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Thread: DEC AlphaPC 164, issue with video card (PowerStorm 300)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Default DEC AlphaPC 164, issue with video card (PowerStorm 300)

    I've started a little while ago building from parts an Alpha machine, which I eventually want to have as a dual-boot, NT 4.0 and Linux. It's based on a DEC AlphaPC 164 motherboard with a 500MHz 21164A CPU, and I currently have in it 512MB of parity FPM RAM (8x64MB SIMMs).

    Besides some issues booting a modern Linux on this machine 20+ years old (which I'm talking to a few Gentoo developers about, since Gentoo is about the only modern distribution that still supports it) I have some problems in NT with video cards.

    I have tried many video cards; many of them work in ARC, some work in SRM, most work in NT4 as plain VGA framebuffers, and only one so far works with specific drivers installed (a S3 Trio64V+)
    I want better video, in particular I want a card with OpenGL support. There are only 2 candidates for that as this platform never supported many video cards. One would be a Permedia2-based card, but the better option is a E&S chipset one, such as a PowerStorm 300 or 350.

    I acquired one PowerStorm 300 a little while ago and while it does work in ARC and in NT4 as a framebuffer, as soon as I install the drivers (which I found at http://vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php...menustate=15,1 ) it doesn't show any image anymore - the monitor says "no video signal". I can still boot NT in safe mode and remove the driver and then it works again as a framebuffer, but then any attempts to reinstall it result in loss of video signal to the monitor.

    Thinking that the video card was flaky I got another identical one from a different source. The second card acts exactly the same.

    I spoke with the person who uploaded those drivers, he says they work perfectly fine for him with the same card. The motherboard he uses is a slightly later revision (AlphaPC 164LX).

    I tried to find other drivers for this card but it seems there are none to be found anywhere.
    I tried all 4 PCI slots on the motherboard with both cards, no change in results.

    Is there anyone here who has experience with similar systems (early 21164) with this video card who could assist troubleshooting? Any help would be much appreciated.
    I/O, I/O,
    It's off to disk I go,
    With a bit and a byte
    And a read and a write,
    I/O, I/O

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    Default

    The only thing I can think of is that it switches to a default video mode the monitor does not like.
    = Excellent space heater

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    coastal New England
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    298

    Default

    Possible... I tested it with the only 2 monitors that I have available now: a (relatively) modern Viewsonic LCD TV that has VGA input (goes to 1080p), and an early-2000s 17" Philips LCD 1280x1024 monitor. If there's a video signal on the output, neither likes it.

    The thing is, after I install the driver and reboot, I have image in ARC, I have image during the initial boot sequence which is text... then the image goes away once it should show the NT splash screen. I think that splash screen should be 640x480, which is supported by both monitors. I tried logging in blindly to see if image returns after that, but no.
    Last edited by jh1523; September 30th, 2018 at 08:27 AM.
    I/O, I/O,
    It's off to disk I go,
    With a bit and a byte
    And a read and a write,
    I/O, I/O

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