VOGONS


First post, by RETROKOMODO

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Hi chaps/chapettes,

I had a hell of a time with a 3850 AGP card and Asus A7N8X-X motherboard yesterday. Took me all day to get it working in XP, and I thought i'd share my 'fix' in case others have similar problems.

All started well enough. I slotted it it, put in the dual molex power adapter, hooked it up to the display and got bios etc. So far so good. I installed windows from disk and then made what I believe to be, my mistake. I used the Snappy Driver Installer to fill in all the missing driver gaps. Ordinarily this wouldn't be an issue - but more on that later..
After a reboot I then installed one of the AGP hotfix drivers people suggested works, and it identified my card as HD3850 AGP and installed through to the end prompting a restart. Hurrah! I restarted the PC and.. just before it got to the screen with the 'Welcome to Windows' splash (which I didn't see) that was it. Black screen with a mouse pointer that wouldn't move, caps/numlock unresponsive. I waited and nothing happened.

I went into safe mode and DDU'd then back into normal Windows and tried another install. This time I unpacked and just chose the driver from the inf file and again all looked good. Restarted and had the same thing - black screen with a mouse pointer. Several hours passed of downloading old Catalyst packages, installing, DDU, trying again until I gave up on that and searched around for fixes. I tried Safe Mode with VGA and that worked fine! Until I changed resolution.. I tried 4 different old power supplies - didn't make a difference. I started to think my card was partially dead somehow.

GPUZ showed my card had a hardware ID of 9515, and I'd read you could install regular drivers as 'HD 3800 series' if it had an ID of 9505, so I got some appropriate BIOS files from TechPowerUp to flash from a DOS usb stick. It's a good thing I did 'atiflash -i' as it had two devices listed. The Rialto Bridge chip on ID 0 and the card bios on ID 1.. I saw a post somewhere where someone had just flashed the Rialto chip by accident and got stuck for a while so I dodged that bullet by force flashing 1. After flashing the first bios I had blue and red speckles all over the loading screen, however it was fine in Windows - but again same story on driver install. I flashed a third bios image, and that got rid of the speckles which were making me nervous, but again - black screen after driver install and completely unresponsive. Back to square one.

Having not had quite this much trouble with a GPU before, I expanded my search on this black screen issue and found some suggestions on motherboard BIOS settings - mine were all fine. Then I found something that didn't quite fit the problem, but was close enough to point me in another new direction. I found a post about trying to get the card working on a motherboard with an nForce3 chipset and the ensuing driver problems. The Asus A7N8X-X is nForce2, but I though it worth a go, so after yet another DDU I went back in and uninstalled the Nvidia AGP Gart driver. Restart - normal driver install - restart - cross fingers..

Windows!! In 1080p!! I DDU'd the drivers and put something else on.. Windows!!! In 1080p!!! I even ran some benchmarks and they looked fine!

The one thing I have yet to do is install the Nvidia driver pack from the ASUS support site (v1.16 from 06 May 2003) to get my AGP Gart back, but my working theory is that the AGP Gart driver on the SDI package is just too new and confusing for the system. So just don't install it! I'm going to be doing a full system rebuild into a Matsonic MS8177C motherboard and I don't expect any issues there as it's a VIA chipset. Well.. who knows eh? I think i'll also pop a video up on Youtube.

Anyway. Problem solved sort of. I hope this helps someone save an hour/day or two if they have similar issues 😀

Reply 1 of 2, by zapbuzz

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RETROKOMODO wrote on 2022-06-23, 10:06:
Hi chaps/chapettes, […]
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Hi chaps/chapettes,

I had a hell of a time with a 3850 AGP card and Asus A7N8X-X motherboard yesterday. Took me all day to get it working in XP, and I thought i'd share my 'fix' in case others have similar problems.

All started well enough. I slotted it it, put in the dual molex power adapter, hooked it up to the display and got bios etc. So far so good. I installed windows from disk and then made what I believe to be, my mistake. I used the Snappy Driver Installer to fill in all the missing driver gaps. Ordinarily this wouldn't be an issue - but more on that later..
After a reboot I then installed one of the AGP hotfix drivers people suggested works, and it identified my card as HD3850 AGP and installed through to the end prompting a restart. Hurrah! I restarted the PC and.. just before it got to the screen with the 'Welcome to Windows' splash (which I didn't see) that was it. Black screen with a mouse pointer that wouldn't move, caps/numlock unresponsive. I waited and nothing happened.

I went into safe mode and DDU'd then back into normal Windows and tried another install. This time I unpacked and just chose the driver from the inf file and again all looked good. Restarted and had the same thing - black screen with a mouse pointer. Several hours passed of downloading old Catalyst packages, installing, DDU, trying again until I gave up on that and searched around for fixes. I tried Safe Mode with VGA and that worked fine! Until I changed resolution.. I tried 4 different old power supplies - didn't make a difference. I started to think my card was partially dead somehow.

GPUZ showed my card had a hardware ID of 9515, and I'd read you could install regular drivers as 'HD 3800 series' if it had an ID of 9505, so I got some appropriate BIOS files from TechPowerUp to flash from a DOS usb stick. It's a good thing I did 'atiflash -i' as it had two devices listed. The Rialto Bridge chip on ID 0 and the card bios on ID 1.. I saw a post somewhere where someone had just flashed the Rialto chip by accident and got stuck for a while so I dodged that bullet by force flashing 1. After flashing the first bios I had blue and red speckles all over the loading screen, however it was fine in Windows - but again same story on driver install. I flashed a third bios image, and that got rid of the speckles which were making me nervous, but again - black screen after driver install and completely unresponsive. Back to square one.

Having not had quite this much trouble with a GPU before, I expanded my search on this black screen issue and found some suggestions on motherboard BIOS settings - mine were all fine. Then I found something that didn't quite fit the problem, but was close enough to point me in another new direction. I found a post about trying to get the card working on a motherboard with an nForce3 chipset and the ensuing driver problems. The Asus A7N8X-X is nForce2, but I though it worth a go, so after yet another DDU I went back in and uninstalled the Nvidia AGP Gart driver. Restart - normal driver install - restart - cross fingers..

Windows!! In 1080p!! I DDU'd the drivers and put something else on.. Windows!!! In 1080p!!! I even ran some benchmarks and they looked fine!

The one thing I have yet to do is install the Nvidia driver pack from the ASUS support site (v1.16 from 06 May 2003) to get my AGP Gart back, but my working theory is that the AGP Gart driver on the SDI package is just too new and confusing for the system. So just don't install it! I'm going to be doing a full system rebuild into a Matsonic MS8177C motherboard and I don't expect any issues there as it's a VIA chipset. Well.. who knows eh? I think i'll also pop a video up on Youtube.

Anyway. Problem solved sort of. I hope this helps someone save an hour/day or two if they have similar issues 😀

Interesting i'll remember that trick if i come across that problem.

Reply 2 of 2, by RETROKOMODO

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Well.. I tried installing the old driver pack from 2003 over my lunch break, and it of course overwrote all the newer drivers, lost the GPU driver completely and ended up with the black screen after driver reinstall. Safe mode and uninstalled the Nvidia Gart again, and back to normal! I imagine that with it missing i'll see some frame loss in games and benchmarks due to not being able to share memory around - or whatever the Gart does - but the point is it works again.

So with this combo of card and chipset - at least in Windows XP - loose the Gart driver.