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ATI Rage 128 Pro Won't Post

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First post, by akm513

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About a year and a half ago I picked up an old IBM PC 340 at a recycling center. It was a mess and was in pieces, but I cleaned it up and put it back together and it has been working well. I've also upgraded and added some things to it - added more memory (80 MB now), a new CPU (P166), a CF adapter, and now I've been trying to upgrade the video.

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I found an ATI Rage 128 Pro and installed it, but the machine will not post with that card installed. It's the PCI based version for PC. There's a jumper on the motherboard to enable or disable on board VGA, but that doesn't seem to have any affect on this issue. I've also put this card in an XP machine - it booted into Windows and identified itself as the AGP variant (it isn't).

file.php?mode=view&id=102753

I've scoured IBM documentation and other forums and have come up empty handed. Is there something simple I am missing?

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Reply 1 of 21, by athlon-power

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It's a long shot, but some BIOSes screech irrationally when you don't do exactly what they want. It's possible that there's a BIOS setting for changing the primary video adapter- you might be able to remove that card, enable integrated graphics, go in and make the default video adapter go to the PCI slots, and put the card back in and disable the integrated graphics.

It might identify itself as 'AGP' because some PCI video cards that also have AGP variants just put the AGP chip on the PCB and put an AGP to PCI bridge on the card and call it a day. I know the Intel 740s did this.

If you continue to be stumped, it's possible that a PCI TNT or TNT2 may work, or a PCI RIVA 128. On the ATi side, Maybe an older card (such as an older Rage 128) might work. Best of luck!

(also ooooh that PC looks nice it's so clean and preeety)

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Reply 2 of 21, by darry

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athlon-power wrote on 2021-02-11, 16:45:
It's a long shot, but some BIOSes screech irrationally when you don't do exactly what they want. It's possible that there's a BI […]
Show full quote

It's a long shot, but some BIOSes screech irrationally when you don't do exactly what they want. It's possible that there's a BIOS setting for changing the primary video adapter- you might be able to remove that card, enable integrated graphics, go in and make the default video adapter go to the PCI slots, and put the card back in and disable the integrated graphics.

It might identify itself as 'AGP' because some PCI video cards that also have AGP variants just put the AGP chip on the PCB and put an AGP to PCI bridge on the card and call it a day. I know the Intel 740s did this.

If you continue to be stumped, it's possible that a PCI TNT or TNT2 may work, or a PCI RIVA 128. On the ATi side, Maybe an older card (such as an older Rage 128) might work. Best of luck!

(also ooooh that PC looks nice it's so clean and preeety)

Could it be that there are differences between the the AGP and PCI vBIOS and that your card has an AGP vBIOS on it, which causes problems on some but not all machines ?

Reply 3 of 21, by athlon-power

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darry wrote on 2021-02-11, 16:50:

Could it be that there are differences between the the AGP and PCI vBIOS and that your card has an AGP vBIOS on it, which causes problems on some but not all machines ?

That's possible. If the XP machine is new enough to understand AGP speak, it may work out, but older machines that were around before AGP and have a violent hatred against change may not like it. I don't know if flashing a PCI BIOS onto it would fix it or brick the card, because if it is an AGP chip on an AGP to PCI bridge, it won't like it. Looking at the board, it doesn't appear that there's enough chips on it to signal that there might be a bridge there.

I just remembered that some older computers demand that the VGA BIOS act a certain way, and if it doesn't, it won't POST with the card installed. Something about the VGA BIOS initializing before the system BIOS, I think. OP mentioned that it identifies itself as an AGP card when the system boots up though, so that means it likely initializes the VGA BIOS before the system BIOS as it boots up. Hm.

[EDIT]
I misread, it says that in Windows. Does it initialize the video card before the BIOS when it boots up in the XP machine? Should be something like a brief screen that says "RAGE 128 VGA BIOS" and lists the amount of video memory and something along the lines of "COPYRIGHT -insert year- ATI". I've not seen many Rage 128 initialization screens, but I've seen plenty of others (3DLabs, nVidia, S3, etc.) and they usually follow that formula.

