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PCI Video card replacement for Pentium Pro-150mHz - S3 Virge

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March 30, 2007 2:50:31 PM

Hi all,
I have an old (1996) Windows 95 Pentium Pro 150 mHz PCI bus (PT61-F motherboard), baby AT system that developed an odd problem with the 4 Mb S3 Virge On Board video card. It was as if the video cable had to be placed just-so in order for the monitor to display anything. That is, if I screwed-down the castle screws on the monitor cable to the computer-port 15 pin socket connector, it wouldn't display just a blank/black screen -- but if I backed out the cable and re-inserted gently without tightening the screws -- the display would come up fine on a restart. Lately, that doesn't work at all but the monitor self-tests Ok and the external video controls for signal port designation comes up fine - but [No Signal] message displays. It's a CyberVision ds86. So, I'm fairly convinced its the socket-connector on the card that's gotten damaged some way as the cable pins looks fine.
Anyway, I'd like to get a very cheap but reliable replacement for the S3 Virge card -- say, the Cirrus 1mb PCI Video card for example. I won't be doing any gaming on this system, just one DOS program that uses graphics for instruction that there was not released for Windows XP.

Can anyone recommend a good replacement choice for the video card, or comment on the Cirrus 1Mb as an Ok! but not great replacement and a good vendor source?
Thanks,
Gary
March 30, 2007 3:06:39 PM

I doubt you'll be able to find a new pci card on any store. Although, you could ask them if they have a used one. It seems that any card they would have with 1mb of memory or above would be pretty much enough for what you do.
You could try ebay as well!
But first, you should try a second monitor to make sure that the video card is your problem.
March 30, 2007 3:34:29 PM

Rickzor,
Yes, I had a 3 yr old Dell monitor that does work and it has the same 15 pin DIN 'D' type connector on its built in cable and tried that with same results.
On the 'old' system the detachable video cable had a couple of missing-pins on each of the cable ends at the same location on both ends. On the 'newer' Dell cable, all 15 pins were present.
I didn't think that would make a difference/create a problem if they were both SVGA monitors. Do you agree? Afterwards, I was hoping I hadn't damaged the card by hooking a non-compatible cable/monitor up. But, I couldn't tell anyway since the results were the same - [No Signal]
Thanks,
Gary
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March 30, 2007 3:49:12 PM

Yeah not all detachable cables or built in cables looks alike in their extremities, but it's unlikely you have damaged the card by plugging it. And its natural that there are missing pins (unless you can see they were broken) because not all pins are in use. As much as i can remember, 3 pins are for RGB (red, green and blue) 1 for ground and other 2 for vertical and horizontal deflection, and im not sure if im missing anything.
You dont get any signal even whe the pc is posting? Can you even hear the pc fans working inside?
March 30, 2007 4:13:05 PM

Yes, the PC itself appears to come up fine -- Power LED 'On', whirring sound of disk access and flashing red LED while coming up. Of course it takes a little longer to come up the next time when I can't see and just turn it off (scandisk, etc. that runs after you don't shutdown properly)
Like I said, very reliable system and it worked fine the last time I was able to jiggle the monitor cable to get it to display.
Glad to hear you didn't think I had damaged anything by connecting Dell monitor cable. I'm pretty sure I've tried another detachable monitor cable and it didn't make any difference.

There are still Standard PCI (not PCI Express) video cards available but they're fairly expensive. Your thinking any of them should work -- any recommendations of ones to avoid ? Video driver availability might be an issue for a used card but I think they may be readily available on free source sites.
Thanks,
Gary
March 30, 2007 4:25:38 PM

dude...why even bother? hehe just a thought...
March 30, 2007 5:28:43 PM

This forum is great. I don't think I've ever gotten this much response from any forum. Heck, I even appreciate the 'Why bother ...?' reply. Thanks to all of you.
Anyway, I took a walk downtown to see if the 1 or 2 PC repair places had some old stuff like this and by golly the fellow looks around throws me a Lightspeed 128 - 2Mb or 4Mb PCI video card and says 'Here try this ... it worked when I took it out. No charge!'.
I found a driver w95et6.zip (v4.03.3600) and I think I'm set.
If it doesn't work, I may try unsoldering the video connectors and swapping them since I think it's a physical-connection issue. Hopefully won't come to that.
The one reply suggesting a PC Parts vendor looks good too. I looked at one that had a Cirrrus card for $5 but they added $17.50 S/H. Seemed a little high to me.
Thanks again -- I'll post my results next week.
Gary
March 30, 2007 5:36:44 PM

Quote:
This forum is great.

