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Old 07-11-03, 12:19 AM   #1
Bjorklund
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Default Diagnose a bad board? (FX 5600)

Today I got a new GeForce FX 5600 card (Gainward FX PowerPack! Ultra/760 TV/DVI 128MB), and I'm guessing its bad. Has anyone seen a problem like this, or is there something else I should check before asking the dealer for my money back? (I don't have Microsoft Windows, so can't use that for a sanity check)

Here's what happened:
I already had a GeForce2 MX440 working fine with 1.0-4363. Because of "Unified Driver Architexture" I figured it'd be fine to just swap one card for another without changing any software. Wrong!

As soon as xdm starts up, the display dies. The screen stays in text mode, but the character images get corrupted to random grey junk. There was no nVidia splash screen, not even a flash for a resolution change- just a bad ascii screen that won't go away until I reset. (Machine doesn't freeze up- network access still works- but XFree86 is taking 99% CPU usage)

This card works fine in text mode, and also functions with the XFree86 "vesa" driver (just a little slowly). But the "nvidia" driver scrambles and dies, while "nv" just reports "no screens found".

My software versions:
NVidia driver 1.0-4363
Kernel 2.4.21
XFree86 4.2.1.1
Debian unstable
AthlonXP 1100mhz
VIA motherboard

Attached is my XFree86Config-4 and (verbose 5) XFree86 log, from trying to start with "nvidia" driver.
Attached Files
File Type: txt xf86config-4.txt (2.1 KB, 156 views)
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Old 07-11-03, 12:20 AM   #2
Bjorklund
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Default the log file

Made with "startx -- -logverbose 5"
Attached Files
File Type: log xfree86.0.log (23.5 KB, 127 views)
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Old 07-11-03, 03:56 AM   #3
cake
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Ah, swapping cards with different chips is not that simple. The card seems to be fine, just re-install the drivers or better get the newest ones from NVidia site.
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Old 07-11-03, 11:12 AM   #4
Bjorklund
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Quote:
Originally posted by cake
better get the newest ones from NVidia site.
I did reinstall them after having this failure, it made no difference. And as I said, I've got version 1.0-4363, which is the newest version I can find. (Besides, the installer automatically tries to download updates if there are any)

Note that although I did reinstall (and recompile) the driver with the FX5600 board installed, each card worked exactly the same with either driver installation. FX5600 scrambled each time, and (after I swapped it back in) the GeForce2 was fine with the re-installed driver.
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Old 07-11-03, 06:56 PM   #5
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I don't know nVidia from what, but as a standard debugging tactic, the next thing I'd try would be:

Use strace on the X server startup to see if the driver silently stashed some video configuration somewhere that is still expecting the old card.

OTOH, Having swapped between different Geforce chipset cards here over the past few days of new product testing, they always just worked on reboot. You may well have a problem with the Gainward card :-(

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Old 07-14-03, 05:50 PM   #6
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Here is what I come to learn about my FX5200-based card and Debian - I'm playing with Debian for the first time and found out that it does not like my FX5200 video card! I keep getting the error that it can't find a screen and then I'm presented with a list of video cards using the 'nv' driver/module, whenever I try to start X. Of course my FX-5200 isn't on this list, as well as, I'm sure, neither is your's.

I have gone thrue the XF86Config-4 script with a fine-toothed comb and was sure it was correct. So, to answer the question once and for all, I pulled the FX5200 and inserted my old RIVA TNT2 card and Debian proceeded to boot right on to the login screen! Nope! It's not the card, it's the distro!

Now, my question is this - since I'm rather new to linux in general and brand new to Debian specifically, does Debian use a script/database of video cards and their divers/modules? I have found such a file in RH9 in /usr/share/hwdata/cards. If there is, could it be a simple matter of just adding the new nVidia-based cards to this list in order for the distro to 'see' the new cards? All of this has nothing to do with the NVIDIA 3D drivers, just the Debian built-in/included 'nv' driver/module.
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Old 07-14-03, 08:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by k3ant
Here is what I come to learn about my FX5200-based card and Debian - I'm playing with Debian for the first time and found out that it does not like my FX5200 video card! I keep getting the error that it can't find a screen and then I'm presented with a list of video cards using the 'nv' driver/module, whenever I try to start X. Of course my FX-5200 isn't on this list, as well as, I'm sure, neither is your's.

I have gone thrue the XF86Config-4 script with a fine-toothed comb and was sure it was correct. So, to answer the question once and for all, I pulled the FX5200 and inserted my old RIVA TNT2 card and Debian proceeded to boot right on to the login screen! Nope! It's not the card, it's the distro!

Now, my question is this - since I'm rather new to linux in general and brand new to Debian specifically, does Debian use a script/database of video cards and their divers/modules? I have found such a file in RH9 in /usr/share/hwdata/cards. If there is, could it be a simple matter of just adding the new nVidia-based cards to this list in order for the distro to 'see' the new cards? All of this has nothing to do with the NVIDIA 3D drivers, just the Debian built-in/included 'nv' driver/module.
I don't know, although I doubt it's Debian-specific. The 'nv' driver just isn't up to snuff, and that's why I'm using nVidia's official driver 'nvidia'.

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Old 07-14-03, 09:39 PM   #8
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As for other distros, I have had great success with Red Hat Linux 9 with the FX5200 card. Only during it's installation do I run into a little problem and that is resolved by using the text mode for the install. Once the system is installed, the 'nv' driver does it's thing.

The only other distro I have tried while using the FX5200 card is Knoppix. And here I did run into a weird one with the /ect/modules.conf entry for the 3D driver. Usually,when the nVidia installer script is run, it places an line in the /etc/modules/.conf (alias char-major-195 nvidia). But in Knoppix, there is no entry made! I have learned to make the entry myself. Then, because I modified the /etc/modules.conf myself, this line has a tendency to disappear, especially after installing or upgrading packages. And on the next boot up, X will not start. Now, I know this is due to my ineptness with Knoppix but it is something to watch out for non-the-less...
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Old 07-14-03, 11:36 PM   #9
Andy Mecham
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Does disabling AGP help?

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Old 07-15-03, 09:53 AM   #10
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Andy,

Quote:
Does disabling AGP help?
Now I'm more confused! Why would you disable the AGP when the video card being used is AGP-based? Even so, why should my old RIVA TNT2 card work but not the FX5200?

Ultimately, once I learn more about Debian I will be able to install the 3D drivers and all of this will be over with. But not yet! And until that time comes, I need to get the FX5200 accepted by Debian's default module.

My 'little voice' keeps telling me it will be a simple thing to fix and most times he is right. But this time, I don't know so all bets are off...

Thanks!
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Old 07-15-03, 11:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Andy Mecham
Does disabling AGP help?
Yes, it does. Apparently the GeForceFX models use the AGP bus more aggressively than a GF2 does, so motherboard instabilities are more apparent.

I managed to basically fix this problem (allowing me to re-enable AGP in the XF86Config file) by adjusting the BIOS settings for AGP drive. I had to change a number from the default of DA to E5. (Without having any idea of what that means)
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Old 07-15-03, 01:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Now I'm more confused! Why would you disable the AGP when the video card being used is AGP-based? Even so, why should my old RIVA TNT2 card work but not the FX5200?
Not all AGP chipsets or drivers are created equal. You may experience instability under linux with certain AGP chipsets, especially at higher data transfer rates. A good way to determine if AGP instability is the source of your problem is to disable the AGP driver. This means that your AGP card will basically look like a PCI card to the driver.

If you've determined that your machine is more stable with AGP disabled, then you might want to try switching AGP drivers (ie: from AGPGART to NVAGP or vice versa).

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