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CrossFire setup and no screen, please help (solved)

 
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kls85
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:05 pm    Post subject: CrossFire setup and no screen, please help (solved) Reply with quote

I've got this problem with this CrossFire setup and I hope some of you may know the answer cause right now I've no idea what's going on.

The system I'm working on is a Dell XPS with the following specifications:

-Core 2 Extreme @ 2.93GHz (Dual Core)
-4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800MHz (G.Skill with the blue heat spreaders)
-2x SATA HDDs in RAID 0 running on a Nvidia raid controller
-2x Dell ATi x1950XTX 512MB in CrossFire
(1x Dell ATi x1950XTX 512MB slave card and 1x Dell ATi x1950XTX 512MB master card with a proprietary CrossFire external dongle. The dongle has an single DVI output)
-WinXP MCE
-17" CRT (the largest that I have out of all of them)


Main task was to format the whole system and put in a clean version of Windows XP MCE.


-1.Hooked up the system to my monitor through a dual-link DVI-VGA adapter and there is no screen.
-2. Turned off the system and turn it back on again, same thing still no screen.
-3. Finally gets a screen after the 5th try, but POST says no boot device.
-4. Enter the bios, configured the boot device, and then restarted the system.
-5. After exiting from the bios again no screen, so I turned if off and turned in back on... no screen, but I let is stay on this time.
-6. After a minute, OS finally boots up and I managed to get into the desktop so I turned off the system and tried again... no screen.
-7. Then I thought could it be my monitor or this CrossFire card that's causing it, so I removed the external dongle and took out the CrossFire master card.
-8. Hooked up my monitor through a dual-link DVI-VGA adapter to the ATi slave card, turned on the system and I get a screen.
Now everytime when I turned off the system and turned in back on I always get a screen even during POST.
-9. Do my main task (Format and install XP MCE).
-10. After the installation of XP I installed Windows XP Sercive Pack 3 (network version for offline installations) and restarted the system.
-11. POST shows up, windows boots up properly, and I turned the system off.
-12. Reinsert the ATi master card, connect the external dongle to both master/slave cards,and hooked up the monitor through the dongle with the dvi-vga adapter, turned on the system...POST shows up and windows loads up fine.
-13. Now that I need to download the drivers from the Internet...first I went and installed IE7 (offline version) because IE7 installs a lot faster without any drivers installed. After installing IE7 I had to restart so I did and the system came back on fine.
-14. Next I installed the anti-phishing patch, restart and this time I get no screen. After the 3rd try, POST finally shows up but right after that and before you get to see the XP bootscreen, the monitor goes blank.
-15. Turned it back off, tried a few more times, and still the same problem described in step 14 (POST shows up (sometimes), screen goes blank before the XP bootscreen).

So right now I'm stuck in this situation. Can anyone you help me out, your answers are greatly appreciated.

Thanks and +rep!


Last edited by kls85 on Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Psy
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would hazard a guess that its a motherboard fault. What is your mobo?
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kls85
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a Dell proprietary mobo...

Going to try alternative method today and update with you guys if I manage to figure it out. Meanwhile keep coming with suggestions.

Thanks!

Update

I managed to get hold of another monitor, but this time it has a DVI connector so I plugged that in and after fiddling around with the buttons on the monitor, I manage to get a screen.

Firing up cpu-z to see what type of chipset it's running on, I found out that Dell has decided to use an nForce 570SLI Intel Edition for its CrossFire setup. Now this may raise a red flag as nForce chipsets cannot run CrossFire only SLI. Well it seems Dell probably did some bios modding to make it work (HP did that too with its BlackBird 002, by using a modded bios Asus Striker Extreme for their CrossFire setups). I've downloaded and install all of the drivers from the Dell's website except for the graphics.

For the graphics I've download both from the Dell's site and from AMD itself and wanted to see if the latest drivers from AMD will be supported or not.

First I've installed the latest drivers from AMD which is version 8.10 and after restarting, I launched CCC to see if CrossFire option was available or not. Nope it's not there so I checked online for a solution. On a website some say CrossFire is enabled by default while others say it's not so to confirm on it I've installed 3DMark 2003 and ran the benchmarks.

The score with version 8.10 came out to 17,863

Then I've uninstalled the graphic drivers and everything that's associated with it. Also used DriverCleaner Pro to clean out any remaining registry entries the graphic driver may have left behind and restarted the system.

After the restart, I've installed Dell's version of the graphic drivers, restart the system, and again launch CCC.

This time in CCC the CrossFire option was available and to see if CrossFire was working or not, I purposely disable CrossFire and ran the same benchmarks.

Dell's driver without CrossFire the score came out to: 17,368.
This is close in range with AMD's version 8.10 of 17,863, and concludes version 8.10 does not enable CrossFire by default. Also newer drivers sometimes improves performance so there isn't a surprise as the driver's release date was very far apart. Dell's driver was released in 11/25/2006 while AMD's was released in 10/15/2008 (MM/DD/YY).

Then I've when to CCC and enabled CrossFire, ran the benchmarks one more time, and this time the score came out to 27,642.

Note of advice for those that went with an OEM system and dual graphic setups.

Do not config your system with dual graphics that does not meets the certified specs. Dell may have the ability to mod their bios and ran CrossFire on a nForce chipset, but you will have issues in the long run like not being able to use the latest drivers.

For CrossFire it's a Intel or AMD chipset
For SLI it's a nForce chipset or Intel*

*Only Intel X58 for the nahalem support SLI all other Intel chipset do not support SLI.

As for my original issue, it's now fix after installing the drivers for the graphic cards. I've plugged it back to the 17" CRT I was originally using and now everytime I started the system (even cold boots) I always get a screen. Smile


Last edited by kls85 on Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:31 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Psy
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wierd eh? Good job Wink

~Psy
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