Aww shucks, man!
April 5, 2007 1:54:17 PM

Hi guys,
Just wanted to let you know -- suddenly realized it's not the video card. I've tried the one the computer repair shop gave me (could've been a failed board even though tech said it worked when he took it out...) and I also ordered a PCI NVidia TNT 16mb from PcPartsofOhio -- I was waiting till I had it to try and it arrived yesterday with same results... absolutely no video signal is coming from it on booting.
I took the monitor and cable of this computer upstairs to a newer Dell desktop and it worked fine.
On this computer the motherboard is a Pine Technology PT-61F. It has 4 PCI slots and 4 ISA Legacy slots. I've tried the other PCI slots thinking it may be a connection issue/loose solder joint but that didn't affect anything. I don't know about this -- were there ISA video cards and if so, could you get video out of this board on one ? Be gentle, I admit I didn't know much about this to begin with -- just looking for a way to salvage what otherwise had been a fairly reliable system.
It's funny that before it completely failed I could get video by messing around with the video cable where it connected to the video card socket. That's what's not making sense to me. If cable was pushed in all the way it wouldn't work but back it out and insert just till you felt the pins connect and it 'most-of-the-time' would come up.
So, at this point I'm at a loss.
Thanks,
Gary
April 5, 2007 2:15:30 PM

For even $200 or $300 at max you can get a system that will outperform that one 10x or even 12x times the system you currently have.

If it died, just let it rest in peace.
April 5, 2007 2:16:18 PM

I found the following on a google of 'no video on boot' ...
Rest of post indicates (3) main issues : Monitor/cable (tested), Video Card fried (tried 2 different ones) or RAM failure.
The other thing I found here was to reseat the Jumpers found on the motherboard for the installed CPU -- Gary


That has happenned to me on several different comps..... In each case a screw was grounding the mobo out. I removed the screw closest to the agp/pci slots and it would work eveytime, on every one I had a problem with. In each casr was a different mobo, different case, different everythig. Just my luck I guess. Even if I used a rubber washer it wou between the board and the monut it would still do it.

Haven't had that problem in a few years now. That is the only thing that has never let me boot with no video though, so it is my only suggestion.
April 5, 2007 2:54:58 PM

On some of the Pentium Pro systems I worked on, the video didn't switch automatically. I had to shutdown the system, jumper the Clear CMOS pins, then power up and setup the BIOS. Then shutdown, remove the jumper, and boot.
April 5, 2007 3:17:07 PM

Hi Belvdr...
Thanks for your reply. On an aside, your handle reminded of my first car, a '68 Plymouth Belvedere -- I couldn't believe I was getting 30 mpg on that slant-6. Wished they still made 'em. Only cost me $300, 7 yrs old.

What do you mean when say '... the video didn't switch automatically'?
Simply that it would not switch ON ? I'm supposing.
By 'setup the BIOS', will I need any configuration information to enter manually or will it self-detect on its own after clearing CMOS ?
I have some printouts I did when I first got the PC did them for diagnostics. Should I attempt to download most current Award BIOS software prior to doing this procedure ? What was on there was v4.51.

Anyway, I found your recommendation to coincide with another forum and I wanted to ask -- Would removing the mobo battery accomplish this ? Docs I have for this mobo don't explain all the jumpers -- particularly for clearing CMOS -- only for those concerning the specific CPU on the mobo -- an Intel PPRO 150

I'll clean everything up - reseat connections, remove all unnecessary PCBs (modem, network card, etc). I think it sounds like it might be something like this or a grounding problem since when it did work I had to monkey around with the cable (which made me think it was the video card).

thanks for your help,
Gary
April 5, 2007 3:42:43 PM

Hi again,
I found the CMOS clear jumper settings in a different doc for the mobo.
Also found the following ...

Unplug computer. Remove battery (CR2032 probably) from mainboard. Move
cmos jumper to CLEAR position. Run to drugstore or wal-mart or radio shack
to buy a new CR2032 battery. After you have a new battery, move cmos jumper
to normal position and install new battery, + side up. Then plug in
computer and boot normally. If that doesn't work, try a new power supply.
If resetting cmos and new power supply didn't work, you are probably looking
at a bad mainboard. -Dave
**************
Never thought about the battery -- and it's the same for my system, CR2032. I don't quite understand what 'Move jumper to CLEAR position' does when you've taken out the old battery and he doesn't say to power-up the system. Is there some residual discharge that clears CMOS or am I not understanding what's happening (more likely the case..:-)
Thanks,
Gary
April 5, 2007 3:53:18 PM

The clear cmos jumper simply removes the battery power from the board. You can also remove the battery and wait several seconds (I always go grab a cup of java :)  ) then reinstall it.