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Reply 4 of 21, by texterted

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Did you try it in different pci slots?

Cheers

Ted

98se/W2K :- Asus A8v Dlx. A-64 3500+, 512 mb ddr, Radeon 9800 Pro, SB Live.
XP Pro:- Asus P5 Q SE Plus, C2D E8400, 4 Gig DDR2, Radeon HD4870, SB Audigy 2ZS.

Reply 5 of 21, by akm513

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athlon-power wrote on 2021-02-11, 16:45:

(also ooooh that PC looks nice it's so clean and preeety)

Thanks! I spent a lot of time cleaning it up. I'm pretty happy with the way it came out.

athlon-power wrote on 2021-02-11, 16:45:

It's a long shot, but some BIOSes screech irrationally when you don't do exactly what they want. It's possible that there's a BIOS setting for changing the primary video adapter- you might be able to remove that card, enable integrated graphics, go in and make the default video adapter go to the PCI slots, and put the card back in and disable the integrated graphics.

Not sure if you are referring to screeching as beeps - there is no beep or tone when the card is installed. It's just a blank screen with a flashing cursor. When I remove the card, the system returns to normal. The PC BIOS has just two video settings that I can see - DDC Monitor Checking (when enabled it autopopulates the fields at the bottom) and Video Feature Connector - I've tried this in both enabled and disabled modes, but still nothing.

file.php?mode=view&id=102757

athlon-power wrote on 2021-02-11, 16:57:

[EDIT]
I misread, it says that in Windows. Does it initialize the video card before the BIOS when it boots up in the XP machine? Should be something like a brief screen that says "RAGE 128 VGA BIOS" and lists the amount of video memory and something along the lines of "COPYRIGHT -insert year- ATI". I've not seen many Rage 128 initialization screens, but I've seen plenty of others (3DLabs, nVidia, S3, etc.) and they usually follow that formula.

When in the XP machine, the PC's BIOS is the first screen that appears. It's just a black screen before that (the monitor is awake and displaying a black screen).

texterted wrote on 2021-02-11, 17:33:

Did you try it in different pci slots?

Yes. There are two PCI slots on the IBM. I have a network card that works fine in both slots.

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Reply 6 of 21, by athlon-power

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akm513 wrote on 2021-02-11, 18:13:

When in the XP machine, the PC's BIOS is the first screen that appears. It's just a black screen before that (the monitor is awake and displaying a black screen).

I would recommend finding a few different PCI video cards (if you have some lying around) and put them in the XP machine and see if the VGA BIOS initializes before the system BIOS. If you can find a couple that just show a black screen, likely meaning that the system BIOS initializes first, then the card, put them in the IBM 340 and see if they will POST. If not, your machine's BIOS requires the VGA BIOS to POST first. If they do work... ¯\_ (ツ)_/¯ Might just be a card incompatibility or something.

Other than that route, I'm not too sure what you could do. If this fails to work out, and you're wanting a PCI card that performs roughly the same, a PCI TNT2 should work fine. Every TNT2 I've ever owned has POSTed the VGA BIOS first. In fact, I've had GeForce FX5200's post the VGA BIOS first- I'm assuming this means that cards in between the Geforce FX series and TNT2 series should POST VGA BIOS first as well (GeForce 2, etc.).

[EDIT]
I didn't mean the screeching as in beeps, but that happens sometimes too. I should've said something less strange but I just meant it gets angry and refuses to work.

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Reply 7 of 21, by Sphere478

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Best pci 2.1 non sse video card?

I also have been having issues with pci video cards. it's a theme 🤣 including a rage 128 only solution I have found is to keep trying different ones till one works sad to say. I was kinda looking forward to using the rage 128

🖥Craziest socket 7 build on a 430tx chipset
🖥Dual socket 7 build

Reply 8 of 21, by athlon-power

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Sphere478 wrote on 2021-02-12, 04:51:

Best pci 2.1 non sse video card?

