05 @ 22:07

Flashed successfully, but still bright. Either my Virge's brightness issue is really hardware-related, or this BIOS has the same issue as well. The board works fine, though, and if no version exists that can fix this issue, I might as well leave this (as it is newer - perhaps better VBE support or something like that?)
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby alexanrs » 2015-10-06 @ 00:01

SUCCESS!!!
I tested another BIOS from the same place wbc linked that BIOS from, and I found this slightly older 2.01.07 version that doesn't have wonky black levels. My cheap ATC Virge DX now has decent blacks!!!!!
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby Imperious » 2015-10-06 @ 13:06

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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby elianda » 2015-10-06 @ 21:52

If it can be fixed with a different bios, maybe a software tool could be written that sets the same registers as the bios does?
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby alexanrs » 2015-10-07 @ 01:07

I'm pretty sure it should be possible. It would take some disassembling and a lot of patience, though.
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby BSA Starfire » 2015-10-14 @ 16:34

SUCCESS!!!
I tested another BIOS from the same place wbc linked that BIOS from, and I found this slightly older 2.01.07 version that doesn't have wonky black levels. My cheap ATC Virge DX now has decent blacks!!!!!


MY Virge DX is very overbright too, so how do I flash the video bios? Also the text file for this files states 4mb, will this be OK for my 2mb card?

Thanks,
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby alexanrs » 2015-10-14 @ 17:04

I think my DX is 2MB too... it wasn't uncommon for cards like this to accept upgrading the memory by having empty sockets/slots on the card, so the memory amount isn't hardcoded into the BIOS. I have a MiniPro programmer, so I just took the BIOS chip out of the socket and programmed it there.
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby BSA Starfire » 2015-10-14 @ 17:05

Ah OK, so it's not possible to do this with the card installed and software in a similar manner to updating a motherboard BIOS then?
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby alexanrs » 2015-10-14 @ 17:06

It might be (something like UNIFLASH?), but since I had the programmer already I did not even look into it.
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby James-F » 2015-12-11 @ 09:09

Can you fellows point me to a flash program that will work under dos 7.1 to flash my S3 Virge DX 4mb?

EDIT:
Okay, I can attest that SVBL works perfectly and I can use different video bios without actually flashing the EEPROM on the video card.
This works only with Socket 7, 430 boards (Triton).
I verified with NSSI utility and it even says that the card is now VBE 2.0, all resolutions available in Quake.

Like stated, bios version 5 (S3 Virge/DX 375) fixes the brightness issue, even though V3 or V4 are newer.
One more thing, v3/4/5 with VBE 2.0 disable 8x14 font which SimAnt and SimCity require to show fonts right.
Bios v1 (1.01.03, VBE 1.2) has 8x14 fonts compatibility, while newer ones do not.
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby idspispopd » 2015-12-14 @ 09:24

James-F wrote:One more thing, v3/4/5 with VBE 2.0 disable 8x14 font which SimAnt and SimCity require to show fonts right.
Bios v1 (1.01.03, VBE 1.2) has 8x14 fonts compatibility, while newer ones do not.

That's probably to be expected, well-known issue. The 8x14 font is dropped to make room for the VBE 2.0 functions.
See http://www.bttr-software.de/products/fix8x14/
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby James-F » 2015-12-14 @ 13:05

I wonder if it is worth buying the 40$ minipro tl866 eeprom programmer from ebay to flash my S3 Virge/DX video bios?
This programmer can also save and flash the motherboard bios.

Any other uses for that or is it just a wast of 40$?
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby alexanrs » 2015-12-14 @ 13:11

It is also an IC tester (and can test some DRAM chips as well). It can also programm DIP PICs and AVRs. I like having mine.
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby wbc » 2016-5-13 @ 15:20

Just fiddled around my Trio64V2\DX and probably found the way to fix the brightness issue.
Run DEBUG.EXE and type these commands:
Code: Select all
o 3c4 08
o 3c5 06
o 3c4 1a
i 3c5

You will get a 8-bit hexadecimal value, subtract 20h from it (i.e. you got 3F, (3F - 20 = 1F)), this will set 5th bit of this value to 0, then type
Code: Select all
o 3c5 <resulting_value> (i.e. o 3c5 1f)
q

and voila! :)

Since register descriptions for Trio64V2\DX and ViRGE\DX are unavailable in public and Trio64V+ and Savage4 datasheets doesn't describe this register, I don't know what it means in fact.

Tested on Trio64V2\DX with BIOS version 1.01.04 (more recent version 2.04.11 doesn't have this issue), probably will work on ViRGE\DX and Trio3D.

---------
UPD: it works on ViRGE\DX also (with BIOS versions 1.01.03 and 2.01.16), so Trio3D users, try it! :)
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby Jepael » 2016-5-13 @ 19:56

3C4h index 8h = unlock extended sequencer, load xxxx0110b to unlock. Unlocks register indices 9h-1Ch. This info from other S3 chips.

But yes, no information on what bit 5 of the register index 1Ah does on these chips.

Does anyone have datasheets?
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Re: S3 AGP Cards (and possibly others) Too Bright

Postby wbc » 2016-5-14 @ 10:05

Jepael wrote:Does anyone have datasheets?

Trio64V+ datasheet - http://vgamuseum.info/index.php/cards/item/download/516_2bbbf61d0bbde9fe22086633b5908851
ViRGE (not DX) datasheet (pretty similar in 2D part with previous one) - http://vgamuseum.info/index.php/cards/item/download/540_32bce5e3d2a9fa662e9a33f66f32ae72
Savage4 register description - http://vgamuseum.info/index.php/cards/item/download/571_5c35080537779901865630b5a5a92e62

Unfortunaly datasheets for Trio64V2\DX, ViRGE\DX, Trio3D and Savage3D are not avaliable :(
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