VOGONS


First post, by VileR

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Been going through a big bunch of video BIOS images for research purposes, and there's this one which I can't really place:

Filename
octek_TVGA8800CS.zip
File size
16.72 KiB
Downloads
16 downloads
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Yeah, the filename indicates it's from an Octek card with a TVGA8800CS chip. But it's rather different from every other TVGA VBIOS I've seen:

  • The initialization screen is similar to the usual Trident ones, but with no "Trident" or "TVGA" in sight. In fact those aren't mentioned anywhere in the BIOS dump.
  • Instead we have Award Software... whereas Trident firmware of that era usually shows Trident and Quadtel, or just Trident
  • The fonts look like those from Cirrus Logic's EagleII (CL-GD510/520) boards, which also happened to have Award firmware
  • Some of those text strings below (about memory errors, and incorrect switch settings) are also the same as those in the EagleII BIOSes
  • "C3-A128" or "-A128000" naturally turns up nothing on the web

From testing in DOSBox, it supports all TVGA8800/8900 specific text modes (50h-5Ah), and likely the graphics modes as well (5Bh-62h). Of course, lacking emulation of the actual chipset, the graphics modes don't produce a very useful display.

The thing is that some of the latter modes are listed on RBIL as 8800-only, others as 8900-only; so that doesn't narrow it down fully.

It's a long shot, but can anyone help pin down the TVGA chip, if it isn't some sort of clone, and maybe the actual Octek(?) card as well?


Init screen:

loadrom_000.png
Filename
loadrom_000.png
File size
2.79 KiB
Views
285 views
File license
Public domain

Text strings:

IBM COMPATIBLE.
02/06/89
C3-A128000
Mode
VGA BIOS C3-A128 Version 1.01
Copyright (c) AWARD SOFTWARE INC. 1984-1989. All Rights Reserved.
2/06/89 YWL 2/17/89 HSU
IBM IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OFINTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.
256 512 7681024K DRAM, VGACGA
An error was detected while checking the VGA memory.
An error was detected while checking CGA/MGA memory.
The VGA monitor switches, sw 1-4, are incorrectly set.

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Reply 1 of 3, by bakemono

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Looking briefly at the code, it does appear to be a Trident 8800. It uses the "old mode registers" as described in this document: https://pdos.csail.mit.edu/6.828/2004/reading … doc/TRIDENT.TXT

again another retro game on itch: https://90soft90.itch.io/shmup-salad

Reply 3 of 3, by VileR

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bakemono wrote on 2024-03-25, 21:12:

Looking briefly at the code, it does appear to be a Trident 8800. It uses the "old mode registers" as described in this document: https://pdos.csail.mit.edu/6.828/2004/reading … doc/TRIDENT.TXT

Oh cool, appreciated. It still appears to support some modes which are listed there as "8900 only" (60h, 62h), but I guess it's possible that *some* 8800s had them added as well.

wierd_w wrote on 2024-03-25, 21:34:

Perhaps for an integrated version of that chip, on an award bios equipped motherboard?

Good point, could be. Octek made motherboards as well as graphics cards, and apparently they had at least one mobo with an Award BIOS.
Of course that would be hard to spot - if they bothered to remove Trident's name from the VBIOS messages, I guess the markings on the VGA chip would be removed/stickered-over too...

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