What I meant by automatically switching is that the BIOS must select a primary display adapter when two video cards are installed. On many of those older boards, the default is the onboard video. If that's not working, then adding in the second video card may not help if the BIOS continues to use the onboard as the primary.

So, by jumpering the clear cmos jumper, you can usually go into the BIOS and save the primary as the add-in PCI adapter.

EDIT: About powering up for clear cmos, read your motherboard manual. Some need the powerup (older Intel boards like the Venus or Providence come to mind) and some don't.
April 5, 2007 5:19:57 PM

Belvdr and NovaThunder,
Good information and thanks for the explanation. I need to get a CR2032 battery tonight.
If my mobo had integrated on-board video, would it also have a 15 pin video connector available in the rear of the case somewhere connected by a direct cable to the mobo but would not be used normally -- right? Otherwise, how could a signal get to the monitor? I don't have any other connectors on the rear of the case or inside except for Mouse, KB and USB ports; so I probably don't have on-board video ...

Back to the clear CMOS procedure... My doc doesn't indicate to power up after 'shorting' JP8, the jumper designated for Clear CMOS. It also doesn't say to "remove the battery first and then short" (from my earlier post from another forum). It almost makes more sense to me -- to replace the battery and then short JP8 for the 2-3 seconds. Without the battery power, I just can't understand how shorting JP8 is going to do anything...

Thanks guys,
Gary
April 5, 2007 5:27:42 PM

Quote:
Hi guys,
I don't know about this -- were there ISA video cards and if so, could you get video out of this board on one ?


You don't need to get an ISA graphic card, by default ISA slots are a PCI slot + some other pins so you just need to put your PCI graphic card in that ISA slot and it will work. Of course it will if it normally boots though...

Thats strange why your p1 doesn't boot really. Maybe it is the cpu thats dead cause if I do understand you have now tried every other computer parts and these are not the problem so far. I'd say the cpu fails.

BTW those old computers NEED to have a working keyboard and monitor plugged in if not it will never post.

That is not even being close to correct. I'm not sure where you believe PCI is just a derivative of ISA, but ISA and PCI are not even compatible. Do NOT attempt to put a PCI card in an ISA slot or vice versa. ISA slots are 16-bit and PCI slots are 32-bit.

Also, some of the older computers could boot without keyboard and mouse. It just depends on the board.

If your docs don't say to power up then it is not required. You can remove the battery and short out the jumper, but removing the battery is sufficient.

I thought your board had onboard video, my bad. I would replace the card and clear the CMOS. it is not necessary to replace the battery unless the date keeps getting reset to 01/01/1970 or something similar.
April 5, 2007 5:32:33 PM

Quote:
Hi guys,
I don't know about this -- were there ISA video cards and if so, could you get video out of this board on one ?


You don't need to get an ISA graphic card, by default ISA slots are a PCI slot + some other pins so you just need to put your PCI graphic card in that ISA slot and it will work. Of course it will if it normally boots though...

Thats strange why your p1 doesn't boot really. Maybe it is the cpu thats dead cause if I do understand you have now tried every other computer parts and these are not the problem so far. I'd say the cpu fails.

BTW those old computers NEED to have a working keyboard and monitor plugged in if not it will never post.

That is not even being close to correct. I'm not sure where you believe PCI is just a derivative of ISA, but ISA and PCI are not even compatible. Do NOT attempt to put a PCI card in an ISA slot or vice versa. ISA slots are 16-bit and PCI slots are 32-bit.

Also, some of the older computers could boot without keyboard and mouse. It just depends on the board.

If your docs don't say to power up then it is not required. You can remove the battery and short out the jumper, but removing the battery is sufficient.

Quote:
baby AT system that developed an odd problem with the 4 Mb S3 Virge On Board video card


That's why I suggested disabling the onboard video. :)  I would replace the card and clear the CMOS. it is not necessary to replace the battery unless the date keeps getting reset to 01/01/1970 or something similar.
April 5, 2007 5:58:01 PM

Ok! Hold off on new battery but remove old one to Clear CMOS - reseat all jumpers and carefully (discharging static from body) depress any pinned-IC components on MLB.
Try restart.
If problem persists, and even though I wouldn't be able to see anything, do you think trying to get into - BIOS Setup by hitting delete or into Windows Safe Mode (hitting what-is-it F5/F8) on startup would be worth trying - would either enable video otherwise not displaying, probably not ?
Finally, New battery and run through Clear CMOS again.
Does that sound like a plan ? It's going to be cold as heck outside anyway so what better way to entertain oneself -- don't answer that last question.
Thanks,
Gary
April 5, 2007 8:21:58 PM

Sounds like a plan. :)  It's cold here too this weekend (and it was just 80 degrees two days ago), so it's a good time to stay indoors.