I also have been having issues with pci video cards. it's a theme 🤣 including a rage 128 only solution I have found is to keep trying different ones till one works sad to say. I was kinda looking forward to using the rage 128

PCI INFERIOR, AGP SUPERIOR (ISA, EISA, MCA, PCI, AGP, and PCI-E proceed to fight each other to the death on a purple space shuttle)

The only modern PCI graphics cards I've ever used have been nVidia (GeForce 6200, GeForce FX5200, etc.) and they've all worked well- of course, the 6200 was on Pentium 4 systems its entire life, but the FX5200 ended up on a weird Athlon XP that was in Socket 754(?) I think it was a mobile processor or something along those lines- but I never used them with a machine as old as yours. Other than that, it's been all S3 ViRGE, and Trident cards (eugh).

I've looked on eBay, and most PCI video cards are shockingly expensive for some reason, which complicates things. Even PCI FX5200's are going for a premium now, which is unfortunate considering the FX5200 PCI I had performed so badly I punched my screen, and broke my hand instead of the screen because it was a CRT. The screen laughed, and I've been afraid of it ever since. I would recommend finding cheap (when they came out) OEM machines from 2002-2004, people sell them for dirt and they usually have PCI video cards that are similar to yours in them.

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Reply 10 of 21, by Sphere478

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akm513 wrote on 2021-02-12, 22:03:

Thanks, all, for the input. This at least gives me a place to go and an idea of what is happening.

I'm going to try to get my hands on another card and hope for the best.

Try a 6200. People seem to have a lot of luck with them

🖥Craziest socket 7 build on a 430tx chipset
🖥Dual socket 7 build

Reply 11 of 21, by akm513

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Sphere478 wrote on 2021-02-12, 22:05:
akm513 wrote on 2021-02-12, 22:03:

Thanks, all, for the input. This at least gives me a place to go and an idea of what is happening.

I'm going to try to get my hands on another card and hope for the best.

Try a 6200. People seem to have a lot of luck with them

The GeForce 6200? I'll have to look into that. I'd be concerned though that my power supply could handle a card that modern (it's the original, proprietary 145W unit IBM installed).

And as I'm writing this, I'm now wondering if that's my issue all along...

Reply 12 of 21, by athlon-power

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akm513 wrote on 2021-02-12, 22:34:

The GeForce 6200? I'll have to look into that. I'd be concerned though that my power supply could handle a card that modern (it's the original, proprietary 145W unit IBM installed).

And as I'm writing this, I'm now wondering if that's my issue all along...

Most likely not. The Rage 128 shouldn't consume more than 20w TDP, I say this because it's most likely a lower end chip than its normal AGP counterparts, being on the PCI bus and all- and most nVidia chips of the time (TNT2 non M64, for example) were 20w, and the M64s were even lower (14-15w). I can't imagine ATi chipsets from the 90's (the R128 Pro itself may not be late 90's, but the R128 architecture is) going much higher than that considering that the heatsinks are about the same size on those cards as the TNT2s.

This is all speculation, and it's highly possible I could be so wrong that this makes me look like a complete idiot, but I don't really believe that power is the problem, especially looking at the size of the heatsink on your card, which is about the same size as most TNT2s I've seen, even some M64s. The 6200, however, appears to have a much larger heatsink which makes me think that the TDP is a bit higher there. FX5200 heatsinks aren't as big as the 6200s, but are still larger that that of your Rage 128 and the aforementioned TNT2s.

Maybe something like this could work:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AOpen-M64-PCI-graphi … Y8AAOSwSwBgIymu

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Reply 13 of 21, by RichB93

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Given the vintage of the machine (A P166), I'd recommend something a bit more period correct, purely on the basis that drivers will be lightweight enough to work well on such a machine. You'll find that later cards have drivers that just aren't as performant on newer hardware.

