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Thread: Need some help with an ATI Mach32 PCI graphics board

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Chattanooga, TN, USA
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    Question Need some help with an ATI Mach32 PCI graphics board

    I've had this cute little HP Pavilion 6736 on my parts shelf for a while ... the last time it was used it was a Windows XP machine. In order to have XP running halfway decent, the memory had been upgraded from 64MB to 512MB (the max for that motherboard) and the CPU was upgraded to a 1GHz Pentium III (from the original 667MHz Celeron).

    The hard disk had died and so I decided to get rid of the IDE stuff completely (the motherboard only does 66 MHz IDE, pretty lame). I found an Adaptec 2940UW, a Pioneer DVD-303 DVDROM drive, a 146GB 10000rpm Maxtor server drive and a 100MB Iomega Zip drive so I put that all in. Also added a 3C905 ethernet card.

    The reason for this little project is to build a little workstation to run Windows 98 (and several old applications) as well as OS/2 Warp 4.5 - and then there is that one DOS Application I really want to revive which requires either an ET4000 or a 8514 compatible graphics board. I also wanted to have 16 bit colors for Windows 98 and OS/2, so at 1024x768 I need 2 MByte of video ram. The ET4000 never had 2 MByte (the ET4000W32 did but that old DOS application does not work with the W32, it requires an original ET4000), so the only choice left for me was to get my hands on a Mach32 (which is 8514 compatible) with a PCI interface (so that it fits that HP Pavilion) and 2 MByte of video RAM (to get 1024x768x16 in Windows 98 and OS/2).

    Well, I managed to get one on eBay. Unfortunately I'm having problems setting up the card. "Setting up the card" back then meant to run ATI's DOS INSTALL utility to tell the card which video resolutions are allowed and where the memory aperture should go and things like that. All this information is stored in a little onboard EEPROM.

    Long story short - that INSTALL utility does not work. I have the newest version I cound find, version 2.6 from 1995. The Mach32 board says in its BIOS:
    Code:
    ATI MACH32 PCI BIOS
    P/N 113-23000-106
    1993/12/9
    The Mach32 board itself works. The 1024x768 resolution works in Windows 98. 800x600 does not work because the previous owner disabled it in the EEPROM. OS/2 does not boot because the 640x480 resolution has to run at 60Hz for OS/2 and it is currently setup for 72Hz within the EEPROM.
    How do I know what's inside the EEPROM as the INSTALL utility does not work? I took the source code from the old Linux svgalib project; they had a nice utility do read out the MACH32 EEPROM contents. I made a DOS program based on that source code. So this is how I know.

    Now for the INSTALL problem: INSTALL complains that it cannot find the MACH32 BIOS. But it is right there, at C000:0000, where it belongs. And the card works. And INSTALL seems to find the Mach32 chip itself because if I run INSTALL without the Mach32 board I get a "Mach32 adapter not found" error.

    What can be the problem preventing INSTALL from running, or better, from recognizing the MACH32 BIOS? Is it my 512 MByte of RAM (I have no smaller RAMs anymore, so I cannot downgrade)? Is it the processor speed (I disabled both L1 and L2 caches which slows the P-III down to a crawl, still no luck)? I boot an original PCDOS 7.0, no HIMEM.SYS or EMM386 or any other of that stuff.

    So the questions are - if anybody out there has that same graphics board and can run INSTALL:

    Which version of INSTALL exactly are you using?
    Did you encounter similar problems like I have with INSTALL.EXE?

    I'm about ready to launch the Debugger and try to find out what the root cause might be, but INSTALL.EXE is 200 kBytes, that might take a while to debug my way through that thing. So if anyone can provide any hints, I'd be very grateful.

    Markus
    Last edited by Baer; October 11th, 2018 at 09:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Chattanooga, TN, USA
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    Default Update - who can help with TEST.EXE

    Since I have a total weird behavior of my Mach32 graphics board, I searched the internet up and down and finally I found an old Mach32 support document from ATI on the internet archive: https://web.archive.org/web/19970619...e/mach32h.html

    This document mentions the INSTALL.EXE, C-INFO.EXE and TEST.EXE utilities - I have all of them. So here's a summary of what happenes:

    All these programs are run under PC-DOS 7.01.

    INSTALL.EXE says "Can't find the BIOS".
    C-INFO.EXE says "No Mach32 adapter installed".
    TEST.EXE does "something", the monitor receives a mode change to some 83 Hz interlaced video signal, then switches back to 720x400 and terminates. The screen stays black. Computer is not crashed, I can blind-type "shutdown<Enter>R" (I have the shutdown utility) and the computer will reboot. After the reboot I found an ATIERROR.LOG file and here's the contents:
    pic09.jpg

    So what do these codes mean? Is my Mach32 defective or is there some other memory "in the way"? I could not find any memory overlappings (inspecting the whole system with HWINFO).

    Any ideas?

    Thanks for any hints,
    Markus

  3. #3

    Default

    Are you sure you're using the correct software?
    Mach32 was originally for ISA/EISA/MCA/VLB, and PCI support was added in later revisions.
    If you're using utilities for the early revisions, they may not work with PCI.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20000304...rs/mach32.html - have you already tried these?

  4. #4
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    Chattanooga, TN, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Xacalite View Post
    Are you sure you're using the correct software?
    Mach32 was originally for ISA/EISA/MCA/VLB, and PCI support was added in later revisions.
    If you're using utilities for the early revisions, they may not work with PCI.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20000304...rs/mach32.html - have you already tried these?
    Thank you for the link but yes, I have tried these too. I have tried in fact three different versions of the drivers, the one you mentioned is from May 1994, I also have an even newer version from 1995. My Bios actually is from Dec 1993 (see first post), so it looks like PCI was available pretty early during the lifetime of the Mach32 product.

    Markus.

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Baer View Post
    there is that one DOS Application I really want to revive which requires either an ET4000 or a 8514 compatible graphics board.
    What application?

    INSTALL complains that it cannot find the MACH32 BIOS
    It can't find a BIOS it recognizes. Of course the BIOS is there or mode changes (like "MODE CO40") wouldn't work. So I'm guessing you either don't have the right software for the card, or the flash on the card is damaged.
    Offering a bounty for:
    - The software "Overhead Express" (doesn't have to be original, can be a copy)
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775, Olivetti M24, or Logabax 1600
    - Documentation and original disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

  7. #7

    Default

    How do you get 2MB, did you calculate or does your program want 2MB? 1024*768*4bit = 768kB

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Baer View Post
    I also wanted to have 16 bit colors
    Quote Originally Posted by stecdose View Post
    How do you get 2MB, did you calculate or does your program want 2MB? 1024*768*4bit = 768kB
    16 bpp, not 16 colors.
    2 MB of video RAM is indeed a must.

    Also, 1024*768*4bit = 384 KB

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