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Old 05-12-03, 10:48 AM   #1
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Default A "rm_init_adapter failed" story (and solution)


I have seen a lot of people who are getting the "rm_init_adapter
failed" message but have been unable to solve the problem, so here is
my story on how I solved it.

I recently bought a very cheap bulk GeForce2 MX200 video card. The card
was announced to be a Creative card and had a small white sticker on
it saying Creative. Since the card was sold as a bulk version there
were no drivers distributed with it.

Being an experienced Linux and GeForce user I decided to install the
card on my Debian SID box, I figured: "this can only take five
minutes". Boy, was I wrong. I inserted the card and used the nice new
nVidia installer. Everything went smooth and the installer even
compiled and installed the driver correctly against my "home made"
Linux 2.4.20 kernel. Happy about how easy it had become to install the
nVidia drivers, I wrote "startx" BAAAAMM!! X did not start!

Looking the Xfree86 log I got:

(EE) NVIDIA(0): Failed to initialize the NVIDIA kernel module!
(EE) NVIDIA(0): *** Aborting ***

And /var/log/messages had:

1: NVRM: rm_init_adapter failed

After consulting the nVidia FAQ for possible reasons, I found that it
could either be the /dev/nvidia* that was not created or that the
kernel driver was not compiled correctly. Neither was the case.

Then I compiled the drivers with debugging information and got the
following messages:

1: NVRM: RmInitAdapter:
1: NVRM: RmSetupRegisters for 0x10de:0x111
1: NVRM: pci config info:
1: NVRM: registers look like: 0xe0000000 0x1000000
1: NVRM: fb looks like: 0xd8000000 0x8000000
1: NVRM: Successfully mapped framebuffer and registers
1: NVRM: final mappings:
1: NVRM: regs: 0xe0000000 0x1000000 0xd0a40000
1: NVRM: RmInitAdapter failed!
1: tearing down registers
1: NVRM: rm_init_adapter failed

This did not give me any more clues on what the problem
was. Hmmm... maybe my card was broken? Changing to XFree86's nv driver
2D was working like charm, so this was not the case.

Now it was time to look in the BIOS configuration, especially at the
two options: "PnP OS" and "Assign IRQ for VGA". Both of these where
also correctly configured.

Running out of ideas I booted the box into Windows 98 and downloaded
the nVidia reference driver for Windows. No luck, the card said "Card
could not start (code 10)". Then I tried Windows 2000: same
deal. Finally I installed Windows XP and now the card was working with
the default Windows XP nVidia card drivers but still not with nVidia's
reference drivers.

Since my card was labeled as a Creative card, I went to the Creative
home page and downloaded some drivers. Still no luck. Now looking at
the output from 'lspci':

VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV11DDR [GeForce2 MX 100 DDR/200 DDR]
Subsystem: Micro-Star International Co., Ltd.: Unknown device 8261

it might be a MSI card and not a Creative card!?! Anyway, on to the
MSI home page, download and install the drivers. Still no luck!

Being very low on ideas, I started reading the GeForce FAQ:

In this FAQ there is a small section about flashing the video card
BIOS. After reading this fine section I went to:
http://www.gforcex.com/bios_johan/index2.htm and downloaded nvflash
and a BIOS for my GeForce2 MX200. Then I created a floppy and booted
to DOS. From DOS I used nvflash to backup my current video BIOS and
flashed it with BIOS I had just downloaded. All this went without any
errors, though I had to ignore that the vendor strings was not
matching. I crossed my fingers and rebooted to Windows XP and
installed the nVidia reference drivers. They where working!!! I then
rebooted into Linux and here the nVidia drivers where working as well.

Wooohooo! After 8 hours of frustration and a lot of googling I got a
working nVidia card (and a fresh installation of Windows XP)

WARNING: now this is not an invitation for everybody to start flashing
the video BIOS. I am pretty sure that this can go wrong and destroy your
video card. I just wanted to share my experience and hopefully save
some people a lot of time and money.

Best regards
Lars Munch
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Old 05-12-03, 12:40 PM   #2
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Location: Wejherowo, Poland
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I also have errors similar to your's. But that's only sometimes. Usually X starts normally and hangs after a few minutes/hours. I am desperated and ready to try your method. You mentioned something about card destroying. Is that possible? I have a laptop and GeForce4 420 Go, so I don't want to risk it. Another thing - my BIOS doesn't have
"Plug and Play OS" or "Allocate IRQ to PCI-VIDEO...". I am desperated. Can someone at last help me?
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Old 05-12-03, 01:13 PM   #3
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Default Not hanging...

My X did *not* hang but was unable to initialize the card and therefore unable to start.

Try tweaking the agp options etc. before flashing the BIOS and do read the section about BIOS flashing in the GeForce faq. This section describes the consequenses of video BIOS flashing.
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Old 05-12-03, 02:36 PM   #4
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Thumbs up rm_init_adapter error

Top bloke! As you say, there are lots of reports but few solutions for this problem, which I have seen in RH7.3 + XFree 4.0.2 (so I changed distros ) and now in Mandrake 9.1 + XFree 4.3.
A quick question about cards... I have a "Creative GeForce2 MX200 32MB-SDR-AGP" according to the lettering on the box, but lspci gives '01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV11DDR [GeForce2 MX 100 DDR/200 DDR] (rev b2)'
Is the SDR/DDR thing important?
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Old 05-12-03, 03:05 PM   #5
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Yes, OK, now I've Read the Fine FAQ and I understand that SDR memory is different to DDR. I guess this means that I am at risk of choosing the wrong bios to flash... scary stuff.
Another query for Lars - what do you think are the correct settings for PnP OS and Allocate VGA IRQ? I had to experiment with these *a lot* when I first installed Linux on this hardware, and it's not ideal now, because it's dual boot Mandrake and Win98, so I have to keep both OSes happy.
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Old 05-13-03, 01:51 AM   #6
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I also had my conserns about choosing the right video BIOS for SDR/DDR, but the download page only had one video BIOS for my card. I do not know if it was a SDR or a DDR video BIOS but it works. Maybe these two video BIOS' has been conbined.

As for BIOS configuration, I have always been running with "PnP OS" set to off/false and "Assign IRQ to VGA" set to on/true.

My Win98 has never been unhappy with these settings.
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Old 05-14-03, 08:37 AM   #7
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"PnP OS" does not mean "PnP OS" like you're probably thinking of it. If it's set to yes, then it means "don't have the BIOS initialize all devices; let the OS initialize the ones that aren't needed to boot". If it's set to no, then it means "the BIOS should initialize everything itself".

It doesn't matter what you set this to, all Windows versions should work (except perhaps 95, but who cares about that? -- and in any case, 95 might only fail with the setting on; every OS will work with it off). But the vast majority of non-Windows OSes NEED it to be off, so the BIOS initializes everything itself.

"Assign IRQ to VGA" is a bit like this, but its name actually reflects what it does. With that setting off, Windows is the only OS in existence that I know of that will work properly. Every other OS that I've ever heard of NEEDS this setting to be on, so that the video card gets an IRQ assigned to it.
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Old 10-20-04, 06:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: A "rm_init_adapter failed" story (and solution)

perfect. this is exactly what i needed!!

i had been looking for an answer for several hours also before i found
this ...

thank you ever so much!
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