I know this doesn't answer your original question, but it's what I would do myself to upgrade the graphics capabilities of the machine.

I'd recommend an ATI Rage Pro, if you'd like to go the ATi route.

Reply 14 of 21, by athlon-power

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RichB93 wrote on 2021-02-13, 01:57:

Given the vintage of the machine (A P166), I'd recommend something a bit more period correct, purely on the basis that drivers will be lightweight enough to work well on such a machine. You'll find that later cards have drivers that just aren't as performant on newer hardware.

I know this doesn't answer your original question, but it's what I would do myself to upgrade the graphics capabilities of the machine.

I'd recommend an ATI Rage Pro, if you'd like to go the ATi route.

I was gonna say this too, but it seems that OP is wanting to use a more modern card, so I was just going with that. But an S3 ViRGE DX/GX 4MB might work too, unless there's a need for 3D acceleration. In that case, something like a RIVA 128 would work as well. I'd say a Voodoo 4MB but... we all know how "cheap," those cards are. If not those, Matrox Milleniums come in 8MB (I think) and are one of the best 2D PCI cards you can get for a system like that.

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Reply 15 of 21, by Sphere478

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While 145w is kinda small it’s probably more than enough for your entire pentium 166 and geforce 6200 system. In general consider the amount of heat your system is producing. That’s a good indication of how much wattage it’s consuming. Since that entire system can basically be passively cooled with rather small heatsinks I think it’s safe to say that you are probably under 100w of consumption. If not less.. they sell meters that will tell you though. They are called kill-a-watt meters

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🖥Craziest socket 7 build on a 430tx chipset
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Reply 17 of 21, by akm513

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Thanks for all the feedback. I've been trying and looking at a few more things, but haven't gotten much farther.

Since my last post I got my hands on the older Rage XL card and popped it in. This card at least doesn't stop the machine from booting. When I first power it up with that card installed I get the beep code for "video adapter error," according to IBM's documentation, but I can't any more information than that. After the beeps, it posts, the BIOS loads, and Windows comes up...but there's no video from the card, only the on-board adapter. I've gone though all the video settings in the BIOS again with this card and the jumper setting, with no dice.

So I've decided to try a third card. From all the recommendations here, I have a TNT2 card in the mail that should arrive this week. Hopefully that gives me a different result. Fingers crossed...

Reply 18 of 21, by Sphere478

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akm513 wrote on 2021-02-21, 17:15:

Thanks for all the feedback. I've been trying and looking at a few more things, but haven't gotten much farther.

Since my last post I got my hands on the older Rage XL card and popped it in. This card at least doesn't stop the machine from booting. When I first power it up with that card installed I get the beep code for "video adapter error," according to IBM's documentation, but I can't any more information than that. After the beeps, it posts, the BIOS loads, and Windows comes up...but there's no video from the card, only the on-board adapter. I've gone though all the video settings in the BIOS again with this card and the jumper setting, with no dice.

So I've decided to try a third card. From all the recommendations here, I have a TNT2 card in the mail that should arrive this week. Hopefully that gives me a different result. Fingers crossed...

Yeah, your results sound very familiar 🤣. Some of mine appear to still post behind a black screen. Some make a beep code and appear to halt post all together. What surprises me is that even some older or same period cards aren’t working like I have a pile of old 4mb cards (don’t actually know the size of them but you get the age of the cards I mean when I say that,) it seems for some reason you just have to keep trying.

🖥Craziest socket 7 build on a 430tx chipset
🖥Dual socket 7 build

Reply 19 of 21, by akm513

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The TNT2 card arrived today. I popped it in my machine and got yet another problem with various colored lines. Interestingly, with this card installed, it seems to disable the on board video adapter - the monitor won't even wake up when the VGA is plugged in.

file.php?mode=view&id=103810

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As with all of the other cards, once I remove the card from the system, all normal functionality returns.

I'm thinking now that this system just isn't able to accept an upgraded graphics solution...

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