Normally when you clear the CMOS, it picks up the additional video card. Good luck!
April 9, 2007 8:15:08 PM

Belvdr,
I wasn't able to get back on this over the weekend. My son's Dell Inspiron 1705 laptop disk drive went belly-up and we were scrambling to get his files recovered. As typical college student, backups weren't available but fortunately we were able to get a USB jump drive to work.

I did get to remove the current battery on my old PCI system and when I put a voltmeter on it, it's only registerng 2.5vDC... Anyway, waiting a while and re-installing didn't work for bringing the video up. I'm going to get a new battery and try that. After that, I'll probably chuck it as we're starting to get into 'good money after bad'.
Thanks,
Gary
April 10, 2007 1:50:50 PM

While I was installing the new battery, I realized when I went through and reseated IC components (memory, chips not soldered); I had not reseated the flat-ribbon cables. There were (3) for each of the drives (a:,c:,d:)  and (2) smaller rectangular types (no more than 12-14 pins each). Did that, connected power - turned ON and got video on the original S3 Virge card.
I'm not sure which actually resolved the problem but a new battery doesn't hurt and should get me a few more years of service.
On this mobo the ribbon cables connectors don't have any kind of retainer-lock or end-snaps and with normal movement over time could get loosened enough I suppose.
Thanks for your help all and especially to Belvdr.
Gary
April 10, 2007 2:30:44 PM

Man.. this thread was painful to read... you spent an awful lot of time trying to get an ooooooollllld system to work. I couple times I wanted to just say, "here! Have my old box! Just pay for S&H!"

But congrats on getting it working again....

Personally, I would have used your motivation to spec out an incredibly cheap, but reliable replacement system, but if the one you have is important to you, then so be it!
April 10, 2007 5:19:22 PM

Phrozt,
I appreciate your perspective and I used to work a lot more on hardware prior to moving to application software support. That happened about the time this old system was current. Anyway, so many changes and advancements with new systems; it was good to work on something I vaguely remembered and can even work on. Lot of life still in the old machine I think and for the DOS based programs I'm running on her, she's perfect.
Later,
Gary
April 10, 2007 6:00:51 PM

I completely understand that statement. I've built 3 systems myself (for personal use) and the last one was 3 years ago. Even since then a *LOT* has changed. I've been reading and researching pretty much since october of last year. I think I'll make a final decision on april 22nd after the intel CPU price cuts.

It used to be that you could just stick pretty much anything in a slot and chances are, it would work. Now there's front side bus speeds to consider, voltages, timings... add on the added bonus of overclocking and it gets hectic. I remember when overclocking was controlled by dip switches on the board. However, like I said in my previous post, that's where I find my motivation! I love learning about the new stuff :) .

But, like you said... it works for what you need, and when it comes down to it, that's all that matters.
April 10, 2007 6:44:46 PM

try the monitor on another system. You can buy another pci video card on eBay.
April 10, 2007 7:09:00 PM

I've found all kinds of PCI video cards at goodwill. If you are near a metro area there are usually cats who horde old equipment and advertise on craigslist or the local paper. I think we must have 3-4 pci video cards in my Offices basement.

You could likely replace that whole box with an equivelent found at the options above for less that the $17.50 shipping of that other Video card.

Good Luck
April 10, 2007 7:25:33 PM

Quote:
try the monitor on another system. You can buy another pci video card on eBay.


Did you skip all 2 pages?

The problem is fixed; it was a connector on the motherboard not plugged in.
April 10, 2007 10:16:22 PM

Quote:
try the monitor on another system. You can buy another pci video card on eBay.


Did you skip all 2 pages?

The problem is fixed; it was a connector on the motherboard not plugged in.

read 2 pages for this shit, what are YOU smoking...
April 10, 2007 10:43:40 PM

You want to put pearls on your pet pig? Weird man.

That thing is nothing but a boat anchor, and is not worth soending a single cent on.
April 10, 2007 11:06:56 PM

Quote:
try the monitor on another system. You can buy another pci video card on eBay.


Did you skip all 2 pages?

The problem is fixed; it was a connector on the motherboard not plugged in.

read 2 pages for this ****, what are YOU smoking...

Yeah, reading 2 pages of short posts is a lot of work. :roll: If you don't like to read, why even bother joining a forum?
!