B&W G3 video problems

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Nermal, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    New Zealand
    #1
    I got a second-hand G3 today, turned it on, worked fine. After a while I rebooted, and got weird video artefacts (stripes etc.) while it was booting up, although once the desktop appeared everything was OK again. One reboot later, the entire desktop was screwed, the mouse pointer was a big white stripy square!

    Now I'm not getting any video at all. When I turn the system on, I hear it starting up, but there is nothing on the screen. I've reseated the RAM and video card, but that hasn't helped. I don't see why it would work one minute and then fail like it has.

    Any ideas? :(

    Edit: I reseated the card again and now I have video back :D
     
  2. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    San Francisco
    #2
    Is there any Video Acceleration going on? You can use the ATIccelerator on those Macs to overclock the GPU. If you turn it up too far it will really mess up the video. It would be located in the Sytem Preferences.

    If it isn't there, then refer to the first thing you said:
    "I got a second-hand G3 today..."

    Did someone give it to you?
     
  3. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

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    #3
    It was sold to me as a working system, so either the previous owner didn't have any trouble, or he wasn't being honest.

    How does ATIccelerator work? Does it set some settings on boot which last until you reboot, or does it do something more permanent? The system had a blank hard drive, so if it activates on boot then that's not the problem.
     
  4. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    Aug 2, 2004
    #4
    Depending on the age of a system and the environment in which they are coming from, it sometimes is helpful to clean the connections on a logic board.

    I've had to do this more with Quadras and early PowerMacs than more recent systems, but I did have to do it to a Blue & White once to solve memory issues.

    That was one thing I liked about Nubus... they weathered harsh environments better than most other types of expansion slots.
     
  5. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

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    #5
    I'll keep that in mind if I run into any more problems.
     
  6. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

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    #6
    I've run into another problem, not related to lack of video but I don't want to clutter up the forums with countless B&W threads :)

    Under OS 9.2.2, DVDs play flawlessly (except for the interlacing, but I'm not worrying about that at the moment). However, under 10.3.9, they're skippy, jumpy, and horrible. I can't believe that OS X would have so much overhead (although admittedly I'm only on 128 MB at the moment) so I suspect that it's not seeing the MPEG decoder card. Am I missing something obvious or do I just need more RAM?
     
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #7
    Which Rage 128 do you have? The later revisions had the MPEG decoder card slapped on the video card.
     
  8. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    Aug 2, 2004
    #8
    Mac OS X's version of the DVD Player doesn't use the hardware MPEG2 decoder of the early systems. But it does take full advantage of the Rage 128 for itself for DVD play back. I put a DVD drive in my iMac 350 (ATI Rage 128, 8 MB of VRAM, 512 MB of memory, 10.2.8) and it plays DVDs great. Similarly, my wife's PowerBook Pismo (G3/400, ATI Rage 128 Mobility, 8 MB of VRAM, 256 MB of memory, 10.3.9) also play DVD great (that system is our DVD player for the bedroom).

    Also I was amazed while doing the upgrade to my Beige G3 to find that it could play DVDs after I had installed a ATI Radeon 7000 (32 MB of VRAM) and a DVD drive even though the system was still using the original G3/266 and only have 128 MB of memory. It was running 10.3.9 at the time... and could hardly do anything else. But DVD playback was great!

    Given all that, I would have expected an ATI Rage 128 with 16 MB of VRAM to play DVDs okay, even if you are at 128 MB of memory.


    I have seen some ATI Rage 128 cards go bad though. I had to pull one out of a PowerMac G4 because it was painfully slow (it had a hard time with simple screen redraws and it benchmarked slower than the built in graphics on a PowerMac 7500). When I pulled it and tried it on another system I got the same results so I ended up tossing the card and putting in a ATI Radeon 9000 for that client as I recall (it was about two years ago).

    If the card is abnormally slow, it may be going bad.
     
  9. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

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    #9
    Hmm, if the video card itself can handle decoding then why is there a dedicated decoder card in the first place? :confused:

    Eidorian, yes, the decoder is plugged into the video card.
     
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #10
    I guess OS X doesn't take advantage of it then. Time to get a Radeon 7000?
     
  11. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    Aug 2, 2004
    #11
    Originally the DVD Player in Mac OS 8 required hardware help from a decoder to play DVDs on Macs. That is why the decoder was included on DVD Macs like the PowerBook Wallstreet/Lombard, Beige G3s, Blue & White G3s and early G4s. By the time hardware with Mac OS 9 preinstalled was released, the decoder hardware was gone from systems with DVD drives. In fact I believe the first DVD Player not to use a decoder required Mac OS 9.0.4 and systems that shipped with a G3/400 or faster (though it worked with 350 MHz systems). And as I recall it was a free download from Apple for 9.0.x users (if it wasn't preinstalled on your system) and was part of 9.1 and later.

    But to answer the question... I think Apple started to ask itself the same question with the Blue & White systems. And that prompted them to go back and rewrite the DVD Player. Because the Blue & Whites and early G4s shipped with 8.5/8.6, they still needed the decoder to play DVDs. Once the systems started shipping with 9.0.x, the decoder hardware was dropped. For example, the iMacs from Summer 2000 came with 9.0.4 preinstalled, and there was no additional decoder hardware for the models with DVD drives (which had G3s at 400 MHz).
     
  12. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

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    #12
    Thanks everyone, I think I understand a bit better now :)

    As for getting a new video card, I won't bother at this stage. I don't plan to watch DVDs on it, it was really just a "what's going on here?" question rather than a "how do I fix this?" - I plan to just use the system as a PHP/MySQL server, although I might end up running a few other services on it in the future :)

    Now to upgrade the RAM!
     

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