VOGONS


First post, by WJG6260

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Hello all,

Recently I purchased an FIC VIP-IO, and the BIOS that came on the board was version 4.25.

I upgraded to the version 3.276GN1 year 2000 beta BIOS, and the board works fine, but it only works with VLB/ISA graphics cards, whereas, with the stock BIOS, it seems to work just fine with various PCI video cards, including my Number Nine Imagine 128 Series II.

Is PCI just broken on this later BIOS? Or is there perhaps some jumper that needs to be set?

I'd appreciate any insight that any of you might have.

Thanks for all the help!

Feel free to check out my YouTube and Twitter!

"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window." - Woz

Reply 1 of 7, by majestyk

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The version 3.276GN1 is a BIOS made for a whole bunch of FIC mainboards. This is why it comes with an integrated Cirrus Logic graphics BIOS (for onboard graphics that the VIP-IO does not have).
Maybe this graphics bios interferes with PCI cards?
There´s another version: 4.27gn2a without video BIOS. Maybe you should give this one a try.

Reply 2 of 7, by WJG6260

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majestyk wrote on 2021-04-12, 18:31:

The version 3.276GN1 is a BIOS made for a whole bunch of FIC mainboards. This is why it comes with an integrated Cirrus Logic graphics BIOS (for onboard graphics that the VIP-IO does not have).
Maybe this graphics bios interferes with PCI cards?
There´s another version: 4.27gn2a without video BIOS. Maybe you should give this one a try.

That does make sense! I'll give that a try. I just tried stripping BIOS 3.276GN1 in two and it worked, but still produced the same PCI issue.

I'll give it a try with 4.27GN2A! Thanks for the advice. I'll report back any findings.

Feel free to check out my YouTube and Twitter!

"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window." - Woz

Reply 3 of 7, by majestyk

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I tried it myself this morning as I had my VIP-IO on the table anyway.
I can confirm BIOS version 3.27GN1 works with ISA and VLB cards ONLY, while version 4.27gn2a works also with PCI video adapters.

Looking at it in an editor shows that the actual BIOS starts at address "0000-C000". The area before that is empty. It´s missing the video BIOS.

Reply 4 of 7, by WJG6260

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Oh fantastic! Thank you for letting me know! I haven't gotten the opportunity to test it just yet, but this is awesome news.

I wonder why the universal beta BIOS doesn't like PCI video cards. It seems like a strange omission for a board/series of boards that have an entire identity of moving toward PCI compatibility.

As an aside, do you have any idea if the 4.27GN2A BIOS supports the Am5x86? I'd imagine it wouldn't be a big deal to get it running, but I just wanted to make sure, as that's something I'd like to test.

Feel free to check out my YouTube and Twitter!

"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window." - Woz

Reply 5 of 7, by majestyk

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I have an Am5x86 running on a 486-GAC-V with BIOS 3,27GN1 and it´s detected correctly. I´m sure the same goes for 4.27GN2A.

Completing a FIC 486-GACV

Note that the GAC-V uses the same BIOS and it´s an ISA/VLB only board.

FIC recommended this BIOS for 486-GIO VT, 486 GAC-V, 486 GAC-2, 486 VIP IO, 486 GIO VP and 486 GVT2!

Reply 6 of 7, by WJG6260

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Oh thanks for letting me know! I just gave 4.27GN2A a shot and it seemed to be fine. The Am5x86 worked normally, but identified as a AM486DX4B-150MHz, which doesn’t bother me in the least. A Cyrix 5x86 worked fine too with the settings for the M7, but it seemed that I couldn’t enable WB L1 cache.

The one thing I’ve struggled with—and perhaps you might know—is this: if I run the board with a P24D or other similar WB L1 cache CPU (non-Cyrix, and I think AMDs are fine?), the board will hang after POST-ing, UNLESS I short jumpers 1-2 on JC4. It seems once I do that, the board will post, albeit sometimes with errors when reading floppies. I can’t seem to get it to read floppies at all with a P24T, and have a similar jumpering issue.

Have you had any similar issue? I feel like this is a wonderful board, but it’s an absolute pain to get setup 🤣

Feel free to check out my YouTube and Twitter!

"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window." - Woz

Reply 7 of 7, by douglar

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majestyk wrote on 2021-04-13, 06:01:

I can confirm BIOS version 3.27GN1 works with ISA and VLB cards ONLY, while version 4.27gn2a works also with PCI video adapters.

I am using version 4.27gn2a on a FICVIP (no-IO). After a lot of fussing, I finally got my AM5x86-p75 working . It was an unexpected problem: Heatsink mount was preventing the chip from fully inserting =p

Notes:

  • Early PCI Graphics adapters work. (Mach32 and S3 Trio, Trident, and ET6000 work. Permedia V2 (1997) and newer cards do not work )
  • Randomly identifies the AM5x86-p75 as a "Am486DX4B-S" at either 120Mhz or 150Mhz on POST. Regardless of what it says, it still runs at 133Mhz
  • Cannot get a CPU work in write back mode. Tried IBM DX4 100 , AM5x86-p75, & POD83 . If I set the jumper for write back cache on the POD, the board does not post.
  • Bios setting for WB L2 cache works. Bios setting for WB L1 cache has no effect.
  • Still doesn't work with Drives > 528MB

I've had some really great bios upgrades on old systems from this same period, but this isn't an eventful bios upgrade. Other than Y2K support, I'm seeing no improvements.

I'll have to stick the 4.15G bios back in to see if WB mode worked . I thought it did, but sometimes I think funny things.

Edit-- OK, I put the 4.15G bios back in. No WB Support. AM5x86-p75 is identified as 80486DX2-100mhz