Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Got Video?

Finally was able to get the video drivers necessary. With research and a healthy dose of Google I finally found a driver for the S3 Trio 3D/2x, an older video card that even the manufacturer says is "obsolete" and doesn't provide any support or drivers for this video card and most of the drivers found are for Windows98 and earlier.

I kept looking and eventually found a listing at DriverFiles.net a for driver,S3Trio3D_2X_NT.zip, which I downloaded and unzipped. Going into My Computer's Hardware Manager I updated the drivers pointing them into the unzipped folder and reboot.

After reboot, I went into the display properties and was very happy to find a full range of screen sizes and up to 24bit color which sure beats 16 colors (not 16bit... 16 colors)!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Video and Sound

The three things not working before was
  1. video card
  2. modem
  3. sound
At least one out of the three is working.

Going to Dell's Driver Download page for the Dimension 4100 was able to pull up the Analog Devices AD1885 Integrated Audio drivers.

Once installed it still didn't work, until I (e-hem...) turned the volume on the speakers up to an audible level. At least it is working!

The modem should be easily fixed with switching out with another modem from an older, weaker system (166MHz.. not a pretty sight). Modem technology, while it has changed, hasn't changed all THAT much and I don't suspect it will anymore with the advent of Broadband connections.

In the meantime I have plugged and external USRobotics modem in which is working out for now. At least I can get online for downloading drivers and programs directly to the system.

Originally I did not want to be spending so much time with Windows since the system is slated for a Linux life. At work right now we are working on a remote-access system at work, and this may require Windows for the programs. If it works with Linux, then great!

That leaves the video card (and the headache). Turns out I was looking for the wrong drivers for the card.

Pulling the physical card out of the machine was the only way to figure out what kind it is, which is an S3 Trio 3D/2x, a card that is labeled as "obsolete" by the maker! And if that isn't enough, they don't even offer drivers for them even for older systems! This I find very annoying. (**editorial note : not everybody is on the Microsoft "new OS = new compuer" purchase plan**)

Afer putting it back together, the system was not booting and no video was displaying until I reseated the Video card. Before that I was assualted with a series of beeps during bootup (long-short-short)

I feared I shorted out the video card. I do not want to spend any more money than necessary to get this system up and running. Otherwise I would just buy brand-spanking new and not worry about any of this (until Longhorn comes out.. but that's another story).

A quick look on Google provides some links to Windows 9x drivers, but nothing for 2000 or XP. Seems a list of people looking for this just like me. I'm beginning to wonder if any of the Linux distros will detect it properly or will this be an issue there as well.

On a fun, positive note though I was able to install the Nero software which came with the DVD burner and in further inspection discovered I got a CD-RW/DVD-RW when I thought I got just a DVD-RW! Very handy, considering the CD burner in the Sony has